There are four major ingredients go into making a successful travel photograph: location, timing, composition and lighting. Of these, the last is the real variable and the least predictable. It also makes a powerful difference to an image. You can research and choose the location, improve on your photogapher’s skills at timing and composing, but the lighting is just how you ﬁnd it. For all travel photography other than night-time and interiors, it is completely weather dependent. Certainly, you can make weather predictions, and choose to visit destinations at the times of year that should deliver the kind of lighting you would prefer, and in the pages that follow we show how to set about this. But ultimately, for most of the time, you will be dealing with a variety of light that is not of your choosing. The only control available is to wait. And for travellers who need to move on to the next destination, this choice is limited.
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Photography is a way of looking at the world, and everybody looks at the world differently. Each of us has a visual and emotional point of view, just as we have an intellectual point of view. These are responses to the world before us, and photography is one of the best ways in which we can express them.
In the beginning, of course, there was light. Wlithout light there is no tone, no hue, no shadows, no difierentiation between skin, hair or eye colour. Light depends on the time of day, geographical location and the weather. It is transient, illusive, magical, and to chase it and capture it is one of the pleasures of the travelling hunter photographer. How light afiects photography is described in the chapter on Light.
Light also reveals shape and form, the relationship between man and nature, how the world falls into place, No matter artificial light or natural light. Our eyes are astonishingly complex. For a start, there are two of them, so we never see the world from a single viewpoint. We can take in a whole scenes at a glance, or we can focus on a single object or person. We have learned from nature to understand what is beautiful nature invariably gets it right, composing itself into hillsides, woodland and seascapes. Onto this man has added his hand, often trying his best to work with nature, to be sympathetic to the surroundings. A good photograph must take account of the juxtaposition of elements in a scene, and put them together in such a way that it is pleasing or interesting to the eye. There are some tricks to this, which are explained in the chapter on Composition.
A camera may not see in exactly the same way that we do, but it gets pretty close. A photographer needs to know its possibilities and its limitations, and how it can serve his or her point of view. This is explored in the chapter on The Camera.
Every leap in technology is, initially, at the expense of quality. Only in time does quality catch up,and digital photography took several years to get near the results of slide ﬁlm. But in the end ﬁlm was buried under the mountain of advantages that digital offers. The constant search for greater speeds and reduction in size and costs follows Moore's Law of computers, which states that every 18 months the number of transistors that can be placed in an integrated circuit doubles. ln photogra- phy, this translates as memory, speed and pixels, which all continue to increase at a rapid rate while the hardware shrinks in size.
Every method has its particular quality. Digital tends to flatten photos, and auto focus keeps everything sharp. But early complaints about quality have largely disappeared, and results from the amateur photographer using inexpensive equipment can be stunning.
It is not just the ﬁgure in the picture above that tells you this is the Caribbean. It is the colour and the light. Beneath a deep blue sky, painted green and blue, the colours of these buildings could not be found in a northern climate. Heading away from the equator, the earth's atmosphere, through which the sun's rays have to travel, increases, causing a more limpid light and lowering the intensity of the co- lour. Nearer home, like wine that does not travel, the attractive lavendar blue of window shutters in Provence can look dull in a northern European country, even when the paint is taken from the same paint pot. Paints evolve locally, and the vernacular architecture in many countries for decades relied on — and was deﬁned by — a limited range of proprietary paintsQuick retouch provides both photoshop service and hdr effect service. You may find out more retouched photo samples here
Travel photography does not have to end with the setting sun, even less so now that digital photogra- phy helps solve the old difﬁculties faced by ﬁlm in taking pictures by artiﬁcial light . The potential prob- lems are the much lower light levels and the often wild variation in the colour of light. Digital overcomes these two ﬁrst, by allowing you to dial up the ISO sensitivity on demand to match the lower light levels, and second, by allowing you to neutralise colour casts using the white bal- ance setting. Even when there are two or more differently coloured light sources, you can selectively alter them in any good image processing software, such as Photoshop or Lightroom. Increased noise, as we have seen, is the downside of increasing the ISO sensitivity, but there are constant improvements in camera sensors and in processing software, so that unless you are tackling extreme darkness, it is no longer a major issue. The diﬁerent colours of artiﬁcial light can be surpris- ingly marked, and the reason for this is that our eyes are just so etﬁcient at compensating. Tungsten lighting is actually much more orange than daylight, but after a few minutes in a room lit by ordinary incandescent lamps, we simply see it as normal. Fluorescent striplights and compact fluorescent lamps (CF Ls) that are replacing tungsten for ecological reasons, work better for the eyes than they do for the camera; unfortunately they have broken spectra which make it difﬁcult to re- store a feeling of full colour. Digital processing can help in this, but be warned that the results can never be perfect.
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We are all photographers now. It is almost impossible to travel without taking a camera, even if itls an addendum to a mobile phone. Sales from lapanese manufacturers, which make up more than 90 percent of the world market, are running at around 100 million cameras a year, and every month three billion photos are uploaded onto Facebook, videos reach YouTube at the rate of more than 20 hours a minute, and more words and pictures are added to the 200 million exist- ing travel blogs. Nobody thinks of travelling far without a camera, and when presented with new sights, we want to view them through a viewﬁnder or LCD.
Recent research by a former Latin America tour guide at the anthropology department of London University concluded that, when presented with a sight, tourists always take three photo- graphs: (1) the sight, (2) their travelling companion(s) in front of the sight, and (3) themselves in front of the sight, taken by a companion. What they are doing, the writer concluded, is behaving like consumers: they had bought the travel experience, and they wanted to have the goods to show for it, the pictures of them with the items, material entitlement for the money spent. To get better travel photo, you may view some photo retouching examples.