Doug's Travel Photography Corner

I don't know if this is all right, but I thought I'd give it a shot. If it doesn't fly, we'll fold our tents and steal into the night, :D

1. To create a discussion to stimulate the use of Travel Photography; to learn, share, and help each other.
2. To go beyond "Respect", but develop friendships and relationships and have fun discussing our images and topics about photography -- cameras, equipment, cell phone photography, locations.

Rules of the Road:
1. Be positive, helpful, and considerate. If I do or say anything that is offensive, email me at [email protected] and we will discuss it. Or, if you have anything private you wish to say to me, do the same.
2. Feel free to post your images. I'd prefer that you only post a few at a time. To avoid problems, ONLY POST YOUR OWN PHOTOS.
3. Feel free to offer comments and critiques of my images -- how else am I going to learn if I don't get feedback? Perhaps someday I'll sell my images (not), so how would I know what folks prefer if I don't get feedback?
4. If you post your own images, let us know if you are inviting feedback. When I first attended workshops in photography, I was pretty nervous about the "critique" section -- having my images projected on a screen, open to "critique". But everyone has always been helpful and positive, and you learn to relax with it. People give opinions about colors, lighting, exposure, cropping. They usually compliment you.
5. If you post images, I'd prefer if you labeled the location -- we'd like to decide if we want to take a tour there! If you have concerns that folks will steal your images you can, of course, not post them. On the other hand, if you size your images to 72 dots per square inch, and watermark them, my guess is you're pretty safe. Most printers print at around 300 dpi. TAUCK SEEMS TO REDUCE YOUR DPI ON THIS WEBSITE, SO THEY CAN BE BLURRY and probably won't print, so that's another safety factor. I don't worry about it -- when I leave this earth, it'll be nice to have some of my stuff on other folks walls. LOL.
6. Although I'm only an amateur photographer, I reserve the right to offer tips about photography. And I can be wrong -- I have no academic background in the area -- just out to love it and have fun. And, since there are newcomers, I reserve the right to be repetitive in my tips.
7. If there is any way I might help you improve your travel photography, let me know.

About Doug
1. I've been retired for quite awhile now, allowing me to travel. I'm not too intellectual, so the cultural aspects of a lot of tours kind of bored me, so I went back to using a camera in my travels. I've toyed with photography all my life, and, even though rather poor, bought chemicals and made my parents' bathroom into a darkroom as a teen.
2. In my former life I was a child-adolescent clinical psychologist, so it's people that interest me, and so my best images are of people. I took landscape photography workshops, but they didn't stimulate me.
3. It helped me to find a mentor -- someone whose photography and style I really loved. So the fellow that has contributed most to my development, and whose workshops I've taken, is Jay Dickman, a Pulitizer-Prize winning, senior Nat Geo guy. His emphasis is on visual story-telling. He'd probably be horrified that I've been using Photoshop so much -- he comes from a newspaper/documentary background.

Okay, let's get going:

Kenya/Tanzania. This is a terrible photo in a technical sense -- blurry. But it makes me laugh. And it has what we call "The Moment" -- you chose the moment to release the shutter because the image has some emotional appeal -- something that might elicit an emotional response in the viewer.



  • edited November 2020

    This might interest you landscape folks:

    Arches National Park. If you've taken pictures at this spot, you'll wonder where the pool of water is, there isn't one at the site! Well, the instructor had us hike up the rocks on the other side of the road. He had brought with him, gallon jugs of water. There was an indentation in the rock floor, so he poured the water into it, had us lie on our bellies, cameras close to the water, and take the shot! OMG!

    In PS, I enhanced the reflection in the water, enhanced the sky a bit.

  • Hi Doug, I think you've handled this well. At least one anonymous person is flagging everything, but as far as I'm concerned this fits well within the forum guidelines. It's about travel and it helps build friendships between Tauck travelers.

    I like your picture with the reflecting puddle! Personally, I find your colors a bit oversaturated, but I recognize this is an artistic choice.

    To the person flagging all the picture posts, just stop reading this thread.

  • edited November 2020

    Hi Ken, I think most people think of my images as overdone. I do too! I'm going through a phase in my development of seeing what Photoshop does as I try out various techniqes, firstly, and secondly trying to find my own "style". Previously, I pretty much followed Jay Dickman's emphasis on keeping it real and closer to the digital negative. The other aspect of this is that when these "over the top" images are printed on my preferred matte papers, they tone down and do not have the same effect as backlit computer screens. I'm not being defensive about this, but it's things one might consider in developing one's own photographic style.

    I didn't notice the flags, but I've seen some of my posts labeled as "spam" which suprised me. My intent is to generate good will in an area of potential interest. If it turns out that there's little interest in this area, or negative reactions, we will let it fade into the night, it's just an opportunity. What's a flag?

  • Flagging (see the little flag in the lower left corner of your posts) means that someone has either marked the post as spam or has reported it for any other inappropriate content (like abusive, derogatory or offensive content). The number indicates the number of times it has been marked.

  • Hi Doug,
    I love the pictures you post and the photo tips! Not only do they stir my interest in other tours, they help me as a fledging photographer.

  • edited November 2020

    Thanks so much, loves2travel2. If you need any help, let me know. Here's an image you might enjoy.

    This was from our Canadian Rockies trip. Athabaca Falls.

    So, if you see yourself as a fledgling, here's some info: f/8, ISO 200, 1/5 of a second at 28mm; the slow shutter speed to give the silky appearance of the water; also used a neutral density filter to cut down on the light. I used a tripod, and sometimes it's difficult to get out of Tauck tour bus, set up a tripod, etc. and make it back in time. I recently bought a Peak Design Travel Tripod, and it's light, quick to set up, sturdy carbon fiber construction. Haven't used it on tour yet, but I bet I can unfurl it in 5 seconds. LOL. Really lovely design.

  • edited November 2020

    We've had a thread before, with the question of bringing a tripod on a tour. Seems like it depends on how avid one is, what the tour is, and what the purpose of the tripod is.
    1. How avid? I haven't seen many people bring big DSLRs anymore, much less tripods. Seems to me like you might get a couple of people on tour with a lot of photographic equipment. And as cell phones get better and better . . .
    2. Nature of the tour? For example, one isn't going to bring a tripod in a safari vehicle.
    3. Purpose of the tripod? The purpose is usually to enable the use of slow shutter speeds, usually as the light falls off. So if you're going to do sunrise, sunset, milky way shots, and indoor shots without camera shake or high ISOs and grain and noise, you might need a tripod. The avid landscape photographers that I've seen usually carry big, heavy tripods for perfect pictures.
    4. Cons or negatives to using a tripod? Travel tripods are expensive -- weighing in at about 5-7 pounds, usually made of aluminum or carbon fiber, they can run into the hundreds of dollars. They are bulky, can barely fit into a carry-on or even checked luggage. Although usually allowed by TSA for carry-on, one might be stopped by airline folks. On Tauck tour buses, it's arguable whether or not one can put them in the overhead, they can fall out and hit someone, so it probably means one has to stowe it in your seating area - a real pain. And, if your tour include domestic foreign carriers, you might be limited to 15 pounds of carry-on.
    5. If you don't have a tripod, brace yourself against something, like a rock, below, try to make your body stable, in effect, a tripod:

    Arches National Park at sunset. One in our party climbed high in this cave on a steep grade of rocks and started to fall, was saved by others.

  • Re: Tripods

    1. I've brought mine on several tours. Most useful when you at a hotel with scenic views. I never carry mine on the bus, always in my luggage. I think you could carry it on the bus (in the overhead, on the floor at your feet or in one of the empty seats (properly secured with a bungie cord). The only reason I would carry it on the bus is if we were going to a waterfall or a beach, if I wanted to get that cotton candy effect. I carry mine to get those magic hour (just before sunset or after sun rise) or blue hour (just after sunset or just before sunrise) shots. Of course that means getting up really early or skipping the cocktail hour. :'(
    2. There are many travel tripods that fit easily in a carry on or suitcase. I have a big sturdy carbon fiber tripod that I take on road trips and a smaller, cheaper , less sturdy tripod for Tauck trips. It's a Dolica Proline and folds to less than 15" x 5".
    3. Sometimes you can get by with a mini tripod on a table or other surface. I always bring on of those.

    Here's a tripod shot of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, blue hour after sunset.

  • And a shot in Porto Natales, Chile taken in the morning golden hour:

  • One more taken in the morning golden hour at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada:

  • Finally, an evening blue hour shot taken with a tabletop tripod in Shanghai:

  • edited November 2020

    Wow, and Ken you can practically step out your door for those terrific night shots, and you must have plenty. ;)

  • edited November 2020

    Taking pictures from the Tauck tour bus: most of us have tried, but then, only to discover later that there are those annoying reflections from the windows. It seems to be worse when the sunlight is hitting the window -- the other side of the aisle often has less reflections with indirect light. So how might you take a picture and get rid of those annoying reflections?

    Remember those old-time, glass plate, large format cameras where the photographer was under a shroud? You can do something like that. Although looking a little odd, I bring along a soft, microfiber jacket and use it as a shroud against the bus window, taking the picture under the jacket. Later, I can use the jacket to protect the camera in my lap -- works great on safari, keeps the dust off the lens. Below is a picture taken from the bus, in Derry, Northern Ireland.

    You can do it whether it's a big camera or a smartphone.

  • With my iphone while driving.....

  • edited November 2020

    So, for you Tauck Travelers who wish to memorialize your Tauck adventures in pictures for your friends and family, how might you do that more effectively?

    I'd suggest that you consider following -- what has been time-honored by magazines, newspapers, and other publications for ages: VISUAL STORY-TELLING. You might already be doing this, but may have not thought about it in a formal, structured sense.

    Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but more specifically one tries to present:

    1. The INITIAL OR OPENING IMAGE. The purpose of the initial image is to present the SENSE OF PLACE, an overview. It can be a landscape shot, it can be some other shot that gives a sense of where the story is going to go. Here, is an initial image for a visual story telling of the Masai:

    1. The continued story-line, a series of DETAIL SHOTS.

    Masai Women

    1. Continuing the story-line with another DETAIL SHOT:

    The Masai Warriors preparing to draw blood from a cow for their meal -- a mixture of milk and blood (the animal is not injured)

    1. Finally, the closing image, meant to bring an ending or closure to the story.

    And, what can happen, is that as you go on tour, you can become more aware of how you take pictures -- that as you travel, one can give more thought to the sequences you'll create, the visual stories you'll create and tell for your kids, grandkids, and friends.

    And you can use a Point and Shoot, a DSLR, or a Smart-phone.

    Hope this tip is useful to you.


  • edited November 2020

    Visual Story-telling, Part II:
    If you were going to make a photo album, or a slide-show, or screen-saver of your Tauck Tour, it seems to me that if you organize it using visual story-telling, it would increase folks' interest in it -- people like stories. You could organize it like a book, with chapters, each telling a story. Tauck tours would naturally fall into these visual story-telling sequences:
    1. There is an over-archig story of your prep for your flight, any particularly interesting aspects of unusual airports, and the completion -- arriving home.
    2. "Chapters" -- wine tours -- Initial Shots of the winery, vineyards; detail shots of the process of wine-making; Ending shots of sipping the product. The same would go for mushroom hunting, hot air balloon rides, and so on. We sort of shoot sequences normally, but when we try to make a more conscious effort as to how you are going to do the story line, what story you are telling, gives your pictures a theme, a story -- and a more satisfying viewer experience.
    3. You can have a chapter on any particularly interesting hotel, or sets of Tauck hotels.
    4. Or, you might focus a "chapter" on a particular subject of interest, like food in Ireland:

    Or Irish pubs

    But at any rate, the idea here is to increase the power of your visual narrative.

    At any rate, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  • When I first started making my Shutterfly photo books of Tauck tours, I used to include my diary of everything we did and my impressions. Back then, Shutterfly was less sophisticated and I was more incompetent than I am now, it took many hours of work to edit my script to fit into the available boxes for text. Now you can customize every page and yet I don’t add my diary any more. Maybe I should re-consided because photos alone certainly can’t tell the whole story. I guess my favorite diary photo book is my one from our India tour.

  • edited November 2020

    Yes, I would think the diary adds so much great detail. I can't recall the details of those trips like many folks are able to. Maybe that's a reason I do so much visual stuff. I almost always make the trips into slide shows with music and titles -- even working on them on the flight home -- takes the boredom out of the long international flight.

    Right now, British, India has been my favorite too, for the images it produced. At least to a Westerner's eyes, the faces and places were so varied.

    Child at the Pushkar Camel Fair

    Portrait of A Woman, Old Delhi

  • Doug, just curious if you do any underwater photography? If so, I’d like to see some of those, perhaps from the Galapagos tour if you’ve taken it. After K&T it might be my favorite. India would be third along with, Australia/New Zealand and China.

  • Sam, I’ve taken all those tours. I can’t wait to get to Israel and Jordan, but that’s not going to be April as we hoped. I think I will add my diary to my photo book for that tour!
    It’s a strange Thanksgiving, being here at home on our own and having time to sit and relax. The quietest day we have had all the time since this all began. Our weather people said it would rain all morning, but it hasn’t ....too late to change our minds about our morning walk, we decided to dress up this morning to ‘Celebrate’

  • No, haven't done underwater. Was a scuba diver -- learned while in grad school -- open water dive was in a Missouri rock quarry filled with water in the winter with snow and ice -- wet suit didn't help a whole lot. LOL. So, dove for awhile, but got to the point putting a tank on my back or hiking with it wasn't very inviting. My impression was that to take really quality underwater photos would just cost too much in equipment, that wouldn't get much use. Dealing with salt water is yucky anyway, as far as cleaning equipment is concerned.

  • edited November 2020

    Doug - just put your cell phone in a baggie :)

  • edited November 2020

    Interesting. Thanks. All I recall is getting back into the instructor's van and wolfing down a shot of whiskey. :D

  • edited November 2020

    SLU and we were naive. We arrived on campus and were wondering why these guys with brown robes with ropes around their bellies were hanging around. So I got used to Father Severin and saying prayers at 8:30 in the morning for Humanistic psych. And Linda got used to "no pants suits" in the Library. LOL. Small class -- 13 of us would be shrinks, great education. We went back awhile back -- huge campus, huge gym and outdoor swimming pool, a country club. The school metastasized.

    Oh, I recall, one day I had to go to the restroom, wandered into the cloisters and living quarters to take a pee, and got soundly lectured to. :D

  • edited November 2020

    Yep. Still have good friends and a buddy teaching there. I am proud that our class was so racially and culturally diverse, way back then. Faculty really cared for and guided us. It was really a small class and we all studied together in a tiny room in the attic for the first couple of years.

  • edited November 2020

    Smiling Sam
    Doug, just curious if you do any underwater photography? If so, I’d like to see some of those, perhaps from the Galapagos tour if you’ve taken it. After K&T it might be my favorite. India would be third along with, Australia/New Zealand and China.

    I posted a number of U/W photos I took on the Peru & Galapagos tour, but none showed up in my post when I just looked using my iPad. Unfortunately this poor one was the only one I could find on my iPad. I used a GoPro shooting video most of the time so had to extract stills. I posted a bunch of them and info about taking U/W photos a few years ago. It is not easy unless the water is very clear and shallow if trying to do it while snorkeling. I used to do a lot while SCUBA diving.

    Update: I found the stills I extracted from my P&G U/W videos. Here are just a few:

  • Just looked up Bonne Terre mines. That's amazing. If it's the same place, it was undeveloped back then -- I was certified in a Winter YMCA class.

  • edited November 2020

    Once met a couple in their eighties still lugging tanks around. Awesome. I was younger then, maybe they were in their seventies. LOL.

  • Then, there's always photos for fun . . .

    Photo tips: subject placed to the right rather than centered, is usually considered better composition -- somehow less boring; but the composition is balanced by the text. Image is too green and saturated, but just done for impact. Spotlight added to hippo (overdone) as if sunlight highlights the subject. The bird was actually there, not Photoshopped in. We were told the birds are their buddies, the stamping of the hippos brings up insects for food,

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