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The island of Zanzibar is a tropical, old-world paradise, located in the Indian Ocean about 25 miles off the East African coast. Infused with African, Indian and European influences, Zanzibar is part of the United Republic of Tanzania, but has its own parliament and president.
During my trip to Zanzibar, I had originally set out to take pictures of the famously carved wooden doors and decorative windows— but to me that was not the main attraction. Instead, my camera was drawn to the ocean like a magnet. Generally, sunrise and sunset are the ideal times to take outdoor pictures, so that you have good saturation of color. In Zanzibar, however, the rules of photography curiously do not apply. Some of my favorite pictures were taken near noon. The clean light of the sea air made for plenty of clear, vibrant colors. The clarity of the water was remarkable, making it look as untouched as the radiant blue sky above it. It was very easy to see the graduation of blues— from royal blue and turquoise to a luminescent aquamarine— which gives the illusion that the sailboats are dreamily floating through the skies.
Even the boats themselves took on a magical quality in Zanzibar. Known as Dhows, the traditional sailing boats bring a dramatic presence to the waters, with their white, triangular sails elegantly draped along their stems as they blow in the breeze. Hardworking fishermen were quite a sight; from casting massive nets out into the sea and pulling them back in, to dragging a heavy stingray along the shore. One of the fisherman was even kind enough to share some freshly-caught fish with me back at his home.
Aside from the occasional fishing village, Zanzibar’s beaches are somewhat isolated, bordered with miles of pearl-white sands and beautiful coral reefs that fringe the coast. This stunning, idyllic setting makes the days go by slowly and simply. At sunset, everything on the coast of Zanzibar seems to slow down to a painting-like stillness.