A Photo Walk At Old Sturbridge Village
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Have I mentioned before that I am not a people person? That I don't like group activities? That unfamiliar situations make me anxious? That if someone suggests I join in I am much more likely to run in the opposite direction?
Then I am sure you will be surprised to hear that I joined a photo walk at Old Sturbridge Village. I have mentioned the village before here and here. It is a living history museum in Massachusetts and I am inordinately fond of it. I grew up going there and now our children have grown up going there. It makes me happy. But I don't really know why I joined the photo walk. I was scrolling through Twitter late one night and saw their tweet about it. I clicked on the link, thinking it sounded vaguely interesting but not something I ever would do. Then I saw it cost only $12.00 and you got to walk around the village with a photographer. The next thing I knew I had purchased a ticket and immediately started regretting it. After all, people. And unfamiliar situations. But it was six weeks off and the world could end before then so why worry about it. (I was definitely not myself that night. I always believe there is reason to worry and if I am not worrying I am worrying about why I am not worrying.)
The six weeks came and went and I still wasn't so sure I wanted to go. My husband told me it was only $12.00 and just skip it if I wanted but that just seemed cowardly so I went. Besides, the village is closed on Mondays which meant there would only be the dozen or so photo walk members in the whole village and the chance to take photos without them being cluttered with the dreaded people was very tempting. I also thought the photographer would provide tips and tricks that might be beneficial so off I went.
It wasn't that bad. Isn't that a ringing endorsement? But no, really. I kind of enjoyed it. It wasn't at all what I expected. I thought it would be a lot of people like me, beginning photographers who needed a bit of guidance in composition and use of light and things like that. Instead it was a group of experienced photographers with a scary amount of equipment. They had multiple cameras with huge lenses, big tripods, camera bags weighing down their shoulders, and the determined looks of people who were going to get the best photo no matter what. Many of them had done the walk multiple times in different seasons. I think I was the only person who had come by herself. Most came in twos, probably so one could lug around all the equipment.
So there was no gentle guidance and no help setting up a good photo. These people knew what they were doing. There was however, an entire almost empty village and plenty of time to take pictures. We all had to stay together but I am an expert on staying on the edge of a group and managed to stay with them but still feel as if I had the village to myself. The woman running the tour was friendly and good at keeping everyone moving. At the end of the walk she asked for suggestions and I did mention that maybe photo walks aimed at different experience levels would be a good idea. She was very receptive and kind.
Springtime in the village is gorgeous. Everything was blooming and there were calves and lambs and chicks. The weather basically cooperated which means it didn't rain on us even though it had been threatening to all day. And the village was empty. I say that not just because I am not a people person but because it felt so much more real. Of course it is wonderful to visit when the village is open. I have many happy memories of doing just that. But when there are only a handful of people roaming the dusty lanes it feels so much more like you have stepped back in time. There are no crowds of people to remind you of the present day. You can walk down the road and listen to the quiet, hang over the fence and admire the lambs without getting elbowed and shoved, pretend that this is the world you live in.
Of course, you can't buy stick candy at Miner Grant's store and that is a true deprivation. We will just have to go back.