Thursday, April 19, 2012

Travel Photography

   The Alitalia aircraft sits on the tarmac of Milan Airport, patiently waiting
    for the passengers heading to Israel.

   Since the beginning of time, mankind has roamed and explored this planet. We are constantly intrigued by what is out there. And to satisfy our curious nature, we continually embark on journeys to places we haven’t seen before.
   We all love to see the world, but what good are our visits to foreign lands without the story-telling photographs that can be highly stimulating and educational. There is no doubt, travel is almost pointless without the camera that preserves great memories of the places we visit. And with the advent of digital photography, internet and computers have perpetuated the quick global-sharing of photos. Through on-line photo albums, e-mails, and smart phones, sending photos has gotten shockingly easy. Yes, it has become incredibly convenient. Nearly anyone is capable of taking pictures with idiot-proof digital cameras that are available today. And yet, there are still many travelers who miss the creative picture in sharing the excitement of their journey.
   Travel Photography is another form of show-and-tell. Call it the narrative of your trip; a photojournalism if you will. Travel Photography informs, it excites and it engages the person viewing the photographs. In simple words, it brings the thrill of travel to our families and friends who were not with us during the tour.
   But how do you make the images from your camera into an art of story-telling visual presentation? Surprisingly easy! Aside from your camera, all you need is a little planning with a bit of imagination. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or a globetrotting tourist sporting a sophisticated camera. Whether you are showcasing a foreign country or just a neighbouring village from your locality, the concept is the same. You are creating a photo journal!  Shoot as many frames as you can, but at the end of the trip, there must be more photos of the place than your happy face. You may have some awesome poses in front of the Eiffel Tower but your friends already know your good looks. They can picture you with their eyes closed. Don’t bore them; give them more of what they expect to see - photos of your travel!

   Below are some pointers that can be helpful in improving your Travel Photography. 

1. CREATE THE MOOD: Use ambient light in shooting candid and your surroundings. They are great in capturing the moment. Feel it and frame it. Don't restrict your shots to eye-level perspective. Shoot some ground and overhead angles. Try to use foreground. Show the weather too. A sunny day and blue skies are great, but don’t get discouraged by the rain or cloudy skies. A gloomy day can also evoke emotion.

2. UNDERSTAND THE PLACE: Know where you are; know the identity and uniqueness of the city or the locality. Make sure you have the right shots that set the place apart. You may start with street names, public signs, architecture and landmarks, licence plates, local currency and products and so on. 

3. STAY WITH THE FLOW: Don’t forget, you are a creating a photo essay. Shoot anything that you feel is relevant to your story. If there is a flight delay, don't fret. Instead, be creative and have fun with it. Your travel photography must have a lead photo and an ending shot to wrap it up.

4. SOUND: Most digital cameras now come with built-in audio/video capability. Use that feature to record sounds that you can use as background to your slide show. Perhaps, you may want to shoot  video of a sidewalk vendor or a street busker saying a greeting in his/her language. That would be super awesome if you add that to your shots.

5. IMAGINE: Visualize the viewers of your Travel Photography. How would they react to your shots? Do you have enough interesting photos? Enough variety? What about some photos with textures, suitable as background for that collage you wanted to make? Make sure you have all the right answers before heading back home.

   So there you have it. You now have the formula to shoot a better travel photography. Enjoy your next trip wherever it may be and also let your friends enjoy your shots. Have a great holiday!

Here are some shots from my visit to Israel in 2005.

               The road signs  in the photo speak volumes. It tells a story
               and it connects to the viewer.Shot through the window of our
               tour bus during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

        Ambient light, shadows and contrast certainly play a major role
        in creating the mood in a photograph.  Seen here is the collective
        silhouette of my fellow pilgrims during a brief meeting with our tour
        guide. Shot at the courtyard of  The Church of The Holy Sepulchre
        in Jerusalem
   A ruined temple in Capernaum shows its biblical age. This is also the site
   where Jesus preached the Good News.   
         These two Jewish schoolboys make it obvious that the
          photograph was shot in Israel.
  It is always interesting to see foreign licence plates. Here is one from Israel.
    This is Lake Tiberias, better known as The Sea of Galilee where Jesus 
     calmed the violent storm.


Chrissy said...

Very helpful article! I'll be going on vacation in 2 months so I'll keep the tips in mind.

Deb said...

Great tips, Mario! I can use some of them to help me choose photos I've already taken, but I can't wait for my next trip to apply your ideas. Thanks.