Travel Photography Advice Part 1

December 20, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Be an Adventurer
Pictures of landmarks are trophies, but you've got to work for them so that they don't just look like post cards.

I love visiting Las Vegas. I've only been there three times and, while I wouldn't want to live there (I prefer cold to heat), I love that Las Vegas is smack dab in the middle at the intersection of Luxury and Desperation.

On my last trip to the city I wanted to capture this feeling and, as I was attending daytime functions and could only make pictures in the evening or early morning, I plotted my adventures.

Have a strategy
Know what you want, become familiar with the area, start with cliche post card images and then deviate to create original photographs.



Downtown Las Vegas
I had heard that downtown Vegas was seedier than the strip, but at the same time exciting, more colourful but still somewhat safe. I wanted to photograph a more "real" and "original"  Vegas so staying Downtown held great appeal to me (that and the U2 video "I still haven't found what i'm looking for" was taped there).

 


I wanted pictures of the night action so I investigated the downtown area early,  making "normal" pictures as I wandered lit alleys while plotting out a route of places that might be cool to make pictures from, safely, when it was dark and raucous.  

Later that night i followed my plan loosely working to capture the energy of Fremont Street. Because of my earlier preparations, in my mind's eye, the street changed at night and I became less shy about making pictures of people in the crowd.



I also wanted to show the intersection of luxury and desperation, but wanted to be safe too. Between Downtown and the Strip is probably the highest concentration of Bail Bondsmen, wedding Chapels and Pawn Shops anywhere in America - these were trophies to me.  

The next morning, when the sun came up, I would walk from Downtown to midstrip working to get clean pictures of Las Vegas' underbelly. Las Vegas Boulevard was quiet



Equipment
It helps to have good equipment but it's more important to know what your equipment is capable of. I brought one camera with three lenses (one for nights, one for shallow depth of field close ups and one for shallow depth of field realistic scene pictures),



On your next business trip, go on an adventure for trophy photographs that aren't available on the post card rack.


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