Monthly Archives: May 2011
Hello! It’s moving day for me and I’m as busy as can be (that rhyme was accidental, I assure you!) but here’s a little something for those of you planning to travel further than a couple of suburbs. We all know Etsy is the place to go for hand-made treats, and indeed, there is a great selection of passport holders on offer.
My first instinct was to go straight for tried and true tan leather…
… but by gosh, then I saw the periodical table option. Not relevant to travel? Who cares! Now we can brush up on the elements while waiting to board. Smart thinking Owlsay.
But if that hasn’t convinced you, here’s some other great patterns.
This weekend I’m moving to the other side of the city. Beach side! Since I arrived in Melbourne I’ve been based in the formerly quite industrial, inner-city suburb of Brunswick. Apparently it’s changed a lot and become more gentrified over the past five years, but remnants of a past life can still be seen in the warehouses around the train-line.
I went on a couple of early morning missions to document the wonderful, faded old signage in the area. A souvenir of my time here, if you like.
The English landscape is dense with ordinary histories. You can see them embedded into the land – a worn dirt track here, discarded rubbish there, and of course, the people (lots of them).
While it might be tempting to edit out these ‘distractions’ in pursuit of that traditionally lonely landscape, for Simon Roberts in his series ‘We English’, the hikers and hunters, mud-crawlers and race-goers are as much a part of the landscape as the grey skies and lush fields. The images in this series explore the connection between people and their homeland through the leisure activities they choose to participate in.
There’s a good lesson in this for travel photographers. When you arrive somewhere new, allow yourself to see the real picture, even though it may not be how you had expected or idealised. These realities can make for great, revealing portraits of a place or culture.
In many of these photos, Simon uses an elevated perspective (the roof of the motorhome he was travelling in) to heighten the sense of space. I think that this also adds to the anthropological nature of the shots, like ‘oh, look what those funny humans are up to now!’
Try to count the amount of people wearing socks in the above shot!
Through Their Eyes generally features the personal travel shots of professional photographers, but in this case, Jessica Sample is a professional travel photographer!
In her five years as a photo editor and contributing photographer at Travel + Leisure Magazine, Jessica had some wonderful opportunities to shoot for the magazine in locations such as Jamaica, Vienna, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy and, as shown here, Palm Springs. She has recently moved back to Los Angeles (her hometown) from New York City to pursue freelance photography full time.
Scroll down for the interview.
Palm Springs by Jessica Sample
The Palm Springs pictures are images and outtakes from a weekend getaways story in Travel + Leisure. A lot of the images are from the Ace Hotel, which is such an amazing retro location for shooting. When I first arrived at the hotel I was so overwhelmed by everything I wanted to shoot. Thankfully we stayed at the Ace so I could come back and shoot more in between shooting other locations. The young red headed boy was staying at the hotel with his mom so I asked for both of their permissions to take his picture. Apparently, he often gets asked by photographers to take his picture because he has such a great look. I especially loved the clean bright light and perfect blue skies every day in Palm Springs.
What was your last travel destination?
My last travel destination was the Big Island, Hawaii. My next travel destination is to Savannah and to shoot a story on some islands off the coast of South Carolina. After that I’m headed up to Point Reyes with my husband to eat delicious oysters on the water.
Name a place or experience that you really loved.
I always love Hawaii—I grew up going there almost every year and it never gets old. I also love exploring California, like Big Sur and Santa Barbara.
How do you decide what gear to bring (bodies, lenses, flash, tripod, bags)? Do you try to pack light?
I bring a camera, lenses, and a tripod when I travel. I try to pack fairly light especially if I’m running around a city or place all day, I don’t want to be weighed down. I will bring a strobe if I need to.
Have you ever planned a series before you left, or do you just wait and see what happens?
I usually only plan so far as knowing where I am going and when. I do sometimes gather props before a shoot such as sarongs and beach bags for a tropical shoot; or vintage postcards and playing cards for still lifes.
What do you do with your photos when you get home? Would you ever use them in your portfolio? Have you ever landed any commercial work because of your travel shots?
I use my travel pictures all the time in my book. I usually do a first quick pass edit and then go in and decide my favorite shots.
What would be your ultimate travel photography destination?
At the top of my list are Southeast Asia and Iceland.
Being the design nerd that I am, I’m head over heels for the Lost & Found temporary hotel room that’s happening in Melbourne right now. Alas, as a local I don’t have much reason to stay there, and anyway, reservations are by ballot only. But oh, I must mention, if you’re lucky enough to be selected it’s free – no kidding!
Now in it’s second year, the room has been set up in the airy space above Captains of Industry cafe (I could do a whole other post on their ‘Knuckle’ sandwich) where it has been filled with the very best Melbourne has to offer in terms of design, art and other treats. Here’s the roll call: Grandfathers Axe, Aesop, ffiXXed, Utopian Slumps, Monsieur Truffe, Mud, Dedece, Thonet, Cecilia Fox, Cibi, Daniel Barbera, Plumm, Mr Kitly, Living Edge, Humble Vintage, Magnation, World Food Books, Shelley Panton, St AlBans, Nicholas Gardner, Dalzotto, Yarra Valley Dairy, Dawn Press.
The hotel room was created and curated by Right Angle for Tourism Victoria. I think it’s great to see the government backing such an original and cool idea, don’t you?
Now all that’s left to do is look at the pretty pictures.
*Photos by Warwick Baker courtesy Tourism Victoria
It goes without saying that when travelling, one of the most interesting things to experience are new foods – and they can make great photos too. As you might recall, Sean and I were in Hobart, Tasmania a couple of weeks ago, and one perfect autumn morning we gathered up a few yummy looking antipasto-type ingredients from the market, and set them up against a sandstone backdrop in the historic Salamanca precinct for an impromptu food photography shoot.
With me on styling duties (“hey! move that crumb to the left!”) and Sean on his Canon 5D mkII with 50mm lens, we did a quick shoot followed by an even quicker devouring of the goodies. In the end I think we came up with a series of images that capture not only the food, but also communicate something of the season and location.
Here’s five tips for food photography on the go:
1. It is so easy to do what we’ve done here and set up a little food shoot using whatever you’ve picked up at the local market. Paper packaging makes a great textural background, and if you just take a little care arranging it you’ll get a great, rustic look.
2. Messy is good – it shows that you’ve been enjoying the food. So don’t get too hung up on things being neat. Take a bite and take a photo, then do it again!
3. Natural, but shaded, light is best. Direct sun will produce harsh shadow as well as wash colour out.
4. Use a shallow depth of field (low f-stop). This will really make the food stand out and give that nice blurry look in the background. If that background can say something about the location, all the better. For example, it’s subtle, but in the background of these photos are the sandstone walls that Hobart is known for.
5. Never use flash! It produces an unnatural light that makes food look unappetising.
I could go on, but those are a few of the simplest tricks. If you want to know more, check out our Travel Photography Field Guide where there’s a whole chapter about food photography.
Finally, here’s a behind the scenes shot of me looking goofy. Happy Friday!
Remember that magazine I picked up at Salamanca Market?
Walkabout was, according to Wikipedia, an illustrated magazine published from 1934 to 1974 combining cultural, geographic, and scientific content with travel literature. This winter issue from 1938 has some fantastic old advertisements (Tasmania is an “all-the-year-round holiday resort”, apparently) combined with some really classy layouts and graphic photographs. I especially like the photo of the “Sooty Terns”!
Seeing all this makes me want to time travel. If you could, where (and when) would you go?
Emiliano Granado is an Argentinian born, Brooklyn based photographer whose remarkable work revolves around the examination of popular culture, exhibition, and spectacle. His poignant series At the Track reminds us that sometimes the best cultural experiences may not be those in the guidebooks. What better way to get a taste of regional America than to check out the local speedway?
Emiliano does a lot of traveling for assignments. Just look at his blog for evidence. He was nice enough to share with us some of his thoughts on packing light and avoiding photographic cliches.
How do you decide what gear to bring (bodies, lenses, flash, tripod, bags)? Do you try to pack light? or What’s your minimum must-have gear?
Minimum is a camera! I shoot a lot of daylight – A LOT. Decision for what to bring is based on logistics and aesthetic choices. Do I have a car? How far am I parking? How far do I have to walk? Do I have an assistant? What do I want the photos to look like? What makes sense for the project.
And of course, I try to pack light. I hate carrying gear. Staying loose and being able to move fast is supremely important.
How do you avoid taking travel photography cliches or “postcard” shots?
Simple: don’t click the shutter.
The more difficult answer: Look at a lot of photography. What is cliche? What is new and interesting? Have that constant dialog in your head. Make lots of mistakes and get all those cliches out of your system as quickly as possible. Then you’ll start to be happy with your photos.
What would be your ultimate travel photography destination?
I’ve traveled quite a bit, so I’m not sure. But an amazing road trip pretty much anywhere would make me really happy.