Our gregarious guide Mohammad pointed to the intricate carvings on the wall, “It’s a urinal. I need two volunteers.” Naturally, we were picked to do something this humiliating. Facing towards the ‘urinals’ we were suddenly spun around by his hands. My hand touched Audrey’s fingers and at that particular moment I finally clued in to what was going on.
This particular area was where marriage ceremonies took place and instead of our entire group laughing at us pretending to use the toilet, we shared the same genuine chuckles over the two of us involved in a mock wedding. Oh, how our families will be disappointed/shocked at having not being invited on our special day 😉
Many archaeological sites and/or UNESCO Heritage sites don’t live up to the hype. When I visited the Taj Mahal in Agra I felt a little underwhelmed. Although it was impressive I expected more. I suppose at times I suffer a little bit from my preconceived expectations: Paris Syndrome except in more exotic locales.
However, I must genuinely admit that Petra not only lived up to my expectations – it exceeded them. The sheer size in combination with the impressive architecture helped me channel my inner Indiana Jones 😉
Petra Travel Photos: Photo Essay of 20 Pictures from Petra, Jordan
Nestled amidst the rugged desert canyons and mountains of southern Jordan lies Petra, an archaeological and historical city that remains a testament to the grandeur of a bygone era. Often referred to as the “Rose City” due to the pinkish hue of its stone, Petra offers a glimpse into the lives of the Nabateans, a nomadic Arab tribe that settled in this region over 2,000 years ago. But Petra isn’t just any ancient city; it stands as a symbol of human perseverance, architectural ingenuity, and artistic expression.
Founded possibly as early as the 4th century BC, Petra thrived due to its strategic location, situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. This allowed the Nabateans to grow wealthy from the trade of frankincense, myrrh, and spices. What makes Petra truly mesmerizing, however, is not just its history but its unique architecture. Unlike many ancient cities built using bricks or stones, the monuments of Petra are directly carved into the vibrant red and pink sandstone cliffs. This distinctive style creates structures that seem to emerge organically from the very earth, blurring the lines between nature and human-made wonders.
In 1985, Petra received one of the most prestigious recognitions a historical site can attain: designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This title isn’t merely ceremonial; it underscores Petra’s “outstanding universal value,” a recognition of its significance not just to the people of Jordan but to humanity as a whole. Being designated as a World Heritage Site also signifies the collective responsibility of the international community to preserve this irreplaceable treasure for future generations. As with other sites of similar stature, Petra’s designation brings attention to the delicate balance between conserving its archaeological integrity and accommodating the influx of tourists eager to witness its majesty firsthand.
Petra Once Called The ‘Rose Red City’
Once called the ‘rose red city’ this ancient Nabataean city in the southern region of Jordan is home to the most famous tourist attraction (Petra) in all of Jordan. The former capital of the Nabataean kingdom from the 6th century BC thrived until it was conquered by the Roman Empire in AD 106. As a thriving center for commerce and trade, Petra flourished until a fateful earthquake devastated the cities infrastructure in AD 663. Saladin’s conquest of the Middle East in 1189, rendered Petra abandoned with its memory lost to the west and east for centuries.
In fact, it wasn’t until the daring Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab scholar, infiltrated the – at the time – Bedouin inhabited city that it was put back on the world map. After numerous excavation efforts Petra is now Jordan’s principle tourist attraction since 1929. It’s well known in popular culture as the site where Indian Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed and recently in 2007 it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the world. A distinction, that in my opinion, was rather tardy.
This photo essay aims to do more than just present images of Petra. While pictures can capture the grandeur of the Al-Khazneh (The Treasury) or the serenity of the surrounding desert landscapes, our purpose is to transport you, the reader, on a visual journey. Each photo is an invitation to step into a world where time appears to stand still, where history comes alive in every carved facade and weathered stone. By guiding you through the winding Siq, introducing you to the silent tombs, and letting you bask in the glow of Petra by night, we hope to offer a virtual pilgrimage, one that evokes the awe and wonder that this ancient city has inspired for centuries.
Embark with us on this journey, and let the pictures speak a language that resonates with both the heart and soul. Discover Petra, not just as a tourist destination, but as a chronicle of human achievement and a living canvas of history.
Photo Essay of Petra, Jordan
As a travel photographer, visiting Petra, Jordan is like a boy realizing a childhood dream of visiting a fantasy land. It was hard to put my camera down; however, I did manage to spend plenty of time taking in Petra with my own two eyes and not just behind the lens.
The moment I realized the treasury was mere meters in front of me is one of the most distinct memories I have from Petra, Jordan. Another top moment was hiking the monastery in Petra.
This is the iconic image from Petra, Jordan – a wide angle perspective shot of the treasury. You won’t have this place to yourself though as hoards of tourists, camels and even cats all compete for space.
I’ve seen this man many times in photo galleries from other friends who have been to Petra. It was almost surreal getting to take his photo.
The echoing sound of galloping horses is one in which you’ll learn to familiarize yourself with when visiting Petra
A final shot I took (and edited in sepia) just before sunset.
Well, how could we resist not taking a lovey dovey couple shot in Petra, Jordan for our future grandchildren 😉
This man isn’t nearly as imposing as he seems. In fact, I just had to pay him a small fee in order for him to let me pass. He even let me take his photo 😉
I often had to remind myself to turn around and look back. Petra is so grand and massive that you forget sometimes to check your surroundings from the rear.
There were no shortage of animal powered transportation options; however, mule certainly seemed less attractive of an option than going by camel or horseback.
No photo essay of mine would be complete with an obligatory shot of a roaming cat. This one was slinking around some trinkets being sold outside of a small shop.
The architecture and especially the intricate carvings boggled my mind. At this point in the day we were exhausted from all of the walking we had done. Worse yet was that the heat was really getting to us; however, we didn’t want to miss out on climbing the steps to get a closer look.
HDR photography came in handy every once in a while given the contrast between the harsh shadows and bright highlights.
Fancy a camel ride? A few days later we rode camels from our Bedouin camp grounds to the area where we’d eventually have breakfast. Camels = 1, Sam and Audrey = 0 To say these lumbering beasts tenderized us would be quite the understatement.
The rewards of climbing steps were that we had a great vantage point view over Petra. On the right you’ll notice many trinkets for sale.
Aside from Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, I’ve never visited an archaeological site that lived up to its hype and impressed me as much as Petra, Jordan. I only wish I had more time to explore its vast expanse.
As a travel photography tip, don’t forget to look up at your surroundings.
This Bedouin man was waiting on his camel for a tourist to come along an accept his offer for a ride.
Our surprise wedding at Jordan, Petra was something we’ll never forget. Our families I’m sure won’t either as in the sense they weren’t invited 😉
In order to get a sense of the sheer size of these grounds, I’ve used people in the background as a scale. With more time I would have liked to have had the opportunity to explore more of the frontier areas of the city; however, with just half a day I think I made the most of my time here.
Travel Video: Petra
Petra, Jordan Travel Video
Delving into Petra’s Ancient Tapestry and Architectural Mastery
The Nabateans: Petra’s Visionary Architects
The roots of Petra’s grandeur can be traced back to its ingenious creators, the Nabateans. Emerging from the vast deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, this tribe’s evolution from nomadic wanderers to masterful city-builders is a tale of resilience, vision, and adaptability.
- Origins and Settlement:
- Beginning as nomadic tribes roaming the Arabian deserts, the Nabateans began to visualize a more permanent residence by the 6th century BC. Their dream took shape in the form of Petra, which would later crystallize as their capital and epitomize their zenith.
- Strategic Brilliance of Petra’s Placement:
- Sheltered by rugged canyons and formidable cliffs, Petra was not only naturally defensible but also geographically pivotal. Located at the intersection of essential trade routes, most notably the Incense Route, it became a melting pot of commerce, linking distant corners of the ancient world.
- Petra: A Hub of Trade and Cultural Confluence:
- The Nabateans’ commercial acumen transformed Petra into an indispensable trade center. Beyond commerce, the city blossomed as a cultural nexus, where Nabatean traditions seamlessly melded with Greco-Roman, Assyrian, and Egyptian influences, creating a rich, syncretic tapestry.
Petra’s Architectural Landscape: Carved Wonders Amidst Desert Canyons
The very stones of Petra whisper tales of the Nabateans’ unparalleled architectural ambition and prowess. Their decision to carve directly into the rose-tinted sandstone cliffs was both audacious and visionary.
- Innovative Carving Techniques:
- Rejecting the norms of traditional construction, the Nabateans championed a unique carving method. Starting from cliff summits and methodically progressing downward, they utilized specialized hand tools, intricate scaffoldings, and a profound understanding of stone geology to craft their masterpieces.
- Al-Khazneh (The Treasury): An Emblem of Elegance:
- Al-Khazneh, with its majestic facade replete with Corinthian capitals, intricate friezes, and captivating statues, stands as a testament to Nabatean craftsmanship and their exposure to Greco-Roman aesthetics.
- The Monastery: Grandeur Carved in Stone:
- Dominating Petra’s architectural skyline, the Monastery showcases the zenith of Nabatean engineering. Its colossal dimensions, complemented by ornate carvings, illustrate the tribe’s aspirations and capabilities.
- Nature’s Palette: Petra’s Colorful Symphony:
- Beyond its structural marvels, Petra is a celebration of natural beauty. As sunlight dances over its sandstone surfaces, the city undergoes mesmerizing chromatic transformations, oscillating between delicate rose hues and profound reds. This daily spectacle turns Petra into an ever-evolving canvas, blurring the lines between nature’s artistry and human craftsmanship.
To traverse Petra is to journey through epochs, to witness the monumental dreams of the Nabateans materialized in stone. It is a city where history, culture, and architecture intertwine, creating a timeless tapestry that continues to inspire awe and admiration.
What Makes Petra Such A Special To Take Photos
There are many reasons why Petra, a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan, is a special place for photographers. Its unique blend of natural and man-made wonders, ancient history, cultural significance, and extraordinary light and color conditions create a photographic playground like no other for memorable Petra photos. Here’s a closer look at what makes Petra an extraordinary location for photography:
- Incredible History: Petra is an ancient city, dating back to as early as 312 BC, which was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. This rich history is embedded in every stone and carving, making for photos that are not just visually striking, but also steeped in historical significance. Every shot tells a story of an ancient civilization, its grandeur, sophistication, and the passage of time.
- Architectural Marvels: The architecture in Petra is truly awe-inspiring. From Al-Khazneh (the Treasury) to Ad-Deir (the Monastery), the Royal Tombs, and the Theatre, the city is filled with structures carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces. The scale, intricacy, and craftsmanship of these edifices provide endless opportunities for creative photography.
- Unique Landscapes: Petra isn’t just about man-made structures. It’s situated in a landscape filled with towering cliffs, rugged mountains, winding paths, and narrow gorges like the Siq. The desert landscape, with its varied textures and forms, adds an additional layer of photographic potential.
- Changing Light and Colors: Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of photographing Petra is the changing light and colors. The colors of the rocks shift dramatically throughout the day, from a pinkish hue in the morning to a deep red at sunset. This, combined with the play of shadows and light as the sun moves across the sky, creates an ever-changing environment ripe for creative exploration.
- Bedouin Culture: Petra is also home to the local Bedouin people, who have lived among the ruins for centuries. Capturing portraits of these people, with their traditional dress and way of life, can add a cultural dimension to your portfolio of Petra images.
- Petra by Night: A unique aspect of Petra is the opportunity to photograph it at night during the “Petra by Night” experience, where the path to the Treasury and the Treasury itself are lit up by thousands of candles. It’s a breathtaking sight and offers the potential for some truly magical low-light photography.
- Variety of Photographic Styles: Petra caters to a variety of photographic styles. Landscape photographers will love the panoramic vistas, while architecture and history enthusiasts can focus on the structures and carvings. Portrait photographers can capture images of the Bedouin people, and wildlife photographers may enjoy capturing the local animals like camels and donkeys.
- Challenges and Rewards: Finally, Petra is special because it offers a challenge. The site is enormous, the weather can be extreme, and the lighting conditions change drastically throughout the day. But it’s these challenges that make photographing Petra so rewarding. It forces you to adapt, to plan, to experiment, and to engage deeply with the environment. When you do this, you’ll find that Petra offers photographic opportunities unlike anywhere else in the world.
In essence, Petra represents the perfect blend of cultural richness, historical significance, and natural beauty, which allows photographers to delve into a world far removed from the ordinary, thus creating images with a strong narrative, aesthetic beauty, and emotional depth.
source: Genevieve Hathaway on YouTube
Photography Tips: How To Take Great Photos Visiting Petra, Jordan
- Timing is everything: The optimal time to photograph Petra is during the golden hour, which is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset when the light is soft and warm. Avoid taking pictures during midday when the sun is overhead, casting harsh shadows and making the colors appear dull.
- Explore different angles: Petra offers a plethora of unique angles and perspectives to photograph. Experiment with various viewpoints, such as low-angle shots or wide-angle compositions, to capture the grandeur and details of the architecture and landscape.
- Play with light and shadows: Petra’s architecture and rock formations create fascinating patterns and shadows that make for stunning photographic subjects. Use the interplay of light and shadows to create depth and drama in your images.
- Incorporate people: Including people in your photos can provide a sense of scale and add a human element to your shots. Seek out locals or fellow travelers to add a personal touch to your images and bring the place to life.
- Pay attention to details: Petra is a treasure trove of intricate details and textures that make for compelling photographs. Focus on the smaller details, such as carvings, textures, and patterns, to capture the essence and unique features of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Use a tripod: A tripod can be handy to stabilize your camera and capture sharp images, especially during low-light situations or long exposures.
- Edit mindfully: While post-processing can enhance your images, use editing tools judiciously to maintain the natural beauty and authenticity of Petra. Avoid over-saturating or over-editing your images, as it can detract from the intrinsic beauty of the place.
Petra is a remarkable site, and by following these tips, you can capture its allure and magnificence through your lens.
source: Matti Sulanto on YouTube
What Camera Gear and Accessories Should I Bring To Photograph Petra?
Petra is a photographer’s paradise filled with red-tinged cliffs, ancient tombs, and iconic structures like the Treasury and Monastery. The vast landscape and dramatic historical remnants provide an opportunity for diverse shots ranging from wide-angle landscapes to intricate details on ruins. Here are some camera gear and accessories that you should consider bringing to Petra:
- Camera: Of course, the most essential item is a high-quality camera. Depending on your level of expertise and preference, this could be a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or even a high-end compact or smartphone. If you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, ensure it has manual controls, allowing you to adapt to the varying light conditions in Petra.
- Lenses: You’ll want a variety of lenses to capture the diversity of Petra. A wide-angle lens (e.g., 14-24mm) is crucial for capturing the vast landscapes, the grandeur of the Treasury, and the winding Siq. A telephoto lens (e.g., 70-200mm) can capture details from a distance, which can be especially useful for getting shots of the monastery or the Treasury from the surrounding hills. A prime lens (like a 50mm f/1.8) can be useful for low light conditions and capturing details with a shallow depth of field.
- Tripod: A lightweight, sturdy tripod is essential for stable shots, long exposures (especially for night photography), and HDR photography. Petra has dramatic shadows and bright spots, which could benefit from multiple exposures.
- Filters: A Circular Polarizing filter (CPL) can help to darken skies and remove glare, which is particularly useful for Petra’s sun-drenched scenes. A Neutral Density filter (ND) is also useful for long exposures, allowing you to capture the movement of clouds against the ancient city.
- Extra Batteries and Memory Cards: Petra is vast, and you’ll likely be out shooting for hours. Therefore, bring plenty of extra batteries and memory cards. Also, a battery grip for your camera could be useful for extending battery life.
- Camera Bag/backpack: You need a well-padded and weather-resistant camera bag or backpack to carry all your gear comfortably and safely. An ideal bag has compartments for different pieces of gear, ensuring everything stays organized and accessible.
- Remote Shutter Release: A remote shutter release will allow you to trigger your camera without physically touching it, minimizing camera shake for sharper images.
- Lens Cleaning Kit: Petra is in the desert, so it can get dusty. It’s crucial to keep your lenses clean to get the best quality images.
- Portable Hard Drive or Cloud Storage: A portable hard drive or reliable cloud storage option will be useful for backing up your images at the end of each day. This ensures your images are safe, even if something happens to your memory cards.
- Headlamp/Flashlight: A headlamp or flashlight is necessary if you plan to be there for sunrise or sunset shots, or if you’re staying for Petra by Night.
- Appropriate Clothing: This isn’t directly camera gear, but it’s worth mentioning. Wear light, breathable clothing as Petra can get extremely hot, but also remember a jacket for the cooler evenings. Also, consider a hat and sunblock to protect yourself from the sun. Good walking shoes are also a must, as Petra involves a lot of walking or even climbing.
- Water and Snacks: Again, not camera gear, but absolutely essential. There are some vendors inside Petra, but they can be expensive, and their availability can’t be guaranteed. Keeping hydrated and maintaining your energy is crucial in the hot, arid environment of Petra.
- Notebook and Pen: You might want to jot down some notes about your shots, such as location, time, settings, and any other details that you want to remember when you are processing your photos later.
Remember, although it’s essential to come prepared with the right gear, photography is about more than just the equipment. Understanding the basics of composition, exposure, and lighting and knowing how to tell a story through your images are equally if not more important. Take the time to learn about Petra’s history and culture before you go, so you understand the context of the scenes you’re capturing. With the right preparation and the right mindset, you’ll come home with some stunning Petra photos of this ancient wonder.
source: The School of Photography on YouTube
Night Photography Tips For Petra, Jordan
Night photography at Petra, Jordan, is an incredible experience that promises unique and stunning images. Petra, often referred to as the Rose City, is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It features a unique blend of natural beauty and human-made wonders, offering a wide range of photography opportunities. However, capturing the beauty of Petra at night presents its own set of challenges. Here, we’ll dive deep into night photography tips specifically for Petra, Jordan, covering gear, settings, technique, and more.
Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan, known for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Its most iconic structure, Al Khazneh (The Treasury), is featured prominently in most shots of Petra. At night, Petra transforms into a mystical, otherworldly place, especially during the Petra By Night event when The Treasury and the Siq leading to it are lit by candlelight. It’s vital to familiarize yourself with the site and its lighting conditions at night to plan your shots better.
For night photography, you will need a camera that performs well in low-light conditions. A full-frame DSLR or mirrorless camera is recommended as these have larger sensors and better low-light performance. Look for a camera with a high ISO range and good noise performance. Also, a fast lens (a lens with a wide maximum aperture, like f/2.8 or wider) will help you gather as much light as possible.
A sturdy tripod is a must, as you’ll be dealing with longer exposure times. This will help eliminate any camera shake. In addition, consider a remote shutter release to further minimize vibrations.
Bring extra batteries because long exposures and cold nights can drain your battery faster.
A wide-angle lens can help you capture the expansive landscapes and towering structures of Petra. It will allow you to get more of the scene into your frame, especially in confined spaces. Also, a lens with a wide aperture (like f/2.8 or even f/1.4) will allow more light to reach your sensor, which is crucial in low-light conditions.
In low-light conditions, you want to let as much light into the camera as possible. Use a wide aperture (small f-number), but remember, this will reduce your depth of field. You will need to carefully focus to ensure the crucial parts of your image are sharp.
Slow shutter speeds will be required to gather enough light. Start with something like 15 seconds and adjust from there. Note that very long exposures can result in star trails due to the Earth’s rotation. This could be a desired effect, but if not, adhere to the “500 Rule” – divide 500 by your lens’ focal length to determine the longest exposure before star trails appear.
Boost the ISO as needed, but remember that a higher ISO will introduce more noise into the image. Balance is key.
Framing and composition are crucial in all forms of photography. At Petra, consider using the path of the Siq or the columns of The Treasury as leading lines. Look for unique angles – consider a low angle to make the monuments appear more towering.
Use Manual Focus:
Autofocus can struggle in low-light conditions. Switch to manual focus, use your camera’s Live View function and digitally zoom in on a bright star or distant light to focus your lens.
Shoot in RAW:
Shooting in RAW will give you more flexibility when you’re editing your photos later. You can adjust the exposure, white balance, and more without losing any image quality.
Patience and Timing:
During the Petra By Night event, hundreds of people will be wandering around. It can be hard to get a shot without people in it. Patience is key. Set up your tripod in a good spot, and wait for a moment when the crowds thin out. Also, the event happens only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, so plan your trip accordingly.
Noise reduction, sharpening, and adjustments to exposure, highlights, shadows, and contrast can all help to bring out the best in your night shots of Petra. Software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can be extremely helpful in this process.
Remember, night photography is a skill that takes practice. Don’t be discouraged if your initial shots aren’t perfect. Experiment with different settings, compositions, and techniques to take great Petra photos. Happy shooting!
source: BBC on YouTube
Brief History Of Petra For Travel Photographers
Petra, situated in the southwestern region of Jordan, is a city of immense historical significance that once served as the capital of the Nabataean kingdom. The Nabataeans were an ancient Arab tribe that settled in the region around the 6th century BC and transmuted the arid landscape into a flourishing metropolis through their sophisticated architecture and water management systems.
Petra was strategically located at the crossroads of the trade routes that connected Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and the Mediterranean world, making it a crucial hub for commerce and cultural exchange. The Nabataeans amassed substantial wealth from their trade activities, which enabled them to erect monumental structures, elaborate temples, and an intricate network of water channels and cisterns that facilitated their survival in the harsh desert environment.
The Nabataeans were revered for their expertise in rock-cut architecture, which is evident in the numerous structures they chiseled out of the sandstone cliffs that encircle the city. One of the most iconic structures in Petra is the Treasury, or Al-Khazneh, a masterpiece of Nabataean architecture adorned with intricate carvings and a towering facade that rises nearly 40 meters high.
Petra’s prosperity and significance waned after the Roman Empire annexed the city in AD 106. The Romans expanded and embellished the city with new edifices and infrastructure, such as a theater, amphitheater, and a grand colonnaded street. Petra remained an important trade center under Roman rule until it was eventually deserted around the 7th century AD, following a catastrophic earthquake that devastated much of the city’s infrastructure.
Petra remained unknown to the western world until 1812, when a Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered it. Since then, Petra has captivated the imagination of travelers and adventurers, inspiring artists, writers, and filmmakers to depict its grandeur and mystique.
Today, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Jordan’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year. Travelers can explore Petra’s awe-inspiring architecture, including the Treasury, the Monastery, and the Royal Tombs, and immerse themselves in its rich cultural and historical heritage. They can also revel in the breathtaking natural scenery, such as the colorful sandstone cliffs, the sinuous Siq canyon, and the rugged terrain that surrounds the city.
In conclusion, Petra’s history is a testament to the Nabataean people’s ingenuity and creativity, as they transformed an inhospitable environment into a thriving urban center. For travelers, Petra offers a mesmerizing window into the past and a chance to witness the enduring legacy of this remarkable civilization.
source: Travel Blueprint on YouTube
Accommodations For Travel Photographers Visiting Petra
Petra, with its stunning architecture, unique natural setting, and rich cultural heritage, is a dream destination for travel photographers. From the iconic Treasury to the majestic Monastery and the winding Siq canyon, Petra offers countless opportunities to capture stunning images.
To make the most of their experience, travel photographers visiting Petra should choose their accommodations wisely. Staying within the Petra Archaeological Park offers the convenience of easy access to the park’s main entrance, and proximity to the most famous landmarks. Some hotels, such as the Movenpick Resort Petra and the Petra Guest House Hotel, offer views of the surrounding cliffs and mountains and provide all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay, including Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and 24-hour room service.
Alternatively, staying in the nearby town of Wadi Musa can provide a more authentic and immersive experience, as visitors can connect with local families and enjoy local cuisine. Many bed and breakfasts and guesthouses are family-owned and operated, offering a unique and personalized experience. For example, the Rocky Mountain Hotel is a charming and affordable option that offers traditional hospitality and a tranquil setting with beautiful views.
For those seeking a luxurious experience, there are several high-end resorts within easy reach of Petra. The Mövenpick Resort Petra is a five-star resort with a spa, swimming pool, and fine dining options. The Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa, located about an hour and a half away from Petra, offers a luxurious oasis with multiple swimming pools, a private beach, and a spa.
Regardless of the type of accommodation chosen, travel photographers visiting Petra should prioritize a comfortable and restful environment that allows them to recharge after long days of photography. Additionally, they should consider factors such as proximity to the park, views, and amenities to enhance their experience. By choosing the right accommodation, travel photographers can fully immerse themselves in the beauty and history of Petra and capture stunning images that will last a lifetime.
source: Bottom Line Up Front on YouTube
Best Time Of Year To Photograph Petra
Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is a beautiful location to photograph year-round. However, certain times of the year are more suitable for photography due to weather, light conditions, and crowd levels. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the different times of the year:
- Spring (March-May): Spring is arguably the best time of year to photograph Petra. The weather during this period is moderate, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 27°C (68°F to 81°F). The spring months also bring a unique opportunity to capture Petra with blooming flowers, which add a pop of color to the otherwise monochromatic landscape. Plus, the skies are often clear, making it great for capturing the striking contrast between the blue skies and the reddish hues of the rocks.
- Summer (June-August): Summer is the hottest time in Petra, with temperatures often reaching above 36°C (97°F). This intense heat can be quite challenging for outdoor photography, not just for you but also for your camera equipment, which may overheat. The harsh sunlight at this time of year can also result in photos with strong shadows and overexposed highlights. If you do visit in the summer, it’s best to shoot during early morning or late afternoon when the light is softer. The benefit of visiting in summer, however, is that it’s less crowded.
- Autumn (September-November): Autumn, like spring, is a great time to photograph Petra. The temperatures cool down to a range of about 25°C to 31°C (77°F to 88°F), and the weather is usually clear and sunny. The softer autumn light can help you capture the textures and colors of the rock formations in more detail. Furthermore, the crowd levels start to decrease as the high season (spring) is over.
- Winter (December-February): Winter months in Petra see colder temperatures, with averages ranging from 8°C to 16°C (46°F to 61°F). While it can be quite chilly, especially in the mornings and evenings, the winter light is usually excellent for photography, offering a softer and more diffused light throughout the day. However, be prepared for potential rain and even occasional snowfall.
When thinking about the best time of year to photograph Petra, also consider the times of day:
Time Of Day
- Morning: The morning, particularly just after sunrise, is a beautiful time to photograph Petra. The light is soft and the crowd levels are lower. As you walk through the Siq (the narrow canyon leading to Petra), you can capture stunning images of the walls lit up by the morning sun. The end of the Siq provides the first view of Al-Khazneh (the Treasury), which is illuminated by the morning sun and makes for an incredible shot.
- Afternoon: In the afternoon, the sun fully illuminates the Royal Tombs, making it an excellent time to photograph them. Late afternoon, just before sunset, offers beautiful light conditions and the opportunity for some unique, long-shadowed shots. The Monastery (Ad-Deir), located high in the hills, is particularly beautiful when illuminated by the afternoon light.
- Evening: “Petra by Night,” a special event run on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each week, offers the unique opportunity to photograph Petra under the light of thousands of candles. This can make for some hauntingly beautiful images.
No matter when you decide to go, remember that the most important thing is understanding the light and adapting to the conditions you’re presented with. Photography is about creativity and innovation, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different compositions, perspectives, and settings to capture this awe-inspiring site.
source: Nomadic Samuel on YouTube
Other Top Photography Spots In Jordan
Jordan is a photographer’s dream, with a myriad of stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and vibrant cities that offer endless possibilities for capturing incredible images. While Petra may be the most famous photography destination in the country, there are plenty of other stunning locations that are equally worthy of your lens.
- Wadi Rum: Known as the “Valley of the Moon,” Wadi Rum is a vast desert wilderness filled with dramatic sandstone mountains and red sand dunes. This landscape makes for some stunning photography, especially during sunrise and sunset when the warm tones of the sandstone are accentuated. Additionally, Wadi Rum is an excellent location for astrophotography, as it has very low light pollution.
- Dead Sea: The lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea offers a unique landscape that is ideal for photography. The salt formations on the shore of the sea, the contrast of the blue water with the stark desert mountains in the background, and the reflections of the surrounding hills are all worth capturing. It’s best to visit during the golden hour or sunrise/sunset for optimal lighting conditions.
- Dana Biosphere Reserve: Located in the south of Jordan, the Dana Biosphere Reserve offers a unique opportunity to photograph wildlife and stunning landscapes. The reserve boasts over 700 plant species, 190 bird species, and numerous other mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. You can capture some incredible images of the reserve’s rugged terrain, mountains, and canyons.
- Amman Citadel: Located in the heart of the Jordanian capital, the Amman Citadel is a historical site that offers some fantastic photographic opportunities. It boasts stunning views of the city and is particularly breathtaking at night when the city lights up. The Citadel itself is also a great subject, with its ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic ruins.
- Jerash: A well-preserved ancient Roman city, Jerash offers a unique photographic experience. The city’s towering columns, amphitheaters, and arches provide fantastic architectural shots, while the surrounding countryside offers an impressive backdrop for landscape photography.
- Ajloun Forest Reserve: Located in northern Jordan, the Ajloun Forest Reserve offers a unique combination of woodland and mountain scenery. You can capture some stunning images of the reserve’s pine forests, as well as the panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys.
- Aqaba: A coastal city located on the Red Sea, Aqaba offers some of the best underwater photography opportunities in Jordan. With its crystal clear waters, you can capture some breathtaking images of the Red Sea’s marine life and coral reefs.
- Al Azraq Wetland Reserve: A unique ecosystem, the Al Azraq Wetland Reserve offers some of the best birdwatching and photography opportunities in Jordan. You can capture images of migratory birds, including the rare lesser kestrel and marbled duck, as well as the reserve’s other wildlife.
- Madaba: Known as the “City of Mosaics,” Madaba is famous for its ancient Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics. You can capture some stunning images of these intricate mosaics, as well as the city’s historic buildings and streets.
- Ajloun Castle: A historic fortress located in northern Jordan, Ajloun Castle offers some fantastic photography opportunities. You can capture images of the castle’s impressive architecture, as well as the surrounding mountains and valleys.
These destinations offer just a glimpse into the many incredible photography opportunities available in Jordan. Whether you’re interested in wildlife, landscapes, or historic sites, Jordan has something for every photography enthusiast.
source: Island Hopper TV on YouTube
Taking Great Travel Photos In Petra, Jordan Final Thoughts
Creating memorable travel photos in Petra, Jordan, requires an intricate blend of planning, patience, technique, and creative vision. As we wrap up, let’s delve deeper into final thoughts on this subject, including additional tips, post-processing, and the importance of respect and immersion in local culture.
Planning and Preparation:
The groundwork for great travel photos begins before you even arrive at your destination. It’s crucial to research the area beforehand, understanding not just the layout and the key landmarks, but also the best times to visit, the local customs and etiquette, and any restrictions on photography.
Remember, the best travel photos tell a story, not just about the location, but also about the people and culture that inhabit it. It’s important to approach your photography with an open mind and a sense of curiosity. Don’t just stick to the iconic sights, but also take time to explore the hidden corners and lesser-known areas of Petra.
Understanding how to adjust camera settings on the fly is a vital skill for travel photography. Light conditions can change rapidly, especially in a place like Petra, where you’ll be shooting in various environments – from shadowy Siq to bright, sunlit spaces. Be prepared to make quick adjustments to your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to capture the scene as you envision it.
Additionally, become proficient with various composition techniques. While the ‘rule of thirds’ is a fundamental principle, don’t shy away from breaking it to capture unique perspectives. Look for opportunities to use leading lines, symmetry, patterns, or depth of field to add interest to your photos.
Post-processing is a key aspect of travel photography. Used wisely, editing tools can enhance your photos, bringing them closer to the vision you had when capturing the scene. However, it’s essential to maintain a balance. Avoid over-processing that could lead to loss of detail or unnatural colors. The goal should be to reflect the authentic beauty of Petra.
Respect for the Location and Culture:
As a travel photographer, you are a visitor to the locations you’re photographing. It’s crucial to show respect for the local culture, customs, and rules. Always ask for permission before photographing people, especially in a sensitive location like a place of worship or private property. Also, remember to respect the environment, staying on designated paths and not touching or disturbing the ancient structures in Petra.
Capturing the Story:
Great travel photos evoke emotion and communicate the spirit of a place. Petra, with its millennia-old history and stunning landscapes, has many stories to tell. Look for ways to capture these narratives in your photos, whether it’s the awe-inspiring grandeur of Al Khazneh, the mystery of the tombs in the Street of Facades, or the warm hospitality of the local Bedouin people.
Experimentation and Fun:
Remember, travel photography is not just about the final image; it’s also about the journey of capturing that image. Don’t get so wrapped up in getting the ‘perfect shot’ that you forget to enjoy the experience. Experiment with different techniques, angles, and compositions. Each photograph you take is a learning opportunity. Enjoy the process, and remember that each ‘failed’ shot brings you one step closer to a stunning image.
Lastly, have fun. Petra is a location of astounding beauty and deep historical significance. Absorb the atmosphere, immerse yourself in the history, interact with the local culture, and let your experiences guide your photography. The images you capture will be a direct reflection of your personal journey through Petra, making them truly unique and personal.
In conclusion, creating impactful travel photos in Petra, Jordan, is a multilayered process that blends preparation, technique, respect, storytelling, and experimentation. By approaching it with patience, an open mind, and a focus on personal growth and enjoyment, you can create images that not only capture the stunning beauty of Petra but also tell a captivating story that resonates with viewers.
For this trip we partnered with My Jordan Journey.