A Road Less Travelled

Monthly Archives: March 2014

TIMOR PREVIEW – CULTURE, HOT SPRINGS, KIDS, COCK FIGHTS AND A BUG-EYED SPEAR FISHERMAN

Click the picture (above) to see a short preview of some of the images to return from the Timor-Leste shoot.

Considering the amount of travelling we had to do, and the fact we didn’t have talent (though thank you to the nurses and expat volunteers we did manage to grab at short notice), it was a reasonably productive assignment.

Combining these images with those from the last shoot (sample below), the country’s Department of Tourism now has a solid foundation of images with which to promote the young country’s tourism prospects.

“GOGGLES” TO FINISH OFF THE SHOOT IN TIMOR-LESTE

I’m back at the hotel room and winding up a 10 day shoot of Timor-Leste.

It’s been productive assignment but I’m buggered as we literally drove the length and breadth of the country in search of photographs – largely on unsealed roads. The last three days have been spent around Timor-Leste’s most easterly point, Jaco Island.

While I’ll post a preview of the top 30 pics when I get back to the studio next week, here’s a couple of cute shots of “Goggles” (the fisherman) who joined us at the island.

SHOOTING “TOURISM” PICS IN TIMOR-LESTE…..and a few black and whites.

I’m just back from the remote Marobo Province in the mountains of Timor-Leste and thought I’d quickly drop in this pic (above) to re-enforce the tip I posted earlier (Photography Tip 52)  about the importance of shooting  “tourism”, as well as travel. The pictures were obviously staged, requiring a day of organising once we got there (site...

A MOMENT TO REFLECT ON TIMOR-LESTE’S STRUGGLE

It’s hard to comprehend the brutality that descended on this tiny island nation – first when the Indonesian forces invaded it in 1975 and then when pro-Indonesian militia groups sought to exact their revenge on a country that voted for its independence 24 years later.
Two hundred thousand Timorese lives were lost as the Indonesian army swept through the country seeking to annihilate any resistance.
Now, 14 years after the country gained independence, there are signs everywhere of a resilient and determined people persevering against the odds – a determination, perhaps, reflected by this one legged boy playing soccer in the monsoon rains who has learned to extract joy from life’s smallest pleasures.

“TRAVEL PIC” FROM TIMOR-LESTE….WITH A “BIG PICTURE” IN THE MAKING

In my previous post, I wrote about the difference between a travel pic and a tourism pic – this one (above) is a good example of the former. It was captured wandering around the country’s capital, Dili, yesterday after nightfall and, while it isn’t likely to burn an indelible impression in your mind in terms of making you want to come here, it’s an interesting editorial photograph which is likely to form part of a pictorial essay on the destination (….and, from a marketing perspective, it also subtly says the streets are safe to wander at night).

Tomorrow, I head up into the mountains to a remote village in the Maboro District in the east of the island to photograph waterfalls, hot springs and some amazing traditional architecture which I saw featured in an archeological magazine. So, tonight, I’ll plan to conceive a “big picture” to promote the traditional culture of Timor-Leste.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TOP TIP 52: TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHERS “TAKE” PICTURES, TOURISM PHOTOGRAPHERS “MAKE” THEM.

As a travel photographer, I walk around – camera in hand – ready to capture an appealing image of the location I’m visiting. My circumstance often dictates I move quickly – producing what I hope will be candid, appealing images of life as it uniquely presents itself. It’s a challenge. A lot of time can be spent wandering opportunistically with very little to show for it. On the other hand, something stunning can be captured in your first few minutes out of the door. The skill, I think, is in anticipating or recognising what is often a fleeting opportunity and being in the best position to capture it.

But as a travel and tourism photographer, this is only half of my job. Tourism photography – crass as it may sound – is all about deliberately selling a destination with photographs. It’s about recognising the destination’s competitive strengths, understanding the markets it’s seeking to attract and delivering images that re-enforce a strategy to market the destination. In the world of professional travel and tourism photography, often the shots that really stand out in a highly competitive international marketplace are not taken randomly, they are created. In my case, they are often pre-conceived once I identify one – or several – of the most outstanding features of a destination. Conceiving the photograph is the biggest challenge (followed closely by your ability to convince your client that what needed to make it work is worth the effort, he says). Ideally, I’ll look to layer the photograph with the right talent, the right wardrobe and props, a stunning background and, hopefully, a perfect light – all combined to deliver a key marketing message (i.e. culturally rich, romantic, safe, indulgent, adventure etc) And, within that framework, I make a generous allowance for spontaneity to convey that “connecting emotion” so everything doesn’t look too staged.

Often, its a fine line getting all of this right.

But deciding on whether you’re a Travel Photographer or a Travel and Tourism Photographer is an important distinction – one that could completely change your approach to how you travel with a camera.

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