As I’ve mentioned before, I like to shoot from high up whenever possible. This image was captured from the top of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Notice how natural leading lines draw your eyes from the circular World War II Memorial, at the bottom of the image, along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, to the Lincoln Memorial and finally across the Arlington Memorial Bridge into Arlington, Virginia.
Tech Specs: ISO-80, f/4.8, exposure 1/320 second, time of day: 9:41 am
Its an unfortunate fact that you have to be wary of crime while you’re trying to enjoy your vacation. Pickpockets, purse-snatchers and thieves prey on tourists more focused on seeing the sights than keeping an eye on their valuables. With a little pre-planning and thought, you can enjoy your trip, snap some awesome pics and go home with all your valuables intact.
Some tips on how to stay safe and protect your gear and images while on vacation.
- Only take what you need. You probably won’t need every lens and filter you own, so pair a general use lens with your camera body and leave it at that. The less you take, the lighter your load and the less you have to lose.
- Carry your camera or pack it in your carry-on bag. Packing it in your checked luggage may subject it to rough handling, weather or even theft. Keep your camera with you at all times and you’ll never miss a great picture.
- Download your photos daily. You can always replace your camera if its lost, stolen or damaged, but you can’t replace your photos. I carry a laptop computer and download my images to the computer hard drive every evening. You can also take multiple memory cards, one for each day of your trip. Using these methods, you’ll only risk losing one day’s worth of photos in the case of an accident or theft.
- Don’t display your camera to thieves. If you’re traveling from one location to another, and don’t expect to use your camera, carry it out of sight. I usually break down my camera, placing the lens in a coat pocket or a backpack. Then I tuck the camera body under my coat or shirt, out of sight. As the saying goes; out of sight, out of mind.
- Remove flashy logos or decals. There’s little that will attract the attention of a thief more than seeing a bright, yellow NIKON or CANON logo on a shoulder strap. I suggest taking a black marker and coloring in the logo. Also, remove any other manufacturer labels or decals that might attract attention.
- Don’t hang your camera around your neck. While this might be a great way to carry your camera and have it ready to shoot, its also dangerous. Not only do you risk damage to your gear if someone runs into you or you fall, you could also be injured if a thief tries to snatch it. I suggest carrying it over your shoulder with a hand on the strap at all times.
For more great tips and advice, join me for one of my Travel Photography Classes around the Tampa Bay area.
One of my favorite features of digital photography is flexibility. With a good digital image and editing software, you can alter, manipulate and morph it into a nearly endless array of looks.
Converting color images to B&W is one of the most common techniques used, and also one of the most discussed. Many photographers feel that really good B&W images can only be captured using film. They argue that removing the color from a digital image is not the same. Others say that the result is the same. While, I’m not sure that the topic will ever be resolved, the fact is digital photography offers a choice.
To help illustrate how digital photography can be altered, I’ve taken one of my images and sliced it into three panels; Color, B&W and Desaturated. With this side-by-side comparison, you can see how the same image can be presented in a number of ways. I really can’t see a huge difference between B&W and Desaturated, but chose B&W when I printed this image.
Empty cabanas and a lifeguard station on Clearwater Beach, Florida
Empty cabanas and a lifeguard station on Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Tech Specs: ISO-160, f/11, exposure setting 1/250 sec, time of day – 9:09 am
This image was taken in the early morning, before tourist and sunbathers take over the beach. Long shadows cast by the cabanas show that this image was taken just outside the “Golden Hour” time-frame. Although I was on the beach before sunrise, intermittent cloud cover kept things dark until the sun was already above the horizon.