Digital photography has changed everything. Cameras are smaller, lighter and packed with features. But your camera doesn’t take the photo—YOU do!
Several internationally known photographers, who taught at the Maui Photo Festival & Workshops at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort last September, were asked if they had some quick tips for photography buffs on vacation. What they shared almost guarantees amazing photos here in the islands…or anywhere on earth.
KNOW THE CAMERA: Slip a sleek, deck-of-cards-sized digital camera in your pocket. Hop on the plane, and you are ready to take hundreds of breathtaking, mega-pixel images on this trip—right? Oh, no you don’t! Too many Hawaii vacationers buy a camera just before their trip. The right time to familiarize yourself with your camera and—yes, read the dreaded manual—is long before leaving home. Zane Mathias, a Maui-based photographer who often conducts ‘photo safaris’ for visitors, understands this can be a daunting task. “The manual that comes with a point-and-shoot camera is more than twice as thick as the camera itself! Focus on just a few features. Familiarize yourself with the camera’s icons and learn what that lightning bolt means. Know how to set your flash so you can eliminate harsh shadows in bright sunlight and take great family portraits with a sunset backdrop.” On the first day of your vacation, take lots of test shots. Get the feel of the camera, play with the features, and know which button does what.
WAIT FOR THE GOLDEN HOUR: Andy Katz makes his living traveling the world, capturing breathtaking vignettes in the most fascinating places. He says lighting makes all the difference. Andy prefers to shoot when the sun is closest to the horizon—what photographers call the Golden Hour—just before sunrise and sunset. He says, “Spend the day sightseeing. When you find a beautiful location, take a photo. But make a mental note to return during the Golden Hour.” Suddenly that great photo, reshot when the lighting is just right, becomes astounding.
BECOME PART OF THE IMAGE: Rick Sammon, author of 34 bestselling photography books, offers this profound observation: “The camera looks both ways; in picturing the subject, we are also picturing a part of our selves. Especially when photographing people, we need to realize that the mood, energy and emotion will be reflected in our subject's eyes and face.” Your best travel photos, even if they aren’t technically perfect, will capture a part of you in this place and at this time.
BE PATIENT: Jack Reznicki works from his studio near bustling Times Square in New York, yet he has a laid-back style worthy of the islands. One of Jack's specialties—photographing children—requires plenty of patience. His tip is to not force the subject; let it happen naturally. As he says, “Be ready for the serendipity.”
Hawaii is one of the most photogenic places you will ever visit. Go ahead. Take that digital camera out of your pocket and start having fun!
SIDEBAR: Ready to learn more about digital photography from the experts? The 2010 Maui Photo Festival & Workshop will be held August 25th -29th at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa on Kaanapali Beach. It offers attendees a full schedule of photography and digital darkroom workshops, off-site photo excursions and evening keynotes by major professional photographers backed by their images on a big-screen under the stars. Non-attendees can browse the on-site gear store and enjoy the evening keynotes for a nominal fee. For more information, go to: www.MauiPhotoFestival.com You can also learn more about the photographers mentioned in this article on the Maui Photo Festival website.