Shared by Santosh on 31 August 2023
There is so much material available on this topic that I am going to take a very different approach that is relevant to today's available equipment. When one thinks about travel photography it is necessary to think about the types of opportunities that we get to take photographs while travelling. This helps us to decide the equipment we need to use. Broadly, we expect to take the following types of photographs when we travel:
1) Group photos of family and friends
2) Scenery, generally countryside landscapes and street scenes in cities
3) Birds and animals
One or more of the following equipment are required for travel photography:
Mobile phones are the most popular devices for group photos of family and friends, and rightly so because they are so handy. Many of today's mobile phones have ultra wide-angle lenses which are very useful for photographing large groups. The ultra wide-angle lens is activated by selecting a zoom of 0.5 (applicable to iPhones as well as Android phones). Ultra wide-angle lenses are also very useful for other situations like countryside landscapes (photo of Coonoor tea garden attached) and indoor scenery (photo of Club Mahindra Jodhpur Pratap Niwas Palace courtyard attached). In both situations the results are excellent.
I regularly use my mobile phone camera for both purposes. I'm saying this in spite of my personal preference for DSLR cameras with their larger sensors. Equivalent wide-angle lenses for DSLR cameras cost at least twice as much as two Android mobile phones with ultra wide-angle lenses.
I'm not writing about how normal selfies are taken because most people are familiar with how this is done. But I have found two other conveniences that a selfie stick can provide. I normally carry one of my cameras as well as my mobile phone mounted on a selfie stick. A camera has a very prominent hand grip which helps to hold it steady. Having got used to this over many years I find a mobile phone too thin to hold it steady. The selfie stick gives me the thick hand grip that I need. Because it is extendible, it also helps me to hold it at different distances from the body for different situations. The tripod of a selfie stick is very delicate but is useful where it is safe from winds that could disturb it. A mobile camera on this tripod can be used like a standard camera (not in selfie mode), using its rear lenses in whichever mode is appropriate, and can be clicked through its Bluetooth switch or self-timer so that camera shake is eliminated.
Street scenes including famous buildings are easily photographed with normal mobile phones and cameras using 18mm to 55mm lenses. However, while doing this we must avoid photography where it is prohibited, for example, (in India) bridges, dams, government buildings, inside places of worship, etc. There are situations where very high zoom levels are necessary because the subject is too small and far away. Examples are birds, animals or distant scenic subjects like mountain ranges.
50x or 60x advanced point-and-shoot cameras or DSLR cameras with large focal lengths of 350mm and more provide the best results. Mobile cameras are useful only for large animals and birds that are close by. I use either my 60x advanced point-and-shoot camera or my DSLR camera for bird and animal photography, and not my mobile camera. I have attached a photograph of a Red-vented Bulbul taken at Club Mahindra Kandaghat Resort. Please see my blog titled "Club Mahindra Resorts are A Delight for Bird Watchers" in the Club Mahindra Community website.
I have attached a photograph of the Pir Panjal mountain range taken with an advanced point-and-shoot camera. The mountain range has been photographed through the window of a moving bus while travelling from Chamba to Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.
Still photos of rapidly moving scenery can be challenging with a mobile camera. Therefore, this is best done in video mode. The particular scene (frame) of interest can then be saved through video editing software. I have attached a frame of old Jodhpur city from a video taken from Mehrangarh Fort. The faint silhouette of Umaid Bhavan Palace is seen in the background.
From distant subjects like animals, birds, and mountains we come to subjects that are very close, like flowers and plants. These are easily photographed and need no elaboration. Taking very close photographs, which is so easy with DSLR cameras using macro lenses, is now becoming possible with mobile cameras. We can look forward to technological advances bringing more photography sophistication into our hands through our mobile phone cameras. DSLR and mirrorless cameras will have their own roles and those of us who prefer them will continue to joyfully use them.
Either way, it's "Happy Photography" while we also enjoy our travels.
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