I have a podcast subscriptions subscribing to Amateur Traveler and it has a show in travel photography. Building upon my previous post on Wanderlust magazine, maybe there should be photographers who want to focus on travel, like myself, chime in on photography tips. Anyone can chime in on this. I will mix part of my own experience and camera knowledge in this series. So take it with a grain of salt. I have read some previous texts on travel photography. I think for the most part they are accurate but were written well before the digital era, troubling economic state that we are in and will be in for a while, and change in travel habits.
Travel Photography. Some individuals will pursue their photographic investigations to retell weddings, portraits, the under life (aka, Macro), street life, landscapes, sports, etc. Travel photography takes the ideas and subject matter of life style, portraits, landscapes, street life, and activity as its umbrella subject. The focus of travel photography is traveling and documenting the travels for both personal and commercial usage.
Traveling can be a self-reflective journey. Brave New Traveler blogged about the techniques. External Link.
1. Cultivate Awareness.
2. Travel Without Expectations.
3. Say Yes.
4. Express Yourself.
5. Go Out There with a Smile
It is self-reflective aspect, well if you travel solo, because if you pay attention you can see the patterns of how you approach traveling, spending habits, interactions with the unfamiliar, how you see yourself within the unfamiliar, etc. A helpful tool towards understanding your traveling personality, or personality, is utilizing the Big Five personality tests. Here is a fun one. External link. Although these are based on the big five tests that personality researchers utilize, take them with a grain of salt as it is on the web.
Understanding all of this will also give you an idea of what you enjoy shooting as a photographer. Which will lead you to understand what you really need in terms of camera gear, whether you want to go professional or just for family fun. This should alternatively lead you to two different paths of gear necessities. Point and shoots or DSLRs.
As a photographer who has a DSLR, and have used point and shoots I can give you some pros and cons of both.
Versatility: with the right lenses you can shoot from ultra wide angle to super telephoto
Low light capabilities: Some areas when you travel you cannot use flash. With a DSLR just pump up the ISO and presto! You will get a noisy image, but better than one coming from a point and shoot!
AF: For action and sports, it’s tracking and locking capabilities is just something that PnS cannot compete very well with.
Manual: Some DLSRs let you choose modes that allow you to use creative modes found on PnS, but also manual controls that let you the photographer be the judge of what the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and that sort be.
Price: DSLRs, lenses, memory, flashes, and its goods can be expensive. One would be buying into a specific system, e.g., I use Canon so I am using the Canon system.
Weight: When traveling, weight can be very costly. With airlines charging up the check in, your carry ons will mainly be your camera gear. For me and others it might be fine. So ask youself if you are willing to just have your camera gear, mainly, as your sole carry on.
Size: It is a part of the weight issue, but not. It is hard to conceal it and that sort!
Theft: Big DSLRs are big money and thieves know it!
Point and Shoots:
Light: You do not need a lot of things other than extra batteries and memory. You can carry it around nearly everywhere!
Price: Depending on which one PnS can be pretty cheap to sub $1000. Still cheaper than buying into a DSLR system.
Ease of use: Just choose a mode and shoot!
Lowlight capabilities: Really isn’t that great, you can pull off some shots, but for some of the ones you want to print and frame you might feel lacking.
AF: It is not as advanced as the DSLR system
Today’s technological advancements have made PnS better than previous years, some of them almost as using a good DSLR. Please keep in mind that megapixels alone will not save your photographs! In my last entry I wrote about that. But if you go to a Best Buy or stores like that, that will be one of their sales point. When going in, try avoiding the megapixel talk and try to ask about how great is the ISO usage, the modes you can shoot in, will it give you control, RAW, color renditions. Anything but the megapixel!
If you do not wish to get a DSLR but wish to get close there are some models that you can look at.
Canon G series. The current one is the G10. There is some controversy on that model, but I started out photography with a G5. The G10 has RAW, good ISO usage, and portability. Sure it has 10 or something megapixels.
Sigma D1. This is a Fovean sensor PnS. It has the color range of a DSLR, although a slightly limited ISO usage, point and shoot.
Panasonic Lumix. I am not too familiar but I have been reading some good words.
Do not buy just for your trip, purchase a camera that you will use over and over again. Sometimes paying higher price for a camera is better off for you in the long run. So don’t buy one just for your one trip that you will be taking next week, more like buy for that trip and many more to come!