I had a mostly wonderful Saturday in Istanbul today, with highlights and new memories everlasting.  Amongst the bests today included shopping and lunch with some friends from back home who just happened to be in Istanbul this weekend (and not for the Formula 1), visiting the Hagia Sofia, and a three-hour private walking tour called, "Istanbul Through the Lens".  

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When I booked this tour, I did not know nor expect to be the only one on it.  It was listed on the Formula1 website amongst the things to do in Istanbul while here for the race.  So I was quite surprised when I turned up for the tour to find that my guide, Ali, was waiting just for me.  Even better, he turned out to be a Nikon shooter as well, which meant he was able to teach me a lot about my D50 and even share lenses throughout the day.

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Ali is an incredible photographer, and all the moreso because it turns out it is his hobby rather than profession.  Oh my did I learn a lot as we walked through the streets of Istanbul for three hours, taking hundreds of photos using a variety of techniques, tips, and trying experiments.

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I'm nowhere near done uploading shots, and I'd sure like to have some time with the Macintosh to do some editing, but today was so cool that I thought I would share some of the work we did.  For example, we spent several minutes talking about portrait or candid people photography.  Some of you are aware that I have had a tendency to shoot photos sans humans, or shy away from taking "in your face" people pictures.  Ali helped with friendly words to potential subjects, along with encouragement to me.  He suggested simple techniques like always offering to show someone the picture you've taken of them.  That all worked well with this prayer bead seller at a mosque...I'm still not sure which shot I like better.

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If you look at Ali's work, you will see that he is a huge fan of patterns in photography, taking the detail out of the larger picture.  This is a technique I have successfully used in the past, and the Hagia Sofia provided several cool opportunities this morning.  

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The tour was not inexpensive, but it was definitely worth it to learn so much in one afternoon.  Some of the things I learned from Ali -- I need more lenses (we almost never used my 70-300 zoom lens today, and I borrowed his cool wide-angle a few times), a couple more filters, an extra battery, and really, really really need a Nikon D300.

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