Sometimes you get what you wish for!
You've know them only as a profile photos, Facebook discussions or through low-quality Skype connections. Suddenly, you see them walking towards you - like for real, man - and you can look them in the eye and take hold of them and give them a huge hug. Truly an amazing feeling - and I got to experience that again this year in Porto!
My online photography friends are from all around the world have been a part of my life for several years, through Don Giannatti’s Project 52. I have chatted with them online, done hangouts and webinars with them. We’ve “LOL’ed” and we’ve *sad faced*, we’ve “Liked” and we’ve “cyber-hugged” and we’ve supported each other in our ups and downs as photographers. They mean a lot to me…and I had wished, that I could meet them face-to-face, “IRL / In Real Life”
Last year, that wish came true, when I participated in a road trip through Arizona and southern Utah and Canyon Land. A group of Project 52 alumni got together and sparks flew - creative and wonderful sparks! An amazing experience.
This year, during the last weekend of April, I was privileged to meet several more of my good P52 friends in Porto, Portugal! And it was another amazing experience full inspiration and learning, talking and laughing, shutter clicks and tired feet, good food…and the occasional G&T and Sangria.
A group of 11 photographers with different photographic interests, all together to participate in “The Porto Photography Experience”. An event arranged by my friends Anna and Filipe of McGunnMedia. It was a cultural experience where we learned about Porto’s traditions, culture, architecture, food, history and much more along the way. I am not going to make this a dissertation about Porto, you can read up on that elsewhere. This is just about my experience.
We all stayed at “The Artist” hotel, which was our base for the event. The program was four days of exploring the city, shooting along the way, three days with photoshoots in predetermined locations in and round the city of Porto and Guimarães, and one day to go off and explore. The wonderful lunches and dinners were in mainly traditional Portuguese restaurants.
The trip started in the evening, on the day when we all had safely arrived in Porto. We walked through the streets of Porto in the golden light of the setting sun to the PortoBello Restaurant & Bar located on the top of the Premium Porto hotel. Up on the rooftop, we had a couple of glasses of very nice port wine, chatted and shot the city from the rooftop as the sun set over Porto - a stunning, gorgeous 360° view of Porto! We had the pleasant company of the hotel manger of the as well! Afterwards, we were served a delicious dinner in the restaurant. Food photos were taken!
During next three days we walked all around the “old” part of Porto and we were accompanied each day by two models. Five very different young people, all of them open, friendly and a pleasure to work with. They were styled and there were wardrobe changes. Some of the outfits were made particularly for the specific venues and the jewellery by Mamsthings were gorgeous. The models patiently and tirelessly let each photographer work with them and direct them to get our shots. They were all very professional, patient and worked their butts off! Anna had chosen the models for this experience because she knows them and has worked with them.