We have all seen the travel brochures. The huge pyramids towering to the skies, the stern visage of the ancient sphinx. You would think those of us who long to travel the world would find more exotic places to visit than “plain old Egypt.” You will soon understand, however, that there is nothing about Egypt that is plain. Sure, some photo ops may be overused and trite, but then instead of snapping that quintessential picture, try to make it a little bit different!
The first “unique” picture you might want to get is a little difficult and will probably turn out blurred, but it would be well worth it for a “first glimpse of Egypt.” Try getting a picture from the plane as you fly over this ancient and venerable country and get ready to start your great adventure. If you will be scrapbooking your trip or if you enjoy arranging photo albums, this will make a wonderful first photo for your travel album.
By all means, don’t hesitate to take many pictures of the pyramids! Just because it’s cliche doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. But try some new angles, too. Have a friend or family member stand at the base of a pyramid to emphasize the difference in size. If you’re traveling with a group, try to stand around at least part of the pyramid holding hands.
Don’t just photograph the sphinx. Get as close as you possibly can to this huge man-lion and photograph separate parts of the statue. Just a close-up of the huge paws will make an artsy shot. If you have a camera with zoom, trying zooming in just on the sphinx’s face, its missing nose, and the cracks in its features. Don’t just emulate others’ pictures but try to be a photography creative artist and generate some ideas you wouldn’t normally think of.
Cairo is a goldmine of photographic opportunities. Instead of snapping off endless pictures of the same thing, be inventive. Don’t photograph a bazaar stall, but a particular item; something like a long gold chain that struck your fancy but you were unable to afford as one example. Focusing on particular items instead of the big picture is always a good idea to avoid dozens of nearly identical vacation photos.
If you were indeed able to afford that special trinket, have someone take a picture of you wearing or holding your special prize. If the locals are amenable, stand with someone in Egyptian garb. Thinking outside the box will help keep your photos fresh and different.
The key is to notice the details and have photos different from everyone else’s, so with this in mind, you may want to visit the Nile. This is probably the most famous river in the world and is in many ways the life and breath of Egypt. Again, if you have a zoom camera it will come in handy. Don’t just capture the river; capture what lies within. Get down on your knees, shoot into the water. Try to find a fish or other creature (of course here is a good time to point out that most cameras are not water-resistant and it will be very hard to explain to anyone how you dropped your camera in the Nile, so be careful!) Look for an unusual plant growing alongside the river to frame your photo.
Take numerous photos of your hotel, the exterior, the lobby, your room, but don’t be too obvious about doing this. You’ll want photos, but it’s never a good idea while on vacation to let someone know you are a “typical tourist.” Once you’re in your bedroom, you’ll want a view of the room in general and a shot out of the window (provided you have a good view). If you’re staying in Cairo, for instance, and can see the pyramids or the sphinx from your window, it would make a great shot for either a scrapbook or an album.
For many of these photos you might want to use a tripod, especially for further-away shots that can get blurred if you shake a little too much. Don’t forget nighttime shots, too. The pyramids are lit at night. A small tripod that can be folded and zipped away until using is always a good vacation asset.