Tuesday, August 16, 2016


As I said in Part 1, travel photography takes planning if you want to come away with extraordinary images. One of my tips was being in close proximity to my main subjects.  So, we booked our hotel on the Isle of Capri (in the bay of Naples, Italy) on the Mediterranean side of the island, overlooking Marina Piccolo, at the Hotel Weber. I knew from my research that this hotel had a great view of the famous Faraglioni Rocks.  Looking at the thousands of photos online I noticed that all of the images of these rocks were done in direct, flat, sunlight—pretty boring in my opinion. What I discovered when we got there was that the rocks did not get any directional light at sunrise or sunset (we were there in early May) because the sun rose and set behind the island. With that discovery I decided to try for a pre-sunrise, back-lit, image of the rocks. Getting up at 6AM, I headed for the roof of our hotel, leaving my wife in bed. I had invited her to share the experience, but she said, “show me what you got later I’m on vacation”, as she burrowed back under the covers.

I think it was worth getting early for…

f16.0 @ 1/125 sec., ISO 400 - The Faraglioni Rocks at Sunrise
More very important Tips:

Without shadows, created by directional-off axis-light, you simply don’t get the three dimensionality that produces drama and texture. This is one of the fundamentals in art. In you don’t see any shadows when outside you’re in the wrong spot or it’s the wrong time of day

Talking about being in the wrong spot…
Flat Light
Short Light
These two images are of the same subject in Pompeii, Italy. I photographed the Top image the way all the tourists did as they walked by; Flat Light with NO three dimensionality. All I had to do was change my camera position about 180º, to the other side of the statue, to get nice Short Lighting (one of the basic types of portrait lighting) with dimension and texture!

I can’t stress this enough—if you’re serious about elevating your photography to an artistic level—Look for the Shadows! 

In professional photography we either wait for the shadows or we create them.

We didn’t get to Pompeii until about 11am, so I was worried that my light would be too flat for all the subjects I was dying to photograph in this fantastic location. But, I managed to find angles and perspectives that produced the drama and textures I wanted…

f19.0 @ 1/180 sec., ISO 400
We were fortunate to have ice clouds whenever we needed them—it only rained at night!

7)  Be Observant; Look for Different Perspectives—Ignore the tour guides and slow down and snoop around.

I saw this marvelous composition purely by accident while in Pompeii…
f4.0 @ 1/60 sec., ISO 400; Pompeii Grainary
I’m walking along one of the narrow streets trying to find something NOT in direct, flat, Sunlight—it’s now 12:30pm; not my favorite time of day for photography! I stop and peek over a broken wall that on my tip toes (I’m 6’2” tall) allows this scene! WOW! This little alcove of a grainary (I love that mill-stone!) had an opening on one side, to the sky, that created this beautiful directional light. To date, I’ve not seen any photographs of this particular mill stone in Pompeii images.

8) Can you Access the sites you want to photograph when the light is great?

Some of the major tourist sites have hours of access; they close ‘em up! Do your research.  In Rome, one of my targeted locations was Palantine Hill, which I planned to attach at 6pm (sunset was 8:10pm) This was our last day in Rome, so this was my only chance to photograph on this iconic spot—the Central Hill of the Seven Hills of Rome. Watching for shadows and alignments of foreground with subjects I found this…
f13.0 @ 1/350 sec., ISO 400
Working quickly I blew through the location in about an hour when by 7:15pm I noticed that ALL the other tourists had disappeared.  I thought, “Cool now there’re not in my way!” Five minutes later I was escorted OUT by a machine gun toting guard!  They closed at 7pm—When I came in I saw no signs indicating hours of operation. Now I know…

9) During the day (bad light) go do interiors.  Visit museums and churches.  (Watch for the small signs that may tell you if you can photograph there or not.) Go eat a long lunch…take a nap!

10)  Don’t forget to bring a water repellant hat; It’s a Shade/Gobo.  I have a white Tilley hat for Summer and a black Outdoor Research hat for Winter use.

Take your time when choosing image selections.  Oh….when you are traveling (vacationing) with a partner that does not love what you do SCHEDULE TIME TO BE WITH JUST THEM…NO CAMERA…It will make the trip just as enjoyable for them as well when you do. 

As always, if you have questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site:  http:www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http:www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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