Instagramming Victoria: My First Instameet
August 7, 2015
I recently attended my first Instameet in Victoria, in celebration of BC Day. An Instameet is a chance for Instagrammers of all levels to get together and photograph a location. It's a way to meet fun people; to share tips on photography, Instagram, and your destination; and to create images together that share event-specific hashtags. There is no minimum camera requirement, so feel free to bring your mobile, your DSLR, or anything in between! I found that around half the people in the group brought either a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. As for me? I opted for my new mobile, the LG G4, which has better specs than my current DSLR and it was great choice - lightweight, with full manual and RAW capabilities.
Because the emphasis is on the 'meet', the event may not always fall during optimal hours for photography. So relax, chat with the rest of the group and enjoy looking around you - you can even use the walk as a chance to consider future photography subjects.
This Instameet was hosted by Tourism Victoria and Hello BC. We met mid-afternoon near Chinatown, with a quick stop at Silk Road Tea for some iced tea which was refreshing on such a hot afternoon! (I have no affiliation with any of these companies, but this Instameet wouldn't have happened without them).
After the iced tea, we walked through Chinatown and made our way to Fan Tan Alley. Once home to opium dens, it is now a popular tourist site filled with small shops. It is a photogenic location, and there are frequently any number of interesting shots to be found. This was my favourite location of the day and I think that of all the places we went to, our group of about twenty people took the most time creating images here.
Eventually we emerged from Fan Tan Alley, and made our way over to Market Square. As the name suggests, the square offers many shopping opportunities with small stores and restaurants arranged around a two-story open air square. Usually there are dance or musical performances on the lower level of the square, but this afternoon it was surprisingly quiet. There were a few opportunities for street photography but without any performers around, the group moved on quickly.
Just across the street from Market Square is an old street called Waddington Alley. Its most noticeable feature is that the entire walkway is still paved with wood blocks which were laid in 1908. Walking down here really does feel like stepping back in time!
Waddington Alley connects directly with Bastion Square, another historically important location in Victoria as it is home to the old courthouse. Years and years ago, there was a jailhouse located just off the square. Although the jailhouse and its numerous executions is gone now, the square is often agreed to be haunted by the ghosts of prisoners. Now it is the site of a seasonal public market and several pubs. We descended a short flight of stairs and made our way across the road towards the water and followed Wharf Street to the Inner Harbour.
The Inner Harbour was bustling as usual. There were tourists, locals, buskers, vendors and the atmosphere was exciting, yet relaxed. Unfortunately, because it was mid-afternoon, the lighting was not really conducive to photography. So most Instagrammers took a handful of photos but stopped to watch the performers and chat with each other, primarily about photography of course!
Across the street from the Inner Harbour, the lawns in front of the Legislative Buildings were dotted with many people enjoying the statutory holiday, strolling around or relaxing on blankets with family and friends. After a few more photos it was time to wrap up the event and head home to share some of the images on Instagram. It was a great way to spend BC Day and I am looking forward to my next Instameet!