Photo (re)Blog by Anthony Bianciella: May in Provence

We’re reblogging a great description of one of our trips. Rick Sammon also blogged about Anthony’s trips with us!

Photo Tours – An Insider is Key!

by Anthony Bianciella

Photography and travel go hand-in-hand. But camera or not, I love trips that are special and off-the-beaten track. No big bus tours!  Life is too short to shoot through the window as you drive by.
I love to be immersed in the location and really experience the culture. But you need a friend on the inside who can show you things only a local would know. And that way your photographs can be as unique as your “insider” experiences!
For example, last May, while in France, our insider gained us exclusive access to a 900-year-old Templar church. Normally closed to the public (with photography impossible) the curator himself gave us a private tour, allowing us to photograph everything including bell tower, crypts, painted ceiling, altar, and even the hidden entry and baptismal font used to secretly baptize people during the French religious wars of the1500’s.
For lunch, the owner and chef of a 400-year-old bakery, friends of our ”insider”, opened just for us and held a private wine tasting in the warmly lit wine “cave” followed by a multi course gourmet lunch beside the original bakery oven. We had plenty of time to enjoy the food, have a photography lesson on off-camera-flash and to take pictures. After dessert, the proprietor himself showed us a tiny path covered in vines where an acrostic puzzle of Roman origins (about 2,000 years old) was carved into a wall…all there for us to photograph and enjoy.
On our trips, we cover photography techniques and tips each day. We have specific time set aside for formal presentations and photo reviews. We‘ve had travelers who have been shooting for 30 years and travelers who purchased their camera two weeks before the trip. So we design the photography topics in a way that challenges photographers of all levels. And since we’re traveling together, there’s time enough to work individually with each person’s specific interests.
I also encourage people to travel with their partner/friend who might not be a “photographer”. These places hold treasures whether you choose to photograph them or simply enjoy just being there. Plus, there is so much more than photography to involve you –markets, wines, sightseeing, hikes, shopping, dining… that everyone seems to find more than enough to feed their interests.
I really love experiencing these places in such a meaningful way. We laugh, we drink, we eat, and we have a really great time. We come home with amazing photos and new friendships, after being immersed in a wonderfully personal experience.
Our next trip is May 15-21, 2012 to Provence and Paris,France. Other dates are also available later this year.PS. I’m really excited…Rick Sammon recently posted about these photo tours on his Google+ page (February 18, 2012).
Posted by Anthony Bianciella Photography
Give us your thoughts please!

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