London based photographer Sathya Parthasarathi is aspiring to travel to every corner of the world and wants to inspire others to do the same. Having been taking pictures since the age of 9 but last year travel photography became his passion. He recently visited Morocco, and we wanted to find out more about his trip and the photos he captured.
Hi Sathya, it looks like you had a wonderful trip to Morocco, but before we get on to that, we’d love to know what kit you usually use!
I shoot with FUJIFILM X-T2 and XF16-55mmF2.8. Most of the time, this is all the set up I need. But I have had the pleasure of using XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6, XF50-140mmF2.8 and XF10-24mmF4 for various work assignments. I moved from a DSLR to Fujifilm’s X-T2 about 9 months ago. Fujifilm’s history in the field, their unique proposition of APS-C size cameras, their lenses and the way the X-T2 improved photographer-camera interaction were the reasons I chose Fujifilm and I could not be happier with my decision.
What were your plans for Morocco and what was your must-take Fujifilm kit?
Morocco has been a dream destination for over 8 years now so when the trip came together this summer, my wife and I were over the moon. We wanted to make the most of the trip; so we decided to spend a couple of weeks and go around the country as much as we can. We visited Rabat, Marrakech, Aït-Benhaddou, Erg Chebbi Dunes (Sahara) and Fes. One of my photography goals for this trip was to capture the country at it most beautiful moments; and I am quite pleased with the outcome.
I had my usual kit along with a XF50-140mmF2.8 and a Fujifilm X-A5 with the XC15-45mm kit lens as a second shooter. I wanted a zoom lens to capture the adventure in streets, the layers of Moroccan towns and also gain access to places that are otherwise too far away; oasis towns, the sun and the moon.
How did you get on with using the XF50-140mm?
I prefer fixed aperture zoom lenses for obvious reasons and the XF50-140mm did not disappoint. It is a well-built lens with excellent focus and renders sharp images end-to-end. I found it easy to use on my X-T2 without a battery grip. The lens doesn’t extend out when zoomed in so even at 140mm you won’t have to adjust your balance or the way you hold the lens. The focus ring has a bite to it which I found quite useful in finding the perfect focus. The zoom ring has a short throw so it’s easy to move from 50-140 in one motion. The in-built Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is effective, and allowed me to capture images at low light/high wind situations with slow shutter speeds at ease. This lens certainly played a big part in achieving what I wanted to capture in Morocco.
Could you talk us through some of the techniques you used while shooting in Morocco?
Aperture priority mode – this might seem a little counter intuitive having a camera with so many manual control options, but I put my camera in the aperture priority mode and took most of the shots in and around the medinas that way. This is because the light changes so much as you’re walking through and the last thing you want to do is fiddle around with controls and miss the scene. To avoid shake, for high wind or lowlight situations, especially in the desert, I tuck my elbows to my sides to create that extra point of contact and stability; shooting with 50-140mm was relatively easy in those scenarios thanks to its OIS.
What advice would you give to someone visiting Morocco?
Here are a few suggestions for my fellow photographers and travelers visiting Morocco:
- If you like street photography, carry a camera that is less noticeable. Some locals are very private and get offended easily if they think you’re photographing them. Failing that, always ask permission.
- Definitely take a zoom lens with you as the layers you could capture in the medinas and the desert are incredible.
- If possible, try to travel around the country as the landscapes are very diverse in different places and there are plenty of opportunities to capture stunning scenes and old towns alike. A 6 hour trip, for example, could take you from desert, through the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and to a 1000 year old walled town!
- If you can, visit Fes – the cultural capital and the oldest imperial town in the country.
- Try as much street food as possible as the flavours are endless.
- And lastly, carry sun cream – you will need it!
Morocco can be an overwhelming place to visit and photograph, but be adventurous and take the chance; you will surely come back with beautiful memories and photos!