In my past almost two months of traveling, I’ve been doing quite a bit of this. The location and weather has varied, but give me a camera and a good pair of walking shoes and I am one happy girl. Just me and my lens. No one to slow me down or distract my vision.
I’m sure any of my readers, along with those that know me well, have noticed that I love photography. I have a passion for it like no other. One of my personal goals on this trip was to improve my photographic skills through practical experience. I have a love for detail, composition and lighting, but I have yet to master any of the technical aspects of photography.
With this as background, as I settled into my new temporary life in Paris, I started searching around for unique things to do. I’ve learned I really enjoy some of the smaller group activities as it gives you a chance to meet people and really engage. I ran across multiple references to Photo Tours in Paris led by Randy Harris, an award winning photographer originally from Seattle but currently living in Paris with his family. Perfect. Just the kind of thing I was looking for. So I sent an email inquiry and very shortly after received a reply from Randy. From here, we settled on a date and time and that was it. Very easy.
Met Randy and three others outside of the Hotel de Louvre last Thursday morning at 9. Historically, starting anything before 9 has been troublesome for me, but I was so excited to get going and learn that I think I actually bounded out of bed this morning. Drank a couple of cups of tea and walked down to the Louvre. After introductions and some background for the day, we jumped right in. Our first location was at the Louvre. Immediately we were interacting and engaging with Randy and the other participants learning new ways to use our cameras. His enthusiasm for the topic was refreshing. This is someone who lives and loves his craft. I learned more in that first fifteen minutes that I have in years of trying to read material on line or in manuals. There is no substitution for direct experience and feedback.
The morning continued like this. We walked as a group throughout central Paris, checking out different sites, unique angles, new ways of looking at a common attraction. Throughout the day, the conversation flowed and Randy took time to talk and work directly with each participant. The day was informal, casual, perfect and despite the various levels of experience within the group, I think everyone took something unique away from the experience.
I had more fun than I have in a long time and definitely met my goal of learning a little bit more about the technical aspects of photography. I highly recommend this tour for any photographer who is looking for a unique perspective on Paris, would like to improve their photography skills, and enjoys the interaction of a small group experience.
After the formal tour, we hopped on the metro and headed out to a part of Paris called Belleville. A neighborhood off the beaten path where less tourists roam. Belleville has a concentration of street artists who are given free reign to practice their art at select locations. We wandered through a street where the entire walls on both side were covered in street art. Unique styles, colors, messages (none of which I will attempt to interpret here).
Apparently, as each artist completes their work and walks away, the space is free reign for another artists to come in and begin painting over it. As you can imagine, this makes for an entirely dynamic experience ensuring that each visit is a new and fresh one.
I just love the contrast between the traditional this morning and the more modern graphic take on art this afternoon. This visit was truly one of the highlights of my trip. An opportunity to do something a little different and see things in a new light. Fabulous.
I’ll leave you with some final photographic evidence from my day. In general, I am happy with my photos from today, but importantly, I’ve learned new skills and techniques that I can practice for the rest of my time here and beyond.
Off to explore more of this beautiful city…. Au revoir for now!