Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com
CHECK OUT THIS MONTH’S BUYERS’ GUIDE FORMORE TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
To make the most of your opportunities, picking the right kit is vital, but of course you can’t take everything, so what do you choose? The best way of deciding is to base your choices on where you’re going and what you’re shooting – hence the need for proper planning before you pack. Is it a quick trip with some good opportunities, or a dedicated photo break? The former might mean taking a small shoulder bag or day-pack with one camera, opting for an all-in-one zoom, and a few accessories; the latter will see you wanting more lens choices or a backup body and then a larger bag. Either way, if you can streamline your gear you’ll have a more enjoyable, and less fatiguing trip. When it comes to air travel, no one wants to put their sensitive kit in the hold, so check airline hand baggage restrictions and make sure your bag fits well within them. Again, streamlining is important as even if your bag physically fits, you may go over the weight limit, simply because you’ve squeezed in stuff you may not even use. Extra memory 2. Pack the right kit
MIGGÖ SPLAT DSLR mymiggo.com £13.99
LOWEPROPASSPORT MESSENGER lowepro.co.uk £50
cards and a spare battery will weigh less and be more vital than another lens. What separates photographers from random clickers is often taking a camera support, allowing not only greater sharpness, but also creative effects like multiple and long exposures. Thoughts obviously turn to lightweight legs like the carbon-fibre Vanguard 265CB (see this month’s Buyers’ Guide) but you can get a lot done with a mini version; the Miggö Splat DSLR (reviewed last issue), for instance, has a design that can be flattened and slotted into your bag, and despite weighing only 110g can support up to 1.5kg.
4. Get some local flavour
Many successful travel shots have the ability to convey a location without further description. How do capture that essence? It’s tricky for sure, because locations mean different things to different people. As a photographer, the best route is to be true to what you feel. Ask yourself, what is it about the place that strikes you as special and interesting? What were your first impressions and what drew your eye? Was it the sunshine, or the mist? The iconic architecture, the landscape or the way people are dressed? Whatever it was, make it your mission to record it. Add to this visual clues, like distinctively dressed locals, signage, iconography or landmarks and you’ll have a recipe for success.
3. Set yourself some projects
To function as a photographer, you need ideas and themes to work with; random shooting is seldom successful beyond being a pure record of where you were and when, and it’s unlikely to offer you much different to the thousands of photographers who’ve been there before you. Try to think in terms of projects when you’re travelling and your efforts will be much more successful. You could pick a specific subject, like food or transportation, or decide to shoot in a particular way, using only certain types of lens or angle. Projects don’t always have to be pre-planned though, and you’ll often find something that interests you in the location. This doesn’t need to be shot at the expense of everything else, but will form a nice study to look back on. On a recent trip to Vienna, I began to notice how prominent the city’s trees were, and how they seemed to interact with the architecture, so I concentrated on them to produce a series of similar shots.
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