It seems that many Nomadics are also serious amateur photographers, some being very good. From time to time I’ll share some photography tips, mainly coming from the pros since I’m only a hack. Hope it helps with your own travel photography.
Lighting is the thing. bad light = bad image. So much amateur travel photography seems to happen around mid-day. The high sun just destroys rich colour. Many experienced travel photographers know this all too well and get up at the crack of dawn, or earlier, and catch that nice glowing light of early morning. Here’s why you should just sleep in, keep the camera in your bag on bright beautiful days and wait for the clouds.
Enter Steve Casimiro from Adventure Journal
For most of the first half of my photography career, I chased the rich warm light of the golden hour — that magical period at sunrise and sunset when the sun is low in the sky, light is filtered through many more miles of atmosphere, and everything has a beautiful yellow glow. “Hour” is a bit of a misnomer, though, because the duration of truly golden light is pretty short, maybe 20 minutes or so, and that meant that all the pressures to get the shot were packed into a tiny window, especially since I barely shot in the middle of the day because midday light is so harsh and unforgiving.
Two things changed. First, photography moved from film to digital, which is a far more forgiving medium, both during and after production. Second and more important, I finally discovered for myself what photographers have known for at least 150 years — that there’s a far better light than the syrupy, showy glow of the golden hour.
It’s the soft, milky light of high overcast clouds. The clouds act as a giant diffuser, their airborne water molecules bouncing and scattering the strong, hard rays of the sun. The contrast that darkens sunshine shadows into black is gone and the brightness that makes people squint is diminished, replaced with a cottony blanket that hides blemishes, fills wrinkles, and softens the skin. Sunset light might embody the ideal of beauty, but soft indirect light is far more versatile and flattering to the subject. Indeed, generations of studio photographers have devoted countless hours to mimicking this very effect with umbrellas and screens and soft boxes and bounce boards.
I guarantee your photos will get better if you start shooting in indirect light. And you don’t need fancy studio equipment to do it, nor do you even need a high overcast day. All you need is to get out of the direct rays of the sun. Here’s how…