tourist photography

Started Apr 12, 2004 | Discussions thread
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Andy Williams
Andy Williams Forum Pro • Posts: 24,494
tourist photography

it's getting to be that time of year when many of us will travel, across town, across the state, across the country or across the ocean - and i'm fairly certain that if you lurk and or post here on stf you want more than the ordinary snapshots when you visit even the most well known tourist attractions and venues.

here are some tips and techniques that i have found to be easy to use, fun to try, and pleasing in the results. i think as a general preface... i always advise folks that if you want "perfect shots" of a building, garden, bridge, skyline etc. then buy a book, print, or even a booklet of postcard shots. most of the time, when traveling on vacation, or touring, you don't have the time to replicate what someone has already done, the weather or light isn't right, and other factors (those pesky other tourists!)...so don't try. with that out of the way, you can concentrate on the fun stuff, and give your camera a workout

let's explore three areas that have been the subject of a lot of posts here on stf, by many different folks - architecture (buildings, skylines, bridges, etc), people (candids), and abstract-y shots.

(all images sony f828 unless otherwise stated)

architecture**

i find that folks try to capture the entire building and it ends up rather boring. zoom in, get close, go for an "odd angle" ... this is the top of "zoo center" the main building at the bronx zoo:

just part of a row of brownstones (canon rebel)

look for interesting ways to frame some of the architectural detail, or the whole picture. here's a skyline shot, taken thru the cables of the brooklyn bridge (canon rebel):

this is the top of the main conservatory at the bronx botanical gardens (ir):

and here's a wider shot (ir)

keep a constant eye out for pleasing repetitive patterns:

do try and avoid the dreaded "straight-on" shot, go for a jaunty angle...this is the cathedral church of st. john the divine:

and here is nyc's own monastery, the cloisters:

and don't forget to look for the details. inside st. patrick's cathedral:

inside the cathedral church of st. john the divine (canon rebel)

i highly recommend looking behind you, for reflections, too. the chrysler building:

putting people in your shots is good, they give meaning, clarity and perspective to the scene. this is bow bridge in central park, and those ghostbusters buildings in the way background:

the east river, a fisherman, and the brooklyn bridge (canon rebel)

the people shots**

many folks are not up for the candid shot. that's ok, it's not for everyone. you can get candids without being up close - here's some people on nyc's fifth avenue, near central park:

and there are many folks are quite accustomed to having their picture taken

others you need to be quick on the draw and inconspicuous

abstract, and other stuff**

again, always have your eyes open for interesting patterns and shapes. do a little "cropping in your head" to see if something will work as a photo.

always look up these two shots are all the museum of natural history (canon rebel)

and again, don't try to get the whole darn thing in your shot...and adding some movement in the foreground makes it interesting.

try to capture he mood of the place you are visiting**

if it's new york city, then the bright lights, folks partying, busy streets, lots of movement.

and for goodness sake, do not forget to photograph your food!

i hope this is helpful. i'm looking forward to seeing everyone's travel shots!

enjoy (not the same old, same old) photography,

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