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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reactive Or Proactive?


The new travel photography paradigm

It wasn’t until I prodded and prodded that she reluctantly volunteered that, yes, this shot was made when she was a participant on one of my friend’s tours, and no, she didn’t know where or how he found the fishermen and arranged for them, their boats and their birds to be in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time! But, by George, she did take the picture (as did all her fellow tour members)!

That shooter was proud of the beautiful shot, but also totally missed the point because it was my friend’s proactivity, his research, his investment of shoe leather, time and persuasive skills, and finally his generosity in sharing and re-creating one of his most signature photographs that made that shot happen for her. In this case, taking the picture really was the easiest part of the process, and taking credit for it would be about as authentic as re-creating the Mona Lisa on a sophisticated paint-by-the-numbers canvas and then claiming to be another da Vinci!

These days, with the immediate worldwide dissemination of photos on the Net, it would be hard to get away with something like that because everybody would have their version uploaded and entered into the contest as well. But it does point to the need for us to be more original, more thoughtful and more proactive in our travel coverage so our pictures don’t look like everybody else’s. We need to make better travel photographs by creating our own inspiration!

Quick Tips For Proactive Travel Shooting

1 Do lots of research. The more you dig into your destination and find out about it, the more likely you are to find an interesting festival, personality, activity or viewpoint that may not be obvious during a cursory tour.
2 Try a different approach. Sometimes a new technique can energize your coverage. Try shooting black-and-white, or infrared, or panoramics, or using a Lensbaby or even HDR to put a different spin on a familiar place.
3 Go slower, stay longer, dig deeper. Pretty self-explanatory. The slower you travel, the longer you stay in one place, the more you’ll learn about the location and raise the odds of getting something different and hopefully better than a superficial hit will give you.

For a schedule of Bob Krist’s workshops and seminars, check his website, www.bobkrist.com, under the “Teach and Talk” heading.

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