It may sound silly but I’ve wanted to visit Petra Jordan ever since I first watched Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade as a child. At that time in my life, it was hard to believe that places as extraordinary as The Treasury actually existed in real life. Although to be fair, at nine years old I was also completely convinced that The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were alive and living in the Sewers of NY. So there’s that.

Still, IMO, Petra is one of those rare archaeological sites that lives up to the expectation and hype. Sure it’s frequented by hoards of tourists, but if you get there early enough — save for the Bedouins — you literally have the entire place to yourself. Walking alone through the one kilometer long Siq and watching the facade of the The Treasury suddenly come into view is a spectacular experience.

To top it off, a few times a week they host a ceremony called Petra By Night. During this event, the entire (1k) length of The Siq is lit up by rows of burning candles which resolve into a brilliant display of The Treasury bathed with warm glowing light.

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 14-24 f/2.8 (Shot at 20 mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-33 / BH-55 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
ISO: 100 at f/5.6
1 30 Second Exposure and 1 5 Second Exposure

I purposefully left the ISO low to mitigate as much potential noise as possible. I captured one 30 second exposure to capture the main scene and an additional 5 second exposure to capture the details in the highlights. In Photoshop, I blended the 2 exposures together using a very simple luminance mask and a few brush strokes. All the light balancing and adjustments were done using Curves on Adjustment Layers. Sharpening was applied using Nik Sharpener Pro… And no, I didn’t find the Holy Grail.

Hardware: 15” 2013 Macbook Pro Retina, Wacom Intuos5 Small Tablet

Software: Lightroom 5, Photoshop CS6, Nik Sharpener Pro

Espresso: I packed 2 bricks of Lavazzo Oro for the trip.

The Path Of Ages - Petra Jordan