Will you shoot personal, documentary or fine art for your travel project?

December 14, 2022

Receding Glacier, Hamiltonbukta, SvalbardReceding Glacier, Hamiltonbukta, Svalbard

Receding Glacier, Hamiltonbukta, Svalbard
Phase One XF 150MP, Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5, f4.5 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 200.

The glacier was  photographed from a zodiac as we 'cruised' around the remarkable Hamilton Bay. While the light wasn't great, it's something you have to get used to and deal with in the polar regions. Think of these overcast conditions as being like a large soft box, spilling an even, diffused light over the landscape. I shot a series from different angles as we cruised along, selecting the one that seemed the most 'balanced', then used exposure, contrast and colour to give the image more life.

We all travel for different reasons. Many of us travel for multiple reasons. A trip might be a great opportunity to take a break with the family and generate a portfolio of images for camera club competitions or a portfolio on your website. You don't have to travel with a single purpose, but thinking about what you want to do with your photographs before you travel will help ensure you come home with sufficient photos to complete the project.

For instance, if you wish to create a series of 12 artistic landscapes, you have a definite goal. No point thinking about this after you return with only 6 suitable candidates. And even if your primary aim is an artistic portfolio, this doesn't mean you can't be capturing contemporary photos of your trip - the airport, the restaurants, the hotels - that can be turned into a scrapbook travel album.

While it's good to have specific aims in mind, it's equally important to be open to new opportunities that arise, so shoot lots. Lots and lots! You don't have to use all the photos you take, but you can't use photos you didn't take.

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