What's New On Tom's Travel Blog?

Flickr has been improved! Almost all photos on this blog come from my Flickr Photostream. You can now go directly to a page that shows all of my Flickr photo sets by following this link. It's the easiest way to navigate in my on-line photos.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Visit to the Pyramids

(Remember that you can click on any image to enlarge)

Linda's ladies visited the pyramids on their first day in Egypt. They are staying at one of several five-star hotels that are located within a mile or so of the pyramids at Giza. This makes the first couple of days touring easy, avoiding a trip to or from downtown.

Until they have been here, most people think of the pyramids as being "out in the desert" surrounded by sand with an occasional camel passing by. And, you can easily take a picture that makes it appear to be so.

But remember that you are only ten miles Southwest of the center of the largest city in Africa. If you peek behind the pyramids you can easily see the downtown area of Cairo.

In fact, when you approach the pyramids from the Eastern direction, you see a lot of city.

If you can get to a high enough location on a clear day, you can capture this view with a telephoto lens.

It wasn't always this crowded in the area near the pyramids. In 1904, Eduard Spelterini drifted over the area in a balloon and snapped this photo at an altitude of about 2,000 feet.

If it's a clear day when you visit the pyramids at Giza, be sure to look to the South. You may be able to see the pyramids at Sakkara, about fifteen miles from where you are standing. Take a picture with your telephoto lens. Pay the camel driver whatever he wants to be in the picture.

You might even consider backing up a long way and getting a shot with both the Giza pyramids, the Sakkara pyramids and a camel driver. Even I don't have that one!

I obviously think you should bring plenty of camera equipment and take lots of pictures. But this might be going just too far.

Of course you won't really appreciate the pyramids until you get up close and see the size of the stones. And that's a chance for another picture.

This map, available with a great description of the Giza pyramids area is available on Wikipedia. To keep it simple, I sometimes refer to the three pyramids as "the big one, the capped one and the small one." Of course, they actually have names. And there is more around the area than just the three larger pyramids:

That white limestone cap on the top of the center pyramid of Khafre is worth a closer look since it is all that remains of the polished white limestone that once covered all of the pyramids. From the distance it first looks like smooth blocks that were placed face out on the sides of the pyramid.

But get a bit closer and you are surprised by two things. First the cap is not very smooth.

And second, those slabs are laid horizontally.

Wow! All that just to talk about three pyramids. And we haven't even visited the Sphinx yet.

I hope I've convinced you that you must come to the pyramids and bring your camera. But you can't capture everything is a single visit. Come back on an extraordinarily clear day. Come again when there are clouds in the sky. Come capture the morning light. Take pictures when the long shadows of the afternoon highlight jagged edges. Of course, this is most easily accomplished by living in the neighborhood. And the friendly people make it even more worthwhile.

Gotta go - I'm off to the bakery again!

No comments: