Morocco was my love at first sight. Not much time has passed since my return from the November trip to the desert regions of Zagora and I have already started planning to come back to Africa. This time the aim of my photographic trip was the Atlantic coast. Browsing countless websites in search of new stables, I came across a picture that literally took my breath away. A group of riders posed on the beach against a giant red rock arch. I immediately e-mailed the equestrian centre on whose website I had come across the photo and anxiously awaited an answer. When it finally arrived, I jumped up in joy. I already knew what the second point of the program would be, besides visiting my winter friends from Maroc.
However, before I reached Ranch Les Deux Gazelles and my dream beach in July, I stopped for a few days in the small village of Sidi Kauki, which probably no one except for kite surfers knows about. There is nothing there but a few small shops, a few guest houses, endless beaches and wind blowing 365 days a year. Not counting my horse models.
Organizing a summer photo session on any of the European beaches borders on a miracle. Crowds of tourists, restrictions, permits required, etc. make it basically “mission impossible” during the holiday season. Meanwhile, on the Atlantic, we had at our disposal kilometers of deserted beaches with diverse coasts – from sandy dunes to impressive, dramatically jagged cliffs. The work was slightly hindered by a very strong and gusty wind and rather cool, by summer standards, water. Nevertheless, both we and the horses emerged victorious from this test.
The horse, which made the biggest impression on me, was a new resident of the stable, black Berber stallion Tuareg. As soon as I saw him I knew he is going to be a star. What a disappointment it was, when I heard that we couldn’t take him to the session, because he is not settled yet, not used to other horses and we couldn’t be sure how he would behave while released. In the end, because the beach we chose for the photos was safe, we decided to give it a try. It was worth it! Tuareg turned out to be a great model with beautiful movement and good character. Dynamic and expressive photos of him are my favorite from the seaside session with “Maroc à cheval”.
Although I regretfully said goodbye to the coast of Essaouira, I was extremely excited about heading towards Tiznit. I wasn’t disappointed. After a 5-hour journey, we arrived at Ranch Les Deux Gazelles, a charming resort with stylish architecture, immersed in greenery, where the red of climbing walls bougainvillea makes a great contrast to the sea blue of doors and shutters.
However, the most beautiful views were waiting for me during a horse ride we made on the second day… The biggest attraction of this place is without a doubt the coast and endless beaches. In addition to dunes, there are so many types of rocks and cliffs of various shapes and colors, from grey, covered with moss, through red-burgundy, to black, that no matter how long the sessions last, it will always be too short. The weather in July and August is not always favorable due to frequent and long-lasting fogging. Sometimes they create a unique, romantic atmosphere, but it also happens that they slightly cross the plans, just like the day when we went with three grey Arabians to the beach of my dreams.
When we were leaving the ranch, there was pitch darkness all around, while when we arrived at the place nearly two hours later, we were greeted by a peculiar mist as pale as milk. Although in a place full of rocks of unusual shapes it created a very romatic mood, I nevertheless regretted that there was no sun, that would emphasize the unusual red-brown color of the cliffs. On the other hand, soft light made the lunar landscape even more mysterious. The morning spent in this extraordinary place was definitely a unique experience. When we loaded the horses into the truck, however, I felt a bit unsatisfied. This amazing location opens up such a range of possibilities for the photographer that I would love to extend the session to the evening, and even why not, for a few days.
Four days at the ranch passed in a heartbeat. Befor I left, I went with my assistant and guide Youssef for a farewell ride. Initially, we drove through the picturesque mountain wilderness, passing a plot of cactuses along the way, then we reached the ocean, and we returned to the ranch by the beach. Needless to say, we were returning at a gallop that lasted and lasted and lasted forever. It was a great gift and the best end to my stay I could imagine.
Afterwards, I was “only” supposed to return by a Moroccan taxi to Marrakech through the Atlas Mountains. Believe me, a 5-hour journey by car without air conditioning, when in the afternoon, the temperatures are similar to those prevailing in a hot oven, it is a challenge. Yes, yes, photography expeditions are not all pleasure … And yet it is always worth the effort. Memories full of smells, sounds and moments captured in the frame are priceless.
Thank you to the teams of “Maroc à cheval” and Ranch “Les Deux Gazelles” for warm welcome and unforgettable experience!
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