Travel photography tips and advice

The joy of photography is that you can never stop learning. There are so many techniques, hints, and tips that one could live to be 100 and still not know all there is to know. Perhaps this is what makes it such an enriching hobby for many of us. The outdoors is a perfect place to hone these skills and really learn a lot about photography and your camera. Our list is by no means everything you need to know about taking great photos outside. However, perhaps it will help you next time you hit the trails or go for that canoe trip youíve been planning.

Read the Manual
This might seem like a no brainer, but itís amazing how many people donít read their manuals. Particularly with digital cameras, many people seem content to use the AUTO function and little else. While manuals can be hard to consume, they are your first step towards taking better photos. If you understand how the camera works, you will better understand how it can work for you. Head to the local coffee shop, buy an extra big coffee and plough through it. Youíll be extremely happy you did!

Fire Away
For the most part, everyone is shooting in digital these days. Those shooting film can still use this tip, but it becomes quite expensive to frame f stops with film. Provided you have sufficient space on your memory card, donít think twice about shooting the same thing 3 or 4 times. Be sure to play with aperture settings and shutter speeds because this is really where your photography skills will start to flourish.

Time of Day
If possible, do the majority of your photography early in the morning or late in the day. The mid-afternoon haze that haunts many places can have a destructive effect on photos, so be sure to wake up early!

Use a Polarizer
Only taking photos in the early morning or late at night sounds great, but this isnít always possible. For those days when the haze is strong or the sun is extremely bright, a polarizer is a must. Many photographers use a polarizer in almost all situations, but relying on it doesnít make you a better photographer. Theyíre relatively inexpensive and work to turn a tepid blue sky into a deep, rich blue. Much of what is done post-photo shoot with Photoshop can be avoided with a polarizer. To see just how much a polarizer can affect a photo, hold one up to the sky at 45í and lightly rotate it. The results are visible immediately.

Make It Small!
While big is good, small can also great. Donít be afraid to get on your belly to get the perfect shot of a blooming flower or a little critter. With the proper aperture setting, these pictures can be absolutely outstanding, so donít be unwilling to step off the trail once in a while! Keep in mind that the aperture settings for such photos are a lot different than a shot of a mountain range, so be sure to make the appropriate adjustments. Also, tread softly if there are delicate flowers around because others might want to take the same picture later on!

Tripods and Monopods
I rarely pick up a camera without picking up my tripod or monopod. These tools are invaluable when ever you set up a shot since they provide stability in often unstable places, such as the edge of a cliff or perched on a snow slope. Doubtless, they are a tad bulky and can be heavy; however, I feel that both are well worth the extra weight.

Carry a Pen
One thing I also do on most days out is carry a pen and piece of paper. I like to record as much as possible about a photo, from the time of the day to the shutter speed. I find this helps me later on as I look through the photos and recollect the day out.

There are dozens more tips that weíve left out, but hopefully these few can help you on your way to better photos! So get out there, tread softly, and fire away!

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