Make Friends in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

One comment

Ed. Note: Today’s blog post is contributed by our good friend, traveler and writer extraordinaire Sherry Ott of Ottsworld.  We sent Sherry on the road with our new Lytro camera to capture some images of her adventures.  Thanks to Sherry for taking us with her to Istanbul!

In my recent trip to the Grand Bazaar, I was surprised to discover that the shopkeepers were interested in something I had  – and it wasn’t money.  It was my Lytro Camera I was carrying on behalf of InsureMyTrip.

Crushing Stereotypes

I couldn’t walk past more than 3 shops before a shopkeeper or sometimes even another tourist, or a tour guide would stop me and ask me what was around my wrist.  The conversations went something like this:

“What is that?”

“A new camera.” I replied.

“Is it from Japan?”

“No, it’s from America.” I answered.

This answer normally received some surprised looks.  One shopkeeper even told me that they normally only see new technology from the Asian tourists.  So I was happy to dispel the stereotype a bit.

But they didn’t just ask questions about it – they wanted to use it, touch it, and see how it worked.  I found myself giving demonstrations and trying to line up shots that would be a perfect way to highlight the ‘living picture’ functionality of the Lytro.  People would then want to have pictures taken of themselves and upon seeing it they would ask for more.  There’s one thing I learned while spending 6 weeks in Turkey – the Turks love to have their photo taken!

A Perfect Place For Photography

The Grand Bazaar is full of little gadgets, souvenirs, pushing shop keepers, tea vendors, evil eye charms, leather goods, and jewelry – there’s so many things to photograph it’s as disorienting as the maze of hallways that make up the bazaar.

However I learned after traveling and playing with the Lytro for the past few months that the Lytro is best for really close up shots of objects – so I mainly tried to focus on that while at the bazaar.  This way you can have the most fun playing with the shot afterwards.  By simply clicking on an object in the image it will reset the focus of the shot – making it appear alive in a way!

My Favorite Photo

My favorite photo I took at the bazaar was at a shop selling magnifying glasses.  They had them hanging overhead and I was able to take the shot sort of through the magnifying glass.  If you click on the object behind the magnifying glass they are in focus – but click right in the middle of the magnifying glass and the image is actually refocused on the magnified jewelry creating this weird effect.

I learned that the closer you get to an image the better for the overall focus effect like this one of a ring .

But overall I learned that if you want to make friends and get noticed in the Grand Bazaar,  just bring in hot new technology and flash it around.  All of a sudden you will be invited into every store and be drinking tea with the shopkeepers!    Now the real key is to leverage that new friendship to bargain down your purchases to the lowest price possible!

Check out the whole story through Sherry’s eyes, told in images she shot with the Lytro camera while at the Grand Bazaar.

Bio:  Sherry is a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer with one goal in mind – to make you wish you were somewhere else.  She seeks out unique travel experiences and writes about her around the world adventures on Ottsworld.  She’s also a co-founder of Meet, Plan, Go!, a website and national travel event teaching you how you can take your very own traveling career break or sabbatical on October 16, 2012.


1 comments on “Make Friends in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul”

Leave a Reply