Accomplishing and completing an amazing trek is it’s own reward, but you want the amazing photos to prove it! At least as great memories and to show your friends and family of what you accomplished. So the need to be a world class photographer to capture that amazing moment, is in the back of our minds these days. I know that when I’m trekking or climbing, I’m looking for that random shot that will stand out and spark memories of the day.
As the smartphones have better camera options these days, we no longer need to drag the 1kg DSL camera with the 2kg zoom lens to get a photo. We have the power in our pocket. Here’s a few simple tips to help capture the moment without adding extra weight on your next trek….
1) Keep the Photos Simple
With digital photos you don’t need to capture everything with just one shot. (If you do want this, you can use the panoramic option) Just focus on what caught your eye and snap a shot of the subject. One interesting subject is all you need to take great pictures. It’s easier to create a strong composition when your picture only has one subject.
2) Focus on the Golden and Blue Hours
Understand the position of the sun and the time of day. Bright sunlight is one of the best to capture snaps. So if you want a crisp snap, turn your subject such that the sun is shining on them. It is a fact well established that clicking during sunrise and sunset, which offers diffused light always results in striking snaps. Think the first hour after the sun peaks in the morning, and the last hour or two before the sun drops over the horizon in the afternoon. The Blue Hour is when the sun is now below the horizon and the sky gives off this beautiful blue hue.
3) Rule of Thirds
A simple rule to significantly improve the quality of your pictures is the ‘Rule of Thirds’, according to which, put your horizon one-third or two-thirds from the bottom and your main subject one-third in from either side. This lends a certain dynamic nature to the picture quality and enhances the composition. Place the subject on the intersecting lines/points (rather than in the center of the shot) to make it more natural-looking. Using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.
4) Take Photos of the Locals
Don’t forget to take pictures of people during your travels, especially the locals such as the driver, or a waiter you might have met along the way. It is always advisable to ask their permission, before taking the picture. Travel photography should also be about the people you meet. How do you get those amazing portrait photos without feeling rude Simple – just ask for permission.
5) Shoot From A Different Perspective
For example, shooting from a low perspective you can get more sky behind your subject. If you have a distracting background in your scene, shooting from a low angle is an easy way to eliminate those distractions by using the sky as your backdrop.
6) Use Reflections
Use reflections In Mirrors & Windows, lakes, streams and even puddles to transform an image from ordinary to a creative work of art by incorporating reflections. Because this kind of perspective involves adding layers it creates a feeling of depth. So, look for reflections in windows of a building, a puddle of water in the street or even a pair of mirrored sunglasses.
7) Try Panning for Action Shots
Try panning which is freezing fast moving subjects while getting a gorgeous, background. Pick your subject up in the viewfinder well before it arrives where you intend to press the shutter button, and start following it. Follow Your Subject’s Motion. Keep following your subject’s motion smoothly, in a horizontal position. If the subject is also moving vertically – e.g. jumping – ignore the vertical motion, just follow the horizontal motion. Another important aspect of the panning technique is a good, steady posture which supports your camera well, preventing it from bobbing up and down as you follow your subject.
One Bonus Tip!
If you want to capture symmetrical reflections that include both the reflection and the surroundings like mountains reflecting off the lake, turn your phone upside down and get as close to the water as you can. Turning your phone upside down gets the lens closer to the water. (Just don’t drop your phone!)
We love trekking in places where the scenery makes for amazing shots. A great weekend getaway to practice your photography skills is Mount Merapi, Indonesia. If you are more of an underwater buff, then let’s make a big splash at Sipidan.
Check out our blog on New Zealand and some of the amazing photos we caught on that trip.
Grab your friends and your smartphone camera and let’s snap some photos!