Saturday, 18 August 2012

"Great Expectations"

PC on, Chrome fired up, Google Maps, Paris, street view, various locations......I did this for about a month ahead of the Welshot Paris "All Night Photo Shoot" with Will Cheung  FRPS held earlier this month.  I also spent hours trawling through "Paris" tagged pictures on 500px and flickr to get myself fired up for the trip.

Doing the research was great because it made me feel more familiar with the environment we would be working in and it also helped inspire and motivate me to think hard about the shots I really wanted to get.

Then of course there is the downside.  This is when you start finding some truly great pictures or start looking through work by some of the masters such as Cartier-Bresson.  It's so easy to look at other peoples work, work which they have taken years to perfect, to then assume that you'll get a bunch of great pictures in just one night.

Ok, so I did have a few ideas about what pictures I wanted to take but I put things into perspective and set my expectations in a way that I knew wouldn't leave me disappointed after the shoot.  Then to complicate things it turned out that due to the flight times a few of us would actually have most of Saturday and all of Sunday to shoot as well as the overnighter.  

I guess there are a number of things I learned during this trip, mostly to do with photography but I've always believed that the more I get into photography the less my challenges are to do with photography.   Does that make sense ?    

I'll try and explain...... here are a few of the things that I'm talking about;

Getting from one location to another - Is this dead time while you travel from the arc du triomphe to the Louvre ?  No, the streets and the metro are great places to shoot so you should be looking for opportunities all the time.  It's the journey as much as the destination that is important.

Distractions - Paying lots of money and spending time away from home are big deals to most people. Add in the thrill of going to a foreign country and visiting such an amazing location and you can easily get distracted.  Do you stick to a game plan ?   Do you go with whatever takes your eye when you get there ?  I guess the point is that there is so much to shoot and so little time.  Unless you are focused you are going to be whizzing about all over the place trying to capture everything.

Hurry up and wait - I'm certainly guilty of doing things too quickly.  Probably more to do with the above but I often found myself rushing the shot because I wanted to move onto the next one.  I guess I felt that time was short and didn't want to hold anyone else up.

Pace yourself - I was awake for 44 hours in total from start to finish.  So, on arrival in Paris do I shoot all over the City during the day, then do the night workshop and then continue to shoot through the Sunday ?  I'd love that but I knew I had to pace myself.  Looking back though I think I got that a bit wrong.  If I could do it again I certainly would have done more on both days.
Lounging around outside Notre Dame on Saturday and then again at the Louvre on Sunday certainly helped the tired feet and weary eyes but I know that valuable shooting time was sacrificed. I know I could have done more and got more pictures.

When I was thinking about writing a blog for the Paris trip there were so many aspects of it that I thought it best to break them down into smaller posts.  That's why I've just covered these topics here. Things that aren't directly about photography but did have an impact on the number, type and quality of shots I took. 

I know this valuable experience will help me with future trips, shoots and projects etc.  It has already helped me decide my next project and resurrect one that I failed at earlier in the year. 

My next post will be all about the fantastic gang at Welshot and the photography skills I picked up / developed during the Paris trip.