There are few things in life that excite me more than traveling. The thought of flying for hours on end to arrive in a country where everything is different makes it worth saving up for a year to do it. That said, photographing while traveling is a difficult labor of love.
The times I have been on overseas trips have always been organized to see a great deal in a short period of time with groups of people. Seldom is it the right time of day to photograph subjects in their best light. Here are two things that you can do if you find yourself in that situation.
1. Get away from the crowds!
The square in front of Saint Peter’s in Rome is constantly crowded with visitors from the four corners of the earth. While in Rome last fall, I made it my business to arrive at the Vatican at seven o’clock in the morning. At this hour, all of the tourists are still eating their Italian breakfasts and not yet on the go. You can see by the accompanying photo, the light was absolutely breathtaking as the sun rose in the east and bathed the front of the basilica. Within two hours, the square would be filled with people that would have distracted from the structure that was my subject. The light would have been totally different also.
2. Shoot detail shots.
I normally carry three zoom lenses to accompany my DSLR. A 12-24mm, 28-70mm, and an 80-200mm. Most of the time, I will try to make an establishing photo with the appropriate short focal length zoom lens, i.e., 28-70 for the Vatican shot. While waiting for admission to the church, I made the accompanying detail shot of the column on the front of the building. By using a long piece of glass, you can isolate subjects of interest and avoid the crowds that are all about you.
One of these days I will plan a trip overseas that is strictly a personal photo assignment. When that happens, I will take all the time in the world to record the places that excite me.