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How to take GREAT photos while on vacation!

April 21, 2017

Travel Tips


Jane’s Corner:  How to take GREAT photos while on vacation!

Welcome to my corner……of the world! It’s a great pleasure to join The Travel Mechanic team as a monthly guest blogger!  

BloggerI invite you to travel along with me through my blog articles and many pictures. My love for travel started at a very early age through the wonderful opportunity to live, grow up and go to school in England. The experience was life-changing, and it was the catalyst for my long-time passion of exploring the beautiful and interesting places that other people call home.


Souvenirs of the heart and photos from the road

Many people say that the most valuable souvenirs from their travels are their photos.  I’d agree with that, and my pictures are very important to me.   This month my plan was to write about taking pictures of interesting subjects, beautiful scenery and a few well-chosen shots with you in them so that you can show that you really did visit Mont Blanc, or the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal!  I planned to discuss artful cropping, sharpening and enhancing color.  Then…….
MY COMPUTER LOCKED ME OUT!  (I didn’t just raise my literary voice, did I?)   What to do?
While I was mulling over this dilemma, I serendipitously read an excellent article in this month’s Travel and Leisure by travel writer, Pico Iyer.  The article is entitled “Kicking The Bucket List” which encourages the reader to stay open to possibilities while traveling.  I wondered if that might also apply to writing about travel.   That led me to Plan B for this article.
In Lucerne a few years ago, my Nikon CoolPix somehow disappeared from my wrist while we were walking between a restaurant and our hotel.  With it went more than 600 photos.  My only alternative was to start using my iPhone to take photos for the rest of the trip. As you know, mobile devices have opened up a new world of photography and offer the ability to share instantly with family and friends.
Photos can be so much more than just recording a lovely scene.  They can actually open our eyes to what’s behind that beauty.  On a recent trip to Vancouver, I took many photos in the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden.  A place of tranquility – I had the feeling I had been there before.  Then I realized the striking similarity to Monet’s Japanese Garden at Giverny and the lily pond at the Melzi Gardens, Bellagio, Italy.   I put these photos side by side – actually I put them in a collage using my iPhone collage app.  Then I started to understand what was in the mind – and, dare I say, the soul of the designer and the artist.  It made me feel that they allowed me to communicate on a much deeper level with them.  It made the experience and the photos much more than the sum of their parts.







On a visit to a German Christmas market in Denver, I took photos with my iPhone of the charming wooden figurines.  Unfortunately, there was a rather large “blue shoulder” and an unwanted “head” in my shot!   By doing a quick crop, I had a respectable photo of my intended subject and no one was the wiser!  



A word about cropping, you don’t lose anything by cropping – except maybe a trash can or an unwanted car!   Most photographers will advise you to be brutal about cropping!   In the digital age, if that makes you shake in your shoes, you can always save your original photo.
When I travel, I keep my eyes open for surprises.  In August 2016, it was the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in Vancouver to celebrate the opening of the summer games.  Yes, I got some pictures, but the best part was the unexpected opportunity for that rare experience.

My friends and family know my motto — I brake for brides!   In Venice, a stunning bride in a very striking gown walked right in front of me!  I was soon in hot pursuit, and realized that the “happy couple” were actually models on a photo shoot.  No problem!  I became the auxiliary photographer, got some great shots, and found myself in a section of the city that I had never visited.  It was a great adventure all the way around!





My travel schedule is very full for the next two months — Pittsburgh for my granddaughter’s college graduation followed by a trip to Los Angeles.  Then I’m going to Eastern Europe followed by a visit to Paris (which is always a good idea!).  I’ll return to “Jane’s Corner” in July with glimpses of Kraków, Budapest, Vienna and Prague.   Happy Travels!  Wonderful Memories!

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