Pro Offers Advice For The Contested Photo – Santa Cruz Sentinel

As summer approaches and the country opens up after pandemic closures, many of us are enthusiastically going on vacations and travel adventures with family and friends. A number of people I talk to find it difficult to take great photos while they are away. I recently returned from a road trip through Arizona and Utah with my daughter Hannah.

Today I’m sharing some of the images I’ve taken, as well as some tips on how I approach photography when traveling.

This photographic essay continues on A3 as part of this week’s part of my weekly Photographer’s Eye article.

Hikers travel up the Virgin River to The Narrows in Zion National Park. The people in the photo give a sense of the scale, context and grandeur of the scene. (Shmuel Thaler – Sentinel of Santa Cruz)

I strive to capture images that include my fellow travelers (in this case my daughter), but I also believe that the places we visit are important subjects and “personalities” in my images. A few simple suggestions and techniques can help you take photos that transcend typical snapshots.

These tips include filling the frame, the rule of thirds, making sure the horizon is level, and working to vary your views and perspectives.

It’s not about the quality of the equipment you use. These images were all taken on my iPhone or a Fujifilm mirrorless camera. I left my professional Canon DSLR camera at home and focused on content and composition. As we work to transform three-dimensional reality into two-dimensional images, our eyes, brains, and hearts are far more important in making compelling photos than the equipment we use.

Creating great photos comes down to what I call the “three Cs”: content, composition and skill (technique). When the three Cs converge in synergy, the images rise to a higher level. In other words, focus on what’s in the photo, how the photo is framed, and the exposure is correct.

Each photo freezes a moment in time, and we have limitless choices about which moments we choose and how we capture them. Being intentional about photography will undoubtedly take imaging to the next level.

Most importantly, enjoy the shooting process and your travels. I’ll see you on the road.

Shmuel Thaler is a Sentinel photographer.


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