About Me

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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just walking

Something I love to do whenever I'm travelling is put on my walking shoes and give them a workout. Just head on out the front door of the hotel and wander. I can spend hours just bimbling around discovering the back streets and alleys of wherever I'm visiting.

I usually rip out a city map from my guidebook, fold it up and put it in my pocket. Rather than follow it slavishly though I just use it to glance at every so often to make sure I'm not getting totally lost.

On these little wanderings there really is no destination, just the enjoyment of the journey. And the journey is made all the more enjoyable when you're not carrying every single piece of photographic equipment you own.

If I was doing that I would be so bogged down I'd never make it more than 50 metres down the street! This photo was taken on the back streets of Kathmandu. There was a big festival going on and there were garlands of bright yellow flowers for sale everywhere. I had my usual walk around 28-70mm zoom on and I framed the bright yellow against the drab colours of the wall and muddy streets. Then I just waited for someone to walk into the frame and snapped a quick shot. I used a slower shutter speed to put a bit of blur and motion into the man.

When I'm street walking I don't carry my cameras in my usual backpack. Just as my wife likes to collect handbags I like a different camera bag for every occasion! When I'm on one of my wanders I like to limit myself to one camera and two or three zoom lenses. I usually take an extreme wide-angle (10-22mm), a 28-70mm standard zoom and sometimes I take my 70-200mm zoom. I carry these in a small bumbag. I used to use one called the Lowepro Photorunner which was really brilliant. Then when my gear got a bit big for that my wife bought me a Lowepro Orion for Christmas one year.

So I carry the minimal amount of gear, plus sometimes a flash in an external pocket and just wander. This is an exercise you can do in your own home town as well and I like to do that regularly. Just park the car somewhere in town and start walking. Try and see it as a tourist would and photograph little details. It gets you into the habit of looking for photos, trains your eye when you carry a minimum of gear and just helps you to see things better.

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