Travel Photography


Lesson Info


And if you want to take great photos, there's a few elements you need, the first element is you need a camera, the better camera, the better pictures, so long as you know howto work the camera of all of the elements I talk about, the camera is the least important, and we'll talk about some of the different styles. I usually carry a full frame slr, but carrying a little marylise camera allows you to travel with a much smaller pack, and that could be a big advantage in many situations. So your choice of camera is up to you. Of course, the next big thing and this is where travel photography is a crunch is in time. How much time do you have to shoot something? And this is, if important, if you are planning your trip, how much time you established for a particular location to get a particular shot? If you plan to do the european ten countries in ten days, don't expect a lot of good photographs. You're not getting enough time in each location, so having time at the location is very important...

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You often need to put out a lot of effort, and this can mean everything from getting up two hours early, toe walking two extra miles there's a lot of ways that putting an effort working for that shot it's not easy you don't just have these things come to you and they require a lot of effort in many cases and then finally you need knowledge and its knowledge of so many different things that are important knowledge of how to work your camera knowledge of where you're going one of my most favorite photo experiences I'll share with you later on was in egypt and it was all because I knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody who got me access someplace and so knowing how to talk to people knowing how to make those connections is very important because it's going to give you more opportunities now if you're going to be a travel photographer you need to be comfortable in the world of travel all right and this class is not a travel class it's a travel photography class but if you want to be a good photographer while you're traveling you need to be a good traveller and so the travel skills that are important honey our communication now I don't speak any other languages other than english fluently I could learn a few words I can learn some sentences and basic phrases but that's often all you need for basic travel using verbal visual cues you can communicate with people in many many different ways and so just doing what you can to communicate with the locals you need to be patient their air parts there bus stations there's lots of waiting there's lots of things that you don't have control over, and the only thing you have to do is just wait. And so having a book too while away, the few minutes having other things that you can do while you're waiting for these things is important. You're going to be around people in almost almost no matter where you go. Unless you travel to the polar regions, you're going to be around people, you're unique, you're going to need to be friendly with them, you're gonna be sharing experiences and stories with them, get comfortable around people, you need to be tolerant of different situations. I was just thinking of one of the most horrendous things I'd ever seen wass it was in africa, and it was a local custom that I just I I didn't understand and it's where men would take a branch of thin branch and whip women and the women were voluntarily getting whipped and I didn't understand what was going on. I was trying to get the explanation, and the best I got was that the women a woman, if she liked the guy, she would go up and say, I'm a tough woman, you can whip me. And she would have all these scars from the guy whipping her and that was her way of proving how tough a woman she was and it just seemed to me it was wrong in so many ways and I should say and I should do something, but it wasn't my culture and it wasn't my place and for me to do this and you will see things that seemed very wrong and maybe you should step in in some cases and do something but, you know, that's that's a couple hung topic for another thing another time you should be curious about things you probably you're curious if you travel any way in egypt, there is a guy who is assembling motorcycles and he just put out all the parts of him curious about what's going on you want to investigate see what's going on? What are you doing there on the street? You need to stay relaxed uh, travel can be really stressful, but you need to just look at the face of just chaos and just go, okay? Uh, you know, we're here this is it, this is what we're going to deal with, so learn how to relax you got to be versatile about the way you do things and what you eat and how you go from place to place because different customs you're just gonna be doing different things I'm a runner I'ma cyclists loved my exercise in on a daily basis and I know being fit has enabled me to carry heavier packs and hike further and go up more staircases and travel longer and go back out again at midnight to do some night photography and so the healthier are the more fit you are, the more opportunities and the easier you're going to make things for yourself when you're out travelling throughout the class. I'll say this many times, but the most important thing when you're travelling is to stay healthy and safe if you're not healthy and safe, you're not going to take good pictures and so you need to do whatever it takes to keep yourself in good shape in a good place and finally you're probably traveling because you already have this, but you just need to have a sense of adventure doing something you've never done before, doing something that maybe I don't know if this is the right thing to do, and sometimes you just need to step out there and go for it. And so those are the travel skills that I encourage you to embrace when you travel now when it comes to travel photography, there's a number of skills that you need to have, and if you want to be a good travel photographer, it basically means you want to be good at everything except for studio photography because you might encounter anything else along the way, you'll be capturing cityscapes and landscape you're going to be a people photographer, you're going to be encountering unusual buildings, so you're going to become an architectural photographer you're going to become a street photographer photographing everything you see on these unusual streets, you'll become a photojournalist, telling your story stories of people that you see in events that you have going on in some places you're going to encounter wildlife that you don't normally say, so you're going to become a wildlife photographer maybe you're not a nature photographer, but when you go into zion national park, you are going to become a bit of a nature photographer and it's a good place to embrace the artistic side of yourself. Okay, maybe this is a little abstract maybe it's a little different, but it's one of those little sides that you you should embrace and so anything that you can help educate yourself with on photography is probably going to help you out in travel photography. Now I don't travel around with light stands and big portable packs you can do that talkto joey l and hell talk about some of his experiences doing that, but for most of us it's going to be dealing with relatively small bag of camera equipment and where we could get to and what we can do with that so let's talk about planning your trip because that's where we're gonna be doing right now is we're gonna be planning our trip what do we want to do now throughout this class I have groups of five tips and if you buy the class you get the download I think there's one hundred twenty five chips here they're all written down so you don't have to worry about copying them down but five tips for just working with the schedule fewer stops more time in each location my goal is not to travel to a cz many countries as possible my goal is to experience as best as possible different countries that I can and I'll get to as many as I get teo and so this is why plan to go to iceland for six weeks and not one week I prefer taking long vacations in one place rather than trying to go and just check off the list yeah, I've been there I want to see a place really well john, I like the word that you used there was that you want to experience different places you don't want to travel but the word experience like really jumped out no good? Well thank you because that is the way I feel it there are people who will ask how many places have you been to and I know that doesn't really count because there's I've been to some places that our countries you know that maybe people don't count and it's it's having that experience that counts next up is smaller groups give you more freedom and so if you're signing up for the sixty four sixty person bus tour, you're gonna have very limited time that's more people you gotta wait to get on the bus to get off the bus to go to the bathroom and everything else and so trying to keep the groups as smallest possible gives you more freedom get up early, go to bed late sleep when you get home I do work hard when I'm travelling it's a I enjoy the work and it is work to me in some ways I'll be honest with a lot of you. Jarod and I we went down to yosemite on death valley a couple months ago and we were going going going now there was in the number of prints of times in the middle of the day where we had a two or three hours where the light was bad and we got a napkin and read the book and charge the batteries a little bit but for the most part it was go go go and I like that some people you want to go to hawaii and read your book go right ahead I want to get the shots and I want to do whatever it takes to get the shots next up get involved in your itinerary if you're planning to go somewhat place with your spouse and you're letting your spouse do all the planning you don't have much reason to complain when you were there you said that we were only going to be here in petra for an hour you no no you got tio schedule you got a look at say hey what sort of pictures do I want to take you know could we move this around so that we're here at this time of day because I think they're big great photographic opportunity can we switch these cities because they're having a festival that I think would make for great photographs you've got to get involved and do a little bit of research and we'll talk about that research in a little bit don't eat during the magic hour flight okay so when the sun gets near the horizon it looks different it looks better and so shortly after sunrise shortly before sunset are some really good times to shoot now when you're right near the equator this magic hours more like about thirty minutes if europe in alaska in the summer time it might last for four hours and so this magic hour depends on where you are but you want to be in the right place at the right time and you're gonna have to be a little bit flexible if you always eat dinner at six o'clock you're gonna be losing out on a lot of opportunities for great pictures with great light and you can be in a great location, but if you don't have good light it's going to change the quality of that picture dramatically, I'll show you an example later on where twenty minutes makes all the difference in the world in the quality of the picture. All right? So let's, get into the travel gear and specific. So I am a list maker, I when I go on a trip, I start with a list and I go in and I start thinking about what am I gonna take? I mean, I have some trips right now that I've got planned in my mind, and I've already got checklist of what I want to take, and I'll write down things that I know I have to have, and then I'm gonna write down some things that I might like to have, and I'll never take all of those things, but I'll have to make a decision. How many luxury items do I get to take? How many extra little things that an extra lens or two? And this is something that you can think about that way when you go to the airport and you check in your lack, I am totally ready, I have everything I need and I did not forget something back at home and that gives you a good feeling that's going to make you feel better, you'll shoot better pictures when you feel better, you want to be super concerned about the wait, I know you can go by these really fancy luggage pieces of luggage they might weigh ten pounds that's twenty percent of the weight that you can check on a typical airplane, and so maybe you khun deal with a piece of equipment that doesn't have forty seven zippers on it. Okay, try to look at everything that you take, including everything small, so you don't need to take two months worth of to paste if you're going on a one week trip and there's all these little luxury items that you can find at the store oh, this would be kind of nice and oh, this is good and you really got to cut back on the sticks you gotta really simplify, simplify, simplify for photographers you often end up shooting in the early morning as I just said and out late at night and you really got to keep your hands and fingers comfortable, and so having gloves that are comfortable are important a couple here, I see if I could get to him right now number of my travel items in here that's fair I was here and so there's a number of different types of gloves, and I've worked up on mount rainier on the top of mount rainier where it gets a little called and what we were using, where these fleece mittens and these air really nice because this is really warm. This is a wind stopper fleece, and I used to ride my bike to work in seattle in the wintertime, and these are the on ly gloves that we keep my hands warm while riding a bike with a thirty mile an hour headwind is you're going downhill, but what's great is that you have access to your fingertips so that you could make controls on the cameras. And so these air really nice, and I'll just kind of throw these out in case somebody wants to take a look at that, uh over there and then the other type of glove that I like to have is just a really thin glove and this one's really nice because this just packs up to nothing and there's a lot of different types of these gloves. This one has some rubber sown and these almost feel like dishwashing gloves. They fit on so tight the rubber gloves, but this gives you very good dexterity with pressing buttons on the camera, which we often need to worry about, you know, and keeping your hands warm is uh very important because you gotta stay healthy you got to stay happy. All right? So I've traveled in a lot of unusual places in fact, I was just up hiking the other day and I'm dealing with some bug bites right now I've traveled in alaska and northern canada where there are big, ferocious mosquitoes and I have a special type of blood and it's a it's a sweet mosquito blood that mosquitoes absolutely love and mosquitoes tendo like some people more than others and they like me quite a bit trust me it's not good and so here's my three step protection plan for dealing with bugs number one avoid them ok, so whatever that means by avoiding them eating inside the fenced off miranda I found when I was up on a river in northern canada that if we took the boat down the middle of the river there was no bugs but if we went along the shoreline there was lots of bucks and so just avoid them if at all possible the second step is to physically block yourself from the bucks and so long sleeve shirts, pants netting if possible if necessary do that and then the final third step is chemical warfare all right and this is done with a chemical called deet and when I were heard that ditte repelled mosquitoes I said give me hundred percent deet well there's a problem with hundred percent deed and first off it's questionable how good it is for you, but secondly it melts plastic like things like that I had happened to me the door that opens the battery compartment on my camera when you put it on your finger it can actually melt that plastic and so you don't need hundred percent deep twenty percent deep well dio and so something like this it's got twenty percent deep will generally do a pretty good job now you can also get a chemical called per method and what you do is you soak that in your clothes and like a ziploc bag and it can help out. There are some companies that have bug off clothing that the bugs are kind of don't like the problem is is that it wears off after a half dozen or a dozen washington so that's something that you could do for if you really were trying to get rid of him but it's only marginally effective as faras other accessories. One of the most important things you need is a good travel alarm you need to be able to wake up when you don't normally want to wake up because you're going to be getting up early to go out and travel for most of you if you have a phone and you're using the phone on a regular basis they have very good alarms on him but have a watch or something that you can use to wake yourself up in the morning in fact if kanan and nikon are watching they should build an alarm into the camera so the camera can wake you up just as a backup alarm because sometimes you really want to make sure that you don't miss something I am a bit of a journal journalist I guess in the sense that I'd like to take notes when I'm travelling I like to record where I've been basic things that I've done I want to record the name of the national park I was at because it was spelled really funny and I want to make sure that I can find it on the internet later I met somebody in the street and I told him I would email them a photograph I want to be able to write down their name so I can send them that photograph ziplock bags carrying these little ziploc bags will prevent things from leaking as I say I was just out camping the other day and I had some camp suds with me and it leaked because thie elevation change and it went all over but it was just inside of a ziploc bag so it didn't cause a problem inside anything else so anything that leaks have a ziplock bag for because there's a lot of things that can get crushed squeezed changed elevation and all sorts of problems gaffer tape or duct taped gaffer tape is like duct tape, but it doesn't have the sticky residue to it now I don't bring a whole roll of duct tape trust me, I just bring a few feet of it and I wrap it onto itself but that's good I fixed my ripped pants I've dealt with things on tripods and other sort of broken gear I've used it band aids just having a few feet of it is going to help you out on a lot of situations and then a very minimalist it's sewing kit so that you can fix little tiny rips and tears you're going to be doing things that you don't normally dio problems are likely to happen and it's more than adequate just to throw a few stitches in and fix it up. All right, some travel accessories now actually brought this so the in here is five travel accessories that I will never travel internationally without and they're not that much there's one of these that's taking up a lot more space and everything else and so I go through these I don't know why I actually brought him cause I got him on the on here but the first thing iss earplugs okay uh I use these in the airplane airplanes are very loud and louder something is the more stress you will have remember you want to stay happy and comfortable I'm sure we've all stayed in hotel rooms that have fairly thin walls we've been to campsites where somebody decides let's party till two o'clock in the morning with the radio as loud as possible so there's all sorts of reasons why these will save you. We can't shut our years we concetta rise, but we can't shut our years for keeping my clothes clean. I learned a long time ago that bar soap from the sink does not do a very goodjob, so while this white powder may look like something else, it's just detergent and it's for washing clothes in the sink of hotel rooms and so forth you wantto stay healthy and clean and happy and so keeping your clothes and typically what I would do is I would try to wash a couple of garments at a time. I don't try to wash everything in one day, but I'll wash underwear and socks today and I'll do with your shirt tomorrow and pants the next day and just try to stay up on the laundry as much as possible. Next up one of my favorite little things this is from survivor this is a a buff and this is basically a stretchy tubular bandanna and this works for all sorts of reasons I use it a lot as a neck gaiter either when it's cold kind of stop the airflow here or if it's really sunny kind of keeps the sun coming off the back your neck but you could turn it into a hat you could turn it into a wrist band you could have a ponytail if you have long hair you could put it in there and it's actually not too bad of a lens cleaning cloth and so I usually carry one or two of these I have light ones for when it's warm I have dark ones for when it's cold very very handy next one something from my campaign experiences is a flashlight now we should all carry some sort of flashlight you never know when you're going to get caught someplace where the generator goes down or it's just plain dark this light is very, very small it's a headlamp and it's got a spring loaded cable systems so that it's very small you don't have this big strap system now if I was climbing mount rainier this might not be the most comfortable strapped to have on for eight hours there's more comfortable, more powerful lights but for just working around evening I told you to shoot it the golden hours that means you're gonna be out it nighttime now one of the great things about this is that it's got a pretty powerful light let me get to the light part of here so it's got a normal light a dim light it's got a blinker light don't really use that when too much but what's cool about this is that it has a red light and this is great for anyone who wants to do a nighttime photography because the white light will destroy your night vision if you want to do any nighttime work, you can use the red like it's enough to see the camera and see around you in dark situations, but you can still see the stars and other things that you're working with and this is the smallest best quality like that I've seen in the batteries last forever. It seems like that uses just three triple a batteries and then finally obviously this is not something that you can check on an airplane, but some sort of leatherman and there's a number of these multi tools I like ones with scissors have a little bit of pliers is nice. What I like about this one iss this little device I don't know if our camera can get a close up shot of this, but this is a little tiny screwdriver and it's got a slotted end on one end and a phillips on the other and I have fixed my camera equipment and sunglasses and things like that with that tiny little screwdriver and so very, very handy device there's lots of these style multi tools out there and you do have to think about actually checking these on the airplane because you cannot carry the moment but those air just five little small accessories that I take with me pretty much everywhere I'm going to do a quick check back in on questions to see how we're looking we've got more stuff to go through, but I gotta check in every once in a while thank you very much for picking and there's a lot of questions come in about a year but I know you have a whole have a slide for that uh but health can we ask the question about health and in terms of, um what vaccines take it beforehand? Is that something that you need to have with you? You know, any anything special on your travel accessories or tips beforehand? Uh huh I actually pulled that out of this class because it's more just general travel related and not specifically photography, but I will address it if you do travel too exotic places there's a number of vaccines that you should check into and the best tip I have is to go to a travel health, plan it and speak to a doctor it actually have kind of a funny story if you don't mind a short story when I got hired by our wolf, they said, well, we've got a full list of places we're going here's the list of places go to the go to the doctor tell him this is where you're going and get whatever you need and so I went to the doctor and he looked at this list which was like, you know, amazon africa and article these different places and he goes okay, well you're going to need this and this and this and I'm not even gonna go through all the things that you need but there's a number of different types of shots that you need sometimes they take two or three shots to fully take you might say so you have to go back every six months to get the shots and he goes, well, what we can dio is is any do some checking he goes, we'll waken getyou all these shots at the same time it's not normal that we get everyone this many at the same time, but you're leaving so soon we you've got to get the first round in and I went down to the nurses who administer the shots and they took a little look at the list and they said, um I'll be back in a moment I went back to call up the doctor they said, are you sure we can do this and this is at the university of washington and she goes okay, well, sit down here and she goes, you are going to set the record for the most number of shots in one city here at the university of washington and I had nine shots at one time and I said, just get it on I'm not a really great shot taker I don't like to look at things just do it and be done with it and she goes, okay, what we're gonna do is we're going to do five in this arm and they were going to turn you around and we're going to do for in this arm sounds simple enough to me and so they were quick, they were really good and they got me five shots over here and then it hit me just like a ton of bricks and just I got weak in the knees but I did not want to come back to have this done just like get this done and so I'm turning around I'm just like I want to collapse in some ways and they do for more and I said, okay, I'm not feeling so good and she goes, marge, get the chair marge comes in with this gigantic rolling barca lounger comes right up behind me I sit down and they throw me back to a fully reclined position for about twenty minutes it's a shock to the system having the shots I mean they don't hurt, but it's just kind of it makes a completely weak and then I got on my bike and rode home but I had to go back to get the shots and there's a number of shots, one of the shots that I chose not to get wass for vaccine for rabies and getting bit by an unusual animal was a true threat that I was going to be dealing with a a dog or a bat or something like that and the reason I didn't get it was number one, it was seven hundred dollars to get the shot and number two, I asked the doctor what happens if I get bit by something and I get rabies? He goes, well, you're going to get sick and you need to get to a doctor in three days, and I figured that with the way in which we were travelling, I could get to a doctor in three days, and I never got bit by anything, but it was one of the things if you're going to be on a national geographic expedition where you literally weren't gonna be able to see a doctor for weeks and weeks and weeks that that might be a smart precaution if you're going to go caving with bats or something. And so it is something that you should check in and talk to a doctor with because they know exactly the types of places where malaria is a problem and malaria's a big problem, and I've had to take medicine for that a number of times, and you always feel a little bit weaker when you take that malaria. And so once again, better in shape. You are. If you feel a little bit weak, you're back down to normal with everyone else. But if you're not feeling healthy and you take this malaria medicine, you might even feel worse. And so check with the doctor.

Class Description

Travel photography is a wonderfully rewarding experience, but travel itself is a whirlwind in the best of situations. The mix of new landscapes, cultures, and logistical challenges can be difficult to navigate. Being an effective travel photographer requires careful planning and shoot preparation, but also the flexibility and openness of mind to take unforgettable photos.

Join pro photographer John Greengo for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to research and plan a trip around great photography

  • How to tell what gear you’ll need, and how to travel with it safely

  • Shooting tips and some of John’s favorite locations