“Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.” Mongolian proverb
Things I Have Learned About Travel Photography
Don’t drop your camera.
.Always have your camera with you. You will not get a good shot, if the camera is in the room and they bring the baby elephants on the beach in Phuket. Sometimes you get lucky. You happen to stumble upon a scene at just the right moment. If you forgot your camera, are out of film, or your digital card is full, if you have to fumble around getting the right lens on, the moment may be gone . ( Nara, Japan )
Learn how to set your flash. ( I wrote this one for myself) Learn as much about how your camera works as you can. Im going to make this a New Years resolution for 2013. It seems more doable than giving up my vices. (Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia-or anywhere)
Ask before you take a photo of someone. I get around this one by taking a lot of photos of people from the back or by pretending I am taking someone else. My fear of rejection always keeps me from getting the perfect shot. (Kyoto,Japan)
All Buddha images, no matter how small, tacky or ruined are sacred and should never be used as a backdrop for your photo. (Ayutthaya, Thailand)
People in tribal costume ( or any kind of costume) usually expect to be paid for a photo. There are the one dollar take a photo tribes and the two dollar take a photo tribes. In fact almost anyone in a costume or native dress, expects to be paid for a photo ( live statues on Las Ramblas in Barcelona are particularly nasty if they see you trying to take a photo from afar) Sometimes that is how they earn a living, you have to decide if you would pay for someone else’s photo, are you willing to pay for your own? (Embera Tribe, Panama)
This one seems like a given. Charge your battery and while you are doing that charge your cell phone as well. ( another personal reminder). Bring an extra battery and memory card.
It seems like a good idea when you are traveling to take a picture standing in front of every monument, landmark, historical site, statue etc . When you get home, they will be your most boring photos and you will have so many of them. It is a different story when you are taking those same pictures of your very cute kids. Also, don’t make that face that everyone makes in their facebook pictures-. you know the one that I am talking about.
When taking pictures of family and friends in front of something, you have to strike a balance. You don’t want to say that dot in the picture is you near the Sagrada Familia. You don’t want it to be so close that it could have been taken in your living room. ( Red Square,Moscow, Russia – I know which speck I am in this picture – Louie could be anywhere.)
IPhoto is an excellent thing to use, It works well for centering your main object, framing your landscape and sometimes cutting the heads off of people who are always in the way of your perfect shot. At least in my Panama Canal shots they are wearing Panama Hats so it went with the theme
Sometimes taking pictures can really get in the way of appreciating what you are seeing. I spend a lot of time and money on being in the present moment . In Naoshima, Japan you are not allowed to take photos indoors or out in the museum spaces because they want you to experience the here and now.
Remember when you return home, there is no friend or family member who wasn’t on the trip that wants to see all your photos. We don’t need to see them all on facebook. Just pick a few, enough for us to be jealous of the fact that we weren’t with you, and not so many that we never need to see the place for ourselves.
Photos are great, but memories last just as long.