visual stimulation

Most of all, however, a travel photographer really loves a great picture, and an appreciation of what is great is the starting point for taking good pictures. Four-fifths of the information going into our brains is visual: this is a high profile input, and when our visual senses are stimulated, the rewards are enormous. The intelligence to know what to look for, when to press the shutter and how to use the technology, is not necessarily learned at school. A surprisingly high number of photographers (An- sel Adams, David Bailey) are dyslexic, compensating a lack of ability in one form of communication by excelling in another. The same sense of curiosity, adventure, escape and liberation that makes us travel, also makes us travel photographers. Recording, witnessing, heightening awareness, a camera is an indispensible aid to a journey. And for lone travellers with a little time on their hands, unrestrained by the demands of companions or the press of a deadline, taking pictures can be a hugely rewarding experience.

Digital photography is, for the camera-wielding traveler, a phenomenal boon, and all it takes to capture a scene is the press of a button. In the late 1990s, editors began asking travel writers to take their own pictures, never mind that the writer's picture could seldom match that of a professional. It was open shooting season. After a few decades of being able to command decent day rates and expect their archives to keep them in old age, professional photographers faced the prospect of a career change.

The travel bug infected the millennium generation because air travel became cheaper and gap years became the norm. This fed - and was fed by — a visual feast of world experiences that could not be enjoyed unless it was shared, and it wasn't long before the internet found ways of showing pictures to the whole world.

Today’s freewheeling photographer no longer needs to travel with a host of lenses, filters and bags of films with different ISO ratings. But there is an increasing amount of work to be done when he or she returns home. Slides,with colour film to be supplied to photographers going to places where there was no guarantee of finding slide film stock.

A photograph has something to say ~ one person's point of view interpreted through the lens. And as photographers travel, so their stories build into a library of memories that are as much about the person as the subjects they choose

photo memory

Photographs are a way of sharing a point of view, and of providing an aid to our physical and emotional past. I need these reminders, and have done since ancient times when a young woman from Corinth named Dibutade supposedly invented the art of drawing when her lover was about to embark on a long journey. But our memories cannot be trusted, and one of the many things that Bingham is missing out on is the undoubted pleasure of being able to look at tangible evidence of a place once visited.

As picture editors will attest, we recall photographs imprecisely. Often we are convinced we have seen certain things in a picture, perhaps even one that is familiar, and yet when we look at it again, it is not exactly as we remembered it.So a photograph can be an important corrective,even to the memory of a photograph itself.

The great adventurers — Darwin, Humboldt, Hedin, and most early travel photographers — made their important journeys while they were young, and they used the memories of these adventures in later life, perhaps to write memoirs or entertain their friends, or to return to the darkroom to reprint favourite negatives. Today, there is still a good deal of adventuring in early life, and inexpensive air travel can keep us regularly on the move. But there is also a rapidly increasing band of pension-age seniors on the road with cameras. Photography and computers offer endless stimulation for retirement, and some believe that older people may achieve better results than youngsters, as they might more easily win their subjects’ confidence.

Today let us share some interesting historical story about colour. Colour remained an expensive and secondary medium until the 1960s, a century after the discovery that colour could be built up from three monochromatic images of red, green and blue(RGB). In Russia, Sergeii Prokudin-Gorskii took pictures using a camera with three separate lenses, each with a coloured filter. The three plates were then projected simultaneously onto a screen, as a magic lantern. His pictures so impressed Tsar Nicholas II that he was given a locomotive with a darkroom carriage and from 1909 to 1915 he travelled throughout Russia taking some 6,000 photographs. He moved to the US and in 1948 the Library of Congress inherited 2.000 images, which they have been reconstructing.

Burton Holmes, a showman in the Daguerre mould, could fill the Carnegie Hall with his travelogues of hand-painted photographs, first shown as magic lantern slides and, later, movies. For 60 years, until his death in 1952, he travelled the world in summer and lectured in winter. The Burton Holmes Travelogues, first published in 10 volumes in 1910, became a household name across America. The first successful commercial film was autochrome, marketed in 1903 by the Lumiere brothers in France. Early films of the world in colourful autochrome were orchestrated by French banker Albert Khan. From 1909 until I929, he was sending film makers to capture all they saw in some 50 countries.

Subjects were no longer monumental and grand, but domestic and social. Professional photographers such as Eugene Atget in Paris began taking city scenes, while static pictures from studios and cartcs dc visites gave way to more realistic representations. Inspiration no longer came from the old masters’ views, but the real-life images that were flickering onto the screens of moving pictures.

The first world war brought a new view of the world: from the sky. Aerial photography became part of daily reconnaissance life on the Front, and when the war was over pilots went off to train airmen around the world. There was money to be made in aerial photography, too. Standing, with one leg strapped to the passenger seat of his aircraft so he could lean out holding his camera, Captain Alfred G. Buckham found a living making aerial photographs of city skylines, much of them put together in the darkroom, where cloud effects and passing planes were added.

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underwater photo retouching

Shooting underwater

The majority of people in the world will never scuba dive, and sharing your underwater photographs is a great way to show them some of the exotic creatures that inhabit the sea. Whether in the Red Sea, oft the Yucatan or on the Great Barrier Reef, excited newbie divers straight from their first open-water dives often ask experienced underwater photographers how best to get started taking pictures in this new environment. The advice they get is not always what they want to hear. It’s most likely to go something like this: “go away and do 200 dives and then come back and ask me again”. There is a good reason for this answer. Once you are completely relaxed in the underwater world and everything you do there becomes second nature then you may be ready for the underwater photography challenge. It's difficult because when you underwater the environment could be complicated than what you expect, greater depths dull your senses, make colours disappear, and it is not easy to ask fish or other water creature to follow your order totally.

Once you become committed to photography in the briny you will be tempted to start breaking the basic dive rules, such as:

1. Holding your breath to get closer to fish because air bubbles spook them.
2. Running low on air because the best photo opportunities always seem to come at the very end of a dive.
3. Seeing an interesting photo subject below and then going to a greater depth than you first intended.

Try not to break the rules and try not to break the coral (perfect buoyancy control with your BCD should keep you off the fragile coral reef).

underwater photo retouching

Equipment - A waterproof camera

Your ideal option is either a compact camera or a DSLR in an under water housing. One or better still two underwater flash units will bring lost colours back to life. Seawaer carries many organisms which reduce visibility and make your pictures look hazy and as though snow is falling when you use flash. The best way to reduce this is to use an ultra wide lens (10.5 or 16mm fisheye, 20 mm prime behind a dome port), get very close to your subject and mount your flashes on long flexible arms so they side light rather than illuminate snow like particles in front of the lens. Because light falls away quickly underwater upward angled shots will give you nice light from the surface. Working on manual exposure, meter the surface ambient light first and then aim a little flash, again using manual flash power settings, on to close objects in your foreground. TTL metering usually works well for macro when there is not much light in the background.

Each photo taken under water is precious and represents a unique experience, to give your photo a perfect visual effect, you need a quick photo retouch

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