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Grand-Place, Brussels

Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium

Before, during and after you go on a trip, there are a few things to consider to improve your pictures as a photographer, no matter where the place is. Why do some people seem to get crappy shots, others seem to have loads of postcard shots while some people take off to the beaten path with creative shots? How can I get those iconic shots while still maintaining creative control on what you shoot? Without saying more, here are some ways to improve your travel photography.

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Want more Useful Photography Tips? Check them out here.

Lots of folks say that you should only use a flash during the evening hours and in dark situations. But the truth of the matter is that during the daytime is perhaps the best time to use flash. For example, let’s say that you want to photograph someone and there is bright sunlight in the scene. If you make them face the sun, they’ll squint a lot. Conversely, if you make them not face the sun, you’ll need to overexpose a lot to get the details on their face–which is called backlighting. The solution then is to backlight the subject and expose normally while illuminating their front with a flash. That way, you get a more balanced image overall in terms of exposure ratings.

But besides this, using a flash during the day only adds to the beauty that natural light can deliver. It can bring out details in your subject that you wouldn’t see otherwise (specular highlights) and it can also fill in shadows when done correctly to give a very beautiful and shadowless look. But to do this, you’ll need to either set your flash to the widest zoom head angle or bounce it off of  very wide surface. Alternatively, you could also use a softbox of some sort.

When adding flash to a daylight scene, it’s best to add it a little bit at a time–gradually making it stronger until you feel that you have something close to the image that you want.

Try this quick tip, and be sure to check out our other bite sized useful photography tips.

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All images by Giancarlo Rado. Used with permission.

“I’ve taken pictures for many years, my mother always told me that in her young years she was developing and retouching photographs in her cousin’s laboratory, and still colorizing portraits with special inks; so it was just a familiar tradition, which still survives in me even if I am a musician,” says Giancarlo Rado on how he got into photography. He explains that it’s like telling stories–and a story is what he’s telling in his series entitled, “Waiting for Summer.”

Toting around a Hasselblad SLR with a 80mm lens, Mr. Rado loves the square format. And when working on the series, he states that it’s like taking a portrait of a landscape. He believes in the existential idea that the earth, sky, and sea all connect along with ideals and feelings deeply involved in our minds when traveling to the beach during the winter. With that said, he often searches the beach looking for relationships that he thinks will evoke stories.

“I go to the beach mainly for the horizontal light that I know that soon or later will come. This light allows the evocation of shadows and situations particularly important for me,” states Mr. Rado. “I know very well the places where I shall go and sooner or later the expected situation will appear–like and astral conjunction of phenomena which may reflect feeling such as loneliness, fear, peace, quietness, and what else connected with the never fading border between interior and exterior world.”

Giancarlo’s photos evoke the sense of loneliness and indeed search for relationships. The series is after the jump.

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Last year, Nikon has a photography contest in the same fashion that they do every single year since 1969. But in the recent years, they’ve started to ban the use of film cameras in their contests. Each year that this happened, photographers have begged and pleaded to allow the format to be accepted again. However, Nikon’s contest rules and information states that

Both color and monochrome images will be accepted. We will not be accepting any entries taken on film.Scans of photographs taken by film cameras are not eligible.”

Essentially, the contest has become a full on digital camera situation for both stills and video. But considering that you can win the equivalent of 1,000,000 yen; we wonder why it really matters if you’ve shot with film or not. Nikon is also really trying to target the younger photographers by offering them the equivalent of 300,000 yen in free Nikon products.

This year’s contest is about home. So an entire theme around this may be simpler to create with a video than stills.

If you want to enter, you can check out the rest of the guidelines.

 

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All images by Phil Buehler. Used with permission.

The New York City subways weren’t always the well maintained engines that they are today; and Phil Buehler has been shooting in the subways in the early 1970s until the late 80s. This is when the city began its crack down on subway graffiti according to him. Many of the old cars have been retired in favor of much newer technology. “But I’m still shooting railway ruins – it’s a particular interest as my grandfather worked for the New York Central line in the heyday of rail travel.” states Mr. Buehler.

Phil resides in Bushwick–an up and coming part of Brooklyn, NY that is very much so a Mecca of art and creativity. He believes that it’s hard to imagine today how scary New York was in the 70s and 80s as it has changed so much. One of the characteristic features of old New York though was the graffiti on the train cars. These days instead you’ll probably spot advertising covering the outside of a train car.

Mr. Buehler used to go Urban Exploring with his friend Steve Siegel along the decaying Jersey waterfront–way before it was transformed into condos. One day they stumbled upon hundreds of subway cars in Bayonne, lined up waiting to be cut apart and shipped to the smelter. “At the end of the subway graffiti era, the city was buying new stainless steel cars and scrapping many of the old ones, and these were the last of their kind.” states Buehler.

Phil shot many of his images on the venerable Kodachrome 25 and 64 through a 35mm Nikkormat FTN with a 20mm lens–many of which are after the jump.

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In some of the weirder news today, Salon is reporting that on a wound that hasn’t really closed. Years and years ago, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain committed suicide. Recently the police briefly re-opened the case and found four rolls of film that were never developed from the crime scene.

The images on the rolls are of objects around the house and scene–but not of Kurt himself. Some of the images are of things like chairs while others have more important subject matter like Kurt Cobain’s suicide note. According to CBS, the case was re-opened because it has been 20 years this year since his death. While no other major details are added to the case and the actual crime itself, the details that it brought out were taken quite artistically according to Salon.

Time is saying that there are loads of new details like how Kurt wanted people to know it was him who killed himself. But he also deeply hated his wife.

We previously talked to two photographers who photographed Cobain: Jesse Froham who did Kurt’s last studio shoot and Steve Gullick who toured with the band. Check out the interviews for more. But also be sure to check out the CBS News segment after the jump.

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