Have you ever arrived at your vacation destination (after planning and looking forward to it for a year), and you were possibly overwhelmed because you didn’t know where, what, and when to shoot. It can be difficult, ever for some professionals. Here’s what to do to simplify your “one in a lifetime vacation” and make it a memorable experience.
In the early eighties I started traveling a lot for assignments as well as for personal vacations and I always have done two things:
The first thing I do is to contact the Tourism Department of every country, state, and city I’m going to be in and I ask them for photographic ideas as far as what to see. These people will bend over backwards to help you for the simple reason that they want people taking pictures. To them it’s free publicity, and photographs are a quick way to spread the word around. They will send you a list of all the most popular places, and it’s a great way to start.
I know what you’re thinking, why go to the places that all the tourists go to and photograph the same things? For me, the reason is simple. Tourists will go to these places after breakfast when the quality light is gone. Or, they’ll go right before or right after lunch, when the light is the hottest. They will usually be through well before dinner so they don’t have to worry about it while sipping their glass of wine.
The above photo is a good example of arriving at a location and shooting when the tourists were long gone.
I go out well before breakfast (sunrise) when the light is the best. Then I have breakfast. Since I’ve been up a the proverbial “crack of dawn”, I’ll go back to my room and rest up (if I can). During the lunch hour, I’m sitting at an outdoor cafe, eating the local fare while sipping a glass of wine and figuring out what I want to shoot at sunset when the light is Golden. Then I go to dinner and enjoy my dinner while thinking back to what I’ve shot that day.
The second thing I’ll do in the planning of my trip is to contact the Film Commission of the same countries, states, and cities. They are also very friendly and will go way out of there way to help you with locations. The reason is the same, they want you in their country or state to spread the word around photographically.
These are the photographs that I’m looking to have prints made with. These are the important photos because I’ve spent the most time in the pre-planning stage and are taken in the best light. These are the photographs I take with my Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod. Then, there are the street/grab style photos I take all the time with the small camera I always keep in my pocket.
Check out my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and my 2012 workshop schedule you’ll find t the top of this blog and come shoot with me sometime.