There’s no better way to explore a new city than with a camera in hand, so I’m a camera manic when on holiday. I take pictures of absolutely everything. Not just the sights and my friends, but strangers, the hotel and every single Irish pub I see. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my camera. To fix this, my sister and I took a one day photography course with ex-pat Ben and learned some skills that I will use on my future holidays!
We met our tutor and guide Ben at Plaça de la Catalunya and he was more than welcoming. Ben is an incredibly helpful tutor and has a passion and enthusiasm for photography that was really infectious. He managed to teach us a whole new way to look at things around us and to recognize the finer details that all add up to make a fantastic photo. We first went to a quaint little coffee shop (definitely a place that wasn’t on the usual tourist trail) and Ben explained the inner workings of the camera and what settings we needed for different situations. As someone who is from the ‘point and press the button’ school of photography it felt a little complicated at first, but Ben was able to explain things really simply and by the end it felt as easy as using my iPhone.
We decided to explore the Barcelona’s Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) which is filled with winding laneways and hidden squares. It is a perfect spot for people watching too, so everytime you visit you could discover something new. We started with a few basic exercises which helped us see things that you normally take for granted and how to capture them in a photograph. Ben covered all aspects from depth-of-field, shutter speeds and aperture to how to use light to your advantage. I had always used my camera on Auto (I had never dared switch on Manual!), so it was amazing to see just how much could be done once I took the reins of the settings.
One of my favourite aspects of the course was getting a tour of Barcelona alongside the tuition. We had the opportunity to capture big landmarks like the Cathedral as well as real snapshots of Barcelona life. We went to La Boqueria market and learned how to use light to make the colours of the produce really pop and how to use reflections to create more interesting shots. We also went inside the gothic Cathedral (after Laura made her outfit more Church-friendly!) to photograph interiors and learn how to adapt to different types of lighting.
It was a lot to take in in just four short hours, but I loved the experience! Ben was a great tutor and guide and was able to tailor the course to us personally. This was a really unique way to experience Barcelona and we’ve gained skills which we can take with us on the next holiday!