Tag Archives: Photography Tours

Photographing People when Traveling

I love photographing people when traveling. When I visit a country for its culture, I love wandering around on the streets, capturing the daily interactions of people, the day-to-day activities. It’s the people that can make the place feel alive, when you are in the cities, towns, village. On this day in Cuba I was wandering around a farmers’ market, and came upon what had to be the country’s largest squash for sale. It was the biggest I had even seen there. He was so proud to show it off, too! I noted that he had already cut it in half – no doubt because even the largest of families in Cuba would not be able to prepare or eat a whole one at one time. He assured me it was organically farmed, and I believe him – because pesticides and fertilizers are expensive and hard to come by unless you are farming for the government. Good thing, in this case. 

My Spanish didn’t account for agricultural terms, but I did know the word calabasa meant squash, and I managed to have enough conversation that he was relaxed and happy to be photographed. Travel photography is about capturing a sense of place, both in the landscape and the people that live in that place. Not everyone likes to include people in their landscapes, and I agree – the natural landscape can stand on its own for its stunning beauty. But a place that is inhabited with so many people just feels empty if you capture the street without anyone there – unless you are trying to express the emptiness, a feeling of loneliness, etc. Yet for me, Cuba represents a vibrant culture, and it’s a great place for street and cultural photography. The people living there are so friendly, and genuine, and often visually unique, with their complex ethnic backgrounds. (African, Russian, and Chinese mixed in with the traditional Cuban genes). Cuba is about the people as much as it’s about the decaying buildings, cars, even though I love to photograph those, too! This just makes the place even more visually rich! I know that not everyone feels comfortable photographing people, even if interested, so I teach this on my cultural photography tours, helping people to become comfortable interacting with locals, making portraits, and working the ‘street scene’.

I’ll be returning to eastern Cuba, the oriente as it’s often referred to, in December 2018, co-leading a cultural, people-to-people photo tour that combines an experience of the eastern part of the island with the  streets and environment around Havana. We’ll explore the diverse landscape and cities/towns and interact with and photograph the people of both sides of this intriguing island. The tour is co-lead with pro photographer Jed Manwaring, who has a great eye for the street and the unexpected photograph. We hope you’ll join us for some tropical fun and adventure next December!  See details and more photos here and then go to Strabo Tours’ page to sign up. 

 

 

Brenda Tharp is an award-winning photographer, photo tour leader, workshop instructor, inspirational speaker, fine art photographer, and writer. California photographer, landscape photographer, nature photographer, travel photographer, people photographer, worldwide photographer, western, usa, cuba, morocco, ireland, italy, namibia, myanmar, spain, bhutan, alaska, photo workshops, photo seminars, photo tours, photography workshops, photography tours, keynote speaker, author, photography books, photo books, inspirational.

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Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter!

 

 

Sometimes Winter surprises Autumn, as if telling it to “hurry up and get those leaves onto the ground, because we’re moving in”. Such was the case in Triglav National Park, Slovenia, last year, when Winter was trying to come in just a bit early. I remember thinking – not yet! – we’re not done with autumn colors. But when we rounded the bend and saw the dusting of snow on the fall color, we forgot about lamenting that the snow/cold would knock the leaves off. We had our magic moment right in front of us!  

I have always loved when Autumn changes to winter. The fruits of summer are gone off the vines and the leaves lay bare the skeletal structure of the trees. There’s a smell of decay and a chill in the air, and a large part of the world is going into a slumber for a while. It’s during those last days of Autumn when you can be surprised with scenes of early snows, or that one last pear hanging on the tree, etc., and it can be so rewarding.

So here’s to Autumn and to the changes, and to the arrival of the winter season! I may have to drive 4 hours from Santa Rosa, CA, to experience it, but it’s oh-so-worth it when I get there! 

 


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Seeing Beyond in Santorini

It is very easy to see the luxury villas and hotels stepping up and down the steep hillsides here, like snow blanketing the brown landscape, but I came to Santorini to find a different type of photograph. The architecture provides such an incredible opportunity to find graphic compositions of shadows, shapes, and forms, and color and black and white are superb here! You’ll see pics of those soon!

While walking around looking for those kind of photographs, I couldn’t help but notice all the Asian girls, mostly Chinese, I believe, who were posing in wedding gowns. Many had been married back home but were now on their honeymoon and the girls wanted to have their pictures taken in their dresses in this iconic location, I’m told for Instagram posting. They are everywhere here, around any corner, you will unexpectedly find a girl posing in her dress, her husband (or soon to be husband) dutifully snapping away. It’s not just the brides, though; many women, dressed as if going to a wedding or a ball, are standing on rooftops, posing, like supermodels, while their men make their pictures. I won’t comment on all of that, but it has been fun to try and capture some of those moments, along with other scenes I am actually seeking! This church and bell tower were pretty enough, but who could resist the brilliant red dress of the bride (and in this case her groom) on a rooftop near the dome? I positioned myself to line up the cross on the gate with the back wall as best as it would fit, to complete the composition. 

Enjoy,

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Looking for Impressions in Tuscany

I’m returning to Tuscany, Italy in 2018, co-leading a tour with pro photographer Jed Manwaring. Someone asked why I go back so many times; I could list a) the light, b) the food, c) the landscape, d) the food, e) the wine, f) did I say the food?!

Seriously though, each time I return, I challenge myself to see it differently. Sure there are the classic, iconic, and bucolic landscapes that I love, and the light and mood is different each visit, but beyond the standards, I am on the lookout for pictures that transcend where I am. I am looking at light, shadows, color, form, and moments like the blog image here, that catch you by surprise. I was first drawn to the long shadows of the people standing there, when suddenly this young boy began to walk back and forth in my frame. I spotted the shadow but it wasn’t ‘right’ at first. Thankfully he just kept doing it and I managed to capture a moment when his profile was the best. 

On our tours, no matter where we are, we emphasize creative vision – we know that people come to experience the place(s) we visit, but we encourage everyone to go beyond the classic scenes and to capture their impressions, their feelings about the places we visit. 

So, once again we’ll be enjoying the food, the wine, the people – and we’ll be enjoying the fresh ‘canvas’ of Tuscany in spring with poppies in the meadows, warm light on the medieval stone villages, and rolling landscapes that made history through the eyes of painters, first. 

For more information, visit here, or go straight to Strabo Tours for info and to register. 

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