To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!

“Ben Lomond” © Robert Keith


This is probably the hardest part of my process to describe. Hiking in the highlands, I am privileged to have access to some amazing landscapes,; as I walk through them I am overwhelmed by options. This makes it hard to identify when I see a truly special scene, since it can be drowned out by choice. However, I can increase my awareness by asking myself a question every time I raise the viewfinder to my eye: “Why do I feed the need to photograph this scene?” It kicks starts a little bit of dialogue in my head. Once I’ve answered that question it naturally leads to others:

  • What should I include in the frame to support my rationale for taking the photo?
  • What should I leave out?

In many cases, this discussion takes place in a matter of seconds as I scan the image in my viewfinder. Often it results in a mental image of the photo I want to take. This part of my process isn’t limited to when I am actually in the landscapes I love photographing. I may get a feeling about a photo I want to take when I am reviewing images from a previous shoot, or I might see something completely unrelated that sparks an idea for a photograph.

“Starry Night Lowres” © Robert Keith


Once I’ve got a reason for taking the photo—and hopefully have a mental image or at least a general mood I want to capture in the photo—it’s time to really look at the scene before me.

  • What elements support the mood?
  • What elements stand out in that mental image?
  • What can I do to accentuate those elements?

The next step is to identify what elements could distract the viewer. Can they be eliminated without changing the image’s mood? This is where I actually start shooting, by taking some ‘sketch’ shots and reviewing them on the LCD.

“Visualization Loch Lomond” © Robert Keith


Based on my ‘sketch’ shots I then identify the key elements in my composition. I also have an idea of what elements I want to leave out or minimize. Now that the content is nailed, I need to decide on the exposure, and I may adjust my depth of field based on what I want to include or exclude. Since depth of field is controlled by aperture, that will influence my overall exposure—I generally try to expose to the right without clipping the highlights. I may take a couple more ‘sketch’ shots to fine tune my settings. I use the LCD to zoom in and verify my focus and check the histogram and blinkies to ensure I’ve not lost any critical detail.

“View Ben Vorlich Lowres” © Robert Keith


Finally, I combine everything I’ve learned in the previous steps to take my final image. I verify my exposure settings, focus point, and composition. Then I press the shutter. I close my eyes for a minute and dive in to the mental image I had of the image I wanted to take. Then I return to the final image and try to gauge whether I’ve got a chance of processing it into the image in my head. If I think I’ve got a good chance, I take a marker image—a pure black image of the lens cap—to indicate that the previous image is my master. I’ll then go back and delete as many of my sketch shots as necessary to speed up import and processing later. Just be careful if you do this; I’ve been dumb enough to delete my final image by accident! The A7 has the option to protect an image, which I do frequently use to make cleaning up sketch shots easier and safer.


About the AuthorRobert Keith, a photographer of five years, is originally from South Africa but now lives in Scotland. He loves landscape and macro photography. He’s lucky enough to live on the borders of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, so he’s spoiled with beautiful vistas to photograph.

For more of the work that Robert Keith has done… go to his website at:


Thanks to Robert Keith for providing these insights into photography, and to PictureCorrect for the article.




Photos of the Week: 11-29-2018-  Best travel places to escape the crazy holiday madness:



Photo by:  Shutterstock:   

Tokyo, Japan
The shopping in Tokyo is some of the best shopping in the world, to be sure. But the Japanese don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, so you can get well away from the holiday vibe here while enjoying the city’s super-modern vibe, exploring ancient temples and dining on great Japanese food in a laid-back izakaya. Consider taking the shinkansen—the bullet train—to explore cities like Kyoto and Nara, too. 



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Montego Bay, Jamaica
Christmas in Jamaica is all about spending time with family and friends and getting your party on at the beach. Forget being cooped up inside by the fire all day. Head to the beautiful beaches around Montego Bay or make for Jamaica’s “Capital of Casual” in Negril, where you can stay in a hotel overlooking the cliffs on the West End and spend your days frolicking in the turquoise waters.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Punta del Diablo, Uruguay
Christmas coincides with summer vacation in Uruguay, so count on the small South American country to be in vacation mode even more than holiday mode at this time. Escape to the relaxed beachside town of Punta del Diablo and follow the lead of locals, partying with family and friends on the beach and cooking up grilled meats for asado.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Even during the holidays, nothing can divert the attention from the unique animals and interesting ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. And whether you set off on a cruise aboard a beautiful ship like Ecoventura’s MV Origin or opt to explore the Galapagos Islands from a land-based hotel on the islands, you won’t be distracted from the experience by all the commercialism of the season.



Photo by:  Julian Peters Photography / Shutterstock

Havana, Cuba
Communism trumps commercialism and religion on the tropical island of Cuba, making it a great place to visit for those looking to completely escape the overwhelming holiday spirit. Trade Christmas trees for palm trees and hot chocolate for mojitos while enjoying Cuba’s best beaches in spots like Cayo Coco and Varadero or just taking in the highlights of Havana.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Luang Prabang, Laos
Everywhere you stroll in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang in Laos, you’ll hear the sounds of monks’ chants rising from the many beautiful temples. Buddhism far outweighs any inkling of the Western holiday spirit and commercialism here. So spend your time enjoying inexpensive meals in the many restaurants and strolling along the banks of the Mekong River.



Photo by:  Intrepid Travel

Bali, Indonesia
The paradise island of Bali is always a good idea for a vacation. A center of Hindu culture in the mostly-Muslim archipelago of Indonesia, Bali offers many alternatives to celebrating the holiday season. Intrepid Travel puts together great itineraries that might have you climbing the Mt. Batur volcano or chilling in the bohemian enclave of Ubud. The greenest thing you’ll see in these parts isn’t a Christmas tree but rather the emerald-hued rice terraces covering the countryside.



Photo by:  Intrepid Travel

Reykjavik, Iceland
While Christmas is definitely celebrated in Icelandic culture, there are so many other things to divert visitors’ attention during a vacation to this winter wonderland. Head out from the main city of Reykjavik on Northern Lights tours to see a real holiday light show as the Aurora Borealis lights up the dark winter sky.



Photo by:  Qatar Tourism Authority

Doha, Qatar
The Muslim country of Qatar and the glittering city of Doha and surrounding desert landscapes offer just the antidote to a cold Christmas back home. Go on a 4X4 off-road desert safari and soar down steep dunes, head out on Bedouin-style camping trips or shop for gold and spices and spot falcons in Doha’s exotic Souq Waqif.



Photo by:  Intrepid Travel

Marrakech, Morocco
Shopping in Marrakech in the colorful souks is a highlight of any trip to Morocco. And when you hear the call to prayer emanating from the city’s many mosques five times a day, any thoughts of Christmas caroling will feel far away. Stay in a riad hotel (a traditional Moroccan courtyard-style house) in the ancient medina and visit the famous Jamaa el Fna market to see the snake charmers and try traditional foods. Intrepid Travel can arrange itineraries that do it all. Farther afield, head out on trips into the desert dunes and visit ancient kasbahs.



Photo by:  Tourism Western Australia

Perth, Australia
In the land Down Under, the holidays fall right over summer vacation. And Australians celebrate Christmas enjoying sun or the beach whenever possible. The result is a Christmas holiday that feels more like a beach vacation and less like being cooped up inside by the fireplace. The city of Perth in Western Australia makes for a fun alternative to Sydney. Give yourself the gift of snorkeling with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef, stroll along pretty Elizabeth Quay or go winery-hopping in the Margaret River wine region.



Photo by:  INTUR (Nicaragua Tourism Board)

Corn Islands, Nicaragua
Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island—the two tropical islands that make up Nicaragua’s Corn Islands—are located off the country’s Caribbean coast. And if you’re looking for a laid-back Caribbean locale far from the holiday-celebrating masses, this is the spot. Spend your days snorkeling in horseshoe-shaped bays or lounging on beautiful beaches like Otto Beach and Iguana Beach.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Queenstown, New Zealand
The Kiwi spin on celebrating the holidays is refreshingly low-key. For Christmas in New Zealand, people gather with friends and family and spend time outside enjoying the summer weather Down Under. In the popular resort town of Queenstown on the South Island, you might even find yourself enjoying a summer luge run or dipping into the crystal-clear lake for a swim.



Photo by: Shutterstock

Goa, India
Spending the holidays in a party town is always a good way to escape the Christmas feeling. And the beach town of Goa in the south of India treats Christmas like any other day—time to have a party, enjoy the beach and relax. For a more mellow holiday, there are plenty of yoga retreats to sign up for in these parts, too.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Bangkok, Thailand
The predominantly Buddhist country of Thailand is a perennially popular vacation destination thanks to the many beautiful islands, fascinating temples and cityscapes to explore. Kick things off in Bangkok, the cosmopolitan capital, home to fabulous restaurants, rooftop hotel bars and world-class nightlife. Then board a bus, train or plane to visit popular island destinations like Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Phi Phi and Trang province.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Guadeloupe, Caribbean
You’re technically in France when you’re on the island of Guadeloupe. But the vibe is far more Caribbean than European here. Escape the holiday madness of the USA by visiting one of Guadeloupe’s beautiful beaches such as Plage de Vieux-Fort or Plage de Grande-Anse, enjoy a coconut ice cream in the shade of a palm tree, or take the short boat ride to visit the beautiful islands of Les Saintes, nearby.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

A vacation to this island nation of 1,200 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean is always an escape from reality. And when you stay at a secluded resort here on a paradise island, you might see some holiday decorations but you’ll hardly be bombarded by the usual trappings of the season. Snorkeling or scuba diving in the Maldives is a must, as the reefs and tropical marine life are among the best in the world.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Cappadocia, Turkey
What’s better than almost anything you’d find wrapped up under the tree? How about a hot-air balloon ride above the UNESCO World Heritage-listed landscapes of Cappadocia in Turkey. Most flights last around 45 minutes, but the memories of an un-Christmas like no other will last a lifetime.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Ten Thousand Islands, Florida
The vast wilderness of the Ten Thousands Islands lies just off the southwest coast of Florida. And when you venture by kayak into the mangrove mazes and emerge onto sandy islands in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s hard to imagine a mainland locale so remote. The holiday season is a great time to go, too, since the mosquitoes have relented for winter and the dolphins and manatees are still out to play.



Photo by:  Shutterstock

Bocas del Toro, Panama
Get away from it all in Bocas del Toro, a laid-back archipelago of nine main islands and many more islets and cays off the northern coast of Panama. For visitors, it’s all about relaxing on the beautiful Caribbean beaches here and partaking in eco-tourism activities such as kayaking, snorkeling and wildlife tours.


Now this just goes to show you that there are some amazing places to go, to just “get away”.   Now, as I am looking at these photos, I think you could go to any of these places any time of the year to just “get away”.   Hmmm, better keep these photos in a safe place for future reference.  These look like amazing places to visit.  Don’t you think?


This presentation was originally put together on msn for Espresso

Author was :  Terry Ward.




No more boring Travel Photos, Please!

Everyone loves to take photos when they travel. It’s a way to maintain the memories, to share experiences with our friends and families, and, quite simply, a way to prove “I was there.” But let’s face it—not everyone is a great photographer. At one point or another, we’ve all sat through a tedious slide show of seemingly endless travel snapshots.

While I can’t tell you how to avoid sitting through a boring vacation slide show, I can share a few easy tips on how to avoid giving one. There are a few simple rules to change mere ‘holiday snapshots’ to a more robust collection of photographs that capture the images and emotions of a recent vacation. In a nutshell, remember to keep the human interest in your photos. This makes your photos tell a story, rather than just say, “I was here.”

travel-photography-tips-570x380 (1)
Photo by Nropb M.



Yes, you were there. Yes, your family was there. But having your entire crew posing in front of—and blocking the view of—the Grand Canyon is not an interesting shot. Take a few photos of the landscape or point of interest with no one in the frame. This creates a context for the vacation: the backdrop, the start of the story. But don’t try to capture everything. When I was recently in the French Alps, I was surrounded (literally) by towering, impressive mountains. There was no way I could capture their grandeur in a single frame. So instead, I focused on a few “interesting” peaks so I could focus on the rugged detail. Once you’ve got your basic shots out of the way, take one or two photos with the group (whether it’s just yourself or twenty of you) in front of the landmark or scenery.

Photo by Moyan Brenn; ISO 100, f/11.0, 1/500-second exposure.



There are a number of ways to say “I was here” in a photograph, without a formally posed snapshot. Having everyone grouped together, squinting in the noon sun isn’t generally very interesting, and it doesn’t tell any sort of story. Instead, take more candid shots of your traveling companions as they’re observing the landmark or talking to each other about it. Make many of your shots be action shots: capture people pointing at something and talking to one another about it. Just don’t forget to include whatever they’re pointing at in the frame, too. That makes the story come alive.

Photo by Esmar Abdul Hamid; ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/400-second exposure.



This is especially true when you’re visiting a more exotic location, but it can apply to any holiday. Don’t focus so much on the landmarks, as on the actions and emotions of the locals.

Photo by John Hoey; ISO 500, f/4.0, 1/500-second exposure.


When I was in Mali, photographing the local children in their villages (with their permission) gave my photos much more human interest and context than just shooing them away and capturing the village empty of people. The story of the village is, after all, in the people who live there. But even in a less exotic location, look around. Don’t be afraid to take photos of other people, if that makes the photo interesting. For example, you can be visiting Disneyland, and you may capture the glee on another child’s face after she witnesses something particularly spectacular. Holiday shots don’t just have to include your own traveling companions if there’s an interesting story to tell that highlights the feeling of the place you’re visiting.


Of course, your vacation photos will include the ‘typical’ landmarks; they can’t (and shouldn’t) be avoided. But try to add interest by capturing the scene from a slightly different angle. Walk a few feet off the beaten path (either literally or figuratively) to take photos that are slightly different. After you take a photo, think to yourself, “Could I find this exact image a million times on the internet?” If so, you may want to consider a different approach. Perhaps try a different angle or include some interesting people, or wait for a different time of day.

Photo by Storm Crypt.


When I went to Kyoto, the famous Fushimi Inari temple (with thousands of bright orange/red prayer arches that create long corridors; Google it and you’ll know what I’m talking about) has been taken so many times, and I didn’t want just another collection of typical shots of this amazing place. So I went at dusk and took the ‘corridors’ on a long exposure. The result is mysterious lighting, but, more importantly, ghost-like images of the people walking through. This captures both the human interest, but also the emotional feel of the place.

“Fushimi Inari” captured by Kenmainr


These are just a few tips to help you begin to think about how you take photos while you’re away.


About the Author:
Kevin Harries is a photographer based out of Toronto, Canada, and is the principal of VistaKWH. He has traveled extensively and has never been accused of taking boring travel photographs. He is also involved in fine art photography, with many of his images available through Getty Images, as well as through his website (wh-photo dot com). He specializes in large format prints.

Thanks to Kevin Harries for the use of his article, and Picture/Correct for publishing this article originally.  This is great information.






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