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Making it into the 2019 Albury Travel calendar

Last year, many of you sent us some amazing photos and we had such fun choosing which would go into our 2018 calendar, and so we’re launching our second annual Albury Travel Photo Competition.

Some of you are truly gifted with a camera, but if you’re just starting out with a camera, or you’d like to take better shots, we thought you might be interested in exploring what makes for a great photo.

In the end, what is a photo? It’s an artistic way of conveying a message, an idea or a feeling. So, the main purpose of taking a photo is to know how to transmit that information or those emotions.

And no, you don’t need to spend thousands on your camera. Great shots can be taken with any device, even your mobile phone (as long as your settings are high resolution enough – for printing we need image file sizes above 2mb).

Every trip can offer new experiences, adventures, or opportunities to discover people, traditions and special places. The simplest and most beautiful way to keep these intact memories is, of course, the photo.

Timing matters

Sometimes though, when we see something wonderful, the reflex to shoot and shoot instantly can result in a disappointing image – in that it doesn’t quite capture we wanted. For your travel photos to be amazing, we need to consider the following implacable rule: the photo is light-dependent. And the light changes. There’s good and not so good light. And it’s not what you might think. Beautiful bright sunny days are often a more of a challenge than you might otherwise think.

Two moments of the day give the best light for photography: early in the morning, after sunrise and late afternoon, before sunset. The sun falls sideways on objects, highlighting shadows and volumes – often in ways that take your breath away. The light, warmer than the rest of the day, gives the images a dramatic nuance or, where appropriate, a poetic feel.

If you’re at sea, the air is generally clearer in the morning, because the humidity is lower.  If you’re going for something misty and moody, something later in the day may be better.

The basic rules of photography

Professionals apply the rule of the third:

They draw two sets of imaginary lines (vertical and horizontal) in the frame, then place the subject in such a way that the most important point (for example, the eyes) is at the intersection of two lines. Some cameras already have the dial divided by this rule. If you have such a device try practicing before you leave home – maybe on your cat, dog, pet bird or something in nature.

The rule of thirds can be applied to get amazing travel photos. Imagine you want to capture an entire landscape –  a fallen tree in front of you with beautiful growing moss on it, the titanic pines in the background, the fury of the river running by, and the grey tones of the gravel at your feet. The rule of thirds can help you capture all that, if you use it the right way.

It’s always preferable to tighten the frame

Zoom in slightly to give more attention to the subject being photographed – especially if it’s a person – see our winning shot from the 2018 calendar above. The resulting image will be cleaner, with fewer cluttering features that might distract you from your subject.

Avoid too much light and moving pictures

Most cameras these days have electronic light measurement systems. The more light in the frame, the less the camera allows in. This is so the images don’t get over-exposed. Conversely, when the light is weak, the device adjusts itself.

There are, however, a lot of situations where your device can be tricked. The most disturbing situation occurs under strong sunlight. The sky is very bright, the earth less. The device sees a lot of sunlight, allowing less light to enter, and the result is disappointing: a white sky and a dark silhouette, with no visible details.

The trick on an iPhone though is to tell it where to focus (by tapping on the subject) and then it will adjust to the light around the subject.

For sunset or night pictures, try to find a flat, solid surface on which to place your device to avoid making your image blurry. Or buy a tripod – there are some great little fold up tripods for travel.

Nighttime pictures can be awesome if you can get them right, capturing city lights,  or simply how the moon reflects in the clear waters of a lake or river. Those are amazing travel photos. Do not use the flash, because it doesn’t help, plus consumes the battery in vain. Each device has a button to turn the flash off.

Set your device to the appropriate mode

Most cameras have landscape, sports or portrait mode. Make sure you’re using the right setting. Sports mode for example has a quicker shutter setting to allow for that moment when the player’s boot makes contact with the ball.

And my favourite?

Point and shoot. A LOT! The beauty of digital photography is that sometimes if you take enough photos – especially if you think something amazing is about to happen, there’s one or two in there that are just perfect – particularly if you’re just starting out.

If the file size is big enough (2-5mb), those shots can be cropped, filters added, printed, etc. to make them even more perfect – after you’ve taken the shot. Then review the great shot and look for why it’s great. See if you can repeat that on purpose next time.

If you’re looking to organise a great trip to practice your photography skills so you too can take part in this or next year’s photo competition, we’d be delighted to help. Give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, visit the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment with one of our expert travel agents via the form below.    

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