More and more people travel to the far reaches of the globe and take photos with their digital cameras. These travel photos are then uploaded to Flickr and Facebook to share with their friends. I am like one of them. I am merely recording what I see as “beautiful”. That does not make me a travel photographer. Professional travel photography requires the person behind the camera to tell a story in the picture. When I think about travel photography, I think of National Geographic.
Travel photography is more than photos found in the National Geographic Magazine. It is not restricted to just beautiful landscapes, historical buildings and structures, festivals, culture and people especially from minority ethnic groups.
Camera Tourist: The Casual Travel Photographer
Previously, like many camera-wielding tourists, I would photograph static subjects like museums, cathedrals, windmills, flowers and etc.
Nowadays, when I travel for holidays, I tend to take photos of people and try to learn more about the culture of the places I visited. This makes my trip more fulfilling and photography more rewarding.
Travel Cameras: My Choice
Many tourists will carry either a DLSR or a prosumer digital camera with at least 10X optical zoom. Some of the popular DSLR travel cameras are the Canon EOS Rebel T2i (EOS 550D) and the Nikon D3100. For those who do not want the hassle of interchangeable lenses would go for the long zoom point-and-shoot cameras, such as the Canon SX40 HS, Nikon S8200, Olympus SZ-30MR, Panasonic FZ150 and Sony HX9V.
All the above cameras are either too heavy or too bulky for my holiday travel.
My travel camera choice is inspired by Craig Mod’s article – “GF1 Field Test – 16 Days In The Himalayas“.
I prefer to travel light. I carry the compact and light-weight combination of the Panasonic GX1 with the 20mm F/1.7 lens. I use it to take photos of the people I met and the food I ate.
Sometimes I might bring along the Olympus 9-18mm UWA zoom for landscape/building and a longer 45mm F/1.7 in case I could not get near the subject. As backup, I use my phone camera, the Galaxy S II when the GX1 runs out of the battery.
Travel Photography Websites – My Sources of Inspiration
I realized that my favorite photos are replicas of the images that I’d first created in my mind. To create these “mind photographs”, I get inspiration from popular travel photo websites e.g. National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Flickr and a host of other photography websites:
I imagine, I travel, I see and I shoot.