Lessons from the Scene: Have Camera, Will Travel by Stanley Leary


 by Stanley Leary

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Today’s digital camera makes travel photography easier than ever.  Here are some things to thing about:
Take enough storage with you.
You’ll need several digital cards if you plan to take a lot of pictures or you can carry a small device to store and view your digital images. If you have your laptop computer you can store your images on it and free up your digital cards for more photographs.
A single zoom lens such as an 18mm-200 mm may be all you need to carry.
Traveling light not only makes your trip easier and more enjoyable it has some hidden advantages. One, it is easier to make natural photos when people don’t perceive you as a professional photographer. They relax and are more themselves.  Whipping out a huge lens or lugging a large camera bag around can intimidate your subjects. Another advantage to traveling light – you want attract as many thieves.
Buy a good guidebook about the places you plan to visit.
National Geographic publishes great travel guides that not only help you plan your trip, but your photography as well. Another good source for guidebooks is Wizard Publications (www.wizardpub.com). We used their book for our trip to Hawaii.
Guidebooks tell you about the great places and many tell the best time of day to photograph specific locations. Guidebooks are a must have. They’ll keep you from being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong light for great photos.
Check out the postcards.
They can save you time finding the best angle. Looking at the postcards and perhaps asking the locals where they were made puts you on the trail to the most dramatic locations for great photos.  Once you find that general area look around, you can probably improve on the post card picture.
Over shooting insures great photos.
Give yourself room to edit when you’re back home. If you seldom write you probably wouldn’t use the first sentence you thought of to start a paper. In writing we usually put down as many thoughts as we can and then edit. From all the thoughts and ideas jotted down we find the ones that work best.
Do the same in photography. Take lots and lots of photos. It gets the creative juices flowing, Besides, it’s fun. Try different angles: close-up, wide angle, zooming in. Shoot at low angles, climb up high and look for new ways of seeing the subject.
Back up and take the long, establishing shot. Turn around and see what’s behind you, it could be just as exciting as what is in front.
Use your camera to journal your trip.
Photograph the food you eat, where you stay and the people you meet. Some of these “notes” may end up as a large print on your wall.
With digital you can shoot the equivalent of a thousand rolls of film and fit it all into a package the size of a cell phone. Talk about traveling light… and cheap - no film cost.  I’ve never heard anyone say they took too many photos on their trip. However, I have heard the sad stories of many people who left the camera in the room and missed the golden opportunities.