Historic Harlem Tour - I was very much looking forward to this tour for two reasons. Firstly the photography and secondly learning the history of Harlem. However, it didn't go exactly to plan.
The tour started with a 20 minute (sit and listen) camera lesson. If you are familiar with your camera this will be a slow start to the tour, if you are new to using the camera on the Manual setting, this could be very overwhelming and confusing as there is no opportunity to stop and play until the end when you are encouraged to go and use that information to photograph the surrounding park.
As a suggestion to the organisers, I would encourage the guide target an element of the camera at each stop. For example, using a low aperture to capture a flower with a blurred background while in the park, and a high aperture to get a clear background when photographing a landscape of Harlem.
Following our 10min free time in the park we were given a brief history of Harlem, then we started the walk to the next location which was the City College. The angle we were on (from the road looking up a hill, across a road and high brick wall), did not allow for any creative photos to be taken, simply a click and shoot spot, but even then it's not a picture I will ever look back on.
This historical information provided was vague and disconnected, and we found the tour guide difficult to listen to (not sure if she was nervous?).
The next stop, was a street of houses. We were given 10 minutes to walk the street and take photos of people's front doors. The guide suggested we focus on the architecture, however, to me it just look like any front door. I also didn't feel very comfortable taking photos of peoples properties when they might have been sitting inside, or as some were, coming and going from cars to house. The significance of the architecture was not explained very well, and I don't feel like the tour company had made any effort in advising the community they were going to be there, and getting their blessing. I found this intrusion on people's privacy somewhat uncomfortable.
At this point we made the call to leave the tour. We still had 1.5 hours to go, but we were not getting the historical information we expected, and as a photographer, the images were not even post card worthy. We also found the pace to be extremely slow.
I'm not sure if this failure to meet expectations was on the organisers, or if the case is that Harlem doesn't have the sites and information to really make it worthy of hosting a tour, either way, we felt this tour came over rated and were quite disappointed.
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