Edinburgh Photo Tour

Long exposure photograph of Princess Street, Edinburgh with traffic

Princess Street

It’s been a hectic few months, sadly the blog and monthly challenges have been neglected. But hopefully, I’ll have a bit more time since we have moved house and are beginning to settle in. For Christmas, I was fortunate enough to receive a voucher for a photography tour of Edinburgh and this is what I intend to discuss.

Although I have visited Scotland’s capital many times and on a few occasions with my camera, I was looking forward to being shown round Edinburgh and taught how to shoot city/street photography, particularly in the evening and night, when I would usually be cozy and warm inside after finding a reason why not to venture outside.

The evening started by meeting Will of Iconic Edinburgh Photo Tours – outside St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile, where he asked what I was looking to get out of the tour and then outlined a programme of what we could achieve that evening. Subsequently, he provided a refresh of the basics of photography, which although I’ve been exploring photography for sometime, this was the first time I have had a professional physically in front of me explaining concepts and answering questions with practical examples was beneficial. Will was approachable, friendly and helpful which made the tour fun and informative from the start, in addition to the photography tuition, he provided historical information on locations we went to which was interesting to listen to and provide content to what I saw.

Close up masonry work of what appears to be an angel on St Giles, Edinburgh

Angel on St Giles

We started by photographing details on the front door of St Giles, then ventured to the right of the building to photograph the statue of Charles II, which I now know to be Scotland’s oldest statue.

Photograph of the statue of Charles II behind St Giles on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

Charles II behind St Giles on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

So, within 5 minutes I had discovered parts of Edinburgh I had never explored. I set up my tripod and we considered the composition, what would be interesting to include or remove from the frame? Subsequently, we found a set of stairs to a close and experimented with long exposures to created blurred portraits which provided an eerie look to the images.

Black and white photograph of a long exposure shot of man walking up a close

Eerie Portrait

We then walked down to Waverley Station to get some long exposure shots of the traffic. Although this is sometime I could do regardless of tuition, having someone who knew the area provided me with the confidence that it was an interesting perspective and safe place to setup the camera gear. Edinburgh is not a threatening city, but I’m always weary wherever I am in populated areas regarding taking out my gear. Will made me feel at ease and this allowed me to concentrate on composition and enjoying photographing this wonderful city.

Long exposure photograph of Edinburgh City looking over Waverly Station and Balmoral Hotel

Cityscape Long Exposure

A trip up Carlton Hill was next, another location I’ve wanted to photograph, however I’ve not been there before. Will found a number of interesting viewpoints overlooking the city. We then experimented with lights and had some fun with long exposures.

Long exposure photograph of the National Monument on Carlton Hill, Edinburgh taken at night with light trails

Carlton Hill

Off to the next location, we headed down to Princess Street to photograph the traffic outside the Balmoral Hotel, again using long exposures to slow down the lights from the traffic (notice a theme – long exposures are enjoyable when you have an interesting subject).

Long exposure photograph of Princess Street, Edinburgh with traffic

Princess Street

This is one of my favourite shot of the trip. Again, like a broken record, I wouldn’t have consider doing this myself before, having someone else there who knew the locations and potential composition to start with really helped me to get straight to shooting.

Will and I then changed tactic by focusing on street photography rather than cityscapes. This is an area where I definitely lacking confidence, especially photographing strangers with or without there knowledge. After a while it became less scary, although I’d assume when I try again another day, I’d would start off by being shy again.

We walked back to the Royal Mile stopping on the way to get some shots included using the closes as frames to photograph passersby.

Photograph of two ladies approaching a close

Edinburgh Close

After a few more places, the tour was over. For me, my first photography tour was a success and I intend to try again photographing Edinburgh at a different time of day (to capture different aspects of city life). Hopefully using Iconic again.

I would thoroughly recommend attending any led photography tour to improve skills in an area you enjoy or in this case, push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. Since then, when out in a few city’s, I’ve taken my camera at night and trying to capture similar images, however I believe having someone else present, definitely helps to spur you on.