I’m proud to be the official photographer for Simply Q BBQ – an award- winning Georgia Barbecue Association competition team from Monroe. It might be the tastiest work I’ve ever done! Come check them out — they are vending at the BBQ & Brews festival in Ellijay over the Labor Day weekend.
To celebrate our anniversary and my wife’s birthday, we recently traveled to Greece. We ate great food, saw ancient sites that gave us new perspective and met amazing people who broadened our views and enriched our lives. And of course we took some fantastic photos. The trip reminded me of a few of the travel photography tips I share with friends – so here are some favorites.
Capture the emotion. You can buy a postcard with the perfect shot of the Parthenon on it. But the expression of relief and pride on my terrified-of-heights-we’re-going-to-die-and-no-one-will-find-us-for-weeks wife’s face after we scrambled down a treacherous path to be the only people on maybe the most beautiful beach in the world –that’s what I want to shoot.
Pack lightly. I travel with a smaller mirrorless camera (Olympus OMD EM-5) and a few small lenses in a ThinkTank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i. I always feel al little sorry when I see tourists carrying big SLR cameras and a giant backpack of gadgets. A camera should never get in the way of an experience, should never make you uncomfortable so that you can’t fully enjoy the moment.
Just capture it. If grabbing your phone is quicker than digging your camera out of the bag, use your phone. Don’t miss something extraordinary because you are futzing with lenses. This bad photo represents a favorite moment from our trip: We were incredibly lost when a fellow, who spoke not a word of English, led us on his tractor, and then got in our car and directed us to the winery we were trying to find. That kindness, and the hilarity of it, is a wonderful memory – and this blurry cell phone shot through the window of the car is all I need.
There are a lot of ancient ruins in Greece….A LOT. And a lot of pottery. And sculptures. And murals. I could go on. So when you are in a museum or at a tourist site, take a photo of the thing and the sign that describes it so you can remember why you found the 5,825th sculpture you saw of particular interest.
Photograph people. Your tour guide. The waitress who suggested that delicious dessert. Street scenes of daily life. Those are the photos that will transport you back to this place years from now. Be cool about it – don’t get in their face, and be aware of culture so that you don’t offend someone. Take the candid shot (the one you really want), and then ask them if you can take their photo.
And…no selfie sticks. Please. I beg you.
I love being a photographer. I am lucky to have the talent, skill and equipment to take fantastic photos of my family and friends. However, there are times when I want to put down the camera and just enjoy what’s happening, to be present. Case and point: my son’s 7th birthday party. I got a few decent shots, but I wish I would have followed advice I often give to others – and that is to designate someone else to take photos. I found myself distracted from the fun because every now and then I would think, “I need to take photos!” with alternating thoughts of guilt when I realized I missed a good shot because I was involved in a conversation or the action. So learn from my mistake. Ask someone who likes taking pictures to help out so you can put down the camera for important life events. Because they only happen once, and experiencing life through a camera lens and seeing a photo afterwards isn’t the same as having real, genuine memories.
What an inspiring morning! I enjoyed meeting leaders from across Georgia who are working to care for our environment. And bonus: I got to meet Ryan Gravel, the innovative thinker behind the Atlanta Beltline! Donate to EarthShare – they support the many great organizations here that protect our land, our waters, our oceans, our communities for future generations: earthsharega.org