The Photography on the road

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July 13, 2020

Here you go for a new adventure at the end of the world, the freedom of a new discovery, the joy of a change of scenery, a new country to visit, a whole civilisation waiting for you to make you discover its delights, delight your taste buds and fill your head with beautiful and sweet memories. You already feel the soft evening breeze refreshing you, after a beautiful day of discovery, on the terrace of this small restaurant that the dean of the village has advised you after showing you some antiques of her beautiful house. Here you are, this is the long-awaited vacation after your hard work this year, a year of work and now you have 2 weeks to enjoy and at Photo-to-go, our dearest wish is that you enjoy every moment of your beautiful life and for that we will give you some advice to immortalize these new discoveries, these unforgettable moments that you will live, these delights that you will taste!

The Photography of travel is a long subject because it touches on moments that we want to capture, immortalize, we have a strong need to keep memories because it allows us to immerse ourselves in these beautiful moments, in these magic, delicate and tasty moments that we have lived. We all need this sweetness, the sweetness of a romantic trip, of those first emotions on the plane before leaving, of that first evening lost in the desert far from everything, of this family trip so long awaited after a year of seeing each other in a gale, of a trip with friends so prepared during the weekends; this is the sweetness of a Photography that we are waiting for. We hope that she will make us happy, that she will transport us, that she will escape like a prisoner imagining a white sandy beach and turquoise water in the heart of her 10m2 cell. The escape of a travel photo, the memory of a moment in life, the beauty of a dish from elsewhere, the resplendent colours of a traditional outfit; we are there: the Photography of travel! This is a vast and delicate subject, because it is our emotions that we are talking about, but we will give you our opinion so that you can really enjoy your holidays while taking beautiful memories and being really present during this period of relaxation.

Paradis bleu (Zanzibar) - François B. for Photo-to-go
Paradis bleu (Zanzibar) - François B. for Photo-to-go

There is no miracle at Photography, it takes time to make beautiful pictures, so it will also depend on your personality and lifestyle. Some people like to visit everything on the run, some don't like to visit at all and some like to take their time and visit while strolling. It is therefore important to respect your lifestyle. 

A journey is an escape, it is the means to take off somewhere else and to be transported to a new world, a universe that we do not yet know and that will confront us with a new reality, and that is what we are looking for in a journey. The Photography should allow you to capture this escape, this difference, this change of environment that makes you happy. The Photography is not 72 photos of the same monument without even thinking about taking a different angle or focusing on that detail of a stone hand-cut 7 centuries in the past and decorated with precious metals and stones. The Photography is an emotion that comes from the bottom of your heart, no matter your camera is what it means to you. This photo must bring you something. Your photos will tell a story, it is like a path that you sow small stones so that in a few months, years you can plunge back into it and that all your memories will be like a firework of a thousand colors.

Le Pilote (India) - François B. for Photo-to-go
Le Pilote (India) - François B. for Photo-to-go

When I travel, I seek to escape into a new universe, I want to be overwhelmed with colours, smells and sensations that I don't know, I want an encounter with a native, a smile from the taxi driver, I seek to escape. And when I succeed, at that precise moment, Photography comes by itself, it allows me to capture these incredible moments, this meeting with the temple guardian, this smile of two Indian women begging for help, this Canadian lighthouse waiting for the storm, this house on the Magdalen Island that is flooded by the setting sun, this alley in Manhattan in the middle of the night crowded with yellow taxis, this man sitting in the New York subway. The Photography of travel is lived, a Photography is like a feeling, it is an emotion that you share in a picture.

It is important not to duck throughout your trip without thinking about what you are taking pictures of. It's all about determining what you're taking pictures of, but more importantly, why you're taking them. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Why am I taking a picture of that statue? Why is this place going to get captured in my camera? Does it give me something special? Does it bring me joy? Or is it just to take a picture to say I was there on vacation?

If you can't ask yourself these questions when you take your pictures try doing it at the end of the day when you are around a local liqueur enjoying that magical moment of a holiday evening. You are with your loved ones and talk about this beautiful day that is about to come to an end. Take 10 minutes to look at your photos of the day and delete the ones that don't bring you anything or that don't represent anything of the day you've just spent. If you have the opportunity to do this on a big screen this is ideal as you will really be able to determine whether or not Photography should be kept. If not, where the only screen available to you is your camera's, do a "light" sort. Book your "real sort" when you return from your holiday when you are in front of your computer and can admire your pictures in a larger format.

Summer Dinner (Canada) - François B. for Photo-to-go
Summer Dinner (Canada) - François B. for Photo-to-go

One of the main advices is to live this trip and not to photograph it. Above all, live it with your eyes, your sense of smell, your touch and your taste. Use all your senses to savour the moment you have been waiting for. Open your arms wide to receive this sublime landscape that you see and welcome it with humility; take the time to listen to this lady who tells you the history of her region and only then take a Photography of the beauty of her face worked by time, of the wisdom that has hollowed her cheeks. Once your heart has captured this unique moment, once your eyes have immortalized in your memory this spectacular landscape, once your taste buds have given you that indescribable taste of a fruit from elsewhere, once your touch has bristled your hair as your hand has walked through the softness of this leather tanned by hand with ancestral techniques, While these Indians were telling you their story, only then, take out your camera and savour these images that you are capturing and that will bring back so many beautiful memories, so many sweets and so many thrills.

Let's come back to the style of visitor that you are: the furtive? the explorer? the passionate? the calm? Everyone has his own style and therefore his own way of photographing and this will most likely impact the way you take pictures and therefore the type of camera you will use. 4 families of cameras can be identified: DSLRs, hybrids, compacts and smart phones and to each its advantages. Let's take a look at the different jewels:

  • The smart phone: in my opinion the smart phone is the friend of all travellers. Today their quality, options and storage capacity are impressive for this size of device and this makes them a formidable camera for travellers who are concerned about the weight and size of the device. Imagine yourself in the middle-eastern city, in local markets where the colors and smells come one after the other, you have just talked to a merchant who has detailed the history of this market; then you ask him if you can take some pictures of his stall and his thousand and one treasures, you take out your camera and in a few seconds you have immortalized this meeting. You didn't have to worry about the brightness or speed settings, the camera was just right for you. What's more, when you get home you can print these shots in a 50x70 cm (High Definition) or 100x134 cm (Medium Definition) format.
  • The compact: this is a camera that is intended for those who wish to have a device specifically for photos but do not wish to use their phone for this. You'll also get better photo quality than your smartphone and a few extra options. However my advice is to move quickly to the hybrid which will be almost as small as the compact (for the entry level) but will have many more features.
  • Hybrid: this is the category that has been developing very strongly for several years and a large number of professionals are exchanging their DSLRs for high-end hybrids. The big difference between hybrids and DSLRs is that hybrids don't have a mirror while DSLRs have a mirror in their housing. So the hybrid is a lighter camera than its competitor and this is a big advantage. A hybrid will also make you gain in size and you will gain in battery performance. Project yourself in the middle of the mountains, in the middle of a 3,954-metre climb, with your backpack and your provisions, the whole group moving forward at a steady and calm pace, the landscape surrounding you, overwhelming you with emotion and that silence, what a delight. There, you take out your hybrid, light, powerful and always ready to capture an idyllic moment, you turn it on, frame your picture, make your adjustments and clack, that's it, you've had this scene with your friends serenely climbing on the roof of the country, these famous Rockies whose ascent makes you dream since you were 10 years old.
  • The reflex: For the moment I'm working with a Reflex, a beautiful case and some lenses that perfectly meet my needs. The reflex has long been the ultimate camera. Like the hybrid, the reflex allows you to make all the adjustments manually, that is to say that you master all the parameters of the Photography and that the computer will assist you if necessary. A photo in "manual" mode will take you more time, however it will often give you a much better result than in automatic mode. For my part, I love to play with the settings and the lights in the evening or against the day, the smoke coming out of manholes, a shadow that you accentuate, the blur of a foreground to accentuate the subject of your photo. This is the magic of the Photography of travel. The reflex will give you a lot of possibilities and will give you beautiful travel memories.

Your temperament as a traveler will therefore impact the style of camera you will have and therefore the way you will take your pictures. The important thing is that you are comfortable and that your camera meets your needs. You have to have fun taking pictures, it has to be a joy to capture those unique moments of your life, those moments of sharing in another country, or when discovering a new region of your country. That's the most important thing, there will always be better, smaller, more powerful cameras, but in the end, no matter what your camera, whether it's an SLR, a hybrid, a compact or your smart phone, the most important thing is the heart that you will put in your picture, the love to choose your angle of view and the moment that this Photography will represent for you. Your photo can be blurry, badly framed or overexposed, the important thing is that it reminds you of a beautiful moment in your life!

Enjoy the photography.

François B.

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