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Digital Travel Photography

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Official Travel Notes Blog

When I first published my 'travel photography' article online, back in 1999, we were still using Fujichrome, transparency film. Now travel photographers carry spare memory cards.

The art of taking photographs hasn't changed since then; although it seems more people are using telephones to call the shots.

I still use my mobile phone to talk to people, but whatever works for you.

Being a Travel Photographer in The Digital Age.

The worse thing about being a travel photographer on the road used to be waiting to get the films developed and seeing the results.

I would shoot rolls and rolls of film to increase my chances of getting something close to what I thought might work; the kind of shots that busy picture editors were looking for, or didn't realise were even out there.

It would sometimes be months before I could see if the light and camera angle had played together well with the subject, to create the stunning image I craved.

David Guntern-Shea

Travel photography, in the digital age, has become instant. We can even take pictures on a sailing trip and view (chimp) them, before the yacht ties up in port.

Smart phones can be used to connect to online services like Twitpic, which in turn tweets a link to your picture through Twitter.

http://twitpic.com/135xa - There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.
9:36 PM Jan 15th, 2009 via TwitPic

A famous example being when an US Airways Airbus A320 went down in the Hudson River and Janis Krums (@jkrums) was on hand to record the moment - with the presence of mind to tweet it!

The Plane in The River - on TwitPic

It's actually a very good photograph; something most photo-journalists would have been proud of, with the dirty lens somehow adding to the visual drama. News editors too, would have liked how fast the picture circulated around the world.

Shame there wasn't a Pulitzer Prize for Citizen Journalists.

Travel Photography

Gone are the days when a photographer's anticipation quickly turns to disappointment.

The tense feeling in our stomachs...... when our photographic memories returned from the lab, after a visit to far-off locations, and we discovered that the elusive, perfect shot, just didn't happen...... has been erased.

This is sometimes replaced, however, by a sense of disappointment when you click on enthusiastically-shared, Twitpic links.

Travel Notes Tips For Better Photography

Whether you're brandishing camera equipment that costs more than some people earn in a year or waving your telephone around in the air, really concenrate on what's in the frame - and what shouldn't be.

If you train yourself to look, then you will see better results; no matter how financially serious a photorapher you are.

When I had a whole bag of camera bodies and lenses stolen in China, three days before Christmas (1996), I bought a ten dollar instamatic from Tian'Men Square, and continued on to Vietnam with it.

Travel Photography Tips

Get in close - to focus on something specific.

Fill the frame with the scene - so that the viewer's eye doesn't wander.

When photographing the tourist sites, try a different angle of something that has already been photographed a million times, or try for a detail that really makes it special.

A natural border will lead the viewer's eye in to the subject. But don't overdo this, unless you want all your pictures to essentially look the same.

For people photographs, by all means take that picture of someone you know at wherever in the world it is you are, but try and make the image more stimulating. Perhaps think about photographing strangers; to give your pictures a more local flavour.

Images of architectural structures often look better in evening lighting conditions; and if you're looking, you may even see reflections.

Hortobagy, The oldest stone bridge in Hungary. Copyright Michel, Travel Notes.
Hortobagy, the oldest stone bridge in Hungary.

For sharing your images on the Internet, save photographs as jpeg files, and try to keep the sizes small. Not only will loading speed improve, but you'll also have room for more photographs if your storage space is limited.

Think Like an Editor

Digital photographers can throw away the misses and maybe even try again, on the spot - and should.

Not only does editing 'in camera' save time at the computer screen later, it also frees up memory space for better pictures.

Even if you're not a professional travel photographer, your social networking friends will be more impressed if you took the time to select images worth sharing, rather than rolling out your whole series of phone-snaps.

Sell Your Digital Photography Online:
Serious photographers need serious online solutions with unlimited storage, unlimited traffic and a built-in web commerce solution with credit card processing to handle sales of high-quality images.

Cyber Cafes Gone Cold

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Official Travel Notes Blog

When I first started Travel Notes we had Cyber Cafe listings on every country page.

I later wrote an article (Internet Cafe Guide) to feature the growing number of Internet Cafe directories; that I even used myself, when travelling.

Cyber Cafe in Ho Chi Minh City

How things have changed.

Much of what I wrote back then, with a great deal of enthusiam, now seems like cold coffee with three-day old cream curdling on top.

While many of us used to look for places to read our e-mail on the road because our computer work-stations were left at home, we can now slip a small netbook in our bag and pick up a wireless network in our hotel bedrooms before breakfast; sometimes even for free.

There are plenty of other wireless connection possibilities available when out and about for the day, and it's even possible to access the Internet and Google Maps from smart phones; whether your're travelling on a train, a bus, or sitting on the back of a donkey.

And to think that I did most of my travelling before I'd even heard about e-mail; when the only postcards I sent were ones with stamps on them, and tweet was something birds did.

Now telephones are put to the eye more than the ear, and looked at more than listened to; as a new generation of flashpackers tweet and upload videos to YouTube, faster than the old dial-up modems could crackle and gargle out their high-pitched tones.

Looking Back

When I was first thinking about getting on the Internet to learn HTML and inflict the world with my Web presence, I used a local Cybercafé to find out what it was all about.

I was an Internet geek right away; looking at what webmasters were doing by peeking at the source code. I had a new computer to play with at home, but was not yet connected with the wide world online.

We bought Internet magazines to find out about websites we might be interested in, and went down with our list of URLs on a Sunday morning and stayed there until well into the afternoon.

It soon became apparent that some of the websites needed us to register with an e-mail address. The cybercafés offered e-mail addresses, but as I hardly expected anyone to write to me, it seemed pointless to pay for an account.

Somewhere we read about free e-mail, and got connected. With these web-based (Yahoo) accounts we could keep the same address if we ever left the sheltered harbour of the Cybercafé, and went into the troubled waters of ISPs ourselves.

There was still something about viruses I didn't like the sound of, and would rather keep them away from my files and programmes.

Next step, a home on the Web. In two or three weeks we had become Cyber Citizens, and all it costed was access charged by the hour, and a few coffees; with two sugars.

Now it seems the Internet has taken over our lives and I find myself looking for WiFi connections, even on the phone.

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