Prior to heading to London I checked out the top attractions at TripAdvisor and discovered the Hairy Goat London Photography Mystery Tour [www.tripadvisor.com]. Essentially a photographer lead walking tour of the City of London, I thought that it would be great to have a professional help inspire me early on so I booked a tour for my first full day in town.
Hairy Goat Photography [www.hairygoat.net] offers a number of different tour options, including educational camera workshop tours and night shooting tours. I went with the mystery tour [www.hairygoat.net] because I already know the basic functions of my camera and it was also the cheapest option.
On the morning of my tour I woke to find a forecast for rain. Not showers and not drizzle, but rain. And wind. Having read the website I knew that they go rain or shine so I threw a jacket and umbrella in my Dakine Sequence camera bag [averagetraveller.com] and headed for the tube station. The tour was set to start at the Royal Exchange near Bank station.
The sun actually peaked out from behind the clouds on my way to the tube so I was optimistic. When I got to the Way Out at Bank Station there was a backup of people in suits standing just inside the doorway. As I approached I realized that they were all trying to wait out the torrential rains that were now coming down so I took out my rain gear and flipped on the raincover for my camera bag.
I met up with my tour guide Steve who gave us a quick quiz about what kind of pictures we like to take and which settings we’re most comfortable with on our cameras. He then gave us a quick history of the City of London [wikipedia.org], the city within a city that we would be exploring. Realizing that we could not stall any longer to wait for the rain to stop, Steve told us that we should keep our eyes out for actions shots of people trying to avoid the rain as well as good reflections in the all of the newly formed puddles. Any time someone with a brightly coloured umbrella or jacket would walk by he would excitedly point them out for us to photograph.
He lead us from location to location, all places where there would be interesting things to photograph. At leach location he gave us some ideas and pointers and then set us free to go shoot before gathering us up to move again.
The whole time that I was in London it rained for exactly 3 hours, and those just happened to be the three hours of our tour! I hadn’t ever shot in the rain and it was an adventure holding my umbrella with my left hand and my camera in my right. It was cold, wet, and windy, but the tour was still exciting. At the start of the tour I mentioned to Steve that I was not very confident taking pictures of strangers and he told me that it is a lot easier to do in the rain because people won’t be paying attention to your camera and he was right.
At £35.00 for a three hour tour this was a reasonably priced activity given that I had a lot of fun and learned quite a bit about both the City of London and photography. I strongly recommend Hairy Goat Photography tours and hope to try one of their night shoots the next time I’m in London.