LET YOUR PICTURES DO THE TALKING

We tell you how to travel the world and come back with a suitcase full of memories ­ only with your camera

Do you remember the smell of a pretty flower you saw in the garden, the thrill of a roller coaster ride, the adrenaline rush during white water rafting, the fragrance and taste of local food and the warmth of the natives while in a different country? If the photographs you click during your travel bring these sensations back, then you have used your camera beautifully. Late American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams had said good photography isn’t about great cameras, but consciously bringing your experiences in the frame you capture. He said, “You need to bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved…“

For capturing a picture that comes alive every single time you look at it, you need to think and feel as much as you need to look. A little bit of practice, the knowledge of basics, and a good teacher can ensure your pictures breathe life. Wildlife photographer Saurabh Desai says, “Get away from all things familiar and comfortable. In a new, unfamiliar place, you need to get away from crowded areas and tourist spots. Wander around valleys and streets, sit in a café and mingle with a local, sipping a drink and just watch life pass by.“ It’s in these moments that you’ll get the frame that will always remind you of the place, long after you’ve left it. Photography is an art, and some people are just better at it than others, but accumulating memories is important, and very few things can match the emotions that overwhelm you when you pull out an old picture from the album. Here are a few pointers to help you frame your experiences better.

photographyLEARN ABOUT THE LOCATION

Your research about the place you are about to visit should be thorough. Even if you like leaving things to chance and love discovering a place once you reach; to get a good picture, you need to know a little bit about your destination or subject of interest. Kesavamurthy, an avid birdwatcher, naturalist and professional wildlife photographer from Bengaluru quit his day job to conduct regular nature walks and wildlife and travel photography tours in India, Kenya and Sri Lanka. He suggests, “Use the online medium, go to li braries and talk to friends who’ve been there. Start educating yourself about the location, its culture, and landscape. Find out what festivals are held during your travel period. On the basis of that, look up for work of other photographers. This way, you’ll know what are the clichéd shots you need to avoid, and get new ideas.“

THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK

You’ve seen the place in pictures, and read about it. Now you are there. All your senses can participate in the process of photographing the place.Desai says, “Don’t pull the camera out of your bag as soon as you land at the airport. Get the feel of the place and try to note down your first impressions. Wait for something to catch your attention, observe the way people dress, feel the weather… whether it’s a cool breeze or a hot shaft of air Think of ways you can creatively interpret these things through your pictures.“

BOND WITH YOUR SUBJECT

Says travel photographer Amar Patel, “If you love photographing people and their emotions, invest time in building a bond with them. Even a simple smile makes a person feel comfortable, thus making the image look alive.“ There’s an additional plus point too ­ it will also add to making your trip memorable. To be a better communicator, read up on the customs and traditions of the place. Certain kind of behaviour is considered unacceptable in certain cultures and you’d definitely not want to be rude or offensive to anyone.

GOOD LIGHT = GOOD PHOTOS

Being at the right location at the right time will enhance the quality of your photograph. Early hours of morning, late afternoons, dusk, fog, harsh sunlight ­ can all create dramatic shadows and bewitching effects. Your awareness and sensitivity to light is what differentiates a good picture from a great one. Says Kesavamurthy, “It’s very important to know the ambient lighting conditions well in advance. Get up early, stay out late and keep a tab on sunrise, sunset timings, and the weather forecast. This will help you make images with different lighting moods of the location.Post sunset, the light and hues are breathtaking if you are near a coastal area. You can make some interesting landscapes during this dusk hour.“

CARRY LESS, CAPTURE MORE

Travel light. Don’t carry unwanted stuff while you are capturing people, street or culture. The lesser you look like an outsider, the better images you can get. Media professional and travel enthusiast Nihar Rangoonwala says, “To look like a normal tourist to the crowd and stay unnoticed, pack less and stay hassle free. I carry a DSLR, three lenses, an extra battery, a charger, a few memory cards and a cleaning kit. A compact camera or mobile phone can also be handy.“ If you don’t get enough electricity, batteries can help you survive for a few days. Also, a lot of resorts have just one charging point, so it might be a good idea to carry a power chord for charging multiple gadgets at the same time. Carry extra memory cards, so that you can avoid carrying a laptop to transfer images.

BONDING OVER PHOTOGRAPHY

Couple Neha and Chittaranjan Desai are avid travellers and skilled photographers, who love to travel to off-beat places to click nature’s scintillating beauty. “The art of photography helps us bond and build a deeper relationship with each other.

Our photography trips enliven us.We learn a lot about each other’s perspective towards life. We both end up taking completely different kinds of shots of the same place or person and enjoy having meaningful discussions over it ­ the similarity and the differences.“