Another inspiring travel photographer interview with Dave and Deb of The Planet D
Dave and Deb are two of my favorite travel bloggers and I’m a big fan of Dave’s photography. Check out their interesting answers!
Travel Photographer Interview: The Planet D
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I worked in the film business as a Rigging Gaffer for over a decade. My job was to work with light. I was in charge of lighting sets and people and I learned to use light in it’s most effective manner. I have worked with some of the most respected cinematographers in the world and learned incredible tips and techniques from them to give the most impact to any scene that I shoot.
I also worked along side some of the most sought after Stills Photogrphers in the movie business and picked their brains over the years spending hours on set learning about equipment, techniques and the art of photography. It was seeing the passion in both the still’s photographers and cinematographers work that inpsired me to pursue my own passion. I never aspired to be a Director of Photography for film, but I was always interested in photography.
Taking what I had learned from lighting feature films has helped me to understand how to capture scenes and subjects for my travel photography.
Do you have any formal training? Have you taken any courses?
The Film and Television was definitely my most important training, but I also took a photography course at Georgian College in Ontario, have taken several workshops and attended many seminars and was a member of the Toronto Camera Club for a year where weekly courses were offered and ideas exchanged.
What camera(s) do you use on your travels? Do you have a favorite travel camera bag?
I use the Canon 5D Mark II
Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L II IS
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 II
I do have a favourite travel camera bag. I have tried many and changed regularly but have finally settled on one that is the Tamrac The Evolution 8 Triple Access System. I can use it as a sling back, backpack or over the shoulder bag. It holds all my gear easily as well as my computer and it is aerodynamic and very low profile. It is very easy to access my gear as it has multiple access to storage.
In your opinion, what makes a good travel photograph?
Great composition, use of light and a connection. It is very important that travel photos evoke some sort of emotion or connection to the subject. This is especially true in portraits. For landscapes I think foreground interest and scale are two of the most important aspects of a great travel photo.
What have been your top 3 places to photograph so far and why?
Being a place that very few visit people were open to having their photographs taken. Each face told a different story and they were filled with character depth.
The Himalayas were some of the most extraordinary scenery I have ever witnessed. It was easy to turn a corner and happen upon an awe inspiring sight that was just asking to be photographed.
China was a land of contrasts. One minute I could be taking photos of a megacity lit up with neon lights and the next I could be in the countryside photographing extraordinary scenery and people that have had very little interaction with foreign tourists. It was never boring taking photos in China because I always had a different subject.
What do you enjoy most about being a travel photographer?
The travel of course. I chose travel photography because I love to travel. I did portrait photography for a while on the side where I took portfolio shots for make-up artists and head shots for actors. While I was happy with my work, I wasn’t fulfilled taking these types of photos. I enjoy landing in a new destination and capturing the culture and scenery of a place. It is constantly witnessing different landscapes and encountering different situations that keeps my passion alive.
Do language barriers ever affect your work when you are photographing people?
No, most of the time a smile breaks the ice. I actually have an easier time taking photos of people that I can’t communicate with than someone that speaks English because they are just as curious of me as I am of them. I try to interact with most of my subjects and gesture towards them to ask to take a photograph. Many times people are very happy to be photographed and if they don’t want to have their picture taken, I respect their decision and won’t.
Do you believe the phrase ‘A picture is worth a thousand words?
I believe it is. Photos can convey so much. It never ceases to amaze me when I look at a picture and feel the emotion leap of the paper (or screen). They can make you feel just what it was like to be there without having to leave your seat.
What are a few tips you would give someone who wants to pursue travel photography?
Think outside the box. Many attractions, places and people have been photographed in the same ways. Your job as a travel photographer is to find different ways to look at the same things. Try different angles, experiment with different depths of field try to put your individual style on each of your photos.
Learn about light. Look for what I call “good quality light.” If you are shooting landscapes, early morning or late afternoon are the best times to shoot. They offer deeper shadows and more saturated lighting conditions. Soft light is what you want when photographing people. That cloudy day or diffused light coming through the window is always flattering when shooting portrait style. Be on the look out for good light.
Lastly, Interact. Travel is all about meeting great people. I find the best shots I have taken are of people I have interacted with. Don’t be that lurker with the long lens. throw on that 50mm prime and get up close and personal. You will be surprised how much more interesting your photos will become.
The Planet D Bio
Dave and Deb are Photographers and Writers from Canada. During their 14 years of marriage they have hiked, bike, paddled and climbed their way across 5 continents and 45 countries. From Cycling 12, 000 km from Cairo to Cape Town to trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp and climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. They are always looking for unique ways to explore the world while sharing their experiences through words and pictures. Follow their adventures at The Planet D