Kicked off 2018 with my first workshop of the year the other week. It’s going to be an exciting year with workshops in Tuscany, Iceland and Italy, as well as trips to Lofoton, and possibly more, planned so far. I always enjoy meeting new people and sharing locations and photography tips with workshop participants is one of the best parts of the job. This time it was a local workshop with some time spent shooting on the west coast, a sunrise at Vasco da Gama bridge and then some street shooting around the old neighbourhood.
Street photography is for me one of the most trickiest aspects of photography to do well. It’s one of those things that seems so simple until you try to do it. The best street images create curiosity in the viewer, there’s the suggestion of a narrative; who is this person, what are they doing, etc, and also there’s a clarity and simplicity of composition that’s incredibly difficult to achieve when photographing complicated and dynamic city streets.
When Portugal played France in the Euro 2016 final, win or lose, there was no way we could stay at home when half the city of Lisbon would be out cheering on their team. We walked through some of the main squares and thoroughfares of the city, as well as stopping off at a couple of bars and locals tascas to soak up the atmosphere with the tiny X-T10 and a couple of prime lenses. <!--more-->While the majority of people were congregated infront of the huge screen in Praça do Commercio, we ended up watching the extra time when Portugal scored the winner in a small square with an outdoor kiosk and lots of packed tables. By the end of the evening it was too dark to properly capture the action, and besides, by then I'd got so completely caught up in the game that I kind of forgot about taking any photos.
Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali, an artist's town set amongst the rice fields and hills of central Bali. It's a place we planned to unwind and catch some culture like Balinese dancing, and although I had a couple of locations researched I wasn't really planning on much photography here.
One of the things that Ubud has is a wide range of incredibly stylish, sophisticated, but affordable accommodation. We'd booked 5 nights in a place called Alam Indah, on the outskirts of Ubud next to the famous monkey forest. It didn't disappoint, the room was beautiful with great views out over the forest and proved to be a fantastic place to relax (and write this blog).
After three days in the Sahara, it was time to head back north to Chefchaouen, a small town in the Rif Mountains, in the north of Morocco. It was going to be a long journey, and we'd decided to break it at the Roman ruins of Volubilis, near the city of Meknes.
Even so, the drive was still a marathon. On our last day in the Sahara we awoke in a berber tent in the middle of the dunes, got up to photograph sunrise, then had the hour long camel ride back to the kasbah we'd used as our base. A quick shower, change and breakfast, then we hit the road back north across the middle Atlas mountains. We'd been so blown away by the changes in scenery on our way down, that we thought it would be a nice idea to film it using the video recorder on the D90. So at various points of the journey, we filmed the passing scenery, towns and people, with the idea that I could edit all the short clips together to make a brief film that shows the changing of the landscape and culture across the length of Morocco. We kept the idea up all the way until the port in Tanger, and at some point when I have time, I'd like to sit down and get to work on cutting it together.
Well we're back from Morocco. A few thousand kilometers later, the car has collected all kinds of dust and sand, as well as a strange knocking noise which first appeared when driving across the stone desert near Merzouga, but it got us to where we wanted to go, and it got us back again.
It's been a fantastic trip, one that's really pushed us both physically and mentally. Photographically it's been really challenging and a lot of fun as it demanded so many different approaches. From patient tripod vigils in the dunes, to handheld shooting in the low light and narrow confines of the medinas of Fes and Chefchaouen. Portraiture, landscapes, street shooting, panning, architecture, details etc etc...I can't remember a trip where there's been so much variety.