Thursday, 30 September 2010

Young Turks

The Egyptian Obelisk at the Hippodrome © Steven Lee

Revealing the interiors of the the magnificent Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Basilica is a real challenge, but our participants sailed through their tasks today with flying colours.

We set mini tasks ahead, the first was setting manual exposure controls with an external light meter and judging exposure values and combination manually instead of relying on the built-in meters in our cameras.

The Blue Mosque was already teaming with visitors from all over the world and by 10am the queue of tourists groups circled the huge courtyard as we photographed the amazing minarets and arches within it. The mosque was built on the commission of Sultan Ahmet I in early 1600's and remains one of the most famous in the world, with the interior dome and walls completely tiled with the signature Iznik floral tiles.

Inside the Blue Mosque © Steven Lee

Young Turkish women strolling outside the Blue Mosque gardens © Steven Lee

Following a light lunch at a roadside restaurant alongside the Hippodrome, we set off for the Hagia Sophia. Built as a church around 530 AD by Emperor Justinian, this 1,400 year old building is one of the world's greatest architectural achievements. In the 15th century the Ottomans converted it into a mosque but some important religious artwork and mosaics still remain under its huge dome.

Hagia Sophia © Steven Lee

It is often said that the reward at the end will test your patience. How true is this. Photographing in crowded places where everyone is aiming their cameras at similar targets only result in repetitive imagery. The challenge is to find that sweet spot where hand, eye and heart unite in an instant to make that special photograph. Try and try, often the moment is elusive. Surprises also come in small and large doses. After spending and hour inside the Blue Mosque and another good hour at the Hagia Sophia, a few of us developed 'shutter fatique', and could shoot no more, including myself.

The results of the group after Day 1 shooting astounded Andy and I. Our Young Turks have surpassed even themselves. And you know who you all are.

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