Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Going on Vacation this Summer? Photographic advice, Part I .

Going on a summertime escape from our 90+ degree, 90+% humidity? A change of scenery? Grab some Culture? You'll want mementos, photographic fetishes, or fine art pictures of your trip, family, where you were. This post is to help you do that efficiently and well. We should begin by defining ourselves and our photographic mission. Are you the kind who is OK with carrying a big camera/lens all day? What will you do with your trip pictures? 30x40" prints, or maximum 8x10, Instagram, Flickr, etc.? Or put them in a one-man show in a gallery when you get back? If you are doing the latter, you need a far more comprehensive education than this post can provide, and probably have no time to acquire it before your trip.

There is no substitute for a talented and educated eye. You don't have a lot of time to work on that before you go on vacation, so you will have to make do with what you have on this trip. I suggest writing down all our major stops, going on Flickr and searching for pictures taken there. This gives you an idea of what others did, which you might want to improve on, imitate (blah) or discard. The next most important thing is to practice. Whatever you own, carry and use it every day, from now until you depart. Make lots of exposures, familiarize yourself with controls and modes, to the point that it becomes transparent.

Oskar Barnack invented the Leica because he was convalescing from tuberculosis, and a tourist in high, dry territory in the mountains. He wanted a small, pocketable camera he could take along on his walks, and created the Leica. He would have loved cellphones. If you are OK with prints around 10x10" or maybe 12x12", can live without long telephoto focal lengths, low-light performance and its other limitations, your phone might be all you need. You already own it, it weighs nothing (since you would carry it anyway), and can send pictures back to friends, facebook, instagram, etc. It also does not get in the way of enjoying times with your family. In order to get the best possible outcomes with your phone, you need to acquire serious experience with it. Before your trip, use it frequently, trying out the different modes and see the results.

I would advise getting a larger capacity battery for the trip, and  at least one or three extra memory cards, plus a car charger that plugs into the cigarrette lighter (if you're going by or renting a car when you get there.

Put in some practice time and test the different metering modes as well as your flash to ascertain the maximum distance that it can reach. On location, no matter what camera you are using, make LOTS of exposures, if possible. By lots I mean 5+

_______________________________End Part I_________________________________

Point and shoot cameras are small, lightweight, self-contained, and more flexible than most phones. 

1 comment:

  1. I take horrid IPhone pics. They are never sharply in focus and I have not found a way around the barrel distortion. I always take a real camera with me on vacation. thanks for these posts!