Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Istanbul, the cosmopolitan

Being a photographer and especially a photographer on a cruise ship is one of the things that definitely takes you places!
After visiting Alexandria, Egypt twice we had to stop going there because civil war broke out and it wasn't safe there anymore. Bad luck for all who climbed aboard in an effort to see the famous Egyptian pyramids. I was one of the lucky people cheering in the staff mess for cancelling Alexandria. One of the reasons was that I got a food poisoning (at an Egyptian mall) and another reason was that Egypt smells like the devil's dirty socks. Just for the record, don't get on a public transportation bus unless you're a local. Anyway, let's get back to Istanbul before I get another food poisoning just by writing about Egypt.

Instead of an overnight at Alexandria the ship changed route and we got to spend 2 nights in Istanbul. The first time we got there it was rainy and a little cold. Well, what can you do about the weather. Having the afternoon off I grabbed my camera and started walking around the city.
Istanbul at night, All rights reserved by the author
Istanbul is great for day and night time photography.
After walking a walking while I couldn't help but notice how lively this city is. I saw most of the Mediterranean in my days of traveling but Istanbul was just one of those places where I just couldn't put the camera down. There are just so many interesting things behind almost every corner. Antique shops, weird lamps, cafes, old trams, mosques, churches... It's just too hard to put it all in one sentence and how do you describe a city that's on 2 continents and has a population of 14 million.
All rights reserved by Kamen Kunchev
I think Istanbul is about the details.
All rights reserved by Kamen Kunchev
Antique shop close to Taksim square.

What I got with me was the trustworthy dSLR, 2 lenses - 18-55 kit lens and a 50mm prime. I like details so most of the time I had the 50mm on. I am not much of a landscape guy so...

Anyway, here's my advice for when you and take photos in Istanbul:
1. It's a huge place so make sure you have all the sites on the map and everything planned
2. Find time to wander during the day
3. Walk on Taksim square and follow the crowd. Step away and take a random small street - plenty of interesting finds for photographers there.
4. Istanbul is about details so get a decent wide aperture lens for making things pop using it properly.
5. Go to Kapalıçarşı - there's plenty of things to take photos of and don't mind the locals who'd try to lure you into their shops (it's just that kind of place - you can't get away without buying anything from there).

Well, book a flight, pin the locations on the map, make sure you have the batteries full and memory cards empty and go picture hunting in Istanbul!

Another great location would be Malta and you can read about my photo experience there by a quick click here.

All the best,

Kamen Kunchev

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