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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How a travel photojournalist travels Part 3

Although on this trip I did have some time to scout different areas and pick the best light to photograph them in, this isn't always the case. Sometimes clients can book your itinerary so full of activities that you don't have any choice but to photograph things at the wrong time of the day. You have to accept that you're there to get an overall coverage of both words and pictures and sometimes things aren't going to work out as you hope.

Cape Tribulation was the perfect example. With only two days there and so many things to see and photograph I really had to prioritise. If the day was sunny I headed for the beach, if it was cloudy I headed for the rainforest. If it was pouring with rain I stoically put up the umbrella.

An assignment like this is always limited in time, which means you have to be flexible. If it does pour with rain concentrate on macro shots of water drops in the rainforest. Look for locals playing in the rain, or trying to ford flooded rivers in their cars. I photographed the inside of the hostels. Think about what can work photographically in adverse conditions. Or just forget about photographing all together and look for material for your article.

I had high hopes of photographing sunrise over beautiful Cow Bay on my second morning in Cape Tribulation but got there to find a horrible, grey day which just wouldn't work photographically. So I wandered along the beach looking for things to write about. I found a dolphin frolicking offshore, a multi-lingual sign warning people about the dangers of swimming in crocodile infested waters, and I talked to other early risers and asked for their opinions and ideas about things to see and do. None of these would have made a publishable photograph but helped to enhance the final article.

Your aim is to come back with more information and photographs than you could ever use in one piece. In fact you ideally want to be able to craft a number of articles from the one trip. My assignment was the road trip but I also got enough information and photographs to write articles about: Port Douglas, the Daintree National Park, nature tours within the park, the coastal road to Cooktown, Cooktown itself, aboriginal tours out of Cooktown and how to travel through this part of the world with children. I also collected stock photos of all of these areas which can then be sold as stand alone images. Just as you need to maximise your sales of one article you also need to maximise the amount of material you collect on any one trip.

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