Egypt is one of the fifty-four countries on the African continent. One of the most famous cities around the world is Cairo, which has served as an inspiration to one thousand and one dreams. I will not bore you with information about this great continent, country, or city. I advise placing Africa, Egypt, and Cairo on your bucket list of places to visit. This article will discuss my experiences in this beautiful place and the dos and don’ts I discovered.
I started photography as just another thing to do when I was bored. However, it turned out into a rush to acquire the lasted gear thinking it would help me get the perfect photos and make me a better photographer. Neither statement is true as people say the “best camera is the one you have,” as my friend Raphael Sierra always tells me, the “best picture of you was taken with my old tablet.” The only way to become a better photographer is to learn the craft and practice. There is no shortcut, just old dedication, learning, training, and work.
The images in this article were taken with the Nikon FE2 and the Nikon 20mm f2.8. The site of the pyramids in Giza is colossal; indeed, a remarkable sight. I felt that the 20mm was not wide enough. However, I quickly reverted to the statement mentioned above “the best camera is the one you have,” The film used was Cinestill 50, a fantastic color film that, when used in full sun, has stunning colors and contrast; furthermore, finer grain and produce a better result when shooting landscape. I shot this film at its native ISO 50. The entire roll was shot under sunny conditions in Egypt’s sunny desert
As stated in a previous post, my favorite brand of film is Lomography, and my favorite film is Berlin Kino 400. The Republic of Latvia enjoys long, cold, dark, and grey winters, which makes it suitable for analog and digital black-and-white photography. However, when I visited Master Foto, a camera shop in Riga, and told my friends about my upcoming travels to Egypt, they recommended Cinestill 50. I favored black and white film, nothing against color, just like black and white film. At first, I was resitsent, however he insisted it would serve me well in such a location.
As always, my friends in Master Foto were right. Upon landing in Egypt, my senses were overwhelmed with the saturation of color. The city is a combination of colors, people, animals, and buildings, old and new, all mixed into one. If it sounds confusing, wait until you witness it for yourself. Egypt is the 12th largest country in Africa, with 1,001,449 square kilometers or 386,662 square miles. Cairo is the largest city in Egypt and the Arab world, with a population of 21.3 million people. Please believe me, I am not sure how they found out I was visiting, but the following day when visiting the city, it felt that all 21.3 million came out to greet me.
I almost forgot the dos and don’ts. Dos: enjoy the trip, not just take photos; use all your senses. Cairo is impressive. Meet and greet the locals; they are warm and welcoming. Get a guide; it will serve you well. Don’ts: do not wander around the pyramids is not dangerous; however, the vendors will bother you with offers and products. Be polite but firm, say No. Do not drink tap water. Not even washing your mouth, as this may upset your stomach, which is not the best way to spend your vacation. Best of luck.
Thanks for reading
You can find me on Instagram filmdrollo
You can find Master Foto at masterfoto.lv
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18 thoughts on “Cairo, Egypt with a Nikon FE, 20mm Lens and Cinestill 50 – By Felix I Flores Rodriguez”
In general, I dislike ultra-wide angle lenses because they seem to force their personality on the picture – diagonals are hugely exaggerated, which makes for “lazy” compositions.
Yours are different and wonderful – I’d have never guessed they were done with a 20mm unless you told me. Great shots!
I am sorry for the lateness of my reply. Thanks for your kind words. I never used the 20mm before Giza. However, it was an overwhelming feeling when I got to the pyramids. These buildings are genuinely remarkable and enormous. During this trip, I had other lenses, 35mm, 105mm, and 125mm. However, none of them could capture the size of the pyramids.
I agree with Stephen’s comments above. I would be hard-pressed to take just a 20mm on a trip like this but you sure made it work! Beautiful job.
Also, my wife and I have Egypt on our bucket list. I have always been concerned about safety there, so your post puts me more at ease.
I apologize for the late response. I have other lenses, 35mm, 105mm, and 125mm, all Nikon lenses. However, these buildings are enormous, and you get no time; as soon as you cross the barriers from the entrance, the pyramids loom over you. To me, the 20mm was the only choice to use. Regarding safety in Giza and Egypt, the country is safe, and the people are amicable. Do not postpone your trip to fly to Egypt and enjoy an incredible journey
Enjoyed the write up and the photos
I personally dont much like cinestill – everything has a certain cast to it
These photos would’ve popped better with some Ektachtome ! But only my opinion on the Film – taking nothing away from the enjoyable compositions
Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for the kind words. My favorite black and white film this film was my first color film. I thank you for the insight and will try to test your recommendation and hopefully be able to write an article about the experience, maybe during spring here in Latvia or the neighboring countries.
I meant Kodak ektachrome
Beautiful images Felix.
I’ve recently acquired a very well-worn FE to go with my FM3A and it’s a great camera.
I used to have the Nikkor 20mm but only used it rarely. I’m not sure I would be bold enough to just have that lens for a trip of this importance. So bravo to you.
Sorry for the late response. The Nikon FE was my first Nikon SLR, and I liked it a lot. Giza was the first place I ever used the 20mm lens because the enormous size of the pyramids took me by surprise and in my head there were no other options to capture the sheer size of the site.
Really nice photos. I wonder what lens you used for the last two… it doesn’t look like 20mm to me, which adds variety!
I will check but as I remember it was 20mm because I did not have other lens on that day. However, will double check on my files.
I’m sure Cairo proper has changed since I was last there, in 1984, but the pyramids and immediate surroundings stay the same. 8^)
I can assure you that Cairo has changed. I first visited Cairo in 2019, which has altered tremendously since my 2019 visit. I can’t imagine how you would feel the next time you see such a fantastic place. It would be best if you put it on your next trip. The changes are truly superb and for the right reasons.
Nice work -and the relative lack of crowds really helps. The pyramids of Egypt are one of those things that have to be experienced in person. Even excellent shots like yours can’t convey the overwhelming…
I apologize for the late reply. Thanks for the kind words. I must agree the pyramids are overwhelming, and one must witness this place to get the awesomeness of this location. I believe that we were there early in the morning on a weekday. Therefore, there were not many people there, yet by the time I finished my trip, there were an enormous amount of people on site. My advice is to be there when they first open the place. It will help you to get the best angles and locations to take your photos.
Are you SURE you used a 20mm lens? I can’t find any barrel distortion. Then again, I’m looking at a screen here and not the originals. I have a role of Cine in one of my cameras now and will have to wait to see what’s up. I like the photos. As Ibraar stated, using Ektachrome might have been better. I feel they both have their merits and depending on what you’re looking for, could go either way. Using Velvia 50 would be too warm though. Thank you for the article.
I will double-check the files. I will check this Ektachrome film at once. I would usually shoot black and white films because here in Latvia, it is pretty dark and gray, and it just fits better to the environment. However, this experience gave me a new interest, and I am committing to trying this new film and writing an article about Ektachrome. I am planning a trip to a sunny location soon and will take a roll of each Cine and Ektachrome, maybe even make a comparison between the two films. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my article. It truly feels great to have a chance to receive input and insight from other people that share your passion. As stated will check the photos and also will try the new film.