Larissa Olenicoff puts on an iPhoneography clinic in Turkey’s biggest city.
ISTANBUL IS A CITY where you can score some pretty amazing photography. The problem is that its pace is sometimes so fast you can miss the best photo opportunities. That’s why I found myself clutching my iPhone during a 10-day visit rather than taking the time to reach for my digital camera. Aside from convenience, the various iPhone photo apps give me the ability to add more expression and detail to my shots, which makes the final product something so much more personal than a raw image.
Here is Istanbul through the lens of my iPhone.
One of the first and most memorable views of Sultanahmet you will see when crossing the Galata Bridge from Beyoglu. Suddenly it becomes clear why this city was the center of the Ottoman Empire for so many years.
I look over at this man eating and feel like I am gazing through a window that goes back a few hundred years. Some minutes later, after quickly playing with a few apps, I am able to achieve the effect that I was feeling.
Hitting the fountains. Wudhu is the required washing Islamic men must do before prayer.
Chaos in the Grand Bazaar! This world famous market has over 4,000 vendors covering 58 streets. A good sense of direction, a shopping list, and patience are highly recommended.
Escaping the madness of the Grand Bazaar to a side-street cafe for some Turkish "fast food": grilled cheese simit and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.
I couldn't believe these mismatched minarets and seemingly unkempt exterior belonged to the Hagia Sofia--one of, if not the most famous place of worship in history. The interior more than makes up for it though...
Awestruck inside the Hagia Sophia, or "church of divine wisdom."
Dodging street vendors on the walk up to the Blue Mosque. Aside from the usual carts selling traditional Turkish garb and souvenirs, there are tons of kids pushing around these antiquated old carts squeezing fresh pomegranate and orange juice for a few lira.
A descent into the creepy Basilica Cistern. Not too many photo effects were needed to convey the eerie stillness that fills this place.
When a walk down the mile-long Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul's main pedestrian street, seems too crowded and overwhelming...just look up.
You can't walk 50 feet in Istanbul without seeing a street vendor selling simit. Sort of like a Turkish bagel but covered in sesame seeds, they are mostly eaten for breakfast but also make a perfect on-the-go snack when you're busy fitting in as many Istanbul sites as you can.
The architecture of Dolmabahçe Palace blew me away. It is way more impressive, though less hyped, than Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet.
Whether by foot, cart, motorbike, or car, Istanbul's residents are constantly moving. Just one more reason why shooting with a camera phone comes in handy.
Watching the sunset while simultaneously watching maitre d's poach customers from the many overly touristic restaurants that line the bottom of the Galata Bridge.
Morning, day, or night, during or after a meal, it's always çay time. These glasses come piping hot--a good tip I received from a çay pro is to hold them as close to the rim as possible so as not to burn your fingers.
When visiting hours are over and most of the tourists cleared out, a visit to the Blue Mosque can be just as inspiring with its floodlit domes and minarets.
Serenity now. Moments before prayer as the last tourists are trickling out, I snap a shot of the beautifully empty Blue Mosque.
Taksim is notorious for pickpockets and tourist scams. It's probably not a good idea to go wandering down the back alleys solo at night if you aren't 100% sure where they'll take you.
Rare glimpses of an empty road. The traffic in Istanbul is absolutely frightening--the driving of most taxi drivers even more so. The population of cars in Istanbul is increasing faster than its population of people, with approximately 640 new ones registered every day.
Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul takes pride in being the only city in the world situated on two continents. A ride over the Bosphorus Bridge to the Asian side in a dolmus (shared mini bus) is a must--if not to see how more European than Asian it seems, then to experience what it feels like to be on two different continents within the span of 5-7 minutes...depending on the traffic, of course.
Larissa Olenicoff is a travel addict and iPhone photographer with a passion for Europe in particular. Her travel blog The Blonde Gypsy is a colorful whirlwind of eye-candy, travel tips, and unexpected adventures that seeks to inspire world travel while simultaneously providing insight into the culture and landscape of destinations. You can follow her travels and iPhoneography there or on Instagram @theblondegypsy.