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Travel Photography

The photography of Ansel Adams should probably be considered the gold standard of landscape photographic images.  Careful scouting for the ideal location and angle, patience for the perfect moment and lighting, and a large format camera to achieve the ultimate in detail and focus; these attributes combined to provide some of the truly iconic images we all remember and treasure.

Ansel Adams The Tetons Snake River Wyoming 1942 Jeffrey Evans 2009

Left: Ansel Adams, Master Photographer, "The Tetons - Snake River" Wyoming 1942 - Public Domain / Right: Jeffrey Evans, Button Pusher, "Those Same Tetons" Wyoming 2009 - © 2009

However, fortuitous luck can also provide a defining and indelible image of a person, place or thing, and improving the odds for that sort of luck is the primary purpose of this article on practical travel photography.  We will not be discussing f stops or film speed.

For nearly thirty years, my personal travel history was camera free.  The trip was the thing, and the potential that bags full of lenses, meters and film would compete with the moment was not something I was willing to risk.

In 2001, my partner was working in the travel business, and called one day to tell me she had received two offers for “fam trips” on which I could come along for a reduced fee.  Would I have any interest in a luxury cruise to London, or a trip to the Galapagos Islands?  I assumed it was a trick question, so obvious was the choice for me.

Galapagos Islands Marine Iguana

Galapagos Marine Iguana

California Long Beach Queen Mary

Queen Mary

My personal aversion to cameras didn’t seem appropriate for a shared once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos, so I bought Courtney a digital camera.  She handed it to me on about the second day of the trip, and I have been taking, downloading, and editing our photos ever since.  Her transfer of responsibility would not have worked  on me if not for the camera itself, a Canon PowerShot S110.

My research comparing the Canon to other cameras of the time is long since forgotten, but I considered its retractable lens to be essential.  This one feature not only protects the lens from a wide range of threats, it also allows the camera to fit comfortably in the palm of my hand, to the point that I often forget that I’m carrying it.  When you really need two hands, a retractable lens digital camera is legitimately capable of being carried in a front pants pocket.

The convenience factor of a compact digital camera enables you to satisfy the first commandment of the travel photographer.  On the road to photo nirvana, all other considerations pale in insignificance compared to this essential first principle:

YOU AND YOUR CAMERA HAVE TO BE THERE!


Page 2 – Trade-offs

Page 3 – The Canon SD950

Page 4 – Tips

Page 5 – Software

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