We’re in beautiful Agra and the usual sunrise location that I bring guests on these charter jet trips is a viewpoint behind the Taj. From here you can usually find a camel wallah and get a nice sunrise view like the one above.
But, times change, security concerns grow, and access is restricted. In the last couple of years, it seems, the whole back side of the Taj is fenced off and there are security towers lining the river. So what used to be a cool photo location is now off limits. Like they say in Maine, “you cain’t get they-ah from he-ah.”
Those are the new realities of 21st century travel, and I’m glad I was able to travel here before these restrictions set in (there has to be some consolation for being this old, eh?). But it does make you wistful.
I remember, on another of these charter jet trips, standing in line with several hundred people at 5: 45am at Machu Pichu, waiting for the site to open, along with the famous Geographic archeologist Johan Reinhard. Joe was remembering that when he did his research there in the 60’s, they camped right in the site! No tickets, no lines.
My touchstone for the Taj is my friend Ian Lloyd’s book on the subject, which he shot well back in the film age. To me, it is the definitive work on this great monument. Of course, Ian’s a great shooter and an old Asia hand, and he shot the Taj from every conceivable viewpoint. But even a prodigious talent like his has to have access, and I bet he’s glad he shot that book when he did.
Ah yes, I hate to sound like the old fart that I am, but them was the good old days.
I did, however, manage a nice pre-dawn view from the Taj itself below. It was a very gray twilight, so I set my camera to Vivid, and my white balance to Fluorescent, and that’s what I came up with.
Next stop, Bhutan….or maybe not. It’s a story full of suspense, and I promise I’ll keep you posted.