10 Tips To Help You Travel Together Without Killing Each Other

Susan Portnoy
I invite you to take a look to this very interesting and useful article by the stunning travel photographer Susan Portnoy in her website The Insatiable Traveler, and take the opportunity to delight with Susan’s photos and follow on her must-see photography trips around the world. 

Harry Fisch scouting in Porto

 

I was invited by the spanish travel photographer Harry Fisch, to help him to build the extension to Portugal of his first – SPAIN – From an insider’s point of view. A Very. Special. Trip – a Nomad Photo Expedition organization in April and May 2019.

This two events are almost full, by if you’re interested to know this two stunning countrys by the hand of such marvelous and experienced travel photographer, visit their website fast.

Good photo travels!

 

José Manuel

Especially dedicated to traveling with family, this article from my friend Eric Stoen, also a fantastic photographer, on his popular blog Travel Babbo is fantastic. I hope to see Porto and Portugal soon in his list, because I am sure he and his family will love it.
Good Travels!

Ryan, a nice young South Korean guy, had a dream and came to Portugal to realize it. He wanted to surprise his girlfriend Jolly with a surprise wedding proposal in a unique place in the world and chose Porto to do so. But, because he did not know the city yet, he needed help, so he contacted Pictury Photo Tours to arrange a photo tour that would culminate in the wedding proposal. It was then that José Manuel entered the scene and became an accomplice of this surprise, proposing to Ryan an itinerary that did not raise suspicions and ended in the idyllic Serra do Pilar, iconic viewpoint over the city of Porto and its river. The rest is history … on video!

Solidarity Photo Tour in Porto with Operação Nariz Vermelho.

Join us in this solidarity event in this charming city with José Manuel Santos as Photo Tour Líder.

See more in:

https://www.facebook.com/events/205647020359661/

bookmundi

This is the best way to travel around the world. Think where you would like to go, what kind of travel experience you would love to do, and in Bookmundi you will find the perfect solution,

Visit their site and choose the travel of your dreams

Mary & Kin, a couple from Vancouver, Canada, they wanted to see as much as possible when they were passing through Porto. Unfortunately Mary had a problem with her knee that caused some difficulty to walk. But we did not want them to lose anything to see in Porto, and from there, we spoke with Romeu, PorTuk’s owner and together we created a program as it proved to be the perfect solution for this nice couple to get to know Porto in the best way.

Porto Photo Tour TukTuk mix

We visited the main viewpoints, enjoyed multiple examples of street art, the beautiful and famous tiles of Carmo’s church and S. Bento Railway Station, we cross the most beautiful and hidden streets in the old part of town, we had a  nice coffee in a terrace looking to the Douro’s river, we bought the best Porto’s chocolates in the famous Arcadia and we had a cream cake (pastel de nata) along the way until we finished the photo tour in the “majestic” Café Majestic.

Porto Photo Tour TukTuk mix
This experience went so well that Romeu and I will establish a partnership and create a tour specifically with these characteristics and thus offer more to a greater number of people joining the indispensable photographs to a charming way of traveling.

Porto Photo Tour TukTuk mix

 

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk 2018 had an amazing turnout with over 900 walks worldwide and well over 15,000 walkers.

Here in Porto, José Manuel Santos, Pictury Photo Tours leader, organized the Porto Can’t Miss It! Worldwide Photowalk with more than 40 photographers. This photowalk started in Passeio das Virtudes viewpoint, crossed the romantic Jardim das Virtudes, visited the wonderful S. Pedro de Miragaia church, and goes through the very old Rua da Arménia, climb the Monte dos Judeus, saw the sunset on Palácio das Sereias belvedere and finish in the outstanding warehouse Armazém where we said goodbye until next year.

By Elizabeth Gray

If you’re like me, you’ve planned a trip, had visions of coming home with an SD card full of National Geographic images, but ended up with a hard drive full of vacation snapshots. What can you do to better prepare for a trip when you really want to spend some quality time behind your camera? Consider taking a photography tour. You will find yourself among a group of like-minded people, all of whom are excited about spending several days dedicating time to photography. A tour can be a wonderful learning environment. And if you take the time to do some research and planning, you will end up at the right spot, at the right time, and you will come home with some exceptional photographs.

Galapagos Sunset
NIKON D800 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/10.0

1) Choosing a Photography Tour

Of all the things to consider when choosing a photography tour, the first is location. Not all tours have to be to exotic, distant locations. A tour near your hometown can give you well deserved time to immerse yourself in photography. All too often the best-laid plans to spend a day shooting get interrupted by work, errands or other disruptions. On a photo tour, your time is focused (mind the pun), on photography.

Bachman's Sparrow
NIKON D7000 + 200-400mm f/4 @ 550mm, ISO 800, 1/350, f/6.7
This shot was taken only a few miles from where I was living in Houston while on a birding photography tour. Bachman’s Sparrows are very elusive. Without an experienced photography guide, I never would have found this extremely secretive sparrow which likes to hide in the underbrush.

Cost is a big factor in tour choice. Tours to the same location can vary greatly in price, which makes comparison hard. When you start searching, look closely at the tour descriptions. For most tours you will be responsible for getting yourself from your home to the tour location. However, the costs of accommodation, meals, entrance fees and transportation during the tour may or may not be included.

Another consideration is group size or student/leader ratio. One of the big advantages of a tour, compared to a self-organized trip, is that you get photography instruction. Make sure that the group size is not so big that it becomes hard to ask questions and get help from the guide(s).

No Room on Deck
Canon PowerShot S95 + 6-22.5mm @ 6mm, ISO 320, 1/1600, f/8.0 © Paul Gray
Too many photographers on a very small boat!

I classify photo tours into three categories:

  1. Workshops
  2. Educational photo ops
  3. Photo only tours

Workshops combine shooting time with dedicated classroom teaching time. You can expect some combination of lectures, instruction on post-processing techniques and supportive critiques of your images. Of course, workshops also give you plenty of opportunity to ask questions when you are out in the field.

Hasting Street Reflection
NIKON D7000 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/10.0
This shot was taken during an architectural photography workshop I participated in. We alternated shooting time with classroom lectures.

Educational photo ops do not offer separate instruction time. However, the leader is readily available in the field to answer questions about composition and camera techniques. Some may offer critiques as well.

Yellow, Red and Green
NIKON D800 + 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 340mm, ISO 200, 8/10, f/20.0
With seven of us on this fall foliage tour in New Hampshire, there was plenty of opportunity to ask questions while we were shooting.

The last type, photo only tours, simply get you to the right place at the right time. This type of tour is to be avoided! If you are paying top dollar for a photo tour, you should not be bankrolling the leader’s trip so he/she can pad their portfolio. Make sure you ask if the guide will be taking pictures too. It is one thing for them to bring a camera to show you how to compose, or how to set up. It is another for the leader to be so busy taking his/her own images that they don’t have time to answer your questions. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to take a photo tour to the Galapagos Islands. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, one of the instructors seemed more interested in taking her own images than helping the paying clients. There were several instances where she asked me (or others) to move because we were in her frame! Luckily the other guide was extremely knowledgeable, and freely shared his knowledge with anyone who had questions.

Fisgard Lighthouse
NIKON D7000 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 15mm, ISO 200, 1/200, f/10.0
Our photography guide got us to the Fisgard Lighthouse in Victoria just as the sun was rising.

If you are a beginner or intermediate photographer, a workshop tour is a wonderful learning experience. If you are more advanced, you may find that it is not worth paying extra for classroom instruction. An educational photo op tour may be best for you. Regardless of your ability, a tour that includes group critiques is invaluable. Having an opportunity to see other photographers’ images can inspire all kinds of creative ideas. Getting your images critiqued by a professional helps you understand your photos’ strengths and weaknesses. This can elevate your photography to the next level.

Dance of the Egret
NIKON D7100 + 200-400mm f/4 @ 550mm, ISO 800, 1/2500, f/6.3

When researching tours, look for detailed itineraries, with some built in flexibility. Be wary of tours that shoot from dawn to dusk. They can be exhausting after a couple of days. Make sure that you pick one that has some down time, usually during mid-day when the light is not at its best. Use some of that down time to process some of your images. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions about composition and technique before it is too late and the tour is over.

Lastly, conduct some research on the professional leading the tour. How long have they been doing this tour or been in business? Do they have their own website? If so, check out their portfolio. Have they posted photographs from past tours? Are these the types of images that inspire you? If they are, then that leader may be a good fit for you. If not, check out some other tours. And of course, read reviews from past clients.

Spoonbill Takeoff
NIKON D7100 + 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 400mm, ISO 400, 1/2000, f/7.1

2) Gear

So you’ve selected your tour and paid your down payment. Now it’s time to figure out what gear you are going to take. Choosing the right gear is a balancing act. You want to make sure that you have enough equipment to get the shots you envision, but not too much that carrying it breaks your back. You may also be limited by airline baggage restrictions. Most airlines allow you to carry on one bag and one small personal item. Personally, I never check my camera gear, the only exception being my tripod and head. So that means my camera, lenses, hard drives, and all the bits and pieces that accompany them, must go in a camera bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin.

Choose lenses based on the type of shots you plan to take. Don’t try and take it all! When I pack for a wildlife trip I bring very different lenses than if I am packing for a landscape or street photography tour. If you will be doing a lot of hiking, you will want to travel lighter. For trips where I know the tour involves short walks, and we won’t be far from a vehicle, I may carry a larger selection of lenses. Will you have the opportunity for close-up shots? Instead of a dedicated macro lens, consider extension tubes or a close-up filter. If weight and space are at a premium, use a versatile all-purpose zoom, such as a 24-120mm or 18-300mm, instead of several lenses that cover the same range. Regardless of which lenses you take, challenge yourself with the gear you have and do not lament the gear you left at home!

Camera Bag New Hampshire
Camera and lenses taken on a recent trip to New Hampshire to shoot fall foliage.

As for cameras, I recommend taking two bodies. There is nothing worse than investing in a photo tour, only to find that your camera has malfunctioned. Even a point-and-shoot can act as second body. And, they have the added advantage of being small enough to keep in your pocket for casual shots, like in a restaurant or on the plane when you don’t want to pull out your full size DSLR. Another option is to rent a second body to take with you. A rental body is a wise investment for those once in a lifetime bucket list trips.

Besides a camera and lenses, don’t forget memory cards, your computer and an external drive(s) for backups. And if your computer does not have SD or CF drives, you will need a card reader as well. Other necessities include:

  • Batteries and charger.
  • Protective filters, circular polarizers.
  • Rain sleeves – the inexpensive plastic ones from Op/Tech work great.
  • Camera strap – I prefer a sling type strap to a neck strap.
  • Lightweight travel tripod, monopod or beanbag if you will be doing any low light shooting or long exposures.
  • Cell phone with PDF copies of all your instruction manuals.
  • Flashlight or headlamp for night shots.
  • Lens blower, lens cloth, lens pens and a microfiber cloth for cleaning your gear.

The best investment I ever made was in a $10 pair of kneepads from the hardware store. They are invaluable if you like to get down low to shoot from interesting perspectives. They are always in my camera bag!

Miscellaneous Gear
All but the tripod and head go in my camera bag.

A flash is another piece of gear that you may want to consider packing. However, today’s cameras have very good high ISO capabilities. I prefer to use natural light and bump up my ISO instead of packing a flash. This leaves me more room for another lens!

Will you have the opportunity to do any underwater shooting? Instead of investing thousands of dollars on a professional housing, use an underwater rated point-and-shoot camera or a GoPro. On our trip to the Galapagos, my husband borrowed a GoPro and I used an EWA marine bag for my DSLR. The EWA bag cost around the same as an underwater point-and-shoot, but much less than a professional housing. It worked very well and let me capture RAW files using my Nikon D7000 and Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens.

EWA Marine Bag
EWA Marine Bag with Nikon D7000 and Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6
Fish Crossing
NIKON D7000 + 10-20mm f/4-5.6 @ 18mm, ISO 400, 1/200, f/5.6, Housed in EWA Marine Bag
Sea Turtles
NIKON D7000 + 10-20mm f/4-5.6 @ 14mm, ISO 400, 1/80, f/6.3, Housed in EWA Marine Bag

In addition, check with your tour leader. They have had the advantage of visiting your tour location several times (at least you hope they have). Your guide will have a very good feel for what equipment you will need, and what you need to leave behind. They will gladly provide you with a suggested gear list before you go.

3) Conclusion

Taking time to research your tour options, and discerningly choosing the gear you want to take with you are the first steps to a successful photo tour. In Part II of this article, I will discuss things that can be done pre-tour and during your tour, that will improve your odds of coming home with more than just snapshots.

Panga Ride
NIKON D800 + 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 80mm, ISO 1600, 1/160, f/5.6You are excited about your upcoming photo tour and have narrowed down the equipment you want to take with you. But what should you do next? How can you load the odds in your favor so that you come home with winning images? On the previous page, I talked about how to choose and pack for your photography tour. In this section, I would like to suggest some ideas for pre-tour preparation and on-tour tips. These suggestions will help you come home with photos worthy of a place on your wall.

About Elizabeth Gray

Elizabeth grew up in Vancouver, on the beautiful West Coast of Canada. In 2012 she relocated to Houston Texas for two years and then moved to Gautier, Mississippi in July of 2014. She loves the gulf coast and all the photographic opportunities it offers. Elizabeth’s areas of interest are widespread and include street, wildlife, nature, architecture, macro and long exposures. She is particularly passionate about black and white images. You can see more of her work on her website at www.photographybyelizabethgray.com or on Instagram at photosbyelizabethgray