Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY AS FINE ART - PART 1

As a professional, travel photography is always about fine art for me. If I don’t have great lighting—preferably directional—or compelling composition I can create or a really different point of view, I usually pass on that subject. I may revisit the subject at a different time of day if I think the lighting will be better.

The point is I don’t just capture images of what’s in front of me to get an image—I don’t do “record shots”. With this philosophy it means that I don’t blow through hundreds of locations in a few days (remember the movie, “If this is Tuesday it must be Belgium”!). So, the tour bus method of visiting iconic subjects is out of the question if you want to create art on your travels. Therefore, I limit how many locations I’m planning to photograph. I pick a hotel close to my subject locations so I can walk to them. That makes it easy to revisit those locations if I decide sunset lighting is better than sunrise lighting for the subject. 

For example, having planned on a hotel to get the view of the famous Faraglioni Rocks—on the Mediterranean side of the Isle of Capri, Italy—it was easy to create the image I had in mind.

f16.0 @ 1/125sec, ISO 400
I just didn’t know the best time of day for this view of the rocks until we checked into the hotel. I was hoping for some nice direct sunset lighting on the rocks, but for this time of year (early May) it never happened. So, it became a sunrise image; had to get up at 5am and set up my camera position on the roof of the hotel for this marvelous view.

Another sunrise image from Capri…

f11.0 @ 1/250th sec., ISO 400
Since I wanted this offset composition, with the house on the cliff to the right, it was vital that I have nice clouds in the background.  

NOTE: In general, when doing landscapes, if I don’t have good clouds in the sky I pass on the scene until I do get some clouds.  And I know you can add them in post, but it's just not the same.

I’m always looking for directional lighting that will show texture and create shadows. In this next image I found it on an interior….

f8.0 @ 1/125 sec., ISO 400
This is an interior view of one entryway at the ruins of Villa Jovis, Emperor Tiberius’ Palace on Capri. I guess this was the ancient Roman’s way of making “exit” lights over doorways!

 f4.0 @ 1/30 sec., ISO 800
Downtown Capri’s old clock tower building strung with lights over the outdoor seating for their restaurants was a must do image.

TIP: I did this at dusk just after sunset—so the lights would show-up, but the sky would still have color. Photographing at dusk means that you don’t need a tripod; you merely have to bump up your ISO (800 in this image) so you can hand hold your camera.

With my artistic photographic background rooted in the black and white darkroom I’m always looking for color images to convert to black and white. So, when we walked through Capri’s yacht harbor I was especially vigilant for some artistic compositions of the boats on the water.

f16.0 @ 1/250 sec., ISO 400
This was a natural for B&W conversion. I especially like how the water renders in B&W.

TIP: One of my favorite B&W methods of conversion is with NIK’s, Silver Efex Pro2, plug-in for Photoshop. 

In Part 2 we’ll go to Rome and Pompeii to create some fine art images…’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site:  http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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