Tag Archives: Travel

Shooting into the blue… (Lanzarote)

Back in June, I had the opportunity to visit Lanzarote with my girlfriend.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, having not been to the Canaries before, but I did some research and found out that the diving is supposed to be amongst the best in the North Atlantic. I therefore persuaded my girlfriend that it was time for her to learn to dive too – and promptly packed my cameras and gear for a good-old wildlife photography trip…

As you may have seen in some earlier entries on this site – underwater photography is a growing passion of mine, and one that I’m only beginning to get to grips with.  It’s still something which it is possible to make your first inroads into without spending a fortune. Indeed, I picked up one camera at the airport, a Nikon Coolpix S33, for about £70.  This little camera is officially waterproof to 10m, and in the clear waters of Lanzarote, seemed very capable.  I can also say that mine kept the water out to at least 30m, but the pressure stops the buttons working beyond about 12 to 15m.  It makes it ideal for snorkelling and beginner divers though.

Sarpa Salpa fish in the shallows while snorkelling with a Nikon Coolpix S33
Sarpa Salpa fish in the shallows while snorkelling with a Nikon Coolpix S33

Taking photos underwater often causes trouble with light, as there is nearly always a blue cast to images (which can be fixed on a computer fairly easily) – but you also want to try and catch the light the right way.  Hopefully you will be able to get yourself into a position for the light to reflect off the fish or corals, or you can shoot up with the light behind your subject.

The Nikon Coolpix S33 is ideal for snorkelling and use on shallow scuba dives.
The Nikon Coolpix S33 is ideal for snorkelling and use on shallow scuba dives.

When going a little deeper, however, I had a Panasonic DMW-MCTZ35 Lumix Marine Waterproof Case for a TZ35.  This was an excellent combination of a very effective dive house and compact superzoom camera with a specific underwater mode.  The total cost is higher at around £300 or higher – but it’s still relatively cheap for a combination capable of diving to advanced diver depths.

Young baraccudas shot with DMW-MCTZ35E Marine Case and Lumix TZ35 camera
Young baraccudas shot with DMW-MCTZ35E Marine Case and Lumix TZ35 camera

If in Lanzarote, and you get the chance to visit the dive site called the Cathedral, it is well worth a look!  Get right inside and shoot out towards the light to create a silhouette as your dive buddy swims across the mouth of the cavern.

The Cathedral
The Cathedral (La Catedral), dive site, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote

I should put out an extra special mention for the fantastic team at Manta Diving, Lanzarote – who looked after us fantastically on our trip.  Also – please don’t think the only things to take photos of are underwater!

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote - one of the many volcanoes in a still active region.
Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote – one of the many volcanoes in a still active region.

Lanzarote is also a great place for a spot of stargazing.

The Milky Way over Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
The Milky Way over Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
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Travel the world: Make great memories

Like so many photographers, I love to travel and to photograph the world around me.  Whether close to home or in distant lands, there’s nearly always something worth gazing at in wonder, just taking it all in.

Staring at things will hopefully give you an eye for what you like in an image – and if you’re like me you will then want to take a great photo as an aide memoire or souvenir of the scene, and how you felt at the time. (I have no idea why English people need to remember everything in French!)

As this blog is generally about making photography cheap, I’m not trying to suggest that to take great photos you need to do lots of expensive travelling.  It’s simply that, if you are travelling, you should take the time to enjoy your photography, no matter how cheap or expensive your gear is.  The photos you take on your travels will naturally feel more interesting and exciting to you than the more everyday shots near your home – and travelling throws up some wonderful opportunities to capture great images.

I thought it might be worth sharing a few ideas for things to try when travelling, which are free, cheap or at least well worth the expense.  They’re all things that work for me, and hopefully might work for you too!

You don’t need to travel far to get some great photos

It’s always struck me as weird that people will take a camera on holiday and take photos of absolutely everything, but when they go on a day trip to fantastic places in their home country with family and friends, and not bother taking a camera at all.  Take a camera with you everywhere – it’s great practice.

Ilfracombe in North Devon, taken on a Fujifilm A850 point & shooter. (6mm, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/850sec)
Ilfracombe in North Devon, taken on a Fujifilm A850 point & shooter. (6mm, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/850sec)

Don’t be afraid of including friends and family

Having photos of and with the people closest to you is really important.  Sure – you probably can’t sell them and enter them into competitions, but you can pass them on through the generations and get some great moments. Plus they will actually mean something to you – and you will therefore look back at them again and again.  You can still take some beautiful photos (even with your ugly mates and relatives in!)

My girlfriend and me, in Verona - shot with a Fuji Finepix S8000fd bridge camera on a self timer (but using two exposures combined for the foreground and background tower: 20mm, ISO 200, f/4, 1/140sec & ISO 1600, f/6.3, 1/2000sec)
My girlfriend and me, in Verona – shot with a Fuji Finepix S8000fd bridge camera on a self timer (but using two exposures combined for the foreground and background tower: 20mm, ISO 200, f/4, 1/140sec & ISO 1600, f/6.3, 1/2000sec)

Take a boat trip…

There’s so much to see at sea (or on lakes and rivers) and the time you spend sitting and staring means you notice things and take photos that you might otherwise have missed running around.  Nearly everywhere you go on holiday, it’s possible to get a boat, and they hardly ever cost much.  Just be prepared to jostle your way past other tourists!

A tall ship spotted from a large ferry between Rhodes and Symi islands in Greece.  We saw the boat from miles away and I have a series from a distant speck to a full broadside. (Canon EOS 650D, 160mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1000sec)
A tall ship spotted from a large ferry between Rhodes and Symi islands in Greece. We saw the boat from miles away and I have a series from a distant speck to a full broadside. (Canon EOS 650D, 160mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1000sec)

Learn to stitch a panorama

Lots of phones and some cameras can do this for you in-camera, these days – but to get a truly huge effect (horizontally or vertically) you need to take several stills and combine them:

The medieval town wall of Rhodes. (Please click to enlarge)
The medieval town wall of Rhodes. (Please click to enlarge)
New York - Manhattan & Brooklyn (please click to enlarge)
New York – Manhattan & Brooklyn (please click to enlarge)