7 Proven Ways to Come Home with Better Travel Photos

A Post By: Etienne Bossot

Your next vacation or around-the-world escapade is the perfect time to brush up on your photography skills.
After all, taking a great photograph is never more important than when you’re seeing people and places you may never see again. Travel opens your eyes to other cultures, and if you prepare before you leave, it can also open the eye of your camera lens to infinite possibilities.
But first things first – let’s make sure you have a basic understanding of photography before you step onto the plane. Here’s a list of seven proven ways to come home with better travel photos.
#1 Take a good look at your gear
You don’t need to spend a million dollars on crazy-expensive gear. However, you do need a camera from this century. Better yet, a camera that was made in the last five years. Technology is changing so rapidly that you’re really going to notice a difference with newer cameras.
Also, don’t be afraid to check out the new lightweight dslr cameras that are all the rage. You may feel cooler hauling around a huge Nikon D5300, but a more compact model can take great pictures too (plus compact is always better when you’re traveling).
#2 Get intimate with your settings

You haven’t just been leaving your camera in Auto mode, have you? What fun is that? Now I’m not saying you have to learn how to manually focus before you take-off for say, Fiji, but at least get familiar with these three need-to-know settings (the Exposure Triangle) on your dslr camera.
#3 Do your research
Dive into Google Images, Flickr, or 500px to look for photos (and photographers) you love. Choose at least three travel photographers and follow their blogs.
Not only will get some great ideas for photographs, you’ll be able to find tips and techniques for getting specific effects you’ve seen in the photos you admire.
#4 Get to know your subject

Photographing people is one of the most exciting parts of travel photography. Imagine getting great shots of Buddhist monks in Laos, a tribesman in the African bush, or mountain people in the Himalayas. But you’re not just going to walk up to someone you’ve never spoken to and stick a camera in their face (promise me you won’t do that).
So how are you supposed to approach your subject? The #1 tip is to make friends first. That can be tough in and of itself when there is a language barrier, but it’s not impossible. Read: Practical tips to build your street photography confidence (which also applies when travelling).
#5 Get lost

You’re not going to get great travel photographs taking pictures of the monuments and sites that every other tourist on earth has already photographed. When you travel, get lost! Venture out into villages and unknown areas that no one else goes to. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path.
The most exciting photos you’ll take won’t be of the Empire State Building, they’ll be of the ancient bartender in that random dive bar in Astoria, Queens (the one you never would have found if you hadn’t gotten completely lost).
#6 Get close
Repeat after me: “I will not be a lazy photographer.”

Lazy photographers use lenses instead of legs. I want you to use those legs of yours to walk, run, jump, swim, crouch, bend, and move any way you can to get close to your subject. Why? Because the simple act of getting close to your subject will drastically improve your travel photographs.
Once you’ve followed step #4, don’t be afraid to put your camera as close as possible to your subject, sometimes right in their face even.
Disclaimer: this tip does NOT apply to house fires, political violence, or wildlife safaris.
#7 It’s all about the light

The other day a student of mine showed me a photograph that was taken in the middle of the day, under the hot Hoi An sun. There were several problems with the shot, but the main reason it looked flat and lifeless was simply because of the time of day it was taken.
I told her what I tell everyone; don’t bother getting out your camera between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The light is too harsh. Get up before the sun and/or wait until the sun is about to set, and you’ll enjoy amazing light that will work wonders for your photographs.
That same student sent me a photo the following day, this time taken just before sunset. It was 10x better. Had she suddenly become a better photographer in less than 24 hours? Yes. But only because she learned to tell time.
Follow these seven tips and I have no doubt you’ll be taking amazing travel photographs on your next trip. Have any additional tips you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments below.
Safe travels!

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Getting the Most Out Of Your Digital Camera: A Workshop with Professional Photographer Robert …

If the mere thought of taking a digital photo makes you want to “shutter,” have no fear professional photographer Robert Gorrill, APSA, MNEC will be at Spectrum Generations Coastal Community Center, 521 Main Street, Damariscotta on June 27 at 2:30 p.m. to help you unwrap the box that you might have found under your Christmas tree and start you on your digital journey. Getting started with digital photography can be confusing when you have little or no experience with your equipment, lighting techniques, or editing and printing practices. Even if you do have some experience under your belt, a digital photography class can be a great way to improve your skills or look at your hobby from a new perspective. In this “hands-on” workshop you’ll learn how to use your camera’s features, controls and simple techniques to take better pictures. Learn the basics of photography as you explore the capabilities of your digital camera. Discover what aperture, shutter speed, and white balance are and how they affect your photographs. Find out how and when to use the flash, and experiment with photographic composition to get the most out of your camera–and yourself!: Please bring your camera, manual, and extra batteries to class.  $20 participant fee. To register call 563-1363.  Minimum class size 4 students.
As you and your digital camera become friends please remember these 4 simple tips which Bob will reinforce during his workshop: Always take your camera with you; take your pictures in quantity; take pictures of what you know; and have fun. Whatever kind of pictures you take remember to always enjoy yourself and your surroundings, because you’re obviously in a great place or with great people if you feel a picture is worth taking. Bob’s class is open to community members across all generations. Robert B. Gorrill, APSA, MNEC is a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) and a Vice President and Master Member of the New England Camera Club Council (NECCC). Bob is also the president of the Spectrum Camera Club, which meets at 12:30pm on the third Tuesday of each month.  Meetings are held at the Coastal Community Center. To learn more about Spectrum’s Camera club contact Bob at 563-7463.
If you’d like more information about this topic, Spectrum Generations or to schedule an interview with Robert Gorrill please contact Marianne Pinkham at (207) 563-1363 or e-mail Marianne at mpinkham@spectrumgenerations.org. 

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Reception scheduled for Strictly Digital Photography Exhibit

ANNA — A closing reception and awards ceremony for the Strictly digital photography Competition will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 29, in The Anna Arts Center, 117 W. Davie St.The show was juried by Charles “Chuck” Swedlund, emeritus professor of photography at SIU. A photograph by Swedlund will be part of the exhibition.A total of 105 photographs featuring a wide range of styles, approaches and subject matter will be displayed. The photographs were taken by 37 regional photographers.The ceremony and exhibition is free.For more information, call 904-625-1109 or email vabchlee@gmail.com.– The Southern

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Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD lab test report

The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD is one of a select group of supertelephoto zooms for full frame SLRs that reaches or exceeds 400mm focal length, while still being reasonably portable. Its trump card over its closest competition lies in its longer focal length – at 600mm full zoom, it’ll let you get your subjects that bit larger in the frame. But does this result in an unacceptable compromise in optical quality?
In this ‘Lab Test report’ we’re publishing full lens test data (as usual prepared by our collaborators at DxOMark) in our unique lens data widget, and presenting our own analysis of what it all means. This allows us to present the test data in the timeliest possible fashion, and compare it to other relevent lenses in our extensive database.
Click here for links to DxOMark’s recent reviews, including the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD
Click here for our Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lab Test Report

Full test results on DxOMark (and other recent reviews)

Our lens test data is produced in collaboration with DxOMark. Click the links below to read DxOMark’s own review of the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD, or see other recent reviews on the DxOMark website. 

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Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach to hold digital photography workshop

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama — The Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach will hold a digital photography workshop for rising seventh through rising twelfth graders.
The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon July 14-18.
Photographer Nikki Paschen will instruct students in the areas of camera function, composition and editing.
Visit CoastalArtsCenter.com to register for the workshop.
Payments may be mailed or brought to the Center at 26389 Canal Rd., Orange Beach, Ala. 36561, or made by phone at 251-981-2787.
The deadline for registration and payment is July 9.
Students should bring their own camera; a point-and-shoot digital camera is fine for this purpose.
Call Jessica Jones, Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach marketing and children’s programs coordinator, at 251-981-4119 for more information.
-Submitted by Jessica Jones

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Happy 20th birthday Apple QuickTake 100, the first consumer digital camera

When you think of Apple, your mind probably conjures images of svelte laptops, perhaps funky, white desktop computers, iPods, and now recently, iPhones and iPads. Apple is known for helping launch or popularize some major categories of consumer electronics: the personal computer with the Mac, MP3 players with the iPod and tablet computers with the iPad. However, there’s one area of consumer electronics you might not realize Apple had a significant hand in popularizing: the digital camera.

Put on sale 20 years ago this past Friday, the Apple QuickTake 100 digital camera first sold for $749 and captured 640 x 480 images (and stored only eight of them). You could cram 16 images if you shot them at 320 x 240 resolution. While the camera is indeed adorned with that distinctive rainbow Apple logo, Apple in fact didn’t design the device at all. For that, look no further than Kodak themselves, the inventors of the digital camera.

This Mashable article takes you though the history of the discovery and development of the CCD chip, the heart of the first true digital cameras. While Kodak pioneered the creation of the digital camera, the reason Apple gets its name on this gadget was Kodak’s concern that a self-branded digital camera would hurt their film business.

Prior to the introduction of the QuickTake 100 in 1994, other digital cameras were emerging on the market. Sony tried earlier with the analog “electronic still camera,” the Pro Mavica. Major camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon also attempted electronic cameras, though they remained squarely in the professional market, with very high pricetags. Even Kodak’s own DCS 100 in 1991 — the first commercial digital camera — rang up for around $10,000 to $20,000.

The breakthrough for the Apple QuickTake 100 is that it managed to be simple enough to use and affordable enough for many people — just what was needed to kick-start the consumer digital camera market.

Like computers, digital cameras began life as unruly, large, complicated and often crude machines that progressed into smaller and smaller, cheaper and cheaper devices that now fit comfortably in your hand and produce gigantic high-resolution images (and lots of them). Though nowadays, we’re seeing new trends with digital photography. Will smartphones continue in popularity over traditional consumer cameras? Will Google Glass-type devices become the norm for our digital image needs? Or will something else come along? Who knows what the next 20 years in digital cameras will hold.

(via Mashable. All images sourced from Flickr and used under a Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 license. Apple QuickTake images (1,2) image courtesy of Jaqian.)

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Humor: Main Photo in Cheap Photography Tips Article Shot with $4.5K of Equipment

If something seems too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. A great example of this was sent to us by a reader earlier this week when he found one of his photos had been purchased for use by an Austrian publication. Great news, right? Well, not entirely.
The photo is being used at the top of an article on shooting photos without expensive equipment, the caption implying that it was a smartphone camera that yielded these epic results. But of course, that’s not the case.
According to our reader, the shot was taken with a 5D Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens, ND filter and tripod that, together, total out to about $4,500 worth of equipment. So much for shooting vacation pictures “without expensive equipment”… some results you just have to pony up for.

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#Photography tips. How to get #amazing animal shots .. http://bit.ly/1pD6CzE  pic.twitter.com/PtEnjHJpxn

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Pentax Optio I-10

Since the company was taken over by the Hoya Corporation in 2008, the future of Pentax’s digital camera range has been a subject of some debate. It was generally thought that Hoya was primarily interested in Pentax for its advanced medical technology, and that the camera business would be sold off, possibly to Samsung, but in fact Hoya has continued to develop and market new Pentax cameras, including some very competitive digital SLRs, the X90 superzoom which I reviewed yesterday, and a small but interesting range of digital compacts. One of the most recent, and arguably the most interesting, is this Optio I-10.
Launched in February this year, the Optio I-10 is most notable for its distinctive retro styling, or “neo-vintage” as Pentax calls it. It has an SLR-style viewfinder turret on the top, which houses the flash on the front and the speaker on the back, but does not in fact contain a viewfinder. The body has a small raised handgrip on the right hand end, with a leatherette-style textured surface that covers the grip and extends across the middle section of the front panel. The I-10 is available in black or the cream-and-white finish shown here. The overall shape and size of the I-10 is somewhat reminiscent of the Pentax Auto 110 miniature SLR camera from 1978.
The general build quality is reasonable, but there are a few creaks when the body is squeezed, and the fit of some of the panels could be better. Thanks to its plastic shell the I-10 is surprisingly light, weighing 153g including battery and card, despite being somewhat thicker (28mm) than most comparable ultra-compacts, and as a result it feels rather insubstantial. The battery hatch is quite flimsy and the tripod bush is made of plastic. The I-10 is currently selling for around £130, which almost puts it into the budget compact category, and makes it one of the cheapest cameras on the market to feature mechanical image stabilisation.

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How to Create and Use Photoshop Actions to Speed up Your Workflow

A Post By: Bruce Wunderlich

What are Photoshop Actions?
Photoshop Actions are very useful time savers. Should you find yourself applying the same Photoshop commands or a series of commands repeatedly to images, wouldn’t it be nice to just push one key and apply that series of commands to your image, or even to a whole folder of images? It can be done, read on.
What kind of things can you do with Actions?
Inside Photoshop, just about everything you do to enhance images can be done with an Action, ranging from: applying creative styles, resizing, converting to Black and White, sharpening, watermarking, or even compositing star trails – all with one click of the mouse or a keyboard short-cut.
Why use Actions?
The use of Actions will streamline image processing by combining multiple commands into one key stroke, or batch, which will save you lots of computer time and give you more time for shooting. Every photographer wants more time for shooting.
Create a simple Action
Okay, so perhaps you want to resize an image for the web. This simple action will resize the image to 600 pixels wide, and also add copyright and contact information to the image.

Steps-by-step how to create your own Action
In Photoshop , open the photo file you want to work on.
Open the “Action Palette” or panel (Alt+F9)
Select “Create New Action” from menu or click on the “New Action” button.
Name your Action; use a name that will tell you what the Action will do. In this case we will name it “Save for dPS Blog”.
 Assign a key board short-cut.
Assign a color to Action button. (This is optional, but can be useful to organize your Actions when you set up multiples.)
Assign a set in which your Action appears. This is useful if you want many Actions for many different types of work, for example “Sizing Actions”.
Start recording – select record from the menu or click the  “Start Recording” button.
Now, simply apply all the Photoshop commands to your open image that you want saved in that Action.
Select image size (Alt+Ctrl+I) and set to 600 pixels wide.
Select File Info (Alt+Shift+Ctrl+I) and enter your Copyright information.
Select “Stop Recording” from menu or click the “Stop Recording” button.If any of your commands require variable settings that need to be changed on an image by image basis, click on the pause button for that Action. Now when you run your Action, it will stop at that command for your input. Otherwise, your action will run just as it was recorded with all input being applied the same.
How to use Actions
There are three ways Actions may be used:
Applying it to a single open image
Applying it to a batch of images
By creating a Droplet of your Actions
Explanations of how each of these work follow.
Applying to open image
You can apply your Action to an open image by simply selecting the desired Action in the Action Palette and then selecting Play from the menu or by clicking the Play button.
Applying to a batch of images:
Place all the  images into one folder
Select the Action you want to run
Under the File menu, select Automate and then Batch (because the Action you want to run is already selected, the action field will have already been preloaded with the right one)
Under Source, select the desired folder from the menu.
Click on the Choose button and select the folder that contains your images.
Under Destination, select Folder.
Click on the Choose button and select a folder where you want the final images to be saved.
Select Override Action “save as commands”
Click OK and Photoshop will automatically start opening all the files in the source folder one at a time and running the Action, then saving them to the destination folder. Cool, huh!?
Make a Droplet from an Action:
With this method you can create an executable file, which you can be place on your desktop. Then if you want to run an Action on a file, you can just drag it to your Action Droplet and the changes will be applied to your file and saved to a specified folder.
Creating a Droplet:
Select the Action that you want to use to create your Droplet.
Under File menu, select Automate and Create Droplet, the Create Droplet menu will open.
Under Save Droplet In: click on Choose and select a destination for your droplet. Your computer desktop is a great destination and makes the Droplet easily accessible.
Under Play, since we already selected the Action in step 1, this section already contains the correct command info.
Under Destination select Folder.
Under Destination click on Choose and select a folder where you want the finished images to be stored.
Select Override Action “Save as Commands”.
Click OK and Photoshop will automatically create your Droplet.Now simply drag your image to the Droplet and the Action will be applied to the image and saved to your specified folder.
Actions can be used for the simplest series of commands, but after you get the hang of it you can create some very complex applications. The purpose of this article is to show just how easily you can create your own Actions and thereby simplify and speed up your work flow.
If you have other tips for using Photoshop Actions please share in the comments below.
For more on Photoshop Actions try these articles:

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