Novice Travel Photography Crash Course
January 23, 2008 1:08 PM Subscribe
Novice Travel photography. I'm just learning how to use my fancy new SLR that wife purchased for, among other things, our big three week trip to Italy coming up soon. I've been before; wife has not. So having seen the things we are going to see, I want to make memorable pictures to have while she soaks things in. SO the questions is: what skills, techniques or tricks should I learn and practice with and what traveling issues should I be aware of with my camera and camera bag? (Italy advice also welcome.)
Basically, we are splitting our three weeks between three separate environs. Cities (Rome, Florence, Venice). Tuscany countryside (staying at some fancy castles with wineries and cooking classes). Italian Riveria coastline (Cinque Terre, Portofino, etc). I mention that both for any advice on can't miss things to see and do that anyone may know with respect to those places, as well as to give an idea as to the type of things I'll be seeing of which I will want to take photos.
So I guess I will want to do some architecture photography in the cities, as well as random local people. I already like my pictures during daytime and when I can use a bounced flash indoors. But I can't ever seem to get pictures I like at nighttime walking around. Really would appreciate advice there. I just can't ever get the right amount of flash or ambient lighting (too dark or washed out). I would also like to figure out why the hell I can't get photos auto-focused when I put a polarizer lens on during the day.
And I'll probably want to do some landscape-y photos when I visit any sort of gardens, or the castles and countryside or the coast. I know having a tripod and perfect lighting is valuable when doing that, but I don't think I want to carry my tripod with me or wake-up early for sunrise (I want to take memorable photos, but I'm not going to build a master portfolio or anything). I know my camera has a cool landscape mode, but I'm not sure I can tell what the difference between that and the results of an auto or program mode photo.
Haven't got to the point where I mess with white balance or intentionally mess with exposure or ISO, though I will work on it if they will be particularly helpful. I'm only at the nascent stage of playing with aperture and shutter mode, and I'm not sure if I can master them enough that I should try using them over A or P by the time I leave in 3 months. I think I *get* what most of the functions and settings are intended to do, but I am just uncomfortable with trying them and don't want feeble attempts to detract from capturing quality photos.
So, any techniques, advice, tricks or things I should work to master before going would be appreciative. Also any advice about traveling with a camera bag and equipment would be appreciative. (For info: I'll be traveling with a bag that contains a D40 with a 15-55mm and a 55-200mm lens and a SB200 flash; wife chose that setup, but I would be willing to buy other equipment if they would be especially helpful in these situations). Note: I'm not trying to become a Pulitzer-prize winning photog; I just want to get the most out of it my novice-self can with only a handful of months to learn.