5 Top Travel Photo Tips

Five Top Tips 1. Get up early

get-up-earlySet your alarm and rise before the sun does. As the sun peeks above the horizon the first rays of fill the landscape with warmth. With the sun low, light rays pass obliquely through a lot of atmosphere, shorter wavelengths (blue end of spectrum) are filtered out creating beautiful orange-yellow tones.

The cooler temperatures of early morning often produce mist that scatters more light and adds atmosphere.

Just how early you need to get up and how much ‘sunrise’ time you get will depend on where you are in the world and the season.
Getting up for a sunrise on a cold winter’s day is hard but at least you don’t need to get up quite so early.

Sunrises and sunsets happen very quickly near the equator so you should have the camera settings figured out in advance. On the other hand at more extreme latitudes you might have time for a serve of Rollmop Herrings and a litre of Carlsberg (probably best avoided for breakfast).

On sunny days landscapes are rarely at their best near midday as the light is harsh, coming directly from above. If you’re not feeling quite keen enough to rise at the ‘Crack of Dawn’, then late afternoon is second best.

Five Top Tips 2. Use a Person for Scale

person-for-scalePhotographers will go to great lengths to EXCLUDE all people from their landscape pictures.
I often include a human figure to give a sense of scale.

Di and I caught an early morning local bus from Avignon that meandered the country roads and lane-ways dropping off supplies and picking up school kids along the way.

When we finally arrived at the Pont du Gard the conditions were beautiful with the crisp light of a sunny winter’s morning bathing the scene with warm tones, wisps of mist still lingered. A lovely location for photography.

The Pont du Gard was constructed in the 1st Century A.D. by the Romans. It forms part of an aquaduct that ran (mostly underground) for fifty kilometres carrying water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (today’s Nîmes).

In an effort to capture the grandeur I wanted a person (the lovely Di) to give a sense of scale.

Bali Photography Workshop 2016

5 Days of Photography, Activities, Food and Fun
Di and I are excited to announce our first overseas Photography Workshop.

This 5 day photographic workshop will be based in Ubud, the cultural heartland of Bali. Experience the vibrancy and vitality of the island through photography.Continue Reading

Five Top Tips 3. Horizons

horizonsThere is a natural tendency to put the horizon in the centre of the frame. However it tends to create dull compositions. As a general starting point I will place the horizon either one third down from the top or the frame or one third up from the bottom of the frame. This is related to another ‘rule’ of composition: The Intersection of Thirds.

As you take your landscape photographs, if you are not sure which way to go, look carefully at the scene in front of you. Where does the main interest lie? If there is a colouful sky with dramatic clouds and the foreground is not very interesting I suggest you make the picture 2/3 sky and 1/3 foreground. If the main interest of the picture is in the foreground and the sky is incidental go the other way.

The only time I would choose to place the horizon in the centre would be when wanting to emphasise symmetry. Snow capped mountains reflected in a ‘Mirror’ lake would be an example.


Five Top Tips 4. Reflect upon the Scene

reflectionsLook around you and take the time to reflect on your surroundings. Try to ‘be in the moment’, we get into a routine and can sometimes be working on ‘auto-pilot’. Slow things down and take the time to really look around you. Observe the direction of the light falling on a scene and notice where shadows are falling.

Be more aware of and look out for interesting reflections. ‘mirror images’ that create a doubling-up of the subject can work well. Landscapes reflected in still water or city lights reflected in puddles make interesting images. Look for polished chrome and car windows that reflect warped and distorted shapes and abstract colours.

Note that reflections are at their most intense when the reflecting surface (e.g. a shop window) is in the shade and when the scene being reflected is being strongly lit. This is often the case late in the afternoon as shadows lengthen, parts of the scene are enveloped in shade while other areas remain directly illuminated by warm toned rays of light.

Five Top Tips 5. Shoot ‘Contre-Jour’

sunsetHave you ever been told that when taking a photo “Always make sure you always have the Sun behind you!”
I often shoot in to the light. ‘Backlight‘ is challenging; exposure can be difficult, ‘flare‘ caused by internal reflections within lenses is sometimes unavoidable, but there are major compensations.
Light shining from behind leaves and flowers glow with ‘transmitted‘ light, the internal structure is revealed.
Strong backlighting can create ‘rim-lighting’ with glowing halos of hair or fur.

Sunsets are always popular subjects for photography. A few things to bear in mind when shooting them.
By there very nature sunsets have extreme contrast. Foreground objects will become silhouettes (unless you use ‘fill-flash’ or reflectors) so make sure foregrounds have strong, recognisable shapes e.g. palm fronds or camels on Cable Beach.
Too much exposure dilutes the intensity, use exposure compensation to give less exposure.
‘Auto White Balance‘ does not cope and will try to “correct” the gorgeous orangey colours. A simple way to stop the camera from spoiling to colour is to set the White Balance to ‘Shade’ (the symbol showing a building and shadow).


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