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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Global Digital Explorer

Photographer Jeff Hall infuses his travel photography with context and story


Finding A Community
Sharing his images is important to Hall. Although he has entertained the idea of being a "professional" photographer, he isn't interested in shooting someone else's vision.

"After I studied a little photography at Orange Coast College, I thought of making a career of it," Hall says. "However, I found that the kind of pictures people wanted me to take weren't the kind of pictures that I was excited about taking. I set that aside and have kept my photography as a hobby."

But rather than keeping his images to himself and a small circle of friends, Hall has reached out to share his images and his enthusiasm. Hall involved himself in communities of photographers in the real world and online. A user of the photo-sharing site PBase (www.pbase.com), he has found a place on the web not only for sharing his images, but also for meeting and learning from others who share his love of the craft.

He has especially been challenged by the Photo-A-Day exercise promoted by some in the PBase community, which encourages photographers to shoot and upload a photograph every day.

"I find that the Photo-A-Day exercise makes me really think about my photography a lot," says Hall. "I feel like I have a responsibility to myself since I've committed to doing a photo a day. There are days when I don't shoot and I have to dig into my archive, which is interesting, as I often rediscover images that I had forgotten about or had never printed."

Despite the challenges the world may throw at him, Jeff Hall continues to respond to them in the way he loves best: one picture at a time.

To see more of Jeff Hall's photography, visit his website at www.jeff-hall.com.

Jeff Hall's Travel Tips

Hall's experience as both a photographer and a member of the tourism industry has provided him with lots of insight. Make the most of your own adventures in travel photography.

1. Travel with a small group. It's important to do a small tour, where you're not on a bus with 50 people. Look for a trip that offers a lot of free time at the places you visit. You'll want a guide or a tour leader who will give you an orientation as to what's available and what to expect to see. Yet you also want the freedom to go out where you don't have to be with the group all the time.

2. Ensure that all logistics are covered. The ability to get from place to place—where all the logistics (fees, transportation, etc.) are handled—is essential. The fact that someone else is taking care of the details helps you to focus on your photography and not worry about getting to where you're going.

3. Look for the best light. Go out in good light—early morning, late afternoon—and think about it when you're walking around. Think about where the light is going to be at morning or at dusk. You can be in a beautiful place, but if the sun is overhead and the shadows are harsh, it's pretty hard to make a quality image. It's all about getting up early and staying out late.

4. Keep your compositions clean and simple. Consider what your picture is really about. Try to de-clutter the image; you can do that by excluding elements or getting close and opening up your aperture to blur the background. Make the picture about something rather than just point and shoot.


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