Earlier this year, photographer Simon Roberts traveled to Egypt for this month’s issue of Travel + Leisure. His pix accompany a story about a country in flux; in it, creator Aatish Taseer explores the considerable, unknowable nature of antiquity, the enduring scars of Egypt’s tumultuous political history, and how this historic nation is envisioning its destiny as tourism progressively rebounds.

Roberts had worked with T+L earlier, traveling no longer from his local London to photograph Scotland’s Isle of Skye. This most recent task took him to a dramatically distinctive environment. Rather than encountering desolate landscapes, faraway cities, and the occasional sheep, this trip dove into the bustling, beating coronary heart of one of the oldest civilizations on the earth. His pics accompanying the function are dense with things human beings have constructed: pyramids, mosques, burial chambers; a luxurious cruise ship passing villages alongside the Nile; a sneak top inside the drawing close Grand Egyptian Museum, nonetheless under creation in Giza.

But one in every one of Roberts’ photos, which makes an appearance on the difficulty’s newsstand cowl, rises above those built environments — actually because it changed into taken from a warm air balloon above the well-known Valley of the Kings — to show the contours of the panorama in an even greater epic manner.

Here’s how he got the shot:

T+L: Have you ever been to Egypt earlier? What becomes your common impact on the region and the situation, remember?

Simon Roberts: “It was my first visit, and I became worried about touring one of the most photographed locations internationally! However, the experience turned quite profound and did no longer disappoint. It’s difficult to explain the experience of witnessing, firsthand, several civilizations’ earliest achievements.”

What became it like taking pictures from a warm air balloon? Any precise distractions or precise possibilities?

“I’d photographed from a warm air balloon earlier than — however, never one that contained a further 35 human beings! The biggest project changed into stepping into a position where I may want to picture within the course going through the Valley of the Kings because the solar came up in the back of me, which required a few professional flying by using the balloon pilot and cautious international relations with my fellow passengers so as now not to ruin their experience.

When I began taking the photos, I was frustrated that other warm-air balloons obscured the view. Still, in the long run, I liked how the balloons seemed suspended inside the sky and additionally supplied an experience of scale to the scene.

Do you have any pointers for taking pictures of huge, highly monochromatic landscapes like this one?

“Well, some peak continually helps. For example, I regularly picture from the roof of my motorhome while shooting landscapes; a barely expanded vantage point allows the connection of individual bodies and buildings in the panorama to be located. I additionally like to image at times of the day or in climate situations that provide me a greater confined, pastel palette of colors.”

What time of day did you take a photograph? What type of system did you use?

“The image was taken at sunrise using a Phase One medium format virtual camera, which became hooked on a monopod to offer me stability and prevent digital camera shake.”

Do you have some other cool initiatives in the works that you’d want to share?

“I’m working on a longer-term project in Cuba, which brings together four European and four Cuban photographers to collaborate on a book and exhibition for the 2021 Havana Biennial. In addition, I’m looking at the position of faith in a post-Castro technology, in which various spiritual practices—from Christianity and Islam to Baha’i and Santeria—were allowed to develop and seem to shape a critical part of modern Cuban society.”