сряда, 24 февруари 2016 г.

Lesson 1 - Compact camera Vs DSLR. Do I need a DSLR to get good pictures?

Image taken from http://www.theguytravel.com/tips-to-getting-the-ideal-travel-photography-shot/

Hello everyone, welcome to lesson 1 of the Shoot Like a Pro - Advanced!

When we talk about the pro side of photography, the first question you need to ask yourself is - Do I need a DSLR.

Most photographers would even laugh at that very statement. To them it is self-evident that the DSLR is 100 times better than a compact. That may be true but the point here is to show the differences between the two. 

In this post I will try to help you make an informed choice and know the limitations of each kind, at least, and then try to explain to you that what matters is the 'gear behind the viewfinder', not so much the gear itself. But before we get to that part, let's compare a compact camera to a DSLR to see what we can choose from.

Compact camera - pros 

  • lightweight 
  • all-in-one function lens
  • cheap
  • user-friendly (most of the time)
  • doesn't attract unwanted attention.
OK, what 99% of all photographers (here I include the selfy-lovers, the casual snappers and well, everyone who has ever taken a picture, not only photographers whit a capital P) have or have had at some point in their lives is the compact camera. It has a few advantages, especially if you are a beginner. 

You don't need to rob a bank to buy one - advantage number 1. It's normally equipped with all the settings you may need for some time - like macro setting, some telephoto options (the optical zoom, I mean) and even (if you choose carefully) manual/ shutter speed and aperture priority modes. It has a built - in flash and the whole thing rarely weights more than 500 g. Another plus is that you can get by unnoticed as the occasional snapper at tourist destinations and thus - doesn't attract unwanted attention. 

Compact camera - cons 

  • You cannot attach any accessories to it
  • bad quality optics (most compact models) with limited abilities
  • SMALL (I mean, really small) sensor
  • 99% of the models don't have manual focus 
  • Bad performance at high ISO settings
  • Impossible to use in low light/ night mode - cannot work with shutter speed slower than 15 sec. 
  • Not weatherproof - get it wet and you will regret it (A LOT!!!)
  • Slow focus in any mode
  • Shoots in JPEG format only
Here we come to the bad news part.  First of all - at least to me - a compact camera is NOT waterproof. I mean, not even close! Get it wet and you will regret it! I did so once - in a torrential rain in Venice - and then the inner lenses (not the one that you can clean) got wet and I could use it for the following hour before it dried up. Luckily, the rain stopped by that time, too. If you get a compact soaked, better throw it away. I was lucky that mine was not soaked, it seems, 


Amazing pic, right? Problem is that it is taken at ISO 3200 with a compact camera - so it is suitable only for prints up to size A4 . Taken on that fateful day in Venice. 
Compact cameras have slow focus (no matter what the specs say) because the only way to work is to project the image on the screen (because they are mirror-less cameras and don't have a viewfinder), so when they focus it takes additional second to project it all at the back of the camera on the LCD monitor. The other reason for the slow focus is the auto focus - which is alway ON. Auto focus is the only available option for 99% of the cameras. Those with touch screen have a function that can override it and get things better - the touch focus (when you tap a place on the screen and it is the spot where the camera focuses). Even if the specs say that there is a manual focus option - better go without it - probably it would be so slow and user-unfriendly that you would regret staring in the first place. 


One of my favourite macro pictures - but it has problems in focusing - due to the autofocus. As you can see - the background is quite in focus - not as blurry as we would like it to be. 
Lack of manual focus slows you quite a lot, especially if you are doing quirky things like macro, wildlife, portraits. The camera would focus where it CAN, which sometimes grossly differs from where you want it to focus. 

Next in line is the sensor. Having a compact camera means that you will have a very small sensor. The sensor in the camera is the part that determines the image quality (it does NOT depend on the megapixels, no matter what 99% of the people think.) You can buy a 20 megapixel compact camera but it would still have a small sensor. Having a small sensor means that you'd be able to capture less of the breathtaking scenery with one shot and your images would be of poorer quality compared to the same shot taken with a DSLR. In most cases, you cannot tell the difference if the conditions are good - lighting is OK, weather is fine etc. Problem is that they are seldom so and the best pictures are taken in bad conditions. Small sensor means that your images would be practically useless after ISO 800 (trust me, I know) or in bad weather - dusk and dawn included. 
A classic illustration on what happens if you try to use a compact camera in low light. It has a lot of noise (pixelation or grain - you can see it in the sky and sea) because of high ISO settings and is blurry and generally out of focus because of the low shutter speed and lack of tripod.
The optics of a compact is rarely top quality (again, no matter what the specs say) - which you may get a good shot but it can't be comparable to a special lens on a DSLR (of course, that are minor differences that cannot be noticed at first sight). It all depends on what you are shooting. Most compacts are practically incapable of getting a bokeh (the blurry out-of-focus background that we love so much in portraits) because the millimeters of the lens start at somewhere between 5 and 10 (which is wide angle aka pin sharp). So whatever you shoot with the lens of a compact - you cannot get is as blurry as you would like to because the lens just cannot do it (promise to explain that in another post.) 
Landscapes - amazing time in Rila mountain (the highest on the Balkans and in Bulgaria) and I have a lot of shots from the day. This one if one of my favourites as a  scenery but it is far from perfect - you see, it is not in focus all over (as it should have been), the sky is overexposed because the sensor exposed for the foreground AND because compacts cannot use filters to compensate for the exposure difference. 
Compacts cannot use accessories - like external flash, remote trigger or filters - and cannot be used with shutter speed slower than 15 sec - so say goodbye to night shooting and sunsets or to blurry seawater and clouds. 

 DSLR- pros 

  • Full range of lenses to get all possible things captured
  • Full range of accessories 
  • Full manual mode and control of what you do
  • Bigger sensor 
  • Performs well with ISO up to 6400 (the bigger the camera, the higher the decent quality at high ISO goes)
  • Manual focus!!! (ALL lenses have it) + image stabilizer (some lenses have it)
  • Weather proof - to some extent
  • Can be used in low light but needs a tripod
  • Quick focus (most of the time) 
  • Has a viewfinder so you don't need to watch the LCD all the time.
  • Shoots in JPEG and RAW 
Here we come to the other end of the scale - the DSLR. DSLR stands for Digital, Single Lens Reflex. That means that whatever the sensor sees through the lens, the same is projected with a mirror (pentagonal - mirror) up to the viewfinder. When the camera takes a picture, the mirror is folded up an the light gets to the sensor. DSLRs are the digital variant of old professional cameras. Anyway, back to the comparison.

DSLRs generally have better optics because they are many - many, many. You can buy a full range of them to get what suits your purpose.  You can also buy all kinds of accessories to enlarge your kit - filters, tripod(s), flash(es) etc. With a DSLR you have full control over what you do - as my mother says about complicated gear - it would do the washing and then hang the clothes to dry if you let it. 
Comparison of quality
Image taken from http://wasabinoise.com/index.php?showimage=45
Most DSLR models do well with ISO as high as 6400. Focus is quick (especially if you use the viewfinder) and you can generally use it in any conditions (as long as it is not extreme weather - blizzard, sandstorm, torrential rain etc. ).

The sensor of s DSLR is bigger, so you can get more of the scenery in one shot. Bigger sensor also means better performance in bad conditions such as low light, dusk and dawn and above all - better image quality. You can shoot in RAW (which is the general photo format for post production) as well as JPEG.


A graph that shows the difference in the sensor size
Image taken from http://www.fabiovisentin.com/blog/38.ashx

DSLR - cons
  • Expensive - VERY 
  • Accessories are even more expensive than the initial purchase
  • No all-purpose lens - you either need to carry 2 or 3 with you or to get satisfied with limited angle
  • HEAVY (a lot)
  • You get noticed immediately - which can attract unwanted attention
  • User-unfriendly and cumbersome if you are a beginner
  • You need a lot of knowledge to get a decent shot in full manual
Here are the bad news about DSLRs. They are E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E - as an initial investment AND all the accessories (lenses etc.) would cost even more. They are heavy - which may become a problem if you are a dedicated mountaineer, for example, and you cannot drag a 10 kg photo bag with you all the way.
Taken from http://wallstreetinsanity.com/20-things-gen-y-needs-to-stop-spending-money-on/
There is no all-purpose lens - the macro lens cannot do landscapes (because it has a limited angle of view and for landscapes you normally want to put in the frame as much as possible) and the landscape lens cannot do macro or wildlife (because it cannot focus close enough to the object) the portrait lens is good but if you try to do landscape with it - it won't be sharp enough... If you are goingon a trip, you would probably need to carry more than one lens with you (which adds to the weight again). 
I said A LOT of lenses, didn't I? 
When using a DSLR, you immediately get noticed in the crowd. I mean INSTANTLY. That singles you out as a possible victim of pickpockets and attracts unwanted attention from officials and a=can get you in trouble if you get caught taking pictures of something you shouldn't be. 
Taken from http://wasabinoise.com/index.php?showimage=45
If you are a beginner, you'll need quite a lot of knowledge to handle it properly - so at first it could be quite user-unfriendly and slow to handle.

Here comes the question - Do I need a DSLR to get good photos or can I continue using my old camera?

To answer that question, please answer the following questions HONESTLY.

  • Do you know your current camera inside out?
If you know all things about it and what settings are used for this or that situation and you can switch between them quickly - you are likely to move on to the next level.
  • Have you used all the settings of your current camera?
If you have, you have probably noticed the strengths and weaknesses of  your current camera.
  • Can you produce good images with your current gear?
If you cannot, you are not ready for the next step. It's like driving - you cannot drive an SUV if you still cannot handle a Volkswagen polo.
Same place as the one with the mountain above, just taken a few hours later. again with the same compact camera.
  • Can you afford a new camera and are you willing to keep investing in it?
If you are not prepared for more expenses - invest in a bridge camera instead. They combine some of the functions of a DSLR with the relatively cheaper price and comfort of a compact.
  • Why do you want to change your gear?
Professional equipment is exactly what it reads - professional. It is made to aid people get good results in varying conditions and above all - TO MAKE MONEY OUT OF THE PICTURES. 
If you want a camera like that just because all your friends have - ask yourself - do you really need it or is it just a whim.
  • Are you willing to cope with the weight every time you go somewhere?
That may not be a problem if you are a man, but for women it is. Even if you are fortunate to be strong enough to handle all the weight - do you really need all that all the time?

Counter to what I said above - what creates the good shot is 50% chance and conditions, 30% talent/skill and inspiration and 20% gear. A good photographer can handle well and produce good and even fantastic photos with whatever is available. Any equipment would do - trust me, the best equipment is the one that you have in your bag right now. 
That one is taken with a 3-megapixel cameraphone.

This one is taken with a smartphone. 
A few years ago - when I was only dreaming to get a DSLR (an to be honest, it was only in a joke-like manner) I met a man carrying a  DSLR around. He and his wife were staying at the same hotel as we did. So one evening, after we had been at the same location at roughly the same time, I asked to see the pictures (hoping that they would be better than mine). Imagine my horror when he just shrugged and just told me he had taken a few shots ... in AUTO mode. Why. on Earth, do you need a DSLR if you use AUTO??? You can use any camera for that purpose.  

In conclusion I want to add gear always helps but it doesn't create masterpieces. You do. 


неделя, 21 февруари 2016 г.

Corinth Canal - part 2 - or why getting lost helps?

I've always wanted to take a picture of Corinth Canal with a boat inside it - you know, like the iconic picture below. 

Image taken from http://traveltamed.com/places-to-visit-in-greece/
If you have read the previous post, you already know what happened on day 1 and you probably know that I was dead-set on getting things right today. This part of the story starts in the morning at the hotel reception. 

Totally into the idea of getting a shot like the one above, I went to ask about ships. After all, they should know, right? The guy at the reception was very helpful but I doubt he understood much of what I had in mind told me that tourist boats go inside the canal but big ships are few and far between. Still, I was determined to go there and take my iconic shots. 

In the morning we went to Mycenae (which is the topic of another post) and at 11 am we drove back to Corinth - the distance is roughly 60 km. 

Where IS the canal???

There was a road sign on the highway but from Peloponnese there was none. So we got a panoramic view of Corinth and its streets. And the oil refinery. If you book a hotel - check where it is on the map because there is a very high chance of being close to the refinery. And that is HUGE! If the hotel is close - you will enjoy the smell of petrol derivatives 24/7. Corinth is a really nice town with plenty of things to see for it's size and no doubt - amazing accommodation and taverns - but the smell of petrol is not one of my favourites. Luckily we checked that BEFORE we went there. 
One of the beaches of Corinth that I managed to shoot along the way.
We went in and out of Corinth several times during some of which we came close to the channel. Twice we went over a submersible bridge at one end of the canal and we kept driving along one of its sides. 
The bridge I was talking about
The lagoon - the black and yellow thing on the left is the bridge
You can see it's there but you cannot reach it. You see where it is but you don't see where to turn for the viewpoint. 
The end of the canal as seen from the submersible bridge. The image is taken from a car in motion - you cannot stop there
Time went on and the sun went down - and I got nervous. Meanwhile we kept circling the streets of Corinth. 
One of the views of Corinth I managed to capture
 After all, we had only two days in that part of Peloponnese and it was already day 2! Bearing in mind that the pictures from yesterday I can happily delete at any instant because they show nothing of the canal that I wanted to capture.  (you can see the previous post to get the impression of how bad things were). 
The view from the submersible bridge - again!
After a few zig-zags in and out of Corinth - AGAIN! - we got to the viewpoint. Time: 12.30. Not too late, I hoped. I got out of the car and started running - at 30 degrees plus Celsius - and started frantically taking pictures of practically everything I got my lens on. Thank God I got the wide angle lens!!!
The canal from the other side of the bridge
Time went on and I got to the other side of the bridge (remember what I told you about the viewing platform being nonfunctional). 
This is the iconic view of the canal. Shot from the pavement of the car - bridge. Basically hanging on the safety fence for the shots of that side of the canal because the viewing platform was closed. 
By the time I was done with preliminary shots, it was around 1 pm.
Guess what??? At the far end of the canal I saw a boat approaching! A BOAT! No matter the time, I was totally into waiting for the boat to come to me - and even to get out of the canal.
One of my favourite shots from the day and roughly what I came to Corinth for :) 
 It was the picture-postcard thing I wanted to do!!! So I waited - it turned out that I didn't have to wait for a long time - some 15 minutes.

It was a miracle! My dream came true (well - sort of - it was a big ship but this little boat was ideal to show ho big th channel is). 
Another of my favourite shots
So I started snapping as if I had a machine gun - click, click, click, chat, chat, chat, chat! I LOVED IT!!! I was glad we got lost, after all - because otherwise we would have gotten to the canal earlier and we wouldn't have seen the boat. 
Sometimes getting lost helps.
Now, the technical information: how to get a picture like that?


The boats

There are several tourist boats that get inside the canal - either to show it to the tourists or just for the fun of being photographed from above (the people in the boat were having a great time while I was taking those shots). The boats have different schedule - so make sure you check it out first before you get on location. I think that there is at least one of them that gets inside the channel at midday - which means - somewhere between 12.00 and 13.00 pm and I think that there is another one later on during the day. 


The light
Make sure to be on location at midday - when the sun falls directly from above and the water inside the channel looks azure. Trust me, you won't regret it. 
If it is cloudy - any time would be suitable. But the water is less likely to be azure. 

Clothing

It is generally HOT in Peloponnese 7 months out of 12 and temperatures rise up to 30 degrees Celsius (and often higher - when we were there temperatures ranged from 30 to 38 in different parts of Peloponnese) so make sure you have sunscreen, a hat (it's windy at the bridge so make sure you keep it ON your head in some way) shorts and a T-shirt. Sneakers are a must - you'll need all the stability you can get while on the bridge. 
The bridge - again, in case you didn't pay attention last time
Gear

Any camera would do but let's try to get the DSLR settings:

  • manual mode - f/8 - f/18 (depends on your ideas and the amount of light) - you need a BIG f/ number to get the bottom of the channel sharp; shutter speed - 1/320 sec + (in case there is a boat around - they move quite fast)
  • images shot in RAW (or the highest quality JPEG) - so you can use your files later on.
  • lens - wide angle is a must - you don't have much space to move around either way. 10-18 mm is a good choice but if you don't have one - use the widest setting of your lens (normally that is 18 mm). Forget about telephoto lenses unless you want to get a portrait of someone in the boat below.  
Safety precautions
Corinth canal is one of the two entry points from mainland Greece to Peloponnese (I keep repeating that, I know, but I hope that it gets stuck in your head) - the road that hosts the railing is VERY VERY BUSY!!! You can see trucks, buses (tourist and municipal) and cars of all brands and sizes driving over it at any minute. So:

  • Do NOT go in the middle of the road for no reason (it is narrow enough)
The railing of the bridge in detail. 
  • Do NOT hang over the railings!!! You don't want to risk a 70-meter fall down to the 8-meter deep water. (I am myself afraid of heights and that one took my breath away but still...) If the other viewing platform is still closed (as it was when I was there) DO NOT TRY TO GET ON IT!!! If they closed it - they probably did it for a reason - probably it is not stable enough to host ANYONE. DO NOT play the hero!
A side shot of the canal to show you ho deep it is.
Last note - Corinth Canal is one of the most spectacular places I have been to. If you are in the area - do go there. It's worth it!
Corinth has other places to see as well - Ancient Corinth is a must - see and has a great view and they have to have a museum or two. 

For those in love - bring a padlock and lock it on the bridge - many couples do that like they do it in France. As you can see from the picture above - they are quite a few. 

събота, 20 февруари 2016 г.

Corinth Canal - part 1 - or why light matters?

I've been thinking a lot about what to write next in the Travelogues section and I kept coming up with one and the same idea - Corinth. 

Read part 2 here


Here we are - next topic is Corinth Canal or Korinthos Isthmos (or if we want to be exact - Ισθμός της Κορίνθου in Greek).

Where is that? 
The most logical question here is to ask - where is that on the map? If you are not interested in geography, history and you don't live on the Balkans, you probably have no idea. The answer is simple and it is GREECE. 
Image taken from http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/corinth.htm

So far so good, but where in Greece? After all, it's not that a small country. I will not keep you waiting - it's between Peloponnese and mainland Greece. You can see it on the map below:
Image taken from http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/corinth.htm
In case you don't know - Peloponnese is the biggest peninsula in Greece and the south-most part of mainland Greece. Don't worry - there will be a post about Peloponnese as a whole later on. 
Corinth Canal is what separates the peninsula from the rest of Greece. 

A bit of history. How, why and when was the canal created?
Before I went to Corinth, I thought that the canal was made in ancient times. Turned out that in ancient times Corinth was one of the wealthiest towns in Greece but not because of the canal - it was the lack of it that made people so wealthy. Corinth had two harbors - one of each side of the Isthmus - and ships used to be dragged from one to the other. Of course, Corinthians charged travelers for the service - even if you don't want to transport the whole ship across the land, luggage still had to be carried to the other harbor. The alternative was going around the island of Kythira and facing the danger of getting in one of it's notorious currents and storms. Most ships didn't want to risk that much. 
Nero's plan for the canal
Image taken from https://en.wikipedia.org
The whole process was so uncomfortable that even at ancient times emperors such as Julius Caesar, Caligula and Nero planned to dig a canal to end the misery.  Problem was that none of them lived long enough to do that. In later centuries plans were forgotten and after the Ottoman empire came in the 15th century - people had bigger problems... 
Things changed in the 19th century when Greece got its independence. The Greek government asked a French company in the 1830s to dig it but the price - 40 million gold franks - was too high so the project was abandoned for a couple of decades. Then, in the 1880s another French company took the project. Before it was built, several companies and entrepreneurs got bankrupt before it was finally opened in 1893. 
The canal during construction in 1882
Image taken from http://corinthianmatters.com/2013/01/18/historic-photos-of-the-isthmus/
Still, there were some problems.
Problem 1 - the canal was too narrow which meant that big modern ships, which were just evolving back then, could not use it. Narrowness meant that there was a lot of wind in the canal itself. So many ships avoided it anyway. 
The canal during construction in 1884
Image taken from https://corinthianmatters.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/isthmus-1884_551573_536651073012278_1728426558_n.jpg
Problem 2 - the different tide time of the two seas on both sides of the canal which made it difficult to navigate and caused dangerous currents inside it. 
Problem 3 - Greece is a highly seismic region. The canal location is even more so. Besides - the rocks are of sedimentary nature and thus - are quite unstable. That meant a lot of landslides.
Things didn't get better in the 20th century either - WWI and WWII did their job well to slow the traffic down to a trickle. Still, the canal is a wonder of the engineering mind and a spectacular place to visit. 
The canal as seen from above
Image taken from http://www.sailingissues.com/corinth-canal-diolkos.html
How to get there?
Here are a few ways:
Route 1 - say you are traveling by car - you'll need the highway that goes to Athens first. When you get to Athens the highway will fork - one part goes down to the gates at Piraeus and the other goes for Corinth. You need Corinth. The view from that part of the highway is really nice because you drive along the coast. Just follow the big green roadsigns (which will show the nearest town - in our case Corinth). The distance between Corinth and Athens is roughly 80 kilometers.
Route 2 - get on a plane for Athens. When you get at Venizelos airport (aka. Athens' airport) you get a rent-a-car and follow the instructions from Route 1.

What we did is to drive all the way from Sofia to Athens - which is 800 something kilometers (thank God for Greek highways!!!) and then to Corinth in one day (thank God the driver LOVES to drive!!!). 

How to find the canal???
If you have seen the pictures on the net (as I have) - you probably imagine a narrow and shallow little canal in the middle of a meadow. Truth is very far from that. The main traffic from mainland Greece to Peloponnese goes ABOVE it (I mean literally above it!!!) and you can see that it is DEEEEEP. REALLY DEEP. 

Once you get near the town of Corinth, there would be a big (you can't miss it, it is several meters wide) green road sign reading Korinthos Isthmos (in Greek and Latin alphabet). You take that turn RIGHT (if you are coming from Athens as we did) and then follow the main road that goes to Peloponnese. You need the main road that says Tripoli (the next bi town along the highway) or Nafplion (the nearest town in Peloponnese). There are NO other roadsigns indicating where the canal is once you enter Corinth. Guess it is because everybody knows it and if you ask, they will be happy to show it to you. 

Check out Google Streetview !!!!! to see where exactly you have to turn (LEFT, I think, if you are coming from Athens) for the parking and the viewpoint. There would be NO sign - if you are driving along the canal already, you have missed it. There is a big municipal one that is free of charge and you can buy souvenirs as well. There are no tickets for the view - after all - it is on the main road.  

What to do?
As I said above, the main traffic in and out Peloponnese goes ABOVE the deepest part of the canal (where all the pictures are taken). The bridge that houses the main road also houses the viewing platforms - that would allow you to peer around 70 meters down to the bottom of the canal and take a few photos of it. 
Problem 1 - when we went there one of the viewing platforms on the left/right hand side of the road (depends on the direction you are going) and which hosts the iconic view of the canal was closed. 
Problem 2 - The viewing platforms are NOT part of the bridge - they are metal constructions that are attached to the concrete base of the road - so all the vibrations from the traffic on the road are felt on the bridge. Trust me, if you watch the abyss below - that's not fun. 
What you can see from the other side of the bridge - photo from the evening

Problem 3 - The platforms are fairly narrow so if you want to take a picture of yourself AND the canal WITHOUT having the railing and the platform in shot, you won't succeed. The other option is to hang on the main road and risk getting run over.
Don't get too excited  that picture is from the next day. That is the viewing platform

Problem 4 - The road is REALLY busy - almost every minute you have a truck or a bus on it - so you cannot (even if you are such an idiot) stand in the middle of the road to get a better vantage point. 

The canal
When I saw the pictures of the canal I thought it is deep but when I was it in real life - my jaw dropped. 
I'd be honest - I'm afraid of heights. Well, I don't faint or something, but I don't like being that high. High buildings are OK, as long as I don't have to go on a balcony (which is another story). But walking over an around 70 meter abyss... is quite another matter. As I said, my jaw dropped!!!
The view is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
What I saw at 6.30 pm

Problem 5 - By the time we got there (after a 10-hour drive from Sofia) it was already past 6 pm. That is not much of a problem but light is all about the view of the place. Main problem lies in the depth of the thing - the less light you get, the darker the bottom is. Water is only 8 meters deep so it is a lovely hue of blue when it is lit. 
In my case - it was dark as hell and I was furious. I've been dreaming about going there for a long time so I didn't want to miss it. The only resolution was to get back the next day when the light was right - which meant at midday when the light falls directly from above.  That was despite the fact that we had to visit Mycenae and a few other archaeological sites. I hoped that I would be able to take the picture I want.

About that - in a follow-up post! 


вторник, 9 февруари 2016 г.

A day in the life of a photographer on location...


Courtesy to videohive.net

Hello everyone,It's been a while but yesterday I had some inspiration and I decided to write something that would be fun to read. I want to share with you what goes on in the head of a photographer while on location - I mean the average travel photographer, not the dedicated landscaper. Imagine it is a diary - hour by hour.


  • 5 am/ 7 am - getting up
Oh, I hate getting up! 
Second thought: Oh, I had to shoot X - landscape today!
Jumps out of bed.
Courtesy to Thomas Heaton/REX, Shutterstock 
  • 8 am - on location X 
Oh, it's cold/ hot here... I hate it but I have to get that shot of X! 
Starts shooting.
5 minutes later - Realizes that the lens ON camera is not the one needed.
20 minutes later - Lens is in place BUT the white balance/ ISO/ aperture is not right.
10 minutes later - All set and then the WAITING BEGINS - for the sky to clear, God to descend from Heaven or any other natural or supernatural phenomena...


  • 9.45 - something interesting happens - starts shooting

Actual shooting time - from 10 second to 10 minutes.
Actual time spent - 2 hours+

  • 11 am - on the way to the hotel/ camping/ whatever
I'm hungry, I MUST get some food. 
Second thought: Let's get the tripod/ lens/ bag cleaned first. 
  • 12 pm
OK, I'm famished! Food - here I come!!!
Goes to the nearest restaurant.
Second thought: Realizes that looks like a brigand/ homeless/ gypsy and goes back to make oneself presentable. 
  • 12.30 pm - lunch time
OK, that one looks nice on the menu... Oh, LOOK! Which idiot took that picture, He should get sued for that! And who wrote that? It's not in English, that's for sure...
Image taken from www.independent.co.uk
10 minutes later... - Ordered, waiting for food to arrive.
Another 10 minutes later...- salad arrives. 
Oh, it's so beautiful and tasty... takes the fork.
Second thought: NO, I MUST photograph it! Takes out camera/ phone/ compact camera - whichever is available at the moment and doesn't look like the Terminator to the other guests and starts shooting.

30 minutes later - main course arrives. Salad still gets photographed.
Oh, I forgot I am hungry! Let's eat! 
Eats salad - it's cold and old but too hungry to think. 
15 minutes later - sees that main course is here.
Oh, I have to eat! 
Second thought: Let's photograph that too, for TripAdvisor! 

  • around 14.30 pm
Main course still gets photographed. 
Second thought: Oh, I have to be at Y at 15.00 because light is perfect then!!!
Devours food AND dessert, pays the bill and leaves in haste. 
Image taken from Travel | Corbis Images Blog blog.corbis.com 
  • 15.00 pm - location Y
Shopping...well, actually photo -shopping :) 
Items bought: 3 
Reason: Ideal for props 
Total number of shots taken: 473
Reason: It's amazing here!!!
3 hours later... My feet hurt! I am tired and want to go to bed! 
Second thought: Wait!!! Sunset is in an hour! Let's go find a good vantage point!
Image taken from www.magic4walls.com
  • 19.00 pm - Sunset time - location Z
Tripod - on, right lens - on, right settings - engaged. 
Actual shooting time: 30 minutes
Actual preparation time: 1 hour
Number of shots taken: 30 (depending on weather conditions)
  • 20.00 pm - back at the hotel/whatever
Oh. I want to sleep, damn it!!! 
Second thought: No. I'll take a shower first...

  • 20.30 - 21.00 pm (depending on location)
OK, sleep will wait. I need food. NOW!
  • 21.15 pm - at a restaurant
Orders food - no fussing about this time - too hungry to be critical. 
  • 22.00 pm
Food - devoured.
Number of shots taken: 2-10 (depending on how hungry the photographer is)
  • 22.30 pm
OK, now is time to take a tour of the surroundings. 
  • 22.45 pm
Notices amazing reflections/ scenery/ whatever. Starts shooting. 
  • 23.00 pm
I feel like James Bond/ Indiana Jones here! So many new things...
Second thought: Too late to be out with equipment. Looks around. There are all kind of people around here. 
No matter what - keeps shooting for another half an hour. 
Image taken from pixgood.com
  • 23.30 -24.00 pm - back at the hotel/whatever
Oh, God! I do need rest!!!
Second thought: Let's see what's the view from the terrace/ window at night!
  • 24.01 am - the terrace/window
Wonderful view!!! Let's capture it!
Gets tripod out, puts half the batteries to charge. 
15 minutes later...
Number of shots taken: 3-5
Number of settings changed: 10
OK, now we're all set! Let's wait for that car/moon/ cloud to move in/ out of the way...
  • 2.00 am - still there...
OK, now I MUST go to sleep...THAT is the last shot for tonight. I MEAN IT! 
Second thought: Oh, that moved! Let's see what happens...
  • 2.30 am - still at the terrace/window...
OK, that's it!!! ENOUGH! 
Shuts camera down. collects all gear, puts the other half of the batteries to charge. 
I'm going to sleep - NOW!!!
  • 3.00 am - in bed, thinking...
Oh, I do love sleep...
Second thought: But I love more location H, I'm gonna shoot tomorrow...