Travel Photography Mini Tutorial Part 2:
One of the most important things you can do, is do your homework on places that you want to see. Are there any games, festivals, road closures, construction or repairs?
What time do the attractions open? What days are they closed? There is nothing worse than getting somewhere that you are excited about and have it be closed, under repairs and have a huge scaffold in front. Not exactly conducive to great shots.
The other thing is to get there early. There are two reasons for this. The light is much better in the early morning hours. It is softer, the colors are more vibrant. The second reason is that you will have less clueless people wandering into your photos. This way you can get some nice clean shots of just your subject. This saves time and frustration in post processing, trying to clone out every single distraction. By early I mean a couple of hours early. If the venue or attraction opens at 10, get there by 8AM. Take your breakfast to go. This will also allow you time to play with your camera settings beforehand, so you are not struggling to get the shot while being bumped and crowded.
By doing this you will be able to see which direction the sun is moving in and pick some really cool angles for later. Also most tours of places start around 10AM and suddenly there will be a flood of tour buses and people.
If you are on a tour that requires driving to a location, most of them arrive on site around 10AM-12Noon. Not exactly the best time to shoot, but you are at the mercy of the schedule. Bring a neutral density filter or a polarizer for you lenses. This will help quite a bit in the harsh mid-day sun. It will help balance out the very bright sky, with the dark foreground and landscape. This has saved my butt on many an assignment.
I know a lot of this sounds like common sense, but believe me you will be surprised that with just a little effort and pre-planning, how much better your photos will be.
Part 3 coming up tomorrow.