One of the biggest challenges when visiting any famous, high-profile place is to capture unique images. Such places are usually very crowded, fully packed with tourists. The visuals from different media presentations and advertising are varied and, to some extent, quite manipulative. They bring within your attention bandwidth some visual ideas that you are easily tempted to copy. There are many ways to get rid of these stereotypes and to produce something special. There is a general strategy I have described in this article “Mont Saint Michel – travel photography technique“. However, each place offers you a certain type of inspiration guiding you in creating unique images.

For me, one such challenge was Chambord Castle. This is the largest castle in France on the Loire Valley. It is literally huge; inside you can notice the exaggerated luxury of a bipolar society, in which the perfection-aiming lifestyle of “some” was built on the suffering of many “invisible others”. But I was mostly attracted by the huge area around the castle, which includes a large forest and some interesting paths along some canals. Being an innate walker, I tried to combine unique elements discovered by exploring the fields and, in this way, to turn the huge castle into a small but important element of some images. Using a few general ideas, I found the places where these elements could be used to generate more special images, breaking the pattern of the beaten path of stereotypes.

These ideas are as follows:

  1. Framing the main topic in the background through unique elements in the foreground.
  2. Using unique perspectives and points of view to emphasize the main topic.
  3. Highlighting some elements from the foreground by which you actually draw attention to the main subject appearing as secondary.
  4. Using reflections in totally unusual places and times of the day.
  5. Fusing the iconic image of the castle with specific ad-hoc activities of various people (tourists).
  6. Identifying and making the most of the lighting opportunities that arise at different times.

This is how the images in this series came about. You can write in the comments which of them is your favourite. It’s important to mention that in the presentation of these ideas we talk about a “random inspiration” which takes place, in principle, in photographer’s mind, vision and soul. In addition, there is another kind of inspiration that can be discussed in relation to photography. This is the “technological inspiration“, much more debated and presented in different places. And this is because it connects with different marketing plans that contribute….slightly forcibly though…. to making the photographic process profitable. Yes, technology is a source of inspiration and a great help in photography (lenses, focal lengths, incredible technical capabilities of the cameras). But to be complete, the photo must result from the combination of the above mentioned two sources of inspiration. And also, the profitability and the “marketing” of an ad-hoc inspiration (similar to what happens with “technological inspiration”) would be a manifestation of real innovation, therefore extending and advancing the photographic “phenomenon”. In the end, this is a human/technological “phenomenon” and the fact that devices can generate images should not exclude people, who are real and, sometimes, imperfect.