I’ve been traveling for the last 9 months. As much as possible I choose to travel by motorcycle. I feel like this gives me more of a connection to my surroundings and an open ticket to go anywhere I want whenever I want (within reason). Of course, I’ve spent a good bit of time doing the bus thing as well. I find that mode of travel keeps me a little more on the general tourist route. On the plus side, its so much easier to socialize when your with a loads of people who are also excited to talk about their adventures! There are times however when I would like to take a picture without any random tourists included…is that so much to ask?
Lets face it, sharing is so easy these days and we love to do it! Sharing photos, thoughts, check-ins. Tagging your friends or commenting in any number of forums. We all get a little Tweety from time to time, throw in an Instagram here and there and before you know it there’s always a outlet accepting that EPIC photo you just took. From the selfie to the jump, all pics have their place and it seems as though we place them all over the inter-webs. I know I’m guilty, lock me up! But can I just get one pic of my cell to post before you take my phone…I just have to show EVERYONE!
Its no secret that some great memories can be made far from the tourist trail but there are times when you literally NEED to see that one thing which every other out of town traveler is going to as well. Allow me to set the stage; So there you are in the proverbial people herd marching towards your destination when you see it, that singular location where you can take the perfect photo! The world seems to stand still as you quicken your pace to reach this glorious spot from which the best photo in all the world will be made! However, just 3 steps before you get there you notice another quickened paced traveler whos’ white knuckles on his camera and fixation with “YOUR” spot brings a cold shiver up your spine…another EPIC pic thwarted, or at the very least delayed. Then again, maybe I’m the only one in the world this happens to…?
I’m not exactly sure why it can be frustrating at times…I mean seriously, I take loads of pictures and share maybe 1 out of 50 anyway. Its also important to point out that EVERYONE has just as much right to be at these places and grab photos as I do. But while I’m waiting for someone to finish taking pics its just seems like maybe one of the last 7 dozen selfies could be a keeper? Maybe not, the world may never know. Are we all guilty of getting caught up in the moment, that shot looked so perfect. Do we all get a little carried away? One day I asked myself, “Why do I want the exact same photo as everyone else anyway”? At that point I really started enjoying travel photography a lot more. Now, I’m challenging myself to find creative angles that no one else is looking at. In fact, the way to get an AMAZING pic in a sea of people is to start by removing yourself from the sea of people. No doubt, a lot of the time the standard shot is from a pretty good point of view to create a powerful image. For me that’s where the challenge lay. I often just go the opposite direction as everyone else and then start looking around.
Additionally, there are a host of other tactics to employ, such as getting to your location ridiculously early, if that’s an option. Choose to visit places out of the high season…and bring a rain jacket, LOL! Then there’s the, “OK, I’ll just wait, approach”…I’ve had limited success here and don’t recommend this approach. It seems the sea of people are endless, and when there is a break someone will stand in your way and take 471 phone selfies while you stand 2 feet away with your massive camera 3” from your face waiting for them to finish or the phone battery to die, whichever happens first. When I’m caught there, I walk away and try to be creative elsewhere knowing that I’ll give it another “shot” in a while.
One of the reasons that I really fell in love with photography in the first place was the infinite possibilities you have to create a distinctive image with a camera. Its a medium where I can truly show my personal point of view. There are so many different angles and perspectives that, given time you even create your own style. So now, when I see the crowds forming with the selfie poles raised and swarming around like some sort of protest/selfie sword fight, that’s my cue. I happily step away from the madness and enjoy creating a few pictures which I can be happy to call my own. Good luck out there, keep sharing. ADV ON!