Fès and Chefchaouen based photography adventure workshop April 2016

Fès and Chefchaouen based photography adventure workshop – Sponsored by FUJIFILM

April 1st  – 10, 2016

Register Here

© John Horniblow 2013

At the tomb of Moulay Ismail in Meknes, the guardian, a descendant to the sultan, views the splendour of the ceiling

Fez Medina at night - copyright John Horniblow

Morocco Photography Holiday Adventure – Proudly Sponsored by Fujifilm “X” Cameras & Lenses

April 1 – 10, 2016

Workshop Price

Register / Make Deposit Here

Warm golden light, vibrant colours and a ubiquitous sense of intrigue, that’s Morocco. For photographers the visual allure is never ending. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fès el-Bali (Fez Medina / Old Fez), to the off-the-trodden-trail livestock market frenzy of Azrou, to the farther-afield Rif Mountains town of electric-blue Chefchaouen, the locations chosen for this photo workshop holiday will inspire and reward in stunning images of this fabled North African land of contrasts.

Small group size (6-8 participants)

Skill level from beginner through keen amateur and aspiring professional

Travel, landscape, architecture, and people photography

Personalised instruction from The Compelling Image professionals, David Bathgate and Joanna Maclennan.

Transfers from arrival / departure airport – Fès, Morocco (FEZ)

Traditional and charming riad accommodations (Fès and Chefchaouen)

Breakfasts, 4 Dinners & 3 lunches included

Photo walks, instruction & discussions

Local transportation / private driver & guide where scheduled

Languages: English, French and German

A range of Fujifilm “X” cameras and lenses will be available during the workshop for all to try.

April Moroccan Temps: 74/53 F 23/11 C – April Sunrise: 7:14 | Sunset 5:28 (17:28)

David Bathgate and Joanna Maclennan
The workshops are run by The Compelling Image founder and Corbis photojournalist David Bathgate and Joanna Maclennan

Sponsored by FUJIFILM , the makers of XT1 , X Pro1 cameras and XF lens.


The workshop participants will receive specific instruction and get to use and compare the FUJIFILM cameras with there own equipment.


This Photo Holiday Adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but to aid you in mentally visualising a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our goal is to raise your awareness and ignite your creativity, so you will return home with both stunning images and an expanded photographic skill set. Apart from mastering your camera’s settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn ordinary “snap-shot” situations into extraordinary “Photographs,” by applying your own creativity. You will become knowledgeable on how to assess landscapes and city scenes for their photographic potential and how to approach locals as a photographer, along with cultural considerations and challenges of photography in a foreign land. Our time together will include individual “mentoring” where appropriate, group discussions packed with inspiring ideas, along with a whole lot of fun. We can’t think of a more intriguingly exotic location than Morocco to express your creativity to the fullest!

Copyright 2013 David Bathgate , The Compelling Image

Copyright 2013 David Bathgate , The Compelling Image

Day 1 – Arrive (Fès) Fès-Saiss Airport

Here you’ll be met by your driver and transferred to the richly traditional comfort of the Riad Kettani, a family-run guest house situated in the heart of Medina Fès. Uplon arrival you’ll be greeted by your host and workshop facilitators, David Bathgate and Joanna Maclennan and introduced to fellow workshop photographers. Once settled in, we’ll all go (cameras in hand, of course) for a locally-guided orientation walk about the maze of medina alleyways, noting helpful landmarks along the way. This evening you’ll be treated to a Welcome Dinner introducing you to wonderful tastes and aromas of the Moroccan kitchen, after which we’ll review our itinerary for the photographic journey ahead. (Dinner and Breakfast)

Fès el-Bali (Old Fès) will be our base for this photo adventure – the largest living medieval city of the Arab world, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Without a doubt the symbolic heart of Morocco, Fès is also the country’s spiritual and intellectual center. Located at an historic crossroads with access to both Rif and Atlas mountains, it was the city of the great imperial Moroccan dynasties.

Day 2 – Exploration and Photography in Medina Fès

Today we’ll continue our guided exploration of the magnificent Imperial City of Fès. We’ll have a local guide accompany us as we wander though its labyrinth-like array of more than 9000 streets and alleys, a good 40 percent of which lead to dead ends. Ancient mosques, museums teeming with Fazi history and colourful souks stocked with everything from fruits and vegetables to local handicrafts, will be among our many photo stops. We’ll return to the Riad Kettani for lunch, followed by a brief photography presentation / question-answer session and then back out to capture mid-afternoon, sunset and early evening images. Overnight at Riad Kettani. (Lunch and Breakfast)

Day 3 – Day Trip to Meknès

Following breakfast this morning we’ll board a private minbus for the 70-kilometer drive to Meknes, an 11th century imperial city, to the west of Fès. Named after a Berber tribe, Meknèsis was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727). Today, the city is today the kingdom’s sixth largest. And there’s plenty to visually stimulate here – wonderfully carved gates, a triple-wall defense system which has stood for centuries, some of Morocco’s most stunning architecture, bustling souks and traditional craftsmen, tucked away at work, down seemingly non-descript alleyways. Overnight at Riad Kettani.(Lunch and Breakfast)

Day 4 – Exploration and Photography in Medina Fès

Following breakfast today, we’ll be joined by a local guide and venture over to one of Fès’s several leather tanneries. Said to date back some 700 years, the vats of colourful dyes and the raw hides washed and worked by hand and foot, leave little to doubt of their Medieval origins. Busy souks (markets) displaying fresh fruits and vegetables and all sorts of other items will be on our photo agenda for the day, too. Metal workers, pounding kettles and pots into shape for market provide photo opportunities, as will a stop to capture the granduer of the Royal Palace (Dar el Makhzen) or the atmosphere of the Jewish Quarter, established in the city of Fès in 1438. And of course, the Kairaouine Mosque (Djemaa el Kairaouine), the second-largest mosque in Morocco. Overnight at Riad Kettani. (Lunch and Breakfast).

Day 5 – Day trip to Azrou Market

Following an early breakfast, we’ll board a private minibus for the hour-long trip south to the town of Azrou. Situated at nearly 3,940 feet (1,200 meters) in elevation and enclosed by cedar and pine forests, this important Berber market center sits at the crossroads of two major routes – north to Meknes and Fès, south to Khenifra and Midelt. The weekly souk draws thousands of people selling and buying vegetables, carpets, sheep, goats and cattle. Off the tourist trail, Azrou rewards with stunning photo opportunities no matter where you turn. Arriving early afternoon in Fès, there will be plenty of time to relax while editing images in comfort of around Riad Kettani’s courtyard fountain. Overnight at Riad Kettani on (Packed Lunch and Breakfast).

Day 6 – Drive to Chefchaouen

Following an early breakfast, we’ll board a private van for the scenic 2 1/2- to 3-hour drive to Chefchaouen. Tucked away in Africa’s northernmost Rif mountain range, “Chaouen,”(sha-wen) as it’s locally known, is one of the most beautiful towns in Morocco. It’s an artsy, blue-washed mountain village that feels like a world unto itself. The old medina here is a rich blend of Moroccan and Andalucian influence, with red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings and narrow lanes converging on busy Plaza Uta el-Hammam and its restored fortress, or kasbah. With its rich cultural tapestry of Berber tribespeople, Muslims, Jews and descendants of 15th century Moorish exiles from Spain, Chefchaouen is a most pleasant blend of ease and traditional authenticity and one you’ll enjoy exploring again and again, with your camera. Overnight at Riad Casa Hassan. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 7 – Chefchaouen /Rif Mountain Exploration

Today, it’s a riad breakfast and then back out into the lively souks and alleyways of Chaouen for additional practice capturing people and scenes of everyday life in this wonderfully blue mountain town. We’ll then grab a light lunch on the town’s central Plaza Utta el-Hammam before meeting our ride and guide for an afternoon drive deeper into the Rif Mountains to capture the majestic scenery of this part of Morocco.On return to town in the later afternoon, we’ll agree on an inviting location near the Plaza Utta el-Hammam for our last night’s dinner in Chefchaouen. There’ll be plenty of time, of course, for photo discussion – both over dinner and back at the Riad Casa Hassan, as well. Overnight at Riad Casa Hassan. (Bed and Breakfast)

Day 8 – Chefchaouen / Afternoon Return to Fès

Following a riad breakfast, there will be time to venture out once more in the crisp morning light to capture some of those town images you missed the days before – and do some shopping, if that too is on your agend. We can even hike a short and easy distance above town to gain a panoramic perspective and capture some photos images of Chaouen in its picturesque hilly surroundings. Then in the early afternoon we’ll begin our descent via private minibus, down the mountain and back to base in Fès, stopping whenever we want for photos along the way. Overnight at Riad Kettani. (Dinner and Breakfast)

Day 9 – Presentation of Workshop Photos / Free Time For Shopping and Additional Photography in Fès

Following breakfast at Riad Kettani this morning, we’ll take time to look through the wonderful photos captured by workshop participants, lending constructive commentary on technique, composition and editing. The remainder of the morning and entirety of the afternoon is yours for the choosing – last minute shopping and / or additional photo ventures. Your instructors, of course, will be on hand to assist if you need it. On this last evening, we’ll choose a special dinner location in Fès at which to celebrate the end of a very special photo holiday together. Overnight at Riad Kettani. (Breakfast)

Day 10 – End of Workshop and Riad Kettani Departure

Enjoy a final wonderful riad breakfast before airport transfers and departures or other onward travel plans.

Workshop price:

$3595 USD / 3282 Euros (double occupancy)
Single supplement – $552 USD / 505 Euros (Subject to availability for group size)
Workshop deposit (refundable in case of cancellation): $550 USD / 500 Euro with balance due no later than Friday, 26 February 2016
Register and Make Deposit Here

Workshop price does not include:

Airline tickets
Beverages – water, beer, wine, soft drinks
Meals where not indicated in the itinerary
Entrance fees to historical sites, etc. ($1-$6 USD)

What to bring:

DSLR, mirrorless camera or Smartphone photo app(s)
Laptop computer with photo-management / editing software
A tripod, monopod or Gorilla Pod will be useful
Enthusiasm and willingness to step (occasionally) outside your comfort zone.

* David Bathgate is an official Fuji “X” Photographer. Visit his Fujifilm “X” Photographers Galerie.

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