A Road Less Travelled

Monthly Archives: February 2014

SOME SUNNY SOUTH SEA ISLAND CRUISE THIS TURNED OUT TO BE

Shooting on board a cruise ship that’s battened down the hatches in anticipation of a cyclone is not the most conducive environment to capturing promotional photographs of a south-sea island cruise. From the moment we left, until  the morning we returned, we had nothing but rain and dark, brooding skies (adding salt to the wound, the...

“TEARS OF JOY” TURN TO DELUGE ON FIJI CRUISE

Don’t you love it when your five day cruise of some of the most beautiful islands in the world begins with the captain announcing that a cyclone is imminent, that we will not actually be visiting the Yasawa Islands of Fiji and that we have embarked on what he calls “A Mystery Tour” which could well see us cut off from the mainland and unable to catch our scheduled flights home.

While I would like to think this deluge is but the tears of the Gods, fleeting and joyous over my arrival in Fiji, the signs seem a touch more ominous.

Arrrrrghhhhhhhh!!!
(I can hear my sister going “Yes!!!!! that’ll teach him for never taking me on a cruise.”)

VANUATU – FIRST TO SIGN ON FOR PHOTOGRAPHY MENTORING PROGRAM

I’m excited. The Vanuatu Tourism Organisation (VTO) has just signed up one of its staff for a mentoring program I established this year for emerging photographers in the South Pacific.

Alcina Charlie (pictured on the left) is the first student in the program which is jointly sponsored by the national tourism authority.

Alcina has accompanied me on two assignments of Vanuatu already and has showed great promise and particular initiative. It’s testament to both the eye she is developing and her ability that I could easily sprinkle into my presentation several of the pictures she captured from the last shoot we did together and I doubt anyone would know the difference.

Technologies have advanced and the VTO has invested in a compact camera that can rival most 35mm professional cameras which I’ve been teaching Alcina to use. As I’ve written before, 70% of the photographs I capture for a destination’s promotional library can be shot by someone with the right camera, a trained eye and the know-how needed to process the pictures to international standards. Training Pacific islanders to do this, while strengthening the promotional photo libraries of the tourism authorities I work with, is the objective of the mentoring program I’ve launched.

Key points in the program include developing an eye for capturing promotional images, understanding what is required of travel and tourism photographs in the international marketplace, shooting and processing photographs to professional standards and managing your national tourism authority’s photo library. Importantly, a component of the program is also devoted to recording the host country’s traditional culture and its unique rituals.

Training will be intense when we travel together (field work in the day, revision and homework at night) and I will provide remote support and guidance to Alcina where required on an on-going basis.

Its a positive initiative – credit to everyone in the VTO for embracing it – one which I’m hopeful will be taken up and shared by emerging photographers and tourism authorities throughout the region.

… but all this said Alcina, given the quality of your shots already, I wouldn’t be standing too close to the edge of that volcano the next time you’re up there with me.

VANUATU PREVIEW. LIVE VOLCANO – JOHN FRUM CARGO CULT – KUSTOM VILLAGE

I’m just back from a 10 day assignment of Vanuatu, the second phase of a three stage process to build an on-line photo library for the country’s national tourism authority. In the first stage, we concentrated on Pentecost and Espiritu Santo and, this time, we did Tanna Island and a bit of the main island Efate. I return in August with talent to concentrate on Efate and complete the project – delivering the tourism authority a 300 strong, high resolution image library which will be used to promote the destination worldwide. Here’s a short preview of some of the images which were captured in the most recent shoot.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TIP 51: “THE SECRET” TO SHOOTING A LIVE VOLCANO

I knew I’d be shooting a live volcano on my Vanuatu assignment so I thought I’d google the internet and get some technical instruction on how to best shoot molten masses of rock arching to the heavens.
There were some excellent volcano photographs to be seen (search Yasur Volcano) and some handy advice was shared but there was no actual reference to the best camera settings you needed to get that trail of light exploding from the volcano (I couldn’t help thinking that most photographers who put the time and the effort in to work it out were happy to take you for the ride but they stopped short of giving you that most vital detail).

Of course, everyone said to bring a tripod and to stay until darkness. There was also mention of the extremes in light (explosive bursts followed by near darkness) which made it difficult to set you camera to and there was the importance of taking your camera off auto focus to concentrate manually on a point near to the explosion. But again, no mention of what depth of field, ISO setting and speed to set your camera at.
Interesting.
Anyway, for your interest, here’s one of the images I captured on the rim of Yasur volcano.

FIREWORKS AND LAUGHTER ON VANUATU’S VOLCANO ISLAND

…another couple of pictures from Tanna Island.

For those planning an adventure to the rim of Yasur volcano who are wondering how close you get to “the action”, this picture (below) pretty well sums it up.

But if you’re looking for real courage, visit Lowenio village and don a nambas for a dance with the guys knowing the image (and your tan lines) will shortly be circulated to a world-wide audience (I was barely able to hold up my camera from laughing so much when he materialised from behind the Nakamal).

Well done Adrian (a french traveler we recruited to help out with the shoot). Top effort.

Next Post: Thirty top images from the Vanuatu shoot

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A successful promotional photograph starts with knowing what you want it to say and who you want it to appeal to - before you even bring the camera to your eye.

 

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