Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Travel Photography

4 Queens
Originally uploaded by Apocaplops.
I've been on vacation in Las Vegas the past week or so, taking lots of pictures and losing some money. Traveling is a lot of fun for me, and I always like to take pictures while I'm about, but I find it difficult at times. I have a hard time choosing what kinds of cameras to take with me, what film, where to take pictures, and what kind of photos to take. Some of what I have learned:

1) Pack light. This may not be hard for most photographers, but if you're like me you have about 40 cameras to choose from when you take a photo. I brought four on this trip, and really that was two too many. I ended up taking my Pentax dSLR, Rolleicord, Polaroid SLR680 and Olympus XA. Next time I think just the XA and Pentax would do just fine. I brought the tripod too, which wasn't a bad idea, but I didn't use it as much as I could have. I'd suggest an SLR that has lots of control along with a small pocketable P&S would be a great combo.

2) Scope out some places before taking the trip. The internet is your best place to find the best photo spots in an unfamiliar place. Look and see what locals and other travelers take in the same area. You don't have to take the same photos, but it can give you an idea of what has been done before, and where the interesting places are.

3) Digital is best for "vacation snapshots." As much as I love medium format and Polaroid, I just don't seem to have the time to fiddle with them while I'm on a trip. With a compact digital, you can take perfectly wonderful snapshots 99% of the time and be pleased with the results. Plus, you'll have the camera when the perfect picture comes along.

4) Think outside the vacation mode. When I take photos while traveling I find it very easy to fall into the "Oh, that's pretty *snap*" mode of photography. Because everything you see is new, you tend to forget to do a lot of the things that make photography interesting. Try some people shots. Try some detail shots. Not every travel photo has to be a landscape or a friend posed in front of a local landmark.

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