Thursday, June 7, 2012

Have Camera Will travel

Almost every photographer takes travel images.
Text & Photography By Tom Bol Published in Shooting


Isn't it a bummer when you wait all year to go on an exotic photography trip, and it rains like there's no tomorrow? This is exactly what happened to my photo group in Chile.

After Easter Island, we traveled to northern Chile and the Atacama Desert. Supposedly one of the driest deserts in the world, the Atacama had rain everyday we were there. But this was a good thing. Reflection pools popped up all over town, dramatic clouds and rainbows filled the sky, and dry creek beds turned into desert streams. These storms created some of the best photography situations I've ever had on a photo workshop.

We had one stormy sunset with vibrant orange light and lightning flashing nearby, which was one of the most spectacular storms I've seen. I even managed to capture a nearby lightning strike without a special trigger. Rain might alter your activities for the day, but it also provides unique photography situations.



When most people travel, they have a set schedule they must follow. You spend your morning shopping in the market, midday at the old church and late afternoon hiking in a park. And the next day, you're on the bus heading to a new location. Obviously, you won't hit every area in optimal light for photography.

Don't be discouraged—just optimize the light. Find interesting light in your location. Look for filtered light through windows, shafts of sun in alleys, reflected light bouncing off bright walls and beaches. My philosophy is that there's always something that photographs well in the light you're given.

Midday sun? Try adding a sun star in your shot. Overcast clouds? Photograph locals and get no squinting or harsh shadows under hats. And if the light isn't what you want, use a reflector, diffusion panel or flash to create the light you need.

We photographed local Rapa Nui at sunset on Easter Island on my Chile workshop. Once the sun set, the light went flat. Rather than end this amazing portrait session, we broke out our speedlights to add some edgy light to the portraits. Create your own photographic destiny using light!
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