Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Photography and the Solo Traveller

Most of my travel photos don't include me.  That's probably not a bad thing but I have found that unless a photo is really good scenery can look a bit dull without human interest in it. Also, it's always fun to show that you were actually there when you are bragging back home. I try, when I can, to include people in my shots but preferably not me.    Nevertheless, in order to prove my adventures, I make sure there are a few shots of me included somewhere amongst my stacks of photos. In the beginning I took selfies with an extended arm.  Oh dear!  Every wrinkle looked ten times worse, or maybe there  really is truth in the saying "The camera never lies"!
As a solo traveler getting selfies can be tricky, especially if, like me, you are not a fan of selfie sticks.  From trial and error I have come up with a few tips which work for me.  Feel free to add some of your own in the comments section, I'm always keen to hear handy tips.


Puhoi River New Zealand I took this photo with my arm extended on a kayaking trip.  Yep, too many wrinkles! 

 

Ask strangers 

This is my favourite tip.  I often ask strangers to take my photo and I have found that far from being irritated they are flattered. I know there have been reports of people stealing cameras once they get hold of them so it is a case of following your instincts when you ask.  I usually look for a happy family group or an older couple but having said that I have found any age group happy to oblige and have never had my camera stolen....so far. As a part time tour guide in Auckland I am often asked to take tourists' photos.  It is a pleasure to oblige.


Den Gamle By, Denmark.  This photo was taken by a kindly stranger

Use the timer

 

This is my second favourite way to include myself in a photo. Most cameras have a timer option nowadays so this is easy to do after a bit of practice. Just find a ledge or stable spot to place your camera, carefully work out the shot you want, set the timer and get into position Voila!


I used a timer to take this shot at Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory, Australia.  
 

Employ reflective surfaces

 

Mirrors, sculptures, water - anything with a reflective surface can be used to put yourself in the shot

Lisbon, Portugal. This was an early, and less than successful, attempt to use a reflective surface, partly because the surface was mirror tiled and not very clean.  Lesson learned - examine the surface first.

 Ask Fellow Travelers to oblige

 

This is never a problem.  I have done a lot of traveling alone but have also traveled as a solo in a group.  If you offer to take someone's photo they will always take yours in return.

This photo was taken by a fellow traveler on a tour of Turkey .  I like this photo because although I am there it is the setting that counts


 Include only part of your body in the shot


Set the scene and the feeling you want to portray  by including just part of your body in the photo, as I have done in this photo taken on a recent cruise.


Ahhh, bliss, relaxing and reading on a cruise ship with only my feet in frame - setting the scene

Have fun experimenting.  Solo travel is fun and there is no need to miss out on a few precious photos with yourself in them.  And please feel free to pass on any clever tips you may have