T+L's Best Travel Photography Tips 2009
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Our photo editors’ advice on the best cameras for taking travel photos—and how to get that winning shot.
There’s no better way to remember a trip than through pictures. But too often those
pictures don’t come out to our satisfaction. Why is that castle out of focus? Where is the
amazing beach I thought I snapped? What’s with that devilish red glare in people’s
Happily for trip-taking shutterbugs, the path to better travel photos is clearer than ever.
Digital cameras are more convenient and reliable, with different models geared for all skill levels
and needs. T+L’s photo editors test-drove the latest cameras and found many worthwhile
options—though they do have their strengths and weaknesses.
In the lower-price category, the Nikon Coolpix S220 ($150) turned out to be great for outdoor
shots and close-ups. The drawback: it wasn’t the best at capturing nighttime images. The
Kodak EasyShare M380, which goes for $180, is a good choice as an all-around camera for active
amateurs taking simple snapshots, day or night, as the settings are automatic. The LCD screen is a
bit small, though.
Want your machine with a few more bells and whistles? The Olympus Stylus Tough-8000, at $380, is
waterproof and freezeproof, making it a highly recommended camera for those taking pix in the great
outdoors. When the light is low, though, some fiddling with the camera’s modes is necessary
to ensure good results—which hampers spontaneity. At an even higher level of complexity and
price, the $730 Nikon D5000 turned out to be a boon for recreational photographers who prefer to
shoot in automatic but want to take higher-quality images. The model has fairly accurate internal
meters, and the F-stop and speed settings are embedded.
After you pick out the camera that’s best for you, the next step is basic technique.
Follow T+L’s easy tips and you’re sure to be happier with your photographic results. To
take those tricky portraits of people in the sun, for instance, try using a daytime flash. Not only
will this brighten the shadowy areas within the frame, it will help the subject pop out more.
The very best way to improve, of course, is to place yourself in the hands of an expert.
We’ve compiled a list of photographer-led tours that take travelers to picture-worthy
locations and teach them how best to capture the sights with a camera. For instance, National
Geographic photographer Mark Thiessen takes a group to Washington, D.C., and imparts basic
composition techniques among the monuments. For a more far-flung adventure, veteran lensman George
Ritchey takes guests to the Galápagos, to snap action shots of blue-footed boobies and other
Read on for more quick hints on how to create great mementos of your next trip. Happy