The Classic View

Giza, Egypt

Touring Egypt:  The classic view of the Pyramids at Giza, with a tourist camel train in foreground and Cairo in the background
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Touring Egypt, number 3: Here is the classic view that I just had to share. I know, I know — everybody has done this one. Still, I love this photo — it is … well, “emblematic.” Here is the quintessential Egypt tourist photo: The three most famous pyramids at Giza — that is, the “Great Pyramid” of Khufu (Cheops) and those of Khafre and Kephren, with Cairo in the background. If you take a tour that includes the pyramids, your bus or taxi will almost certainly stop at this overlook point to give you the classic panoramic view. Usually, you stop here after exploring the pyramids and before moving on to the Sphinx and other sites. Here you can also buy all manner of junk, trinkets and souvenirs from the waiting vendors, arrange a camel ride, and even photograph the tourist police or bedouin camel herders in return for a little bakshish.

I got lucky with this shot. While my group was milling about taking pictures and buying souvenirs, I wandered away to the far end of the parking lot — away from most of the other tourists (who tend to cluster at the end closest to the pyramids). From this vantage point I had no obstructions and noticed a tourist camel train moving through the shallow valley in front of the pyramids. A passing cloud happened to put the camels in shadow, but I took the shot anyway. As it turned out, of many shots I took here, this was probably the most evocative for me — no other tourists in the frame nearby, with all three pyramids clearly visible, Cairo in the background, and a camel train in the foreground. How much more emblematic could it get?

(Nikon D200, Nikkor wide-zoom at 15mm, ISO 250, f/8 at 1/1250 sec., using a circular polarizer filter and with -4/3 EV exposure compensation to better manage the bright scene and cloud shadows.)

OK, this image is a bit cliche. (But doesn’t it call to you just a little?) I’ll tell you what I’ll do: Since this one is so “overdone,” I will make today a “two fer.” Right after this, I will post again a couple of photos I’ve already done on this blog, which are nearly my favorite land images from Egypt. I posted them before I decided to do an Egypt series, but I think they also belong in this series. Coming up next ….