Photo of the week: The Treasury at night

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan, is lit by candles at night as the stars appear overhead.

I love this photo. It’s iconic, evocative and immediately takes me back to Jordan – a country I fell in love with when visiting for the first time.

Petra was everything I imagined – and more.  I could stand and stare at the Treasury all day. It’s a magical place, cloaked in intrigue. We were lucky enough to spend two days there, exploring the hills and hidden templates. It’s one of the first places I have fallen in love with that was not wildlife focussed. It was rare of me to enjoy photographing landscapes so much, especially those that require me to wake and then hike at 4am for the sunrise. But Petra is different – it’s intriguing, unusual and every corner presents a new vision and a new angle for photography.

The light changes constantly, and if you are keen on obtaining that iconic photo, you need to devote a lot of time to watching the changing shadows, waiting for the dawn pink light to turn to orange, red then russet towards dusk.

It’s advisable to get to the Treasury for dawn to see the sunlight bathe this iconic structure in a beautiful pink light. I found a spot below ground level to the right of the Treasury as you emerge from the Siq. Here, I could manoeuvre freely and take shots that looked towards the top of the building to emphasise its height and take full advantage of the sunlight kissing the top of the minarets.  It was a location I returned too at sunset, and again later in the evening during a walking tour of Petra – this is when I took this shot which is now my ‘photo of the week’.

I can highly recommend the walking tour of Petra at night. If you loiter slowly at the back of the group, you can fall behind and have the candlelit Siq to yourself. The narrow walls are cast in dancing shadows by the flickering candle light that marks the path down to the Treasury.  At the end of the Siq you met with an astonishing and haunting image of the Treasury bathed in the light of a thousand candles. Here, you have the opportunity to explore the area and set up the perfect shot. This image was taken on Canon EOS 30D, at 18mm focal length, f2.8 at 30s and with ISO 125, no flash.  We also used a mini tripod to secure the camera.

Additional images of Petra are available in our Jordan gallery.

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