Learning about a country

I will be traveling in June 2016 with two small groups to Iceland. Iceland, where in the summer there is no dark night, and where sunset is after midnight – wow! Can’t wait!

Seljalandsfoss, where our friend Samuel got soaked, and also his cameras ;-)

Seljalandsfoss, where our friend Samuel got soaked, and also his cameras 😉

So some of us have started learning more about the country, the icelandic music, reading the most interesting texts of icelandic literature, searching about culinary and weather. Our colleague and friend Samuel, who is visiting now the country has been telling me some important tips and sending me photos shot with his cell phone. Thanks Samuel 🙂

fish

Fish seems to be the base of most dishes (or lamb)

road

As Mary C. said, this kind of landscapes, with no cars and no people are so refreshing, so stimulating.

When he asked for a dessert and ge got ice cream with bacon

When he asked for a dessert and ge got icecream with bacon

menuI believe that the more you know about a country, the better you will shoot and the more creative you can get when you do the post processing. Awareness is important, in every way. How can you get the most of the “game of thrones” mood if you have not read any icelandic saga? 😉

All photos in this post are by Samuel Betkowski. Samuel is a veterinary, from Brasil, and also a talented photographer and a good friend of mine.
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Not all trips are the same

I was here now organizing the logistics of Iceland’s trip for 2016 and I found myself thinking that all photo trips are different. Thanks God for that.

For years I organized photo trips where everything was supposed to look pretty, wonderful, sweet, clean, dynamic, etc. A serious casting was done for models and horses many months in advance, charts of this and that filed,  and everything people and horses wore for the photos was decided and prepared long time before the trip actually happened, and all locations were  picked after a serious scouting, GPS points taken down so that everything would be exactly the way I envisioned it.

Then I kind of started feeling tired of knowing in advance what would happen, down to the tiniest details. It was perfect for the people attending, because for them it was a surprise, but for me it was lots of stress and boring, and that is how I felt  when I went to Morocco with Nicole and Susan, both colleagues and friends who I had traveled quite a lot with. I really wanted to get some freedom, freedom to accept whatever happened, to meet people, to let myself go as a photographer.

Street scene, that was what was going on around us.

Street scene.

Morocco was a trip that was full of surprises, and they were all welcome. We had never been there, and all we knew was that we were in the hands of two very good guides. We had decided to stay in a village where no tourists go, we lived those days  as much as possible like if we belonged there. No planned photo shoots, we just knew where we were going but we were open to whatever we saw. In this kind of photos we did not “judge”, because if you start looking for the pretty frame you will miss the street scenes, the daily life. Reality is the most beautiful frame, with its good and bad things, but if you manage to be an instrument and not a judgemental person, you get yourself above your vision of reality, and you become part of the real thing happening in front of you.

webvarieMA-1596-2We were so focused on living those moments like if we were embedded on the houses or the walls, neutral and invisible, that nobody noticed us, three women walking around in a sea of men. We felt safe, because we were that place, those people, those carts, the donkeys, the vegetables. We were what we shot, we could not ask for anything more perfect.

webvarieMA-1595-2

Invisible, we were invisible, neutral, unbodied.

We felt blessed to witness and keep those street scenes in hour hearts. We lived every second like if it was meant to be, the rain, a storm, the wind, the sand, the lack of sleep, and friendship.

Busy people going past us, hurry, pain, worry, we could feel the emotions of the people around us.

Busy people going past us, hurry, pain, worry, we could feel the emotions of the people around us.