Istanbul is a fascinating and photogenic city and Anthony Epes' photography workshop "Cities at Dawn" was the perfect vehicle for a solo female traveller, like myself, to discover a city in a non-touristic and yet safe way.
It was very easy to bond with a group who shared the common interest of photography and I found my fellow photographers generous both with their tips and knowledge, and (when it became evident that the back pack I had brought was woefully unfit for purpose), their equipment - many thanks again for the lend of the bag Shaun !
Two highlights of the holiday were the guided walking tours, one a gastronomic trawl through the eateries of Beyoglu and the other an exploration of the suburb of Balat which began with a ferry trip and was fuelled by a delicious home-made lunch hosted in the courtyard of a Greek church. (There was also a spontaneous shopping trip to a very well stocked camera equipment "bazaar" thrown in for good measure !)
The photography tuition was professional, unpretentious and "tailored". I greatly appreciated that Anthony allowed me the space to both photograph and observe at my own pace whilst deftly encouraging me to venture out from the comfort zones of auto setting, telephoto lens', cliched subjects and even daylight ! (My first proper dawn shoot - quite a buzz to be sharing the Hippodrome Square with only a bunch of manic, in the nicest possible way, dogs and the moonlight…….and Anthony……..and all the other people with tripods…….)
In addition, the workshop not only gave me the opportunity to flex my under-exercised creativity muscle but, of equal value and pleasure, to witness the creative process of both Anthony and the other photographers in the group and to see the same subjects interpreted so diversely through other people's eyes.
All in all a very enjoyable trip that I would recommend highly.
(Some tips: Bring a proper camera bag ! Pack light weight all weather clothes including rain gear (for October), sturdy walking footwear and something to treat a touch of "stanbul" belly (just in case.) Istanbul is quite hilly in places - if you aren't going up, you are most likely to be going down - so be averagely hiking fit.)
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