Travel Photography when on a Tour

Venice to Istanbul Cruise

 Downtown Venice taken from deck 9 of the cruise ship

Downtown Venice taken from deck 9 of the cruise ship

Again, I set out to carry two cameras.  One DSLR and a medium format film camera were my choice of tools.  On this trip in 2011, I wised up and brought along ISO 400 film, both B&W and color, since I chose to leave the full size tripod at home.  I carried a small miniature tripod.  This thinking that there would be no chance to set up, compose and shoot on the tripod.  If every shot was to be hand held, I needed a quick shutter speed, at least 1/60 second.

On the first day in Venice, the boat moved from the cruise terminal to a dock very close to downtown.  I woke up early and rushed to the deck outside to see Venice from the 9th deck.  Here, I was able to set up a mini tripod on a tool cabinet on deck and do one long exposures on film.   The sun came up very fast, so I took a few digital shots before going to breakfast.  We had a day in Venice and went on the tour of very where.  Most of the shots were digital from a boat and/or gondola. 

We were now headed to Split, Piraeus/Athens, Istanbul, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Katakalon, and back to Venice.  We didn’t sign up for a tour on Split, Mykonos, or Katakalon.  These were small ports and just went to shore to walk in the community.  There were some places to shoot there, but the sky was perfectly clear and light harsh.  Still I did manage some shots in these locations.

In Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, and Santorini  we were on a fast moving tour.  There was some time in Athens at the Parthenon to wander and shoot, maybe 15 minutes.  Had to be fast.  The same was true in Istanbul and Kusadasi.  Kusadasi was where the ruins of Ephesus were located.  In Santorini we signed up for a tour, but mostly to get to the top of the hill.  Most of the people live at the top of the mountain.  It is here, when I was shooting with the film camera that a man exclaimed, “I can’t believe it.  Your shooting with a Hasselblad!”.  This in a tone of what’s wrong with you, film is dead and everyone shoots digital.  My first instinct was to respond with a few expletives, but grounded myself and moved on.  There are some people who have their heads buried so far up their rectum that they need a window in the stomach to see out.

Most of the film shots in Venice came when we returned and stayed two nights in a hotel.  I went out early in the morning to do some time exposures with the mini tripod holding the camera.  It was a lot of fun.  I won’t babble much more.  You can imagine that on tour, one has to take the opportunity to shoot and under the conditions that are presented to you.  Hopefully, if you are in a similar situation, this will give you an idea of how to plan.

 Venice storefront shop early in the morning using the mini tripod on the ground.

Venice storefront shop early in the morning using the mini tripod on the ground.