Travel Photography

The Travel Photography sections of The Travel Chronicle websites are not really intended for people interested in photography as a serious hobby or professional career. Our goal is to find the best way to preserve great moments and beautiful memories without extreme expense or advanced technical expertise. So, if you just want to take good photographs with a fully automatic point and shoot digital camera that fits in your pocket, we may have some useful ideas for you.

Our first trip with a digital camera occurred in 2001 in the Galapagos Islands.  By 2005, my techniques hadn’t improved much, but this trip to Kenya was our first major journey with a group.  That provided the opportunity to compare photos taken in the same place at the same time with different cameras, and the results achieved by one of our group using a Nikon D50 SLR, compared to my Canon PowerShot S110, made me realize that I wanted to pay more attention to the subject of photography.

We have a fairly wide ranging article on travel photography covering general philosophy and practice at The Travel Chronicle Travel Photography page.  That article has numerous examples from this Kenya trip, so it may be especially interesting to readers of this site.

Rather than repeat the material at the link above, I’ll add a few general observations of the many factors that affect photography which have nothing to do with the camera.

Composition – the position and balance of elements in a scene – may be one of those subjects that can’t be taught, and on which there is no agreement as to what looks best.  Whatever “talent” may be, this is one area that may be limited by circumstances beyond our control.  While I happen to like my own sense of composition, many others might find it dull and predictable, and I really do have personal limitations when it comes to content.

Content – for example, I have a very difficult time pointing a camera at anyone I don’t know.  We took a walk early one Sunday morning in Roseau, the capital of the island of Dominica in the Caribbean.  I loved the light on the buildings, and the architecture that reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans.  When I emailed some photos to friends after our return, one recipient wrote back:  “Where are the people?”

So, the quasi-photographic tip especially for this page is to start by learning your own personal strengths and weaknesses.  Decide whether to concentrate more on developing your strong points or fixing your limitations, but make a conscious effort to look at your photos with this idea in mind.  Then, make an effort not to limit your subjects to your interests or your sense of composition.  It is far too easy to return from your trips with what looks like the same palm tree on the same beach with the same sailboats in the background.  The beautiful liberating freedom of the digital camera is that memory is cheap and there is no reason not to take as many pictures as your eye can find.  Once you have an image stored, software will allow you to experiment to your heart’s content with the exposure, composition, etc.

But, you can’t fix a picture you don’t have.


Kenya Travel Front Page


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