Earlier this yr, 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 than, traveling no longer up to now from his local London to photograph Scotland’s Isle of Skye. Needless to say, 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 there: 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 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: Had you ever been to Egypt earlier than? What becomes your common impact on the region and the situation, remember?
Simon Roberts: “It was my first visit, and I changed into worried about touring to one of the maximum photographed locations within the international! However, the experience turned quite profound and did no longer disappoint. In fact, it’s difficult to explain the experience of witnessing, first hand, several civilization’s 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.
Initially, when I become taking the photos, I was frustrated that the view turned obscured using other warm-air balloons — but in the long run, I like how the balloons seem suspended inside the sky and additionally supply an experience; of scale to the scene.””
Do you have got 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 whilst shooting landscapes; a barely expanded vantage point allows the connection of individual bodies and buildings in the panorama to be absolutely 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 are taking a photograph? What type of system did you use?
“The image turned into taken at sunrise the usage of a Phase One medium format virtual camera, which became hooked up on a monopod to offer me some stability and prevent digital camera shake.”
Do you have got some other cool initiatives within the works which you’d want to share?
“I’m presently 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 submit-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 a part of modern Cuban society.”