The world has shrunk allowing us to reach places and people that previously were only dreams or perhaps mysterious places in an atlas.
Most people travelling today carry a camera. In some cases it maybe only a modern mobile phone with its own built-in camera. However on their return home and / or after down-loading a considerable number of images to their computer there tends to be a degree of disappointment with the results. There can be many reasons for this, some of which are covered below.
Many people who only photograph while on a trip or travelling tend to forget some important 'basics' regarding their photography and may well benefit from a re-reading of some of the articles, particularly those dealing with Light, Composition, Nature and People as topics we will most certainly encounter on our travels.
Some additional helpful suggestions / recommendations:
Check the Internet for useful information regarding the places you will visit.
Refer to relevant books and maps.
When you arrive talk to the 'locals' as they can advise and even guide you around.
Enquire about local events and festivals.
Check your equipment and decide exactly what you need to take while at the same time considering the weight factor. If you are uncomfortable (for whatever reason), your photography will suffer.
Your choice of what to take is a very personal one but do give consideration to having a 'backup' should you encounter a serious problem with either your camera body and / or len(s).
Additional equipment should include a spare memory card of at least 8 - 16 Gbytes and 2 spare fully charged batteries. Should you have access to electricity, include a battery charger. Another useful item is an external hard disk to download (backup of ) your image files.
Should you anticipate poor light (long exposures) the addition of a strong light tripod would be of benefit.
Other recommended equipment to be added to the above include a good torch (and spare batteries) and an updated First Aid Kit to cover most emergencies.
Obviously comfortable and solid walking shoes / boots and a suitable hat are a must.
Keep an open mind at all times with the aim to explore.
Early mornings and late afternoons tend to provide the best light.
Fast shutter speeds will 'capture' movement.
Another useful option is to pre-focus on a particular spot and wait for the action to arrive!
'Panning' maybe also another option while remembering to follow through after the shutter release.
Low angle shots against the sky are also sometimes very effective.
Note taking, either during the day or in the evening can help your memory with details of where you took the image, subjects and when. This may also help you when you review your images on your return.
The climate and weather conditions are important considerations and will clearly effect your photography. Travel prepared! Take a small umbrella (depending on the wind) and shower caps to protect body / lens from moisture or rain.
Cold weather effects batteries. In low temperatures keep your camera inside your coat.
In high temperatures do not leave / store you camera(s) inside a closed car.
Watch moving from cold to hot temperatures as this causes condensation.
Humidity may harm your equipment.
Salty air corrodes so try to keep away from sea /salt spray.
Dust is always a major problem! If you need to change lens try to do this in a closed space and / or out of the wind.
At the end of the day remember to clean your equipment.
Correct your light meter reading for snow and / or sand. In these cases we tend to obtain an 'over' reading which needs correction. Measure the light from a 'middle grey' or the palm of your hand.
Use side lighting for details and texture.
To emphasize water movement use slow shutter speeds such as 1/8 or 1/15 of a second.
Etiquette / Manners
Remember that politeness and respect is essential at all times.
Watch for posted signs (airports, military installations, border areas) where photography is forbidden.
Approach people before you photograph them and request their permission. Respect their refusal!
Officials may also not agree to be photographed but your approach may make a difference.
Be particuarly careful when attempting to photograph women (especially Muslims) as you probably need permission from husbands, fathers and / or brothers.
Photographing inside mosques requires permission (see the Iman).
In certain countries (Caribbean) it is forbidden to photograph slums and / or beggars.
In some countries people, including children expect to be paid (tipping) in return for being photographed. It maybe a good idea to have some small local currency available.
Respect other photographers trying to obtain that special image.
Remember the environment (fauna / wildlife) and leave no rubbish or signs that you have been there.
Additional Thoughts / Suggestions
Look for a 'story'.
Do not wait for a better moment - take the picture - and then wait for a possible better opportunity.
Dress inconspicuously (clothes that fit IN and not OUT).
Capture people in their environment / work.
Markets are good places to explore but watch out for pickpockets / thieves.
Report stolen equipment immediately to the police and obtain written copies of their reports for customs and insurance purposes.
The first step is edit your images.
After deleting those images whose quality is not up to your expectations, sort and store the remaining images according to some established personal system. This could be via topic or country for example.
An efficient filing system (and backup) is essential.
File all notes, maps and documentation for future use.
When preparing a presentation of your images calculate the number of images required taking into account the time available and length of commentary / questions. Your audience will also be a factor to be considered.
Examine your equipment for any damage. Clean thoroughly and remove the batteries if you do not plan to use the camera(s) for an extended period.
Finally start thinking / planning the next trip!
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