Last week, I had the opportunity to go on an amazing photography tour in historic downtown Saint Augustine.
We are very lucky to live near such a beautiful and fascinating area, so rich with history and legends, and when my friend approached me about purchasing a Groupon for ShutterGuide Tours for a two-hour walking tour of the city, complete with photo challenges, I was all in. My photographic interest lies more with portraits and party details, but I’m always down with learning something new.
Our group consisted of six “tourists” and a guide, Tom. We started at the Bridge of Lions, where Tom talked about how the bridge was built, and later, how it was refurbished. Our challenge was to shoot one of the famous lions at the entrance to the bridge, being mindful of distractions (cars and boats), and capture the full impressiveness of the statue.
We moved down along the waterfront. Tom wanted us to focus on the chain barricade, where one upright is different than the others, but suddenly, we spotted two dolphins swimming along. Of course, we all had to stop to watch them, and as soon as they were gone, a manatee surfaced!
Best. Day. Ever.
Oh, yeah. The uprights. We were to use our knowledge of depth of field to make the black upright super sharp and focussed, while blurring out the others in the background. Check.
Our walk took us down to the Castillo de San Marco, where we arrived just in time for one of the cannon firings. I’ve watched it from the top of the fort a few times, but today, we were on the ground, underneath it, and I really enjoyed the different perspective. Fantastic timing.
This wasn’t part of the actual lesson, but I loved the birds sitting on top of this tower.
We continued along the fort and Tom asked us to work with the light to get a photo of the structure and the palm trees over the water. Because of the contrast of light and shadows at this time of day, it can be difficult to see all the detail in the coquina, but I am happy with how this came out. The sky and clouds were just beautiful.
We walked along to the old city gates, through St. George Street and along the main square. I saw these little flags lined up by the sidewalk and loved them.
Finally, we headed over to Flagler College. I really need to schedule an actual tour. The building and grounds are absolutely gorgeous, but I’ve never gone inside.
It was a really interesting experience. Tom was very helpful with expertise and tips for shooting and it was neat taking some time to set up shots I wouldn’t have previously thought to create. I would definitely do it again, and would love it if other tours covered other areas of the city. We had a nice, relaxing afternoon and learned a few things while we were at it.