Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Being a Different Traveler

Many, many, many things have changed since returning home from Paris on 9/24/11. 

As artist, I changed. I prefer to sketch now than take a photograph. Sketching is done before scrolling through Facebook, reading a book, while watching television...at the dinner table at a restaurant. I MUST sketch - just like Jason Eldridge MUST take photographs. 

Since Paris, my sketchbook travels with me. There are three different sizes: one for my back pants pocket, another for my purse, and the last for my home. They are filled with pencil drawings, haiku, watercolor and marker colors. 

Artists Janis, Elcira, and I at Monet's Giverny. Take a wild guess
what I'm doing while wearing my jaunty cheerful pink hat?
Sketching with watercolors, of course!
©2011 Angeline
The following was in the newspaper just this past Sunday about taking vacation photos, by Rick Steves. He encourages you to change how you take photos while on vacation. Wonder how he reacts to those of us who travel with a sketchbook?!

How are you different with your photos? How do you "capture" your vacations? What do you think of Rick's article? 
These books were filled while at Paris. To give a comparison:
in 2007 took a 21 day trip to South Africa and shot >5000 photos.
In 2011, took a 28 day trip to Paris and shot <4000 photos.
The sketchbooks are opened more often than the photos!

The article is included below my signature line to make it easy for you to read. 

Save the date! You are invited to share more art at my exhibit about Paris, France on at the 3rd Door Art Project on March 21, 2012 during Miami's Bird Road Art District Art Walk held on the 3rd Saturday of every month. Exhibit will run through April 8th.

Angeline Marie of

Capturing your vacation in photos - Travel - MiamiHerald.com


Capturing your vacation in photos

Be creative with your camera: Find a new slant and a different perspective.


If my hotel was burning down and I could grab just one thing, it would be my digital camera with its memory card filled with photos.
Every year I ask myself whether it’s worth the worry and expense of mixing photography with my travels. Then, after I see my images and relive my trip through them, the answer is always “Yes!” Here are some tips and lessons that I’ve learned from the photographic school of hard knocks.
Most people are limited by their skills, not their camera. It helps to understand your equipment before you travel, but ultimately your most valuable tool is a sharp eye connected to a basic understanding of how your camera works. Work through the manual. Then make a point to be creative in your photo safari: Capture striking light, contrasting shades, repeating patterns, interesting textures, bold colors, and intimate close-ups.
Look for a new slant on an old sight. Postcard-type shots are hard to resist, but boring. Everyone knows what the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben looks like. Find a different approach to sights that everyone has seen. Instead of showing the Leaning Tower lean, climb to its top and try a shot of the piazza below you. Shoot up at the snowy face of the Matterhorn ... through the hind legs of a cow.
Capture the personal and intimate details of your trip. Show how you lived, who you met, and what made each day an adventure — a close-up of a picnic, your favorite taxi driver, the character you befriended at the launderette. Those moments — your moments — are the ones you’ll want to remember.
Vary your perspective. Shoot close, far, low, or high, during the day and at night. Don’t fall into the rut of always centering a shot. Use foregrounds to add color, depth, and interest to landscapes.
Maximize good lighting. Bright light at midday will wash out and deaden your pictures. Real photographers wait for the magic hours — early morning and late afternoon — when the sun is low and colors glow. I took some of my best photos ever at sunset of the Gothic statues at Chartres Cathedral. The setting sun brought life to the expressions on their delicately carved faces, almost as though they were struggling to share the stories they’ve told eight centuries of pilgrims. Good lighting adds a valuable dimension to any scene. Portraits often look better in the even soft light of a shadow.
Notice details. Eliminate distractions by zeroing in on your subject. Get so close that you show only one thing. Don’t try to show all of something in one shot — zoom in. People are the most interesting subjects. It takes nerve to walk up to someone and take his or her picture. But if you want some great shots, be nervy. In any language, point at your camera and ask, “Photo?” Your subject will probably be delighted. Many photographers take a second shot immediately after the first portrait to capture a looser, warmer subject. The famous war photographer Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” My favorite portraits are so close that the entire head can’t fit into the frame.
Buildings, in general, are not interesting. It doesn’t matter if Karl Marx or Beethoven were born there, a house is as dead as its former resident. Experienced travel photographers take more people shots and fewer buildings or general landscapes.
Don’t be afraid to hand-hold a slow shot in low light. At most museums, you aren’t allowed to use a flash or tripod. But if you can lean against a wall, for instance, bipods like you become tripods. Use a self-timer, which clicks the shutter more smoothly than your finger can. Many new digital cameras use “image stabilization” to help in low-light situations.
A video camera used to be a big, heavy lug-along. Now, thanks to pocket-sized video cameras — and the proliferation of video cameras build into smartphones — shooting and sharing vacation clips is easier than ever.
With cameras getting smaller and smaller, it’s tempting to make your trip more photo/video-focused than experiential. Like a hunter on safari, you see everything as photographic prey — to be captured, or missed. Aside from skewing your priorities, there’s nothing that screams “tourist!” like a camera bouncing on your belly. Don’t let it become a barrier between you and the people you’ve traveled so far to connect with. My advice is to be selective, and pull out your camera for special moments. The viewfinder that really matters is the one atop your shoulders.
Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com ) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio.


Jason L. Eldridge said...

Photographs for me are about two things. The moment in time that is forever caught and the photographer's perception of reality at that moment. Photographs are not reality (if you want reality don't take a photo just enjoy the experience). They are an artistic interpretation from the individual holding the camera. Some photographers are better at that than others of course just as some painters are better than others. I can go to the same place a hundred times and each time the photo is different because of the moment in time and because of me. Thus, a painter captures the scene much the same way but with the sketches. So, for a painter the sketch book is their unfinished photograph. They get to, through painting, post process the image. Great post Angeline!!!

Angeline-Marie Martinez said...

Wow, Jason! What a way to think of the camera and photograph!

We each can go to the same place and get different results. The tool is of little importance: camera or pencil; digital or paper. The scene is the artist's perception of reality, based on the moment.

Thank you, Jason, for the great comments!

JJ said...

A-M: Great post. I love the comment in response to Jason, "The scene is the artist's perception of reality, based on the moment." That is why I like art so much. It gives me an opportunity to view life in ways I might never have seen. When artists successfully put their visions on paper, my perspective and my life is enhanced. I'm glad you went to France.

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