Editor’s note: INFOCUS Tours is no longer in business.
We had a great opportunity to take a different look at downtown Tampa during our recent trip. Normally, we do a lot of the typical touristy photos. We also strive to get different angles or points of interest. INFOCUS Tours validated my interest in different views of cities. The tour also educated me on better ways to use the camera and to take some different looks before pressing the shutter.
The tour was a birthday gift from pets – Tucker and Gus. It’s obvious they love their dad, because it was a great gift and an awesome tour.
We met Bobby (our guide) near the Tampa Theater. Bobby is photojournalist graduate from the University of South Florida. He is pursuing his master’s degree there, as well. It was great that we were the only ones on the morning tour. Great for us, but I’m sure he and his partner would prefer to have had more business that day.
After a brief check of the types of cameras we had, we started taking some photos of the Tampa Theater sign. He wanted us to align the words so Tampa was right above the theater sign.
Then, we played with close-up shots of spots on the theater’s front. Anything we wanted. Lisa and I actually took similar shots of the same items – address numbers, art work, and some metal. It was interesting to take a different view of the building.
We headed out on our two-hour tour. We stopped at a mural running along the outside of the Children’s Museum. Typical tour photo would be of the whole mural. Bobby suggested we work with a small section of it. I focused on some painting with reflective glass. I was able to get a view of part of the city’s skyline as a reflection in the glass. As our daughter Mallory will be quick to tell you, I like reflection shots. So, it was a natural move for me.
We moved on to the Channelside River Walk. We took some photos of Plant Hall across the river on the campus of the University of Tampa. Plant Hall was once a hotel. It was built in the late 1800s by railroad and shipping magnate Henry Plant. The building used Moorish minarets, domes and cupolas for decoration.
Then, we received a lesson with our cameras. I’m not one to play with settings. Once I found a setting I like, I tend to keep it. Bobby challenged me to try something new. We played with manual exposure and aperture. I’m glad we did. It’s come in handy, since.
He had us take pictures of him with Plant Hall in the background. The bad exposure setting washed out the building in the background. Then, we adjusted the exposure and both he and the building were in the shot.
Our tour took us to the campus of the University of Tampa. As we walked along some beautiful green space, my attention was focused on…squirrel! Of course, I had to get the photo of one of our family’s favorite (more like obsessed with) animals.
Ok, where were we? Oh yeah, we were walking the green space, and were getting ready to take some photos of some Civil War…squirrel! Yep, squirrel #2 had his pic taken.
OK, refocused. Where was I? We took some pics of an old cannon with a turret of Plant Hall in the background.
We also took some shots of an art piece in the green space. It resembled flames shooting into the sky. Lisa got an excellent angle of it.
One of the aperture tricks we learned was to take some water shots where we can actually make it look like we can slow down the beads. I’ve never been good at it before, so Bobby really helped me there.
We checked out Plant Hall. We took some different shots of the main ballroom. The school had hosted an event the night before, so I sought not to have any of the tables in my shots. I framed a reflection shot of the dome with a chandelier in the foreground.
It’s always good to take a look at different angles, even if you think you do that already. I am a fan of ground level shots, so Bobby had had us try a floor level view.
Outside, we framed a turret using some ornate woodwork on the porch.
We headed back across the river to downtown. Tampa has some pretty cool public art pieces. One in particular gave us a bunch of views. It was a chrome piece with weaving lines.
We finished the tour with some photos of a unique sculpture near the Tampa Theater.
We had a fantastic time on the tour! It was fun getting a different style of tour and looking at things from new angles. Bobby was a great guide. We recommend taking an INFOCUS photo tour if you have Tampa on your horizon. It doesn’t matter the level of photographer you may be, Bobby and his partner will work with you.
SUGGESTION: We bought our tour through Living Social deals. It basically was about 55 percent off the regular price for two people. We had planned to go on this tour regardless, but when Lisa found the deal, we had to take advantage of it. As you plan your vacation, make sure you check out Living Social and Groupon, as well as local visitor bureau websites, for potential deals. You never know where you will find some great deals.
For more information on INFOCUS Tours, please visit www.tampaphototours.com.