VIEWS: 24 PAGES: 13 CATEGORY: Other POSTED ON: 4/2/2011
Taking pictures is not as easy as it may seem. Taking travel photography is even more difficult. Get familiar with some of the simple tricks that will help you to take fabulous pics while on the road.
PROFESSIONAL The ArT of TrAvel PhoTogrAPhy Taking pictures is not as easy as it may seem. Taking travel pho- tography is even more difficult. get familiar with some of the simple tricks that will help you to take fabulous pics while on the road. PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y travel PHOtOgraPHy: February are as crucial to the travel industry as Christmas is to retailers so it’s going to be a tense period for many companies for the sec- selling tHe dream ond year running. budgets for good travel photography have been hit hard in the last few years. Much of the travel industry, somewhat surprisingly, sees photography as a luxury despite the impor- tance of the image in “selling the dream”. Cou- pled with the explosion in digital imagery, and the perception that anyone can take a photo- graph, only a limited number of forward-think- ing companies now seem to value the skills of the professional travel photographer. The travel industry is all about selling aspira- tions and depends on great images to do this. Increasingly, it’s also about selling the experi- ence of the tourists themselves, rather than the images of local life that used to be the standard. This takes us away from the endless images of poor people in far off lands (why do travellers rarely photograph the wealthy or even ‘regular’ people?) to shots of travel experience and the more conceptual imagery which is so important in the world of advertis- ing. with the dream and the experience comes the emotion. Capture that in an image and you have a winning shot. Father and daughter, Shine-Ider area, Mongolia. Photo: Kym Morris, Australia It’s a global marketplace and the internet has made it easy for someone in, say, japan to source an image direct from a stock agency It’s that time of year again! The media is full of The global economic problems, and the in England or Italy. They can also easily find a advertisements, selling us dream destinations changes in exchange rate have an immediate photographer based in any destination, mak- and exciting adventures to tempt us into book- effect on people’s travel plans and many travel ing images readily available to any interna- ing our next holiday. So as our thoughts turn to companies are waiting nervously for the phone tional tourist destination. travel, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of to ring. will people not take their annual holi- Some believe that in a recession holidays travel – and of travel photography. day or will they just book later? january and become more important, and are one of the februar y, 2011 — 16 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y images which take a contemporary or even artistic approach. The 2010 winners include beautiful and intriguing black and white images, together with joyous, vibrant and engaging images which transport the viewer right into the heart of the experience. Too often travel images are simply observational, yet the new winners of this truly international and prestigious award are much more elegant and insightful about the places, the people and the experiences Temples and pagodas at sunset, Bagan, Myanmar. which they share with the viewer. Mass ordination of 34,000 monks, Wat Phra Dham- Photo: Christopher Martin, Canada Travel photography is very much alive and makaya temple, Pathum Thani, Bangkok, Thailand kicking but not as it’s been conventionally per- Luke Duggleby, UK few things which we’re reluctant to forego ceived. It’s changing, and photographers must completely. If this is true, and people cut adapt to survive. If they can, there are oppor- to pay a little more to travel with companies back on other non-necessities, then the tunities. Especially as the tourism industry which provide peace of mind. These same market for travel photographs will still be clamours and competes for our holiday dollar, consumers will see a travel company’s reluc- there. but they’ll have to be the right travel euro or pound, with good imagery an effective tance to pay for good photography as an indi- photographs, so photographers who shoot way to get us to spend. The forward-thinking cator of a company’s attitude to providing a travel need to rethink what and how they companies, who pay attention to the photog- better quality of service to their paying cus- shoot. raphy which they use to promote their prod- tomers. The winners of the 2010 Travel Photographer ucts, are the most likely beneficiaries whilst To see all the winning images in TPOTy 2010 of the year awards have just been announced. those who only want the images they can get visit www.tpoty.com. Over the years these awards have showcased for free, or for very little money, will undoubt- some marvellous and varied imagery. They edly struggle. have also mirrored, and sometimes lead, inter- From the travel consumer’s perspective, By Chris Coe esting trends in travel photography. Of course there is a growing realisation that a holiday Chris Coe is a travel photographer and organiser of the many photographers are still producing the that is inexpensive can have its drawbacks, prestigious international Travel Photographer of the same type of travel images that were fashion- when things don’t go to plan or acts of god Year awards. able 10 years ago, but of more interest are the intervene. with this will come a willingness http://www.tpoty.com februar y, 2011 — 17 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y PHOtOgraPHy tOur mornings, the preferred time of year for clear skies and quiet villages. One of my highlights along this journey has been watching the first at tHe tOP Of tHe WOrld light on the peaks of nilgiri and knowing we are the only people in town who've noticed. Further up the road we reach Muktinath, a Photography in Nepal is full of diverse riches, holy destination of immense significance to from the newari villages of Kathmandu Val- the Hindus. Pilgrims walk from northern India ley, the colours of Hinduism and the wilds of just to dip their head in the holy waters of this lowland jungles in the south of the country. temple. buddhists also have a connection here, but the Himalayas are what makes nepal truly and the hillsides around the complex are lay- unique, with or without the camera. ered with prayer flags in all directions. Chorten There's a new road that takes travellers into make silhouettes against the sky and prayer the high reaches of the annapurna Ranges, flags flutter in the wind. one of nepal's most scenic regions. Dirt track This is our highest point on the tour, and high is perhaps a more suitable expression than enough to feel the effects of altitude sickness 'road', and the only vehicles that can get up if you didn't take it slowly. go slow is one of and down are Indian built 4wDs that rattle and the core philosophies for my photographic shake as rocks and dust slip about beneath the adventures. Slow is good, slow leads to better tyres. The drivers are cowboys, young guns photos. when you rush about trying to shoot with hip-hop Hindi music blaring and their hair everything there is a danger of capturing noth- tied back with a bandanna. ing. going slow means taking a moment to Travel photography demands you get off the reflect on your inspiration, having a chance to beaten track at every opportunity, and that connect with local people and cultivating your sometimes means trading comfort for adven- own expression with your photography. ture. It's a bumpy ride in the 4wDs to reach To me the camera is like a paint brush, and in towns like Kagbeni, but once you've arrived the hands of different people it will tell differ- the camera is entertained with snow-capped peaks, goat herdsmen and the charms of Tibetan people. This is the lower edge of the get Packing upper Mustang, where nepal meets Tibet. Ewen Bell’s Nepal Photography Tour is a 16-day adventure taking place in February getting to Kagbeni requires some careful each year and costs $4300 per person with all planning and I tailor the tours with a slow tran- meals and internal flights included. Visit www. sition through the altitude, adjusting to the ewenbell.com for details. Other itineraries thinner air and getting in a few early starts to include China, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Cambo- watch the sunrise. It's icy cold in the Spring dia and Australia. februar y, 2011 — 18 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y ent stories. Every act of photography is an act tography, debating philosophies and discover- ter-sweet, and the better the travel the more of expression, and I try to help our travellers ing new perspectives. Coming to grips with the reluctant we are for the journey to end. find better ways to express themselves. This power of wide-angle photography, discovering Fortunately our moments will live on in the is why small groups matter so much, so I have new ways to compose images with a shallow photos. Every image will take on a new life as the time to share my time with everyone who depth of field or just gaining some confidence we share them online, print them in books or travels in my group. Too many photographers when approaching strangers are all opportuni- publish them in magazines. being on a photog- in one place is also a problem, frightening off ties to expand your camera skills. raphy tour is an experience that lasts a lifetime. the subject matter and creating competition Muktinath is our turning point for the nepal between cameras. tour, and sitting above the temples with prayer By Ewen Bell My definition of a small group is just 8. Small flags around me I am mindful that we begin Ewen Bell is an award-winning photographer from is good. heading back to Kathmandu from here on. Australia who leads photographic tours across Asia. He Sharing two weeks with a group of like- It's always a little sad when journeys come to is also a contributor to the travel media in Australia, minded people, and sharing my experience an end, sad to be closer to saying goodbye to and publishes a website with free advice for photogra- and ideas is one of the most rewarding ways to new friends and sad to return to the real world phers who enjoy travel. travel. For two weeks all we talk about is pho- that waits for us at home. Travel can be bit- http://www.photographyfortravellers.com februar y, 2011 — 19 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y quick tiPs – HOW tO take Respect other cultures. Try to blend in as much as possible. we wouldn’t like a foreign photographer to intrude in our homes or dis- gOOd travel PHOtOs turb a church service after all... Try learning a bit of the language. Even a few phrases may go a long way – in many countries When photographing people, there are some people do not expect foreigners to do so, but things to pay attention to: are pleasantly surprised as this shows that you really take an interest. by the way: this may result in new contacts, prices may drop and general you may be able to get the consent for a pic- Know your camera well before setting out ture more easily. on an important trip – you may not be able to Read up on your destination. use web repeat it! forums, newsgroups etc. to get some first-hand Know the characteristics of your film – it information and travel tips. a very good way “sees” things differently from you! being able of finding some scenic spots not mentioned in to predict those differences helps prevent the major guide books. unpleasant surprises. Try to choose the best light for your subject cOmPOsitiOn and make the best use of the light you have. Position your subject outside the centre, think about the “rule of thirds”. travel Learn more about the rules of composition. bring enough film and batteries (for the cam- Experiment with breaking those rules. era and other items like an external flash). It Eliminate unnecessary clutter. Check the may be difficult to obtain your favourite film background before pressing the shutter, espe- on the road and it may have been stored incor- cially for portraits. rectly. get your horizon straight. you will see even Make a list of items you want to bring with small deviations from a straight line. you well before travelling and check that you not everything has to be sharp in a picture. have everything well before leaving. Try to concentrate on the main elements by On flights, never check in film with your main reducing depth of field, especially if you have luggage. an interesting subject in the foreground (e.g. before photographing people, make sure that portraits) they do not object. This is not only polite – it For good reasons, wide-angle lenses are often results in better photos. often used for landscapes. However, this makes februar y, 2011 — 20 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y light of midday and overcast skies can create very special atmospheres that will also look more “unusual” as most photographers just put away their cameras at this time... equiPment a tripod is very useful for low-light situations and when using a strong tele-photo lens. a flash can be more helpful in broad daylight (as fill flash) than at night. Remember that the inbuilt camera flash will have a range of only a few meters. when using filters, always take an unfiltered version of the picture as well (except for uV or daylight filters). a polarising filter can eliminate reflections or enhance saturation. a neutral density grey filter covering the bright parts of a picture can help reduce con- trast. a good lens is more important than a camera with many features. it especially important to look for something changing film etc. If you do not have a tripod interesting in the foreground. with you, try to use an elevated object like a lOOking at yOur Pictures For portraits, tele lenses usually are best. you wall instead. may need a different film to produce natural when in doubt, bracket (take several shots If you buy very expensive photo equipment skin colours. Choosing a different angle can with different exposures), especially when but then print your images on a cheap printer, hide or pronounce physical characteristics. using slide film which is much more unforgiv- you may not be doing them justice. The lens ing of wrong exposures than print material. of a slide projector is as important for the per- get close. The face is the most important part ceived image quality as is the lens of your cam- of your subject. a portrait will usually be much Try to shoot mainly in the morning and eve- era. The same goes for prints, computer moni- more impressive and personal as a close-up. ning as the light usually is better for most sub- tors and even the canvas you use for a slide Showing the whole body rarely is necessary. jects. show. when shooting at night, use a tripod and In less perfect weather conditions, you may a cable release or the self timer. a flashlight find subjects that look actually more interest- By Laurenz Bobke can be very handy for checking the setup and ing than on a sunny day. Rain, fog, the harsh http://www.travelphoto.net februar y, 2011 — 21 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y taking interesting don’t have to check your teeth for food either as the camera is not right in front of your face. xshot and Quickpod are two of the more popu- “i Was Here!” sHOts lar brands. set tHe camera dOWn not every shot has to be held so close! It’s ok to put the camera down (if you’re not wor- ried about someone swiping it) on just about anything. It often helps to place a coat, soft bag or something squishy under the camera so you can reposition it as needed. use the live view feature on the LCD to make sure everyone is in the shot (as a tall person, I have been chopped off more than once in these scenarios). use the self timer, they’ve been standard on most cam- eras for decades. newer cameras also have the possibility of using a remote control which gives you ultimate control if the crowd you’re with gets unruly. be gOOfy, POse! Have fun! well, that is, if you’re having fun. Chances are you want to memorialize your location, and the fact that you were there, because it’s something you enjoy. Show that! Let’s spice things up a bit! not every photo same task. They are those, how do I describe Pose. Show off. grab a stranger and bring them of you during a trip needs to be taken while them…”arm extenders”. The telescoping poles into the shot (as long as they’re friendly!). holding the camera at arms length with various with a camera mount, perfect for point and Liven it up! national monuments in the upper right corner shoot units, that allow for a better composed of the screen. Here are some options for spic- grab a prop if something is near by. anything picture. Placing the camera further away from will do. a wig, a dog, previous vice-presidential ing things up a little. your body allows more of the background to candidates. anything to cause confusion for show up. Instead of your head being half of the your viewing audience back home. It’s a digi- extend yOur reacH screen and the Eiffel Tower taking up 1/12th, tal camera after all, if you don’t like the shot you might have seen them around. They you can create a more fun, exciting composi- just delete it and shoot another. Speaking of go by different names but all accomplish the tion showing more of the city. The bonus is you which…. februar y, 2011 — 22 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y multiPle sHOts and the camera will allow you to choose the a peak. Or the first person to rock climb a partic- number of photos you wish to take on self- ular route to the top. I was paging through the One popular application for the iPhone is timer mode, sometimes as many as ten. Some photos of my fellow rock climber, bill urbanski, called Photobooth. It works like the classic pho- cameras even have the option to start taking that he took on a recent roadtrip and began tobooths still around in many malls, arcades the photo when they detect your face is in the to notice a theme; at every state border sign and carnivals. Drop you coins in the slot, step picture, making the mad sprint from camera to he not only stopped for the photo, but he also inside and Poof! Poof! Poof! Poof! Four shots pose a thing of the past. Check your manual, you decided to climb to the top. now, mind you, bill in rapid succession. The iPhone app does the might have this feature and not even know it! is an experienced rock climber, so I wouldn’t same thing and can be a lot of fun. suggest attempting this dangerous sport unless and most people don’t know their regular climb On stuff you have some type of coordination, or you’re digital camera can do the same! a number of crazy like bill. but coupling this technique with newer cameras have this feature built into the There’s an illustrious tradition in rock and the face recognition self timer makes for some auto-timer setting. Scroll through the menus mountain climbing of being the first person up fun photos of his “first ascents”. He hopes to have all 50 done soon but I’m not so sure there is a tall sign for Hawaii. Don’t tell him that. “I was here!” doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. It can be lively and fun, especially for those back home who will be paging through your 400 images of Rome when you return. give them something to remember! By Peter West Carey Peter West Carey is a world traveler who loves sharing his experiences and knowledge at photography work- shops, through photo presentations and photo tours. http://www.digital-photography-school.com februar y, 2011 — 23 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y bOnjOur vaHza – PHOtOgraPHing madagascar’s cOuntryside There are a few ways to see all that Madagas- car has to offer. Each method presents its own unique experiences as well as challenges. The conveyances you use to get around depend strongly on your time constraints, your com- fort level in unusual situations, and the overall goal of your trip to Madagascar. traveling tHe cOuntry – tHe basics: The cheapest and most rustic way to see Mad- agascar would involve hopping on a taxi-brusse and spending hours on the road shoulder-to- shoulder with people, pigs and chickens (and turkeys, ducks, etc). although you’d get some stories, meet some people (as well as have a character-building opportunity), you will have a hard time getting photos. These bush taxis are on a schedule that doesn’t including stop- ping for grand scenics. If you are seeking to experience Madagascar rather than just pho- tograph it – and you speak French – this is your best option. I look forward to reading your article on traveling through Madagascar on a shoestring while quietly marveling at your self- reliance. If it is your first time exploring a developing nation, or if your French language skills are non-existent, a guided tour is probably your best choice. Transportation, guides, food, and februar y, 2011 — 24 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y lodging will all be taken care of which leaves you to focus on photography – and gigantic spi- ders! a guided tour does mean that you’ll miss some opportunities. you are forced to abide by someone else’s timetable and this can be prob- lematic if you’re the only “serious” photogra- pher on the tour. by doing a little research and asking pointed questions you can find a guide service that is both flexible and willing to cater to your specific photographic needs. Do you speak fluent French? Do you laugh at the thought of armed cattle rustlers “sharing” your rice for a strip of zebu pulled from a dirty backpack? If you’ve answered yes then another travel option presents itself. Hiring a dedicated vehicle with a driver/guide is an excellent way to get off the beaten path. The flexibility you’ll gain in having a vehicle all to yourself is hard to beat. when hiring a vehicle a decent four-wheel drive is a must. Madagascar’s roads turn to vast expanses of red mud during the rainy season – late november to March – and no amount of pushing will set you free once stuck. Costs for a rental with driver run $50 to $100 uSD a day. you’ll need to pay for diesel, which can be quite expensive, so make sure you’ve got guides, etc.) have suggestions for lodgings your driver sleeps never, ever, leave anything in enough money before leaving the city. Larger and can be a great help in finding accommoda- the car overnight. If you’ve an overdeveloped towns might have banks to exchange money tion in a pinch. a mosquito net or travel tent sense of decency, most hotels will have driver if you run short while on safari. The rates at for sleeping indoors is a necessity. Take your rooms available at a reduced rate. these establishments are less favorable than in malaria medications. Cerebral malaria occurs the capital and you’ll need to budget one to in Madagascar and getting it isn’t a story you’ll get to share with friends. develOPing a Plan: two hours for waiting in line. If you forgo traveling with a tour for the free- generally your driver will insist on sleeping in now here comes the big question – “what dom of self-directed exploration you’ll need or near the car. This is often company policy to would you like to photograph?” Exotic ani- to plan ahead for accommodation. Many of prevent theft of the vehicle while other times mals? Rare flowers? Scenic landscapes of the the travel books (Lonely Planet, bradt Travel it is just driver preference. Regardless of where desert, rainforest, and sandy beaches? Colo- februar y, 2011 — 25 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y “Les baobabs amoureux” – two large baobabs intertwined in a lovers’ embrace. Madagascar’s southwest is home to the Sakalava and Vezo people. Traditionally these groups have depended on the sea for their sur- vival and at sunrise, villagers take their canoes and outriggers out towards traditional fishing grounds. During the harsh light of mid-day it might be best to focus your photography on the details of island life. Local fish markets, families mending fishing nets and the distinc- tive and colourful Vezo and Mahafaly tombs present some wonderful opportunities. Later in the day, palm trees with long white sand beaches render classic sunset images. tHe east cOast: with the Indian Ocean lapping at its beaches, the east coast of Madagascar is significantly wetter than the dry and spiny forests of the southwest. along with this difference in humidity comes a change in topography. The long meandering rivers and large flood plains are replaced by steep escarpments and quickly nial history, pirate history, or a mix of african a wonderful combination when you are on a flowing rivers. The east coast has large areas of and Indonesian cultures? Don’t worry – Mada- schedule. forest as many areas are too steep to cultivate. gascar has you covered. Stands of bamboo and palms are common on I’m a plan kind of guy. Even if it is a loosely the road from antananarivo to the coast. tHe dry sOutHWest: assembled list of towns or regions, I like to a short drive east of Tana is analamzaotra have an idea of where, when and how. Divid- The southwest of Madagascar offers exotic Special Reserve and the national Park of anda- ing Madagascar into three broad areas with flora, lemurs, wonderful bird watching and sibe-Mantadia; also known as Perinet to the antananarivo as your base will help you plan the fishing culture of Madagascar’s Sakalava ex-pats. Lemurs, including the world’s largest your photographic tour. Madagascar is a large and Vezo people. The large coastal city of lemur – the Indri, birds and reptiles present island and if you decide to travel by car you’ll Morondava is a good starting place for find- photographic opportunities here. while the be at least a day away from anything. Flying is ing the iconic images from this region. nearby wide-open spaces of the southwest provided an option but can be expensive and unreliable, you’ll find the “avenue of the baobabs” and too much light, the rainforests of the east coast februar y, 2011 — 26 — PROFESSIONAL th e a r t o f tr a v e l P h o t o g r a p h y can be thick and dim (much like me). you’ll help reduce dust spots. If you need to switch cOcOnut rum: need to be working with a high ISO and fast lenses just remember to turn your camera lenses to capture the wildlife here. Flora body off first – nothing attracts dust like a fully after a week or two on the road, it is finally and macro enthusiasts will find enough sub- charged sensor. time to reward yourself for stepping outside jects to keep them busy as well. Remember your comfort zone. Madagascar has some of to bring your off camera flash to freeze the the best sugar cane rum in the world. Vanilla action and give your images sufficient depth tHe nOrtHern reacHes and lychee flavoured are both very good – of field. Of madagascar: but my money is on the good old fashioned Coconut Rum. be daring one more time and If the thoughts of andasibe-Mantadia and Last but not least, are the northern reaches find the homemade concoction sold in old analamzaotra whet your appetite for wildlife of Madagascar. If you’ve been waiting for me water bottles. It looks cloudy and mysteri- photography, a trip to Ranomafana national to mention underwater photography you’re ous and the bottles are always a little sticky, Park is a must. a day’s drive from Tana, Rano- in luck. The northwest is wonderful for diving but if you’re so inclined it is glorious stuff. mafana is one of the best known destina- and snorkeling, especially around the large Find yourself a beach, put down that camera, tions in Madagascar for ecotourism. Lemurs, island of nosy be. whale Sharks, Manta Rays, and take a little time to watch the world go reptiles, birds, and butterflies can be found coral reefs, and if you dive deep enough, by. you’re no longer a Vahza in Madagascar – amongst sweeping vistas, tumbling rapids and Coelacanth can all be seen off this coast of you’ve gone gasy. rain – lots of rain. Madagascar. (text shortened) Madagascar is nothing if not challenging If undersea adventure isn’t really your “cup photographically. During your time in Mada- of tea” don’t fear, there are plenty of land- gascar you’ll either be trying to keep your gear based opportunities. The Masoala (Mawsh- free from dust or dry. although zip-lock bags whawl) peninsula on the northeast coast is Photos: Author will work, upgrading to a dedicated protec- Madagascar’s largest protected area. Lemurs By Aleksei Saunders tive cover (Kata Elements Cover or something and tropical birds inhabit the rainforest found After stints as a whale trainer, mechanical engineer, similar) will give you more piece-of-mind. In on this large appendix of land dangling out into and fisheries consultant Alex Saunders arrived at the Denver Zoo in the mid 90’s. Photography has been a relation to replacing a camera body, such cov- the Indian Ocean. During the austral winter constant thread throughout Alex’s many careers; a ers are relatively cheap. Changing lenses is humpback whales visit the bay of antongil to passion he pursues along many paths and genres. another matter and there is no foolproof solu- breed and give birth to young. nearby is nosy A display of his work from Madagascar can be found tion. Carrying an extra body is always recom- Mangabe, one of the best places to find the on his conservation website mended for long trips. Equip it with your sec- nocturnal aye aye–certainly one of the strang- http://www.madagascarfish.org/gallery.html. ond favorite lens to minimize lens changes and est looking mammals on the planet. http://www.travelphotographers.net februar y, 2011 — 27 —
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