Egypt – Exploring Alexandria

Over the past month, I’ve been working in Egypt.  This trip to Africa officially counts toward my personal continent checklist; I now only need to go to Antarctica to reach my goal of visiting every continent on Earth.  Perhaps one day I’ll get there but until then I’ll just keep enjoying being wherever I am.

I arrived to Egypt in the city of Alexandria which is on the northern coast of Egypt.  To my great joy, the weather here is not what I was expecting.  This time of year during the day it stays in the low 90’s Fahrenheit and falls to the low 70’s by the evening.  While the humidity can get a little high, a regular breeze coming from the Mediterranean provides wafts of cool air throughout the day which helps make you feel not quiet so sticky.  A bit of shade goes a long way in making the outdoors very pleasant.  In fact as I’m typing this I’ve chosen to sit outside instead of my air-conditioned room.

This trip to Egypt has been the furthest thing from a vacation but I have managed to get out a few times with my camera.  This is my therapy to recover from all the stress of work.  It’s amazing what a few hours of photography can do to relieve the brain of the seemingly relentless barrage of work activity associated with starting up a new region.  When my eye is glued to a viewfinder, I can’t think about anything but what’s in front of my lens.  Without that relief every now and then, I don’t think I could continue doing this kind of work.

Two weeks after arriving in Alexandria, I finally had an opportunity to get out to do some exploring.  A couple buddies and I took a taxi over to the Citadel of Qaitbay.  This fort, built in the late 1400’s, has undergone several restorations and in its current condition is fully accessible to the public.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

The interior of the Citadel was very neat to walk around.  Numerous port holes and open towers provide ample light and ventilation.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

Through a large portal, a nice view of the harbor’s jetty can be seen.  That’s Alexandria off in the distance.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

The restoration work that’s been done over the years has been handled with great care as it was difficult to identify anything that appeared to be new construction.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

Some of the rooms in the Citadel had very ornate tile work on the floors.  I couldn’t tell if this was all original or not.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

While my friend was looking out one of the portals, I grabbed this shot.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

Stairs offer access to the ramparts from which a wider view of the city and its harbor can be seen.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

After about an hour of walking around, we’d seen most of the Citadel.  Crowds of people were starting to pour in, making it increasingly difficult to get around inside.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

What’s a local attraction without street vendors?  For sale were seashells, statues, ornaments, idols, ashtrays, key chains, dried fish, t-shirts, hats, sunglasses and refrigerator magnets.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

Next, we hired a horse-drawn carriage to take us from the Citadel over to the busy downtown area.  The 45 minute ride was well worth it, offering unobstructed views and a slower pace which gave more time to let all the scenery soak in.

Left-to-right:  Me, James, and Grant

iPhone
iPhone

The following shots are from around the downtown seafront area.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

Even the smallest patch of shade makes a huge difference to your comfort when the sun is out high and bright.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

The Great Sphinx of Alexandria… at least he thought so.  I couldn’t solve his riddle so I just walked away.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

Once King Farouk’s Palace, it is now the Presidential Palace.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

This palace at the edge of the Mediterranean is surrounded by gardens which have been opened to the public.  In the shade found under the large palm trees of the garden, friends and families could be seen eating picnic lunches .  It seemed like a popular place the local people go to relax over the weekend.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

A shot of the downtown corniche (waterfront), taken from the open terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 Macro (3rd Gen)

That’s all for now.  I’ve got two more folders of images to go through for an upcoming post on a trip to Cairo and some nighttime exploration of Old Cairo.  I hope you’ll check back soon!

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Egypt – Exploring Alexandria

  1. I love your pictures as well as the blog. What aperture have you found to be the sweet spot for landscapes with this lens?

    Like

  2. Hi Rajesh,

    I’m pleased to know you enjoy the photos. I always hope that when I post them that someone in the world will enjoy looking at them. In regards to your question on the lens: I’ve found the lens to be at it’s maximum sharpness across the whole frame by f/8. I think f/4 gives the best look for center frame sharpness and smooth, pleasing bokeh.
    When I walk around anywhere that has decent lighting, I usually have the lens set to an aperture of f/8, focal length dialed in at 35mm and the focus pre-set to a distant of around 10-15 feet. On the camera I’ll have a locked shutter speed of 1/400 – 1/800 and ISO set to Auto. This combination gives me a high probability that if I suddenly come across something of interest, I can very quickly fire off an initial shot and then if time permits I can make a second with more finely adjusted settings. This gunslinger, at-the-ready configuration has yielded some excellent shots that I otherwise would have missed if I was spending time fiddling with the focus and exposure. The aperture being set to f/8 at 35mm gives a deep depth of field and the shutter speed being high enough to not blow out highlights while not being so high that Auto ISO has to raise that much if I happen to point it at something dark. I hope that you find this information useful. Feel free to reply if you have any further questions.

    Cheers,

    Tom Leonard

    Like

  3. You have no idea how much I look forward to your posts! They bring such a wealth of knowledge and beauty, thank you again for all you do.

    Like

  4. Oh wow! I’m so glad to hear that. You’ve made my day. I’ll try not to dilly dally too much then on the next post. I’m just sitting here this evening working through the images I’ll be posting next. Thank you for the extra motivation to get those finished.

    Tom Leonard

    Like

  5. Thank you Tom.

    This is very useful information.

    I will try this method. Thanks for sharing.

    It is a really nice lens that never disappoints.

    With the A7RII, what is your favorite method for manual focusing, peaking, magnification or a combination?

    Like

  6. Rajesh,

    Here is my focus workflow: I always leave Peaking enabled (red) but set to either medium or low. This just helps me to quickly get my lens in the vicinity of focus on my subject. For laid-back shooting, I use magnification x14 to then fine tune it. I’m really picky about my focus being correct. If I’m shooting action, like skateboards or people moving around, I use the focus peaking to assess my plane of focus and then just fire when I see the subject enter that plane. It works quite well especially when I’ve got a lens stopped down a little bit for more depth of field.

    Like

  7. Aloha,
    I’m a new subscriber to your newsletter. I enjoy looking at your photos and reading your blog. I found your blog while searching for articles that relate to using Minolta manual lens with Sony A7. When I got into your website I felt so glad to see some of your photos that were taken by Minolta MD 35-70 macro 3.5 because it’s one of the Minolta lenses that I have and the photos you took proved to me that this lens have beautiful colors and aesthetics.
    I enjoy reading your blog because you share your tips on how you use your Sony A7ii and your approach to photography.
    When I have enough funds, I am thinking of buying Sony A7ii because I think I need the image stabilization but until then, I will keep shooting with my micro four thirds cameras.

    Like

  8. Amazing adventures, Tom!! Loved The Great Sphinx *s* What amazing sights to see. I know you’ll never forget all the places you’ve seen.

    Like

  9. Hi Jon,
    Welcome to Outfor30. I’m happy to hear that we share an appreciate for the good, old lenses. It does indeed perform beautifully in just about any situation. Out of nearly 30 lenses in my collection, it has earned the position of becoming my primary travel lens. With this lens, the old adage “f/8 and be there” really does ring true.

    When I caught wind of the A7RII with its stabilized sensor, I kind of blew it off since I was already enjoying great success with my A7R. My A7R then died on me. As an apology, Sony sent me a check for the full retail amount which I then put toward the A7RII. Now, having owned both, I’m absolutely won over by the usefulness of the stabilized sensor. I don’t even pack a tripod anymore.

    I’m glad you found the website and I hope you continue to find interesting and useful content. If you have any suggestions or requests for content, please let me know.

    Like

  10. Hey Gaston! Glad to see you’re still following along. Man I wish we could get together sometime to go shooting. Who knows, maybe we’ll cross paths in the field sometime soon.

    Like

Feel free to leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s