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Monday, March 26, 2007

Ultimate Travel Photography

Camera techniques to help you shoot like a pro on your next photo adventure

Ultimate Travel PhotographyUltimate Travel Photography8 Be Aware of the Background
 These two images, one of a group of giraffes "babysitting," as the guides call it, and one of the cheetah on the lookout for "breakfast," illustrate an important technique: Be aware of the background; it can make or break the shot.

Imagine how the picture of the giraffes would look with the tree line in the background running through their necks or heads. And in the picture of the cheetah, the animal's head is surrounded by only out-of-focus grass.

 So, you can control the background by careful composition and by carefully selecting a wide aperture to blur the background. In Photoshop, you can selectively blur the background using the Gaussian Blur filter.

Ultimate Travel Photography9 Respect and Learn About Your Subject
When I meet strangers in strange lands, I always show respect for them and for their culture. This is of prime importance if you want to be accepted and if you want to get good images.

Learning about what you're photographing is important, too. This young boy is wearing the mane of a lion he killed. Discovering that fact from my guide made the photo session much more interesting for the subject and me.

I lit this subject with a 36-inch gold reflector that bounced the early-morning light into the dark doorway of his hut. When I travel, I always take a reflector/diffuser kit with me to help control natural light. Basically, these accessories help reduce the contrast range in a scene. A flash also can reduce the contrast range, filling in shadows caused by direct light. 

Ultimate Travel Photography10 Have Fun!
I've saved this tip for last. Have fun with your photography and take the fun shots, too. To depict the "roads" over which we traveled, I took this grab shot through the windshield of our safari vehicle on a rainy day. At the time, I wasn't having too much fun. However, I knew that in sharing the picture, it would bring a smile to my face and the faces of those with whom I shared the image. Speaking of which, here's a quote by one of the most famous travelers of all time, Marco Polo: "An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence."    

Rick Sammon offers additional tips for improving your travel photography in his guide, Rick Sammon's Travel and Nature Photography (W.W. Norton & Co., 2006). Visit his website at www.ricksammon.com for more information.



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