Traveling as much as we can, Tania and I find ourselves in locations or situations that are begging to be captured. I always find myself having to take my camera with, because hey you never know what you going to see. It's important to never forget that the opportunity to capture something really beautiful or even unbelievable always exists. So be prepared!
So as a filmmaker / photographer I have a number of tips I try to abide by when traveling to ensure I can always try to get that awesome, beautiful or unique shot. If you wish to get into the world of photography or cinematography I would recommend these 5 tips to help you on your way.
1- Take your camera with you.
You never know what you going to see, what interesting or out of the ordinary discovery you will make. Having your camera handy allows the opportunity to capture these moments, and or create a moment.
A saying I try to live by - "I would rather have my camera and not need it, than need my camera and not have it."
2- Have a friend or partner go with you.
Whenever possible invite your friend or partner with you on your trip. Why? Well, sometimes a beautiful scenic shot would be that much better with a model (by model I mean anyone) in it. We cannot all afford to hire a stunning catwalk model to accompany us on all our shoots. Well no one I know at least, so any friend or partner who wants to travel with you is the perfect candidate for this "job". Someone to give the viewer an idea this is being experienced by someone.
This also gives you options, you could have a shot of the view, and another shot of the view with someone doing something in the shot. Maybe just appreciating the view, running away from camera towards the view. You name it the possibilities are endless, with a model in the shot depending on what you do, you can create any mood. To either compliment the shot, add to it or create a juxtaposition. From sadness or joy, simply by having your model perform some appropriate action.
The below images are examples of times where I wouldn't have been able to capture these moments without a "model" friend or partner. The opportunity for a great sunset shot was there, but with a model the possibilities for numerous types of shots became apparent.
3 - Have 2 camera options available.
Having both of these types of camera on hand will make your life a great deal easier. A GoPro (or equivalent) and or your trusty DSLR. You never know what situation you may find yourself in, and in many cases having to whip out a bulkier DSLR, fit your lense, set up your shot, place it on a tripod. Doesn't leave you with much time to capture something quickly. This is where your action camera (GoPro) comes in very handy, as it is quick to mount and ready to shoot at the press of a button. In many situations you may also find you do not have the necessary equipment or crew needed to hang your camera off the side of a mountain in order to capture a shot. But with an action camera, being as compact and light as it is it lends itself to be dangled off a cliff or next to your model while scuba diving alongside a whale shark etc.
With one camera you can set up a time lapse (GoPro), leave it to do what it does and go about capturing other shots with your DSLR. This will save you alot of time, especially if you may not find yourself with the opportunity to return to a spot.
For those moments where you do have the time, then it is advantageous for you to use the DSLR. Where you can set up a shot, pick the perfect lense, check your settings, place your camera on a tripod for a stable shot etc etc. Here you can then get the perfectly composed shot.
A camera for every moment makes your life a great deal easier, so be prepared and have either camera readily available..
4 - Take your time.
If you have the time, take it. Be patient, walk around and allow inspiration the opportunity to find you. When you find yourself in a spot that lends itself to beautiful shots and you have the time to wait, then don't rush it. Many times you just want to get a shot of the view and then leave, but do not forget you are there to enjoy the moment too. So don't rush it, enjoy the splendor of the spot, enjoy the time with your friend or partner. In doing so you would be surprised how ideas magically pop into your head, or are offered by your "model".
Yes, get that shot of the location or view, but then again as mentioned above be creative and come up with various shots and actions for your model to perform to alter the meaning or mood of the clip or picture. And the only thing that will allow you to do this is time. Unless of course you have been there before, and know what to expect, then pre-planning your shots would save alot of time.
The below images are examples of the time we found ourselves on a mountain top in the middle of nowhere. So we took our time and came up with some ideas for various shots (picture and video).
5 - Be willing to explore, get off the beaten track.
Meet new people, try new things, take the path less traveled. In doing so, you may find that perfect spot, that magical moment where the rays of the setting sun filter in through the jungle, falling on the ruins you discovered. With no tourists around, because only the locals know about this particular spot.
Now I wouldn't call myself a professional photographer / DOP by any means. If anything I am a producer and director, but my love and passion for pictures and moving image is what keeps me capturing more. I am certainly getting better everyday, and I think by following the above tips I may find myself capturing progressively better shots. I have to admit though, in writing these points I realise how much I need to follow my own advice, as I find myself not following my own steps on many occasions. Although I always have a model with me in the form of my beautiful girlfriend, who accompanies me wherever we travel. So at least step 2 I cannot forget - Thanks babes.
Another 5 tips, I know I have learned will certainly be added to the 5 above hopefully soon in a follow up blog post.
I hope these tips were helpful, and happy shooting.
A little birthday song or two from your friends and family -
As an adventurer I take great pleasure in seeing and experiencing new things. In experiencing these new situations I am exposed to varying alternatives, ideas and beliefs which all in some way alter my own ideas or perception of the world, of life or reality. It seems that things are not all set in stone, the way I was told things ARE or SHOULD BE , there appears to be more to the story than I was told. As Morpheus so aptly put it "This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill -- the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill -- you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes". Well I'd like to do just that, and offer you an opportunity to take the red pill and explore and investigate the various theories and ideas on consciousness and reality with me. What I believe to be the next landscape of human exploration.
First though I would like to touch on some points to consider before diving straight into the topic at hand, all connected points may I add. As a youngster I was told about the people who lived across the ocean, who lived in far off lands and was shown how they looked and what they believed. I thought I knew and understood them, until of course I lived with them, amongst them and experienced their culture their beliefs and way of life. Living in Thailand not just in another English speaking country with similar culture, and ideals but a country where the culture, beliefs and overall way of life is so very different. Was certainly what one would term "a Culture Shock" as I was exposed to a completely different perspective on so many things.
This experience lead me to my first realisation, a realisation on perspective. My point of view was determined by my conditioned beliefs and ideas.
Yes yes, I know what you are saying, I know this, everybody knows this. But I challenge you that to know something and to experience something are two very different things. While I knew this too, I never truly understood it, until I was submerged in a completely different point of view. Where I was overwhelmed by a sea of people who lived so differently to how I did that at first it was completely baffling. My second reaction was "How can people live like this?".
In the image on the right, is the man actually larger than the woman? No, we know this trick (But should you not, feel free to enlighten yourself - Click here or here). But from this point of view or perspective he certainly appears to be. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that we are always told how things are, but we never choose to question it. We assume everything we are told and taught is correct and true for all. What if you were taught that the man in the image was in fact larger than the woman, unless you were fortunate enough to actually be there and realise that was not the case. You would believe it, and your whole perspective would cement on this idea and belief. Or what if you weren't told anything at all, and you had only your current view to make a determination on what you were seeing. In order to truly expand your understanding or your perspective you need to be willing to question everything you have been told or taught. In order to be an explorer for effective growth you need to be an open minded skeptic. Open minded enough to listen to any and all theories and concepts without making a judgement on the matter until the next step, Then be skeptical enough to research or test the idea (through experience), and see how it feels or works for you.
For interest sake, what is wisdom? Wisdom is knowledge obtained through experience.
By exploring, you challenge yourself to experience change, change that we as human beings so very much deplore. But something that is a guaranteed constant in everyone's life. Whether it is loosing a job, an unplanned pregnancy, an economic crisis, a tornado ripping through your house or the death of a loved one. An alternative point of view to your own, that challenges your deeply set beliefs which effects and changes your emotional state. The possible examples of change are countless. If there is one guarantee in life, it's that things are going to change . The more we cling on to wanting things to stay the same the more we suffer. The Dalai Lama put it best, when he said - "Suffering is resistance to change".
So explore, challenge your unflinching point of view, challenge your fixed desire for consistency and become more fluid and flowing. Become like water, not resisting what is, but flowing around it and not allowing it to stunt its forward progress.
In the proceeding blog I will touch on the idea of lucid dreaming and out of body exploration. I hope to investigate the ideas and discuss them as an explorer attempting to discover the benefits or results of the practices for myself. If this is a new concept for you I hope to fully detail the practice, it's effects and potential benefits. If this is an idea that you are totally against, then I ask only that you be the open minded skeptic and consider what I will discuss and test it to see how it works for you. And if this should be a topic you are familiar with, I encourage you to read on and hopefully find some new gems of inspiration.
So challenge your perceptions or point of view, and welcome change as the precursor to evolution and growth. Remember the one guaranteed resistance to any growth is fear. Fear of change, fear of uncertainty or fear of loss, the list goes on. All negative experiences can be narrowed down to fear, and the choices we make in relation to our submission to the fear we feel. Replace any feelings of fear with a desire to learn, to explore and to grow. A love for truth, discovery and eventual peace of mind and soul.
In the next blog I will begin my investigation into the ideas of lucid dreaming and out of body exploration. Watch this space.
My name is Yuri, and I am just a regular Joe who loves travel and adventure. I am lucky enough to do it with the woman of my dreams Tania. I love weird and wonderful things, which will always be present in any of my writings or blog posts.