Just recently, I took a trip to Paris, France. My experience will be a whole other story to be posted soon. For now, I want to share some unconventional photos with you, not photos of people in berets, smoking cigarettes, eating croissants, and definitely not of beautiful paintings, flowers, or monuments.
Here’s Paris, France in its truest form: degraded in 2017.
I recently took a trip to England, where I was constantly on the move – no time to stop for photos. I realized that a photographer can make use of any scene in a short amount time. For those who are taking a trip soon, including a lot of walking or bus rides, these following tips will help you capture your once-in-a-lifetime memories.
1. Do not use the “Auto” setting on your camera.
While being on the move, the “Auto” setting on your camera may not always be accurate – especially if you’re outdoors. Throughout the day, lighting changes. Thus, the camera must be adjusted along with it. For beginners, familiarize yourselves with the “Program AE” setting. By using this setting, shutter speed and aperture (affected by lighting) are adjusted automatically while settings like “White Balance” and “Exposure” can be manually changed.
2. Catch action shots
The best part about always being on the move while traveling is all the sights there are to be seen. For example, in the photograph above, my tour group was walking towards Buckingham Palace when, all of a sudden, a mounted guard orders pedestrians to make way for the guards. Although unexpected, it was a great opportunity for some traditional London photos to bring back to my family.
With action shots, it’s important to keep a small shutter speed to avoid the blur. Since the shutter speed is decreasing, the aperture (or amount of light entering the camera when the shutter opens) needs to be increased. For beginners, the “Shutter Priority AE” or “Tv” setting allows you to adjust the shutter speed manually, while other settings are configured manually.
3. Capture the theme of the moment
Depending on the places you visit, there is a mood – whether you notice it or not. In my case, England was a place full of public affection. The Roman Baths, on the other hand, was full of seemingly uninterested kids. The best way to remember the places you went is to capture the mood of a place in your photographs.
4. Don’t be afraid
Interesting places call for interesting faces. The number one, top tip, I can supply is to not be afraid. Look at it this way: you will most likely never see these people again, chances are, they didn’t even notice you snapped a couple photographs. The worst part about looking back on a trip is thinking Wow, that was such a cute baby, she was staring right at me, too. She’ll grow up and never remember me.
A different continent is met with a group of 36 eager teenagers; blind-sighted, restricted to the comfort zone we consider our country. Our home, made up of every other country, stands nothing parallel to our destination. Yet, none of us knew what to expect.
Our flight was with Virgin Atlantic Airlines on their Dreamliner plane. Ironically enough, none of us could sleep if it weren’t for my wobbly walking up and down the aisles to feed ZzzQuil to the insomniac. La La Land, Assassin’s Creed, Moonlight – movies to fill the 8-hour time gap. Frank Ocean, Joey Bada$$, Harry Styles – to play as the muscle in my thigh twitched from the dosage of diphenhydramine.
Once we arrived, we were on the go – non-stop. The streets of London were our first destination, two tube rides and a train ride away to Waterloo: metropolis of train stations. Soon enough, we realized “Waterloo” has its own song (by Abba, it’s a classic), which served as the theme for our trip. Young American teenagers all of a sudden shout “Waterloo” down the train station in sing-song.
The faces, the attitudes, the people, are all what cannot be defined by photograph, as its dimensions are not all met. Perhaps, a song can tell more. Through the photo essay, we speak through pixels, trying to tell the story of each and every place in London, and each and every face.
Waterloo, promise to love me forever more.
For this past Christmas, I ended up staying in a cabin in North Carolina for a couple days (including Christmas). Let’s just say the journey was definitely better than the destination (although I dreaded them both).
But at least I realized I am definitely a city girl, with a passion for lights and bustling movement.