T+L’s Photo Contest Finalists: Katie Bray
Florida-based photographer Katie Bray loves capturing the beautiful landscapes she comes across in her travels. Her love for photography started at age 10 after capturing her trip to New York City with a $5 camera from her parents.
“As I got older, I caught the travel bug and it became a way for me to practice my love for taking photos,” Bray told Travel + Leisure. “Little by little I would upgrade my camera equipment and try to perfect the art of capturing the moment.”
Take a look at some of her favorite shots below, and vote for your favorite of our finalists.
T+L: Tell us about yourself as a photographer.
Katie Bray: As long as I can remember I have always been into photography. I bought my first click camera at the age of 10 for $5 when visiting NYC. As I got older, I caught the travel bug and it became a way for me to practice my love for taking photos. Little by little I would upgrade my camera equipment and try to perfect the art of capturing the moment. I am no professional by any means, but I truly love taking pictures.
T+L: How would describe your style of photography?
KB: As you can tell from my portfolio, landscape photography is my favorite. I love when I capture a shot and it conveys some type of emotion to the viewer. It means that I was able to not only capture the moment, but display how beautiful it was, as if you were there. I also have been into abstract pictures lately. Grabbing a close up of desert dunes or zooming in on certain patterns of an animal. It adds an artsy element to photos.
T+L: What do you look for when looking for a great shot?
KB: I really like to capture an original picture, whether that's finding a different angle of a popular photo spot or maybe adding in a prop to add dimension. Also, lighting is so important when finding a great shot. I use natural light as much as possible which means chasing the sun and it's "magical" hours (dawn and dusk). And visiting exotic places really helps too with the “wow” factor.
T+L: What makes a great travel photographer?
KB: First and foremost, be respectful. I am always very hesitant to stick my lens in someone's face and snap away. I think it is very important to get permission or get a feel for the situation. Also, you need a ton of patience. For instance, in my Mosque picture in Abu Dhabi. We got there a bit early, but I heard at night it is really beautiful. I stuck around for an extra hour to get the twilight shots and I am so happy I did.
This photo was taken during the twilight hour at Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The mosque is enormous and dwarfs anyone standing inside. I got there a bit early and heard that the mosque is beautiful at night. I stuck around to get the twilight shot and I am so happy I did. Beautiful!
The zebras in Kenya during the Great Migration are just so hard to take your eyes off of. This shot gives you a different perspective with them scattered about the savanna. Zebras are in abundance during this time, and the contrast against the beautiful golden grass is just stunning.
The Empty Quarter
The Empty Quarter, known as Rub' al Khali [and] located in Abu Dhabi, is the largest continuous sand desert in the world. The desert is a sea of sand, and it was impossible not to get a good shot. Every turn was a different pattern from the wind-blown dunes.
The Great Migration
The Great Migration in Maasai Mara, Kenya. Zebras love to eat the top of the grass, and then the wildebeest come through after and eat the rest. It's a great natural wonder.
While driving the Ring Road in Iceland you will stumble upon these "stop the car" moments. This was one of them. The long road with the purple lupine flowers just creates a beautiful landscape.
While walking the North Face trail above the quaint town of Murren, Switzerland, the view is out of a scene from a movie. Every turn was beautiful mountain ranges with villages and wildflowers.
It was Christmas Eve on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland. Someone came running into the lodge, screaming, "The lights are out!" To my excitement I grab the camera and start shooting away. I was able to capture the lights in the village with the igloo mounds. The purple tint is from the ambient lighting in the village which gave it a pretty colorful feature.
Havana, Cuba is like being in a different world. This car was driving by and in Cuban fashion, the driver is waving to a friend. The culture and people of Cuba are truly amazing.
The Maasai Mara giraffe has a very unique pattern. The darker spots with the jagged edges is what makes them stand out... This one was grazing during the Kenyan sunset. Just beautiful.
The Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The tallest building in the world! It took some courage to stand at the window, but once there, it's hard to stop snapping photos. The building is all glass and [in] this particular photo the reflection of the city and water adds a very unique and artsy photo. A must do!
This hotel is truly a unique and amazing experience. It gives you an up and close personal encounter with Rothschild's giraffes while you eat breakfast! Here is one just popping in to say hi!