Image: Man in Cairo smoking a hookah

Feb. 6

Congratulations to Michael Sheldon of Los Angeles, who captured this week’s top-rated image in the It’s A Snap travel photo contest. His image shows a man in Cairo, Egypt, enjoying a smoke. “This man seems to hit all the traditional notes about life in Old Cairo,” Sheldon wrote.

Sheldon, who spent about five days in Cairo during his three-week Egyptian vacation last May, noted that the city is a feast for the senses. “The sights and sounds and smells overtake you,” he said.

While wandering the backstreets of Cairo one day, he encountered the man smoking a hookah. “What struck me about the scene is that I could have easily captured the same image 300 years ago had I been able to time travel,” he marveled. “The patina on the wall, the man’s simple linen shroud, the ever-present hookah — it perfectly captured the atmosphere I was reading about in Naguib Mahfouz’s great novel ‘Palace Walk.’ ”

Sheldon captured the image from a distance with his zoom lens.

“A moment later, the man rose to his feet and walked away.”

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