AWAI Stock Photography Workshop, Paris, Day 2

On day 2, we hit the metro system and headed for Place du Trocadéra.

 Louis looked very dapper while riding in the metro
 on the way to the venue

We set up our cameras on tripods opposite the Eiffel Tower, ready to shoot our models, Allison and Louis. We were an attraction in ourselves, as lots of tourists took photos of us as we worked. They soon turned their attentions onto our models, however, and began snapping them too. Louis and Allison were great. They were cheerful all morning, while we took endless photos of them as they moved from one location to another.

This shows the problem of trying to shoot when people are milling around,
Louis appears to be growing a third leg!

Our task was to photograph people in natural light. The weather had been pretty miserable up to then, and a cloudy day would have suited us fine as we were shooting late morning. As luck would have it, the sun came out and the very bright conditions were very challenging.

Louis and Allison worked very hard for us...

...and they kept smiling the whole time!

We paused as a wedding photographer arranged his clients...

...and as this guy lept into the shot to have his photo taken

Shelly, Louis, and Lise, taking a well-earned break

Louis made me laugh, I almost expected him to break into a tap routine!

We had such fun shooting that day. After the afternoon feed-back session, we attendees went off for dinner and a glass or two of wine, before collapsing into our respective beds. Exhausted, but happy!


AWAI Stock Photography Workshop, Paris, Day 1

 Ah, Paris!

I've just spent a wonderful 5 days at the AWAI Stock Photography Workshop in Paris. On the first day, we made an early start and headed over to an apartment near our hotel, to meet our instructors. We were shown the way by Bonnie, who organised everything for us. The apartment belongs to freelance writers, John and Mimi, who work from home, and are thus able to live anywhere in the world they choose.

This American Diner was right by our hotel. We were amused to
see the never-ending queue outside. It was immensely popular!

Our instructors were Lise Gagne, the Queen of stock photography, accompanied by Louis Leblanc, who makes awesome videos, and Shelly Perry, an iStockphoto inspector, and a famous photographer in her own right. Our first session was on travel photography for stock, what we should try to capture, and what settings are best to use.

We saw this long row of public bicycles for rent

Montmartre was the site of our first photo shoot. We spent a happy afternoon roaming around the quaint streets and the artists' quarter. The crowds were a problem, though, and we had to find ways of capturing our images without having people stepping across our line of vision and ruining the shot, just as we clicked the shutter.

Our group on the streets of Montmatre, waiting to start

There were street artists strutting their stuff

We passed this man several times and he never moved once, 
not even a twitch!

We thought this might be someone important, 
then found out he was advertising wine!

Barbara stopped to have a cartoon drawn of her

I didn't even try to go into Sacré Coeur, 
it was far too crowded

After the shoot, we rushed back to the hotel to dowload our images and select 3 for a critique session, back in John and Mimi's apartment. The critique session was a feature of each day. Shelly took these sessions and was very patient with us, kindly pointing out small improvements. She always made us feel we were doing a great job, and we were spurred on to try harder so as not to disappoint her.


Photo Club Trek to Iznik (Day 2)

The next day, we visited the villages of Tacir and Ömerli, also in the heights above Iznik. It was interesting to see that all the villages we visited had a unique flavour of their own, although we still passed goats on the way.

The houses in Tacir were nestled close together, cascading down the hillside

We photographed the village from every angle

We saw more men here, than we did in the village of Sansarak

This happy lady was busy sewing

This village also had its family bread ovens

Our next stop was the village of Ömerli. This village, although now faded, showed signs of a former glory. In the past, it was an important part of the silk trade, and the merchants operated from here, but many of their former mansions have now fallen into disrepair.

We saw evidence of Roman ruins. Here is the top of a 
Roman column by a doorway

The village is obviously moving with the times. 
Here is a solar panel on a village roof

After exploring the villages we headed back into town for lunch at Lezzet Lokantası again. I had an Iskender Kebab. It was the best I had ever tasted in all my years in Istanbul.

After lunch we toured the ancient walls surrounding Iznik.
It is amazing that these 2000 year old walls are still standing

This is the Istanbul Gate, still used as a main thoroughfare today

The Lefke Gate is the most impressive gate, although it is no longer used for traffic. It is, however, used to carry coffins through to the cemetery beyond. A rather grand exit from the world.

This was the end of our visit, but the memories and images remain. what a great trip. I do hope we have another one soon!


Photo Club Trek to Iznik, Turkey (Day 1)

 Iznik, as it would look on a good day.

I've just spent a wonderful two days on a photo trek to Iznik. We had such fun exploring the town and the surrounding area, and came away with hundreds of images.

Present day Iznik was founded on the ancient city of Nicaea, mentioned in the bible, although archeological evidence shows that the area was first settled around 2500 BC. St Peter the Apostle introduced Christianity to Nicaea, and the 1st Ecumenical Council was held there, where the concept of the Holy Trinity was accepted, together with the formulation of the Nicene Creed.

We had lunch at Lezzet Lokantası

Built on the edge of the lake that bears its name, Iznik is a popular holiday destination. We were delighted to find that our hotel was right by the lake, although we did wish the weather had been better, it was rather overcast and gloomy. Undeterred by the weather, however, we quickly settled into our hotel and headed for the town's centre, where we had lunch at Lezzet Lokantası. The owner prides himself on using only the freshest ingredients for his dishes, and the food certainly was delicious.

We then walked through the weekly market to photograph the fruits and vegetables, and other goods for sale. One feature of the market I found fascinating was the groups of women obviously selling small quantities of their own produce, probably grown in the small villages surrounding Iznik.

There were also small chicks for sale

After the market, we headed for the hills to a village called Sansarak, perched on a rocky outcrop.

On the way, we saw this flock of goats

The goatherd was amused that we were taking pictures of his goats

The village houses were crammed together, with narrow roads between

This is an outdoor stove, ready to boil a kettle

Outdoor bread ovens, are also a feature of the village

Everywhere we went, we were followed by curious little boys

The people in the village were very friendly towards us, 
and didn't mind us photographing them

Most of the women were going about their daily chores...

...while others were doing crochet work for sale

We didn't see many of their menfolk, as they were busy in the fields

That evening, we sat by the lake and dined off the local fish. A perfect end to a perfect day.

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I couldn't resist this one!