Just a little heads up, this coming week I'll be doing a series on the Masai. Monday I will be kicking it off with the “People of the Maasai Mara.” This was my second time visiting with the Maasai people, and it was such a great experience I want to share it with you. See you next week…John
If there’s one thing I was reminded of while in Africa it was my need to “connect in order to create.” That connection may be as simple as an exchange of smiles between me and a young man stacking charcoal or as intricate as an interpreter explaining my every word. As a photographer, my curious nature places me in situations that can be hard to navigate and at times difficult to explain. I found throughout the years that being sincere, respectful and giving a big smile are key ingredients to successfully navigating language barriers.
Here are a few guidelines to try to follow when traveling abroad:
1. Be polite and respectful. Don’t be the ugly tourist with camera.
2. Consider a local guide when traveling abroad. S/he can really help break down the communication barrier.
3. Spend some time getting to know your subject before getting the camera out.
4. If you’re in a town for a few days consider going for a walk without your camera. Scouting an area and connecting with people/shopkeepers can pay dividends when you come back with your camera in tow.
5. Telling a story — Try to tell a story with your images. I avoid shots that simply portray poverty. Taking a keen interest in what a person does for a living or how he or she supports their family is what I’m interested in photographing.
6. Lastly, remember safety is key. I love street photography but it’s very easy to get caught up in a “moment.” Having a travel partner that can watch your back is just common sense.
At the end of the day, it’s all about following the “Golden Rule” and using common sense. I believe when I make a sincere attempt to connect with people they look beyond the camera and see me for what I am: a harmless, curious guy with a camera 🙂
A quick hello from Lake Naivasha in Kenya. I want to share some of yesterday’s photos from our boat tour of the lake. The experience was simply breathtaking. I ended up shooting most of the day with my Canon 7D and the 300mm/2.8 that I rented from BorrowLenses.com. The results were amazing. We had an incredible time and I was burning through the cards as we took photos of hippos, giraffes, waterbucks and more.
The 300mm was incredibly sharp, and with a polarizing drop in filter, it was simply the nicest long lens I’ve ever had the chance to use. Not to mention mounted to the 7D and its 1.6 cropped factor — it really gave me the extra reach I needed.
I hope to have more for you folks in a couple of days, but it’s my understanding the Internet will become as sparse as a good cup of coffee… 😉
Here’s a quick postcard from London. We’ve been running around so much that I haven’t had time to write a proper blog post, but as you can see from today’s photos we’ve been having some fun with long exposures. My dad and I are having a great time. It’s amazing all the incredible images you see when you’re just relaxed and having fun.
I’ll post more from our trip to Paris in the next few days. We just arrived in Nairobi and the Internet connection here is ssllloooowww……
Rumor has it that I’m in possession of a working alpha version of some amazing new Black and White software. All I can say is it’s simply amazing, a game changer! More on that later… 😉
One of my favorite travel photographers, Mitchell Kanashkevich, just released a new e-book, “Transcending Travel—A guide to captivating travel photography.” I bought the book yesterday and must say it was a pleasure to read. The book covers a lot of the basics, but as always there are plenty of good reminders for all levels of photographers. Mitchell’s images are captivating and his writing style is pretty straight forward. The book is broken into four basic sections—Preparation and Practicalities, Composition, Light and Making Photos. My favorite section was Making Photos—I always enjoy reading about how other photographers approach their subjects, both from the technical as well as the human aspect. The book is on sale this week for $14.97 (25% savings.) “Wow, that’s a low price” (sorry couldn’t help myself…stupid Staples commercial!). The thing even comes with a 60 day money back guarantee so if you don’t like the book for any reason you get your cash back…crazy I know. I don’t get a kickback for pointing you folks to Mitchell’s book, but when I find something useful…I think it’s good karma to share… 😉 To check out Mitchell's book click HERE.
In other news: I was at a Chicago Public School a few days ago teaching the basics of photography to some students. I can’t tell you how excited all the kids were and what a wonderful learning experience it was for me too. Heck, it was the first time I think I ever spent a solid hour in an elementary school classroom without being told to be quiet. At the end of the session, I ended up providing seven children with disposable cameras which they were able to use on a recent field trip to Museum of Science and Industry. I will collect the cameras today and hope to have a slideshow of their work in the next week… so stay tuned.
Remember tomorrow is Q&A Friday so I’ll be addressing some questions that have been sent to me by readers. If you missed last week’s Q&A, then check it out here to get caught up.
Till then…enjoy Thursday. My morning was filled with listening to my daughters recorder performance at school. Yep, you heard me right. Recorder… 😉
My bags are packed and I’m off. I want to apologize for not posting much this week, but I made a promise to myself to spend as much time with my family as possible before I left. I know…you guys took the back seat…sorry! I’m very excited about the trip and I even feel pretty good about the packing job. Sure, I might have a lens or filter packed that I might not use, but I would rather have it available than regret not having it at all. I have a long 15 hour flight ahead of me but I’ve prepared myself for the flight by downloading some choice movies and some super cheesy 70’s tunes. Why the cheesy 70’s tunes? Because for some crazy reason they relax me when I’m flying. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know, but I don’t drink or smoke so I guess if 70’s tunes relax me, it’s a vice I’m willing to live with….;) I’m going to do my best to post to the blog while I’m gone so make sure to check back. Otherwise, feel free to hang out at the blog, check out an article or two, chat with your friends, or even leave a comment. It’s all good, but remember to feed the dogs and turn out the lights when you leave. 🙂
P.S. I’m going to give special props to the person(s) that can guess the super cheesy 70's band I’m listening to on the plane. My sister got it with one guess….let’s see how well you guys know me. You need to think super cheese!