On the second day of the Hajj, pilgrims meditate and pray all afternoon on the Plain of Arafat, facing Mecca in a ritual known as the Standing. Despite the name, standing is not obligatory and would be unwise if Hajj falls in the summer, so most pilgrims take breaks to sit, chat and eat or climb Mount Arafat, collecting pebbles for the later Jamarat ritual.
Mecca – Photo Tip

As a photographer, always plan ahead

Photo by Ashraf Amra

Mecca – Photo Tip As a photographer, always plan ahead

It was my first time in Mecca and Medina and I went there to perform the Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

Ashraf Amra
Ashraf Amra

Upon arrival, it was wonderful to see so many Muslims from all around the world gathering in one place.

I felt a responsibility as a pilgrim myself to show the amazing rituals as best I could. Every evening, I planned out my schedule for the next day to make sure I was in the best place for photographs.

As a photographer, the most interesting location was the top of Mount Arafat and the Hira Cave as the moments there were more intimate. The Hajj is fast but capturing some of the details is the best way to approach such a big subject.

I expected some difficulty with the hot weather in Saudi Arabia but the pilgrim robes kept me cool. I was wearing the Hajj robes and I was just carrying my camera. As a photographer, though, it is always harder to shoot during the day in bright sun.

I prefer to take photographs at times when the lighting is less harsh and direct but sometimes you have no choice - and the Hajj is definitely one of those times.

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Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) is marked at the end of the major first stage of the Hajj with the sacrifice of a sheep such as these butchers are slaughtering in Mecca, although much of the meat will be frozen and donated to needy Muslims around the world. The event commemorates the prophet Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, when God gave him a ram to offer instead once he had proved his devotion. Photo by Ashraf Amra / APA Images

Ashraf Amra

Ashraf Amra

Canon 40D

Agency
APA Images
Aperture
ƒ/4
Exposure
1/40
ISO
400
Focal
18 mm

Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) is marked at the end of the major first stage of the Hajj with the sacrifice of a sheep such as these butchers are slaughtering in Mecca, although much of the meat will be frozen and donated to needy Muslims around the world. The event commemorates the prophet Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, when God gave him a ram to offer instead once he had proved his devotion.

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