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Portrait of a shopkeeper in his tiny, colorful shop in Kolkata, India.

The history of Kolkata is long and rich with lots of fascinating sites, both religious and secular, to photograph.

What’s more, as the population of Kolkata is in excess of 5 million people, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to make creative portrait photos in this massive and cultural rich city.

The Beautiful Quality of Light at the Edges of the Day

One of my favourite photography challenges is to work under low light conditions at the edges of the day.

Have you noticed how, in the early morning and around dusk, time seems to move at a different pace and the act of photography can become a meditative and transforming experience.

“Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
— Timothy Leary

The soft, ethereal quality of light at these times of day is key and an abundance of opportunities await the photographer tuned into the light and the environment in which they find themselves.

It's no coincidence that many of the great photographs exploring The Human Condition or the beauty of our natural world are made under such conditions.

sale 3 Hour Private DSLR and Mirrorless Camera Course in Melbourne 220.00 330.00 Making an Environmental Portrait

The photo at the top of this post was made while on a self-motivated photo walk around the back streets of a famous and popular Hindu temple in Kolkata, India.

It’s really an Environmental Portrait in so much as it depicts someone in an environment to which they seem to belong.

I made the image with my then Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f/4 L series lens at a focal length of 32 mm.

As the light levels were low I increased my camera’s sensitivity to ISO 800 to achieve a 1/13 second shutter speed.

As I feel the addition of flash to be inappropriate when producing this kind of intimate image, it's important to be able to hold the camera still at such a slow shutter speed.

As well as gathering light, the relatively wide f/4 aperture helps to deemphasize the background by producing a relatively shallow depth of field.

Working in close further decreases depth of field and provides a more interactive experience between the photographer and subject, and also for the viewing public.

A retailer, amidst a sea of color, in his store in Kolkata, India.

Different Ways to Photograph an Environment

For the second image I zoomed out to 24 mm for a wider angel of view. This allowed me to show much more of the shopkeepers environment.

It’s still an environmental portrait, but the size of our subject’s face and the prominence of their surroundings has changed.

Which photo is best?

I think it’s subjective and, possibly, dependent upon the context each image is shown in.

What’s interesting is that, by varying your approach to the way you make your photos, you’re able to tell the story in a variety of ways.

 

About To Travel?

Here's What You Need  Why We Need To Be Positive When Making Photos

I’d say the whole process of gaining permission to photograph the shopkeeper and create the images was completed within 2 minutes.

I then thanked the gentleman and continued on my exploration elated by my success.

This degree of positivity makes it so much easier to tune into the moment between events, where the opportunity for great street photography so often resides.

Thank you Kolkata!

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

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Shapes and texture dominate this black and white photo of a footbridge crossing a canal in the historical city of Brugge, Belgium.

It’s only natural that, after traveling so much, I’d end up with a list of my favorite cities to photograph.

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to and photographed many countries over the years. Thus far I’ve made it to six of seven continents.

In addition to photographing spectacular landscapes and amazing people I’ve also had the privilege of photographing many of our world’s most interesting cities.

While cities like Lhasa, Beijing, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Vienna, Moscow and Reykjavik all have their own particular charm, they are not my favorite cities.

Big or Small, What’s Your Preference?

At this stage I’d consider my favorite cities, particularly from a photographer's point of view, to be as follows:

  • Paris

  • St. Petersburg

  • Salzburg

  • Bruges

But it’s an unfair comparison, on numerous levels.

St. Petersburg is a glorious city, an absolute treasure trove for the art lover. But I’ve only spent a few days there, during summertime.

While it would be interesting, I’m not sure that I’d want to spend more than a few days there during the depths of a Russian winter.

However, I certainly want to return to St. Petersburg and photograph so much more of that cities architectural splendor.

It would be great to make photos that contrast the glory of the Tzars with drab monochromatic Stalinist architecture.

Paris is a very busy mega city. Nonetheless, the charm and sophistication of the city of light is obvious.

Exploring Paris is like existing inside an old sepia photograph. No wonder Woody Allen created the film Midnight in Paris. The city is romance, suspended in stone.

Salzburg and Bruges are much smaller and more intimate locales. And that’s probably while they’re my favorite cities.

Salzburg is culturally rich and surrounded by beautiful, green mountains and valleys. Perhaps it’s the town’s proximity to nature and its array of well tendered public parks and gardens, such as the beautiful Mirabell Gardens, that makes it so appealing to me.

Bruges, also small, is a treasure trove for the adventurous. It’s flat, narrow cobbled streets and almost zero traffic policy make it a brilliant place to explore on foot.

For the architecturally minded and for those photographers with a passion for black and white, you’ll find fascinating subject matter around every corner while exploring the old, medieval town of Bruges.

I most definitely want to return and very much imagine spending a month or more in this most interesting destination. Bruges would be a great location to undertake a major photography project.

sale 3 Hour Private DSLR and Mirrorless Camera Course in Melbourne 220.00 330.00

While there’s been a Belgium Photography Collection on this site for some time, I’m happy to announce that it’s been significantly updated.

Showcasing the historical city of Bruges, with its myriad of laneways and canals, I’m sure you’ll find the photos to be both informative and inspirational.

The photo at the top of this post features a narrow footbridge crossing one of the city’s canals.

You’ll notice how, as well as making the footbridge an important focal point within the photo, it also acts to lead the eye through the image to the buildings on the other side of the canal.

As the image was very much about tone and texture it was perfectly suited to rendering into black and white. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru  

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A close up, highly detailed study of a lion, in profile, at the Bali Zoo near Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
— Robert Capa

The Hungarian-born American war photographer, Robert Capa is credited with the above quote. His life and photo legacy have ensured that quote has become one of the most famous and influential in the world of photography.

In most cases I think he’s right.

Moving close and engaging with your subject is the best way to make a compelling portrait, be it human or animal.

You could certainly make an image by employing a big telephoto lens, from a distance. But that approach, while it might help create a candid feel, will rarely achieve the same sense of intimacy from working up close, in a collaborative manner, with your subject.

There's a thin line separating the ideal distance at which you should stand from your subject.

  • Push too close and you risk intimidating them.

  • Move too far back and you lose control.

But don't let your own lack of confidence fool you. The minimum distance from where you should make your picture is determined by the subject, not by you. This is important and the rewards include the following: 

  • By overcoming your own shyness you'll be able to move closer, both physically and emotionally.

  • Your courage will be rewarded by dynamic and emotionally compelling portraits.

Now, just so I don't misrepresent myself or my abilities, the above image was made at the Bali Zoo in Bali, Indonesia. What's more, the photo was made with me safely positioned behind protective glass.

Nevertheless, it was a pretty special experience being that close to an adult lion. I felt enormously privileged by the opportunity and did my best to create a beautiful study of the lion.

So take Robert Capa's quote as good advice for the average photographic situation. But, of course, there's always at least one exception to any rule.

Age, gender, culture and religion may temper your approach. And that’s true for both you and your subject.

Likewise wildlife photography and conflict photography requires a very special skill set and a particularly keen awareness as to the relative safety of individual circumstances in which you find yourself.

A sobering thought comes from the knowledge that Robert Capa made his famous quote not long before he stood on a mine in Indochina. He died, but his legend and photography, including joining Company E as part of the first wave of landings on D-Day lives on.

A darkroom disaster ruined all but ten frames of film from that momentous day for Capa. Some of them have been revisited in the Steven Speidberg film Saving Private Ryan staring Tom Hanks.

There's a thin line that separates the courageous photographer from the rest. Each of us has to decide what side of the line we're going to live on and, by doing so, take responsibility for the way we interact with our subjects and, as a result, the story we wish to tell through the photographs we create.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

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Shapes and texture dominate this black and white photo of a footbridge crossing a canal in the historical city of Brugge, Belgium.

I’ve been fortunate indeed to have traveled to and photographed in many countries over the years. Thus far I’ve made it to six of seven continents and, in addition to photographing spectacular landscapes and amazing people I’ve experienced many of our world’s most interesting cities. While cities like Lhasa, Beijing, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Vienna, Moscow and Reykjavik all have their own particular charm, they are not my favorite cities.

Big or Small, What’s Your Preference

At this stage I’d consider my favorite cities, particularly from a photographer's point of view, to be as follows:

  • Paris

  • St. Petersburg

  • Salzburg

  • Brugge

But it’s an unfair comparison, on numerous levels. St. Petersburg is a glorious city, an absolute treasure trove for the art lover. But I’ve only spent a few days there, during summertime. And, while it would be interesting, I’m not sure that I’d want to spend more than a few days there during the depths of a Russian winter.

Paris, despite it’s obvious charm, is a very busy mega city, while Salzburg and Brugge are much smaller and more intimate locals. And that’s probably while they’re by favorites.

Salzburg is culturally rich and surrounded by beautiful, green mountains and valleys. Perhaps it’s the town’s proximity to nature and its array of well tendered public parks that makes it so appealing to me.

Brugge, also small, is a treasure trove for the adventurous. Its flat, narrow cobbled streets and almost zero traffic policy make it a brilliant place to explore on foot. And, for the architecturally minded and those photographers with a passion for black and white, you’ll find fascinating subject matter around every corner. I most definitely want to return and very much imagine spending a month or more in this most interesting destination. Brugge would be a great location to undertake a major photography project.

Announcing Belgium Photography Collection

While there’s been a Belgium Photography Collection on this site for some time, I’m happy to announce that it’s been significantly updated. Showcasing the historical city of Brugge, with its myriad of lane ways and canals, I’m sure you’ll find the photos to be both informative and inspirational.

The above photo features a narrow footbridge crossing one of the city’s canals. You’ll notice how, as well as making the footbridge an important focal point within the image, it also acts to lead the eye through the image to the buildings on the other side of the canal.

As the image was very much about tone and texture it was perfectly suited to rendering into black and white.

Coming Soon

You can look forward to more photography collections being added to this site over coming weeks. In the meantime, if you like what you see, please take a moment to share the joy via one of the social media icons listed below.

I’d love to know about a favorite city that you’ve visited. I might even include it on my next photography journey. Do take a moment and share your view in the comment section below. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru  

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"if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough". Robert Capa, the Hungarian-born American war photographer made that quote. His life and photo legacy have ensured that quote has become one of the most famous and influentail in the world of photography. And, in most cases, its the right question to ask yourself.

Moving close and engaging with your subject is the best way to make a compelling portrait. What's more, employing a big telephoto lens, from a distance, will not achieve the same sense of intimacy.

There's a thin line separating the ideal distance at which you should stand from your subject. Push too close and you can intimidate your subject. Move to far back and you lose control. But don't let your own sense of confidence fool you. The minimum distance from where you should make your picture is determined by the subject, not by you. This is important and the rewards include the following: 

  • By overcoming your own shyness you'll be able to get closer, both physically and emotionally.

  • Your courage will be rewarded by dynamic and compelling portaits.

Now, just so I don't misrepresent myself or my abilities, the above image was made in a zoo in Bali. What's more, the image is made with me safely positioned behind protective glass. Nevertheless it was a pretty special experience being that close to an adult lion. I felt enormously privaleged and made the most of the opportunity.

So take Robert Capa's quote as good advice for the average photographic situation. But there's always an exception to any rule. Age, gender, culture and religion may temper your approach. Likewise wildlife and war require a special skill set, which we may investigate on another day.

A sobering thought comes from the knowledge that Capa made his famous quote not long before he stood on a mine in Indochina. He died, but his legend and photography, including joining Company E as part of the first wave of landings on D-Day. A darkroom disasterruined all but ten frames from that momentous day. Some of them have been revisited in the Steven Speidberg film Saving Private Ryan staring Tom Hanks.

There's a thin line that separates the couragous and, often, successful photographer from the rest. Each of us has to decide what side of the line we're going to live on and, by doing so, take responsiblility for the way we interact with our subjects and, as a result, the success of our photographs.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

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I was really knocked around by the senseless killing of innocents praying at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. Clearly action must follow so that we can begin to change the tide of these, now frequent, terrorist mass shootings around the world.

At times of darkness it’s my habit to look towards the light. New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinta Adern, has shown the tolerant and compassionate nature that’s at the heart of Kiwi society. News reports have showcased Prime Minister Adern’s authentic nature and it’s evident that her response echos a leader who, while shaken, is stoic, determined and compassionate.

The changes Prime Minister Adern has signaled to gun laws as likely to follow on from the Christchurch killings are reasonable, logical and an important step to protecting all New Zealanders from similar attrocities in the future. I fully support Prime Minister Adern’s intentions and hope that they will provide the momentum that results in similar reforms in my own country, Australia, and elsewhere.

Or we could continue to slaughter innocent people.

A fast flowing river rushes over rocks on its way to the sea in Milford Sound on the south island of New Zealand.

Stop the Proliferation of Hate Speech and Extreme Violence

It may take a long time to turn this wave of ultra right wing, fascist discontent around. There needs to be a much higher degree of collaboration and effort from politicians, civil and religious leaders and large corporations in this regard.

Introducing commonsense to xenophobic, disengaged and disillusioned people is going to require a significant and long term approach. And it must start with the corrosive and non-productive political debate in our own countries.

Reasonable People Are Too Often Apathetic

Just as in politics, the battle is often won in the middle ground, because that's where the views and opinions of normal, everyday reasonable people shifts from right to left and back again.

I don’t consider myself to be a particularly political person and would like to consider myself to be part of the sensible centre. It’s been a policy of mine to produce beautiful life affirming content and, in doing so, to gentle nudge people towards a more engaged and creative life.

I usually keep quite when it comes to political debate. Often because I find the arguments, on either side, to be overly simplistic and not terribly well informed. Sometimes, like many other people, the problems that we face all seem to hard to deal with and to far away to act upon. I’ve waited for a government to take the kind of long term action that’s required on to build a safer, more tolerant and inclusive society.

But enough is enough and failure to express sensible viewpoints is part of the problem. Why should it only be extreme viewpoints that catch our attention on social media and are given so much attention in the news media?

Should Freedom Of Expression Be Tempered?

The messages that reach us should be broad and diverse but, to my way of thinking, the masses need to be protected from the extreme views of ultra radical hate speech.

Freedom of expression should not provide an open door for extremists to penetrate the consciousness of decent people.

*Short Term Action - Silence the Message*

It seems to me that there should be much more pressure on social media channels to stop the posting and sharing of such horrendous content.

To achieve this it's necessary to remove the opportunity for oxygen being added to the fires these people start. That's where social media comes in.

Lovely lupins, backlit by the warm afternoon light of a spring day at Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.

Anyone who posts such content should be immediately and permanently banned from social media, across all channels.

It's for the social media channels to determine where the line exists and then to communicate that, in clear and unequivocal language to those folk who use that platform.

Their market share, as a percentage of users, will not be affected if offenders who breach clear and obvious protocols, are banned across all social media platforms simultaneously.

If they fail to do so then that power should be imposed onto the social media platforms by legislators. That's my view.

Perhaps anyone who then re-shares this kind of content could be suspended from all social media platforms for a period of time (e.g., 90 days).

*Time For Worldwide Legislation*

We all know Facebook and the like can't be trusted to act in the best interests of account customers, by which I mean consumers. It's important for us to realize that *Advertisers are Customers of Facebook, not consumers*.

I'd be interested in your views on this subject. It's got nothing to do with right or wrong, left or right. This goes far beyond the pettiness of local politics.

What I'm talking about is the need for millions of people around the world to be protected from hate speech and extreme violence.

Most folks want government out of their face. But we all need government and the legal system to provide reasonable boundaries inside which we can express our views and learn from each other without the threat of physical or psychological abuse.

While photographing in this forested area near Twizel on the south island of New Zealand I was reminded of 'Gollums Song' from the LOTR The Two Towers movie.

Are You Happy With Your Own Life?

Do we actually live in a kind, safe, inclusive and prosperous society? You could argue that it's all relative and compare life in Melbourne, Helsinki or Seattle with living under a totalitarian regime.

However, few would say our societies are what they should be. Despite advancements in technology, some of which keep us passively entertained, but disengaged from actual physical communities.

Has our physiological evolution stalled?

Will we continue to fail ourselves and each other?

Perhaps a good start would be to take a break from social media. Say a 30-day, self imposed ban. The more people who'd do this the less attention would be placed there by advertisers and the more social media platforms would respect their user base.

I hardly ever use social media. Over recent weeks I haven't even used it to promote my own blog posts. I'm glad to say I've never experienced any level of addiction with social media.

I'm one of the lucky ones. But we all make decisions that influence our actions. And those actions determine our happiness, success and personal growth.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

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A black and white image showing a rear view of the Grand Cascade at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

Peterhof Palace is a short excursion from St. Petersburg, Russia. Situated in the municipal town of the same name, which was known as Petrodvorets from 1944 to 1997, Peterhof Palace was commissioned by Peter the Great and is sometimes referred to as the Venice Of The North.

I made the trip on a sunny summer’s afternoon and had a wonderful time wandering the grounds and photographing the fountains, statues and gardens for which Peterhof Palace is famous.

What Makes Your Photos Special

Wherever possible I think it’s worth exploring a more expansive approach to telling the story of your own visit.

As well as making the expected images of iconic sites it’s often a good idea to also photograph less well know elements at the same location.

After all, you want your images to reflect your own experience of the location in question. You’ll achieve this by exploring your own, authentic vision which you’ll discover by trusting your intuition and allowing creativity to flow.

 

About To Travel?

Here's What You Need  Make Photos That Explore Your Authentic Vision

Often the best way to explore your creativity is to take a more physical approach to your photography.

This might involve photographing from high or low vantage points or by moving around the subject in question to see how different directions of light affect the image.

Likewise, a more experimental approach to image processing on the desktop can allow you to separate your images from those made by a happy snapper.

Photography is such a fun, accessible and affordable way to explore your creativity.

Abstraction, which removes the subject from reality, can be achieved in a variety of ways, the easiest of which is by rendering the original color file into black and white. You can do this in camera or on the desktop with applications like Adobe Lightroom.

 

A young boy, surprised by water sprouting from the ground at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

 How to Tell the Story of Your Visit to Peterhof St Petersburg

In a traditional photo essay the photo at the very top of this post might be considered to be a good opening or establishing image.

It presents a broad overview of the location and enough interesting elements, within a single picture, to entice the viewer to want to learn more.

Thus the need to produce a varied selection of images, as I’ve done with my own exploration of Peterhof Grand Palace.

However, to tell the story of the site more thoroughly it’s a good idea to continue to work the location. Here’s what else I photographed:

  • Individual statues, some as portraits

  • Statues in relationship to the water, sprouting up from below

  • A groundsman working hard to clean the fountain. While dressed appropriately he was, nonetheless, being absolutely pelted by the water falling down on him from above.

  • Exteriors of important buildings within the grounds of Peterhof

  • Portraits and candid images of fellow tourists

Statue on the edge of the fountain at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia

Photographing the Fountains at Peterhof Palace St Petersburg

The Grand Cascade at Peterhof Palace is probably the most famous water feature at Peterhof. The statues are all covered in gold leaf and look amazing in the bright sunlight.

I photographed the cascade from a number of different angles.

The photo at the top of this post places the cascade in relation to the grounds and a nearby pavilion. It shows a number of the elements (e.g., water, statues, building, lawns, trees) that describe the location without emphasizing one over the other.

Compare that to the close up view of one of the statues pictured with water showering down around it.

This variety of images provides the viewer with far more information than would be the case with, for instance, a series of similar photos of statues or fountains.

However, there is an argument for both approaches, depending on your motivation and the desired outcome.

Spectacular water fountains, beautifully framed by surrounding architecture, at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

Being Authentic While Satisfying The Needs Of Audience and Customers

Twenty something years ago I completed a Masters of Photography which consisted, largely, of photos made in temples across Asia.

While there were a few images that included people and architecture, most of the photos were portrait studies of buddha statues.

sale 3 Hour Private DSLR and Mirrorless Camera Course in Melbourne 220.00 330.00

However, if I’d been commissioned to photograph one of these sites for a local tourist board or travel magazine I’d definitely be taking the photo essay approach I outlined previously.

Golden, onion shaped domains contrast with the cool aqua and green colors in the rest of the building at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

If ever you find yourself in St. Petersburg, Russia it’s well worth the effort to make an excursion out to Peterhof Palace by the shores of the Gulf of Finland.

It’s a wonderful place to explore, particularly on a lovely summer’s day.

You’d probably need a day to fully explore the grounds and numerous buildings on site. However, if photography is not the driving force determining your visit, half a day should suffice.

Just plan your trip carefully as traffic, there and back, can be heavy and you wouldn’t want the time spent in transit to reduce the time you have available to explore the many wonderful sites Peterhof Palace has to offer.

Your other option is to take the hydrofoil from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It looks like a lot of fun and only takes around 30 minutes. Next time I think I’II try it. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

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A black and white image showing a rear view of the Grand Cascade at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

Peterhof Palace is a short excursion from St. Petersburg, Russia. I made the trip on a sunny summer’s afternoon. While my time was limited I very much enjoyed wandering the grounds and photographing many of the fountains and statues for which the gardens are famous. However, wherever possible, you can tell the story of your visit more fully through an alternative approach or by also photographing less well know elements during your visit.

Photographing the Fountains at Peterhof

This photo was made from above the Grand Cascade, probably the most famous water feature at Peterhof. The statues are all covered in gold leaf and look amazing in the bright sunlight.

I photographed the cascade from a number of different angles. This particular photo places the cascade in relation to the grounds and a nearby pavilion. It shows a number of the elements (e.g., water, statues, building, lawns, trees) that describe the location without emphasizing one over the other.

Statue on the edge of the fountain at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia

The Photo Essay

A young boy, surprised by water sprouting from the ground at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

In a traditional photo essay this might be considered to be a good opening or establishing image. It presents a broad overview of the location and enough interesting elements, within a single picture, to entice the viewer to want to learn more.

But, to tell the story of the site more thoroughly it’s a good idea to continue to work the location. Here’s what else I photographed:

  • Individual statues, some as portraits

  • Statues in relationship to the water, sprouting up from below

  • A groundsman working hard to clean the fountain. While dressed appropriately he was, nonetheless, being absolutely pelted by the water falling down on him from above.

  • Exteriors of important buildings within the grounds of Peterhof

  • Portraits and candid images of fellow tourists

Spectacular water fountains, beautifully framed by surrounding architecture, at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

This variety of images provides the viewer with far more information than would be the case with, for instance, a series of photos of just statues or fountains. However, there is an argument for both approaches, depending on your motivation and the desired outcome.

Golden, onion shaped domains contrast with the cool aqua and green colors in the rest of the building at Peterhof Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.

Horses for Courses

Twenty years ago I completed a Masters of Photography which consisted, largely, of photos made in temples across Asia. While their were a few images that included people and architecture, most of the photos were portrait studies of buddha statues. If, however, I was commissioned to photograph one of these sites for a local tourist board I’d definitely be taking the photo essay approach I outlined previously.

If ever you find yourself in St. Petersburg, Russia it’s well worth the effort to make an excursion out to Peterhof Palace. On the shores of the Gulf of Finland it’s a wonderful place to explore, particularly on a lovely summer’s day. You’d probably need a day to fully explore the grounds and numerous buildings on site. However, if photography is not the driving force determining your visit, half a day should suffice.  

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

Photographing Cemeteries eBook 9.97 BUY NOW
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The tiny, but dramatic island of Gasholmur off the coast of Vagar in the Faroe Islands.

I arrived in the Faroe Islands exhausted. A late final night in Copenhagen a very early flight meant I only had 1 hour in bed the night before.

I got into my hire car at the airport and headed off on a very narrow road to see the sites. After a short time I found myself in an interesting little village. And then the rain came down. I continued to photograph and, after a while, headed off towards what I was told was a lovely waterfall by the sea.

However, rather than backtracking to the main road, I decided to take a rather narrow, single lane road which climbed a cliff with a wonderful view of a few offshore islands. At that stage I didn’t know whether the road I was on continued back onto the main road or whether I’d have to, somehow, turn around and come back again.

I really was exhausted and having to drive on, what for me is the opposite side of the road, was really doing my head in. But, it was good to be traveling and making photos. I turned on the radio, started to relax and noticed the islands just offshore.

A few seconds later I managed to clip the edge of the road, only to discover that the overgrown grass hid a deep trench. I had deliberately moved closer to that edge to avoid driving off the cliff on the other side of the road (actually it was really only a narrow lane) and now I was in trouble and unable to extricate the car from the ditch. The undercarriage of the car had bottomed out on the road and anything I did seemed to increase the likelihood of damage to the muffler and exhaust.

Fortunately, within a few minutes a local came up the lane on a quad bike. He tried to help out, without success. He called a friend and eventually we managed to prop up and then rock the car enough to be able to get some traction and get it out of the ditch with no damage done. Neither of these guys would take any money for their trouble. 

Two hundred meters further ahead the lane joined the main road and I continued onto the deserted village and the waterfall by the sea that lies at the end of the road. After photographing the waterfall I returned to the car, while being harassed by arctic turns, just as it started to rain again.

Make Better Photos

It poured for several hours, but I’d fallen into a deep sleep after around 20 minutes. I headed back along the road past the airport and towards the capital Torshavn, where I arrived around 1 hour later.

By the end of my time in the Faroes I’d driven on most of the country's roads and was much more at ease with the narrow roads, tunnels and with driving on the right hand side of the road. On my last day I returned to the waterfall and also made some photos of the islands just off shore. The photo illustrating this post features the tiny, but dramatic island of Gasholmur off the coast of Vagar in the Faroe Islands.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru 

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Local Sale band, Saida, looking towards a bright future from the beach at Seaspray, Australia.

Having played in several bands over the years I speak with experience when I say that the essence of a band is friendship.

We all hear about major bands who have become almost as famous for their infighting as their music. I think that’s sad and I just don’t see the point in playing together if you don’t share a genuine bond of friendship.

I guess it’s the music, the fans and, perhaps, the money that keeps them together. That and the fact that, without the band, they might well lose their identity, their sense of significance.

Four friends from the Sale based band, Saida, in a park by the beach at Seaspray, Australia.

Saida was an exciting young band from the town of Sale in Gippsland, Australia. I enjoyed my time photographing four of the five band members while visiting Sale.

There are many ways to photograph bands, including the following:

  • Live gigs allow you to portray the emotional power of their music and performance.

  • Environmental Portraits provide a way into the personality and character of individual band members.

On this occasion we arranged to make the short drive to the seaside town of Seaspray for some fun, candid photos.

This approach allows for a collaborative approach with the band and, as the images in this post show, often produces light-hearted and life-affirming results.

The essence of friendship on the beach at Seaspray, Australia.

I wouldn’t normally think to photograph people from behind. That’s because when the face is hidden from the frame the subject/s lose their identity in the photo.

However, out of that loss of individual identity a more iconic image is produced. For example the photo becomes more about notions of friendship, youth and the future than about the individuals depicted.

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I often enjoy a collaborative approach to people photography. In this case it was Saida’s lead singer, Leah, that suggested I photograph the group from behind.

I was immediately interested as one of my all time favorite bands, The Band, was photographed from behind by Elliot Landy for the August 1968 Rolling Stone magazine front cover.

While the images in those post aren’t based upon Landy’s classic photo of The Band, it was out of a sense of mutual cooperation and enthusiasm, in addition to my love of that quintessential North American music, that fired my imagination.

Four great friends on the road out of Seaspray, Australia.

But what really blew me away was that, no sooner had the guys from Saida gone out into the water, that they linked arms and embraced each other.

I immediately sensed the camaraderie these guys have for each other and I wanted to make an image that would stand as a memory of that moment, for many years to come.

The moment expressed both tenderness and solidarity and showed their determination to face whatever the future holds together.

We are all made stronger when united in a common cause and friendship is at the heart of the best collaborative ventures.

 

The four members of the band Saida at a derelict house in the town of Seaspray, Australia.

 

I understand the name Saida is one of those all encompassing words that translates from Swahili as peace, love and respect.

One of the band’s guitarists and didgeridoo player, Josh Cashman, has South African ancestry, which explains the band’s exotic name.

The band also featured Leah Radatti on lead vocals, Daniel Luhrs on guitar, Jon Doolan on drums and Brendan Doolan (absent) on bass.

The band travelled to Sydney where they reached the top five in the Sony Music Australia my school act competition.

The winning band received a $50,000 Sony record deal.

Jon’s older brother, Brendan, having left school at that stage, was ineligible for the competition, which was a shame as a bass guitar would have added to the depth of the band’s performance and, of course, underpinned the songs with a solid beat.

Four young friends having a fantastic time on the beach at Seaspray, Australia. As the years pass memories of that day will fade. But my photos will bring those memories back into focus.

Nevertheless, the remaining members embraced the challenge and performed well which, considering they were only 14-15 years of age at the time, is particularly encouraging.

Daniel and Josh have continued to explore their interest in music. Both play in Melbourne, from time to time.

The opportunity to photograph members from the band Saida proved to be a fun experience. Best of all it allowed me to create images that these young folk will be able to look back at, with fondness, for years to come.

And what a great way to remember their time together and the bond of friendship that united them at such an important time in their lives.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

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