What’s the fun of guided photo trips. Photography is a journey for life. There is always something new to learn or improve. For me photography is always fun. One of the things I picked up is going on photo trips. I joined my first photo trip in may 2013. It was a short trip to London with Madelon Dielen Fotografie. On this trip I heard about the P, M and A dial on my camera. My main goal on this trip was to learn about these settings and understand what they did. I also learned what shooting in RAW meant. Furthermore while my first photo trip was a city trip, most other photo trips are for landscape photographers.
First of all what is the fun of these photo trips? I can hear you think “every photographer on the same location with the same pictures or that’s easy making nice pictures or ……….”. So what’s the fun of guided photo trips!
Learn from the pro’s
Most photo trip travel guides are pro photographers. Important to realize most of them know how to teach you. A good guide set’s goals for each individual group member. Wilco Dragt has thought me that I could sit still in the landscape scenery and feel what it did to me. In my daily job I have to make quick decisions and go on. In landscape there’s a different approach. With this in mind just take a good look around!
Ernst Yperlaan thought me a lot about composition. His photo discussions I will never forget. The basics of foreground en background I learned from Albert Dros. Structures en close ups I learned om my trip to Senja with Floris Smeets.
Learn from fellow travelers
It is not only that you learn from the tour guides, but fellow travelers are the ones that also teach you a lot! Being in the same place at the same time and yet every one has different pictures. Seeing how your fellow travelers make their compositions is a very good opportunity to learn from. Some travel agents have photo discussions in the evenings. This is a super moment to learn from your fellow travelers.
Make new friends
Never have I met a photographer that is not a nice person :-). You can be sure that on these trips you will make new friends. Mostly these groups are very nice to spend time with. Above all in the evenings it is good to be around them, with a beer or a red wine, talking about the shared hobby.
Clear my head
It was Stephen Covey who wrote the book 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. It was an inspiring book. Especially the last habit. Habit 7 is “Sharpen the Saw”. In other words and I quote: “Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, good prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.”
For this reason this means clearing my head after busy months of work. A guided tour means not having to worry about flight times, finding good locations, looking at tide tables etc. but you can relax and breathe! Breathe in and breathe out.
Most photo trips go to top locations. I’ve seen great places in the past years. Senja, Iceland, Varranger, Cinque Terre, South Bulgaria etc. It seems like breathtaking how creation can wonder our minds. I have a quote of Edward Weston that I often put in my Facebook banner: “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter”. That is the feeling I get being in these amazing locations. Standing in awe on some locations can make you wanna dance and cry.
The gear you should bring
Suitable clothes – Because there is no bad weather for photography, only bad clothes.
Tripod – Above all, don’t save on this! I saw many fellow travelers battling with their tripods. Therefore it has to be a sturdy one, not a lightweight.
Neutral density filters – So you can be creative with your shutter speed.
Graduated filters – To match exposure with the bright sky and the landscape.
Camera with different lenses – I learned not to leave a lens at home even when the backpack is too heavy. You’ll always need the lens you left at home.
Gear insurance – I accidentally dropped my camera with lens in the river Anglesey Arms in Wales. As a result my insurance paid the costs almost the same day! Remember you have a lot of gear with you that costs a lot to buy at once.
Travel agents I traveled with:
- Madelon Dielen Fotografie – Madelon Dielen
- Echt Ierland – Ernst Yperlaan
- Nordic Vision – Wilco Dragt, Jan en Mart Smit, Theo Bosboom
- Fotoreisspecialist – Albert Dros,
- Your Norwegian Nature – Floris Smeets
- Starling – Yves Adams
I can’t say one is better than the other. I’ve had great times with each one. Some have kick-off travelers days, others have reunions after the trip to see each others pictures.
Finally what’s the fun of guided photo trips? In short: All of the above! Just do what you love and let go of the rest and breathe in and breathe out.
Written by Richard Paas for www.richardpaas.com, edited by Femke De Vuyst