Crossing the Tichka

It's definitely worth a look at the larger (1200px) version – Nikon D700, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS

If you are familiar with my work, you have taken a look at my “Contrasts” gallery. This gallery curates a personal project where I have been trying a different slant on my landscape photography. The images I make for this project aim to distill the essence of the landscape through the use of simple and elegant compositions that focus on form and contrast. While this project is very dear to me, I haven’t been adding much to it over the last few months. On my most recent visit to Morocco, I was finally granted a few opportunities to make a few candidates for inclusion in the project. None was more striking than the one that presented itself while driving up to Tichka pass. As is often the case on this road, the weather is extremely volatile and gives rise to some pretty spectacular light conditions. On this particular day, the weather kept fluctuating between hail, rain and bright sunshine, with all the intermediates in between. As we were about to embark on the most winding section of the road, the clouds started parting, rainbows appeared and the sun started making its way through it all. An irresistible case of chiaroscuro lighting painted the entire landscape in a patchwork of light and shadow. The invitation was too tempting to pass.

Light conditions were changing real fast, so acting equally fast was key. Forget about setting up a tripod or changing lenses. In any case, I already new that I wanted to compress the landscape for a more graphic look. My telephoto was thus the weapon of choice. I had set my mind on playing with the alternating layers of light and shadow. All I needed was to find a composition that really spoke to the drama we were witnessing. For the image I had in mind to work, I needed the clouds to somewhat line up with the landscape: I wanted to take advantage of the very strong diagonals (the road) to give a dynamic look commensurate with the drama and make them sing! Luckily, after a few minutes, the clouds lined up exactly where I wanted them creating some lovely layers of light and shade, along said curves! Click and the moment was gone.

While the colours in the original are pretty spectacular (see this image I posted from a few moments earlier), I didn’t want anything to detract from the chiaroscuro I had been so desperately seeking. The B&W conversion was therefore inevitable. A little bit of burning and dodging, some light toning and the job was done!

What do you think?

Just a little reminder that we will be spending some quality time in this area in my upcoming Morocco Photo Adventure: Rockin’ The Kasbah Tour!

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10 Responses to Crossing the Tichka

  1. Russ Bishop says:

    Love the light and shadow here Younes – great series.

  2. Radek Kozak says:

    As i really dig your “Contrast” gallery it’s no surprise that i like this version of Tichka pass even better than coloured one.

    I think i’m also more drawn to the smaller image here than 1200px version. The latter is so sharp and have so much details that it hurts my eyes :) But here i can focus more on composition, those beautiful lines, shadows and how light plays it’s role in the frame.

  3. DaniGirl says:

    Wow. I’ve been looking at this image for quite a few minutes now, following the lines up and down and around. This is truly incredible and an interesting, um, *contrast* to the colour version, which almost looks like a different scene entirely.

  4. Abby Gossage says:

    Both shots are beautiful and both are better in the larger format; however my favourite is the b&w. Just a preference…

  5. Jay Goodrich says:

    Love this! Nice job. You need to take me there. I do want to go there to ski/shoot one year as well.