Today, I’m digging deep into my photo archives and bringing you photos from my first trip to Europe, back in April 2008! It was on this trip that I was introduced to and began to develop a passion for travel photography. I remember there being so many new and interesting things to photograph that I was overwhelmed with opportunities and ended up taking photos of just about everything that caught my eye. It was a challenge to balance the enjoyment of the moment and the experience while also putting a lot of thought and effort into capturing the beauty and the memories.
In looking back on these photos, here are a few brief observations:
- I noticed that, in too many of my photos, I stood a good distance away from my subject and used my zoom lens to bring the subject closer. If I were to retake those photos, I think I’d stand a lot closer to those subjects and zoom out. Standing closer allows you to connect more personally with your subject and zooming out allows you to include the context of that subject in your photo. Zooming in can be helpful in certain situations, but it gives the viewer a very narrow perspective.
- Apparently, back then, I really liked to take a lot of vertically aligned photos.
- My older Canon Rebel XT has dynamic range issues – brighter spots are usually blown out.
- When I photographed people (my friends included), I mostly took photos of the backs of their heads, rather than their faces. It might seem pretty obvious that faces are better in photos than the backs of heads, but this was actually a bad habit of mine that’s needed some serious kicking. When you’re taking travel photos, it requires either getting ahead of your friends while you’re moving, asking your friends to stop every so often, or confronting strangers (whose language you probably do not speak) to ask to take their portrait.
- I’m encouraged by the fact that I can plainly see improvement in my work – in what I choose to photograph, my timing, and composition.
This summer, I’ll be heading back to Europe, and I’m really excited to apply all of the lessons in photography that I’ve been learning. Not only am I hoping for better photos, but I’m also hoping that being more comfortable with photography will allow me to enjoy the experiences and the photography at the same time.