26th April 18: Mathew Browne - An Introduction to Travel Photography
Our speaker for this presentation, Mathew Browne, gave us a lot to think about; walking us through his tips and advice, as well as some wonderful images, on travel photography.
Mathew’s background is in web development, but his interest in travel photography was awakened on a trip to Iceland. Over the last 10 years or so, he's developed his knowledge and equipment, becoming a semi-pro photographer in 2015 and full time in 2017. He is now involved in producing Snapp Guides, an app that helps photographers find the best locations for travel images.
He showed us some of his own, amazing work and a lots of tips on improving the chances of getting great photos, wherever you are. So, here is a summary of what he had to say:
To find locations, use tourist boards, social media, Google Maps and guidebooks. Remember to check opening times and camera/ tripod policies.
Try phone apps like Sapp Guides, Clear Outside, Dark Sky, Skyfire, Aurorawatch, Photographer’s Ephemeris, Stellarium, Google Maps and - of course - the alarm clock!
Look for special events, festivals and something different or unique
Mathew packs light when travelling, (as we all should!), so he's careful to take the right equipment and only what will fit in his camera bag. His examples are:
3 lenses that cover the widest possible range, i.e. a Laowa 12mm, f/2.8, a Nikon 16-35mm and a Nikon 28-300mm.
An “L” bracket to speed up tripod positioning
A shutter release cable
Other useful ideas are:
Use a hotel shower cap as a camera rain protector
Consider a hot shoe spirit level
Have a portable charger for very long exposures
Take black electric tape to keep things still/ tie things down
Cover or eliminate branding, to discourage interest in your expensive equipment
Get a comfortable strap
Mathew also uses a dew heater for lenses in damp atmospheric conditions, a very low f stop lens for night photography and sometimes a drone.
Considering the different genre of imagery, Mathew had some useful advice, including; looking for opportunities to use portrait ratio in landscape photography, using wide-angle gets everything into an external view but results in shallow depth of field, so use a high f stop, Interiors need speed and precision, zoom is good for still objects, nature and abstract images as well as low f stops, cover the view finder to stop light getting into the camera in night shots and turn off the vibration control if the camera is on a tripod. Astro photography needs multiple exposures, high ISO and very low f stops
Some techniques Mathew uses are:
Bracketing - taking several shots of the same scene at different exposures and then blending them together, producing optimal exposures throughout the image.
Filters - a dark filter will force the camera to give long exposures in daylight, to blur movement
Focus stacking - taking several shots of the same scene at different focal lengths and then merging them so that everything in the image is in focus
Light Painting - a non travel related technique for producing images of moving light with long exposures - you have to see it to believe it!!!
In the area of post processing, Mathew recommended Lightroom for cataloguing and developing, Nik Collection for filters and experimentation, which is free but no longer being updated and Luminar, which is like Nik Collection but costs £64 and is therefore updated and good for removing colour casts and boosting tonal elements, among many other things.
I found this a very interesting and well presented talk, with loads of advice and information as well as wonderful examples of Mathew’s skills.
For more information on some of the above, try these links:
Snapp Guides - Mathew’s page - http://snappguides.co/2018/04/25/snapp-guides-team-growing/
Clear Outside - https://clearoutside.com/forecast/50.7/-3.52
Dark Sky - https://darksky.net/app
Skyfire - https://www.skyfireapp.com/
Aurorawatch - https://www.progressconcepts.com/aurorawatchuk/
Photographer’s Ephemeris - https://www.photoephemeris.com/
Stellarium - http://stellarium.org/en/
Lightroom - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Lightroom
Nik Collection - https://www.google.com/nikcollection/
Luminar - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminar_(software)
Thank you very much to Mathew for this exceptionally interesting and helpful talk.
Next week we have our round 4 PDI competition with judge, Jenny Hibbert.