Travelling can be a truly life-changing and enthralling experience – what is there not to love about exploring new places, meeting the locals and learning about different cultures? For many people travel is a way of life and its what they thrive upon – from the open plains of the Serengeti and the bustling cities of Europe to the beautiful jungles of Asia and the rainforests of South America – the world is a huge and varied place.
Photography often goes hand in hand with travel – people love nothing more than taking their camera with them during their travels and snapping away to capture beautiful foreign landscapes and memorable moments. If you love traveling and you want to improve your photography skills, these five useful tips are sure to help:
1. Don’t stick to conventional daytime hours
The earth’s cycle of light can be a hugely potent tool when taking photos during your travels. Most people simply take photos when they are exploring or on guided tours – whilst you can create fantastic photos in this way, consider the other times of day such as sunset, sunrise, and twilight.
During the day (and night), there are many different periods of time where the sun interacts with our surrounding to create some truly magical effects. Consider getting up early in the morning to photograph a beautiful sunrise, or maybe you can stay later in the evening to capture a flaming sunset – experiment with the varying daylight hours and use sunlight to your advantage.
2. Look for a unique angle or perspective
Many people fall short in travel photography because they take the exact same photo that a thousand other people have too. How many photos have you seen of someone holding up the leaning tower of Pisa? Or how many photos have you seen of a generic monument taken from the exact same position as 50 other tourists stood next to you?
Be different, step away from the crowds and try to look for a different angle or perspective. You should still, of course, take that generic photo, but be creative too and try to capture that unique shot that no one else has thought to take. Consider focusing on a certain point, try getting low to the ground, or even climbing up to a higher place – perspective, angles, uniqueness!
3. Explore and go off the beaten track
Whilst everyone loves to take photos of well-known landscapes and buildings, it does get a little tedious. Travel photographers excel when they are presented with the unknown – instead of sticking to the tourist traps and well-trampled routes, consider wandering off the beaten track and exploring unknown regions. Its times like these that you will often find some truly stunning and unexpected scenes that are crying out to be shot.
4. Perform reconnaissance beforehand
If you want to take a particular photo it is advisable to scout the area beforehand and ensure that you understand your surroundings. Let’s say you want to photograph a lake surrounded by mountains. What is the best way to get there? Where is the ideal place to best capture the lake? Is there a car park available? Do any animals or birds appear at a certain time of the day? If you prepare yourself and scout the area beforehand, you can take a much better series of photos.
5. Try to tell a story
A photograph that can tell a story is a potent image that we can truly relate to and invest in. What would you find more interesting – a photo of a Buddhist temple or a photo of a Buddhist temple with a group of monks meditating in the foreground? Use objects, humans, and animals in your photos to create an interesting story and add extra depth to your work.
Hopefully, you have found these tips useful – travel and photography go hand in hand and knowing how to capture moments skilfully can greatly enhance your enjoyment whilst on the road. The most important piece of advice we can give however is to know when to put your camera down! Don’t become lost behind your lens – whilst photography is an amazing hobby, be sure to actually immerse yourself in your travels too!
Everything alive is bound to die one day or another. This statement does not apply only to living things, but also to objects we hold dear, the things we own and use every day, and the buildings we live in. Places, especially, become stark reminders of this notion when they are abandoned. Buildings start being reclaimed by nature and the very ground they stand upon. Their walls crumble, their windows break, and people are reminded of how time can change the world we live in.
To help you better understand what I mean, here is a collection of images showcasing some of the most unusual and abandoned places that make for some great photography.
- Belgium’s I.M. Cooling Tower
The massive cooling tower’s standout feature is the hole in the center that looks like a black hole. This hole sent hot water down through small troughs and slats made of concrete, cooling the water as it traveled. Now, the massive structure is abandoned and clad in green, giving you the chance to photograph its raw beauty.
- Australia’s Floating Forest
No other place in this list speaks of nature’s perseverance more than the floating forest that has developed over more than a hundred years on top of a large ship in Homebush Bay. Not only is that, but the sight is something that offers the opportunity for some truly breathtaking and meaningful photography.
- Ukraine’s Radioactive City
The once nuclear city of the Soviet Union, the city of Pripyat is a ghost town reminding humanity of the disastrous nature of nuclear technology. Since the Chernobyl Disaster of 1986, the city has been radioactive and unfit to live in. You can take guided tours of the city, however, and photograph the after effects of nuclear disaster firsthand.
- Italy’s Abandoned Mill
This wheat mill was left isolated in 1866, and stands to this day alone in seclusion. It is an utterly eerie sight, and once again shows how nature can find its way into any abandoned structure. You can visit the mill in the Valley of the Mills if you want some truly haunting photos.
- Georgia’s Train Station
During the War in Abkhazia, this train station was abandoned. This abandoned location stands out amongst the others in this list as it still has a good amount of its original plaster work and wooden furniture intact. This, combined with its abandoned nature, makes it a very interesting place for a photography excursion.
- Russia’s Wooden Houses
If you want to visit some other unusual places that are beautiful to look at but have been left in isolation, then these small buildings in Russian forests might be something up your alley.
- China’s Underwater City
And last but not the least, the underwater city known as the Lion City, in eastern China is perhaps the eeriest of all the locations in this list. The city is said to be over 1300 years old and has stayed submerged since 1959.