Who says travel has to mean regimented museum tours and hours stuck on a bus? Backpacking groups, cross-country excursions and day trips out on the water are just a few of the affordable options available to you if you know where to go.

If you want to satisfy the adventure lover in in you, then consider taking a life-changing trip full of thrills.

Costa Rica Resort Getaway:

Book an all-inclusive package to the five-star Hotel Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica, where you’ll spend your afternoons surfing and going on volcano hikes. This package includes on-site resort activities, such as beach volleyball, kayaking and paddle boarding. For another affordable adventure, head off to Jaco Beach, where you can go rafting on the Naranjo River for $85 per person via Adventure Tours Costa Rica.
Photo by: Jeninnifer Dodge / Istock.com

Cruises Around Thailand:

If you have a serious case of wanderlust for an exotic getaway, head off on a sailing adventure with G Adventures from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket, and explore the pristine beaches of Thailand’s western coast. You can spend your days snorkeling, kayaking and enjoying outdoor adventures around the islands and Phang Nga Bay. It’s designed as a small group experience so if you’re traveling solo, this could be a great way to meet fellow travelers.
Photo by Aleksandar Georgiev / Istock.com

Vita Boot Camp in Delray Beach, Fla.

If you’re looking to get in better shape, head off on a fitness-oriented vacation in sunny Florida, where you can sign up for daily boot camp sessions, learn about proper nutrition and kick off your weight-loss program with a dedicated team of coaches and like-minded participants. When you’re done with boot camp, you’ll find plenty of adventurous excursions nearby from Delray Beach Water Sports.
Photo by Istock.com / Image source

India Adventure Tour:

Venture from Delhi to Kathmandu to see the best that India has to offer. Explore Buddhist shrines and temples and go shopping for artisanal goods in India’s bazaars. See the Taj Mahal and take a cooking class with a local family. Perhaps best of all, you’ll venture through the Chitwan National Park to the base of the Himalayas to see exotic birds, rhinos and monkeys.
Photo by Bartoez Hadyniek /Istock.com

Central America Exploration Tour:

Central American getaways continue to be among the most affordable options for travelers in search of a little culture. TrekAmerica offers a 16-day trip that starts in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and ends in Antigua, Guatemala, for an unforgettable journey.
You can visit ancient ruins, haggle in the markets of Chichicastenango and enjoy time on the beach as you take in the laid-back local vibe. The package includes one breakfast and one dinner, local transportation, 11 nights in a hotel, budget lodging for three nights and camping for one night.
Photo by Simon Dannhauer / Istock.com

Zion Adventure at Red Mountain Resort, Utah

If you’ve always wanted to explore the beautiful mountains of Utah, head to the Red Mountain Resort in St. George for a few days of adventure and fitness. This destination spa caters to travelers looking for both pampering and adventure, with some of the most affordable all-inclusive retreat packages.
The Essential Zion Adventure Retreat includes three healthy meals each day, plus guided morning hikes and personal discovery activities. You’ll also get a chance to take healthy life and fitness classes and participate in cooking demonstrations. For budget travelers, head to Zion National Park for low-cost camping.
Photo by Willchinda / Istock.com

Morocco on a Shoestring Tour:

Imagine running away to Morocco for a full two weeks and not having to worry about a budget. You can do just that with the Morocco on a Shoestring tour by G Adventures. This tour for 18-to-thirtysomethings will take you through Morocco’s famous souks and to the stunning dunes on a camel ride. From Casablanca and to Marrakesh, you’ll get the chance to explore Moroccan city sites like a local.
Photo by: numbeos / Istock.com

Backpacking in West Clear Creek Wilderness

Make your way to the desert for an outdoor adventure in Arizona’s red rock country. This trip from Wildland Trekking will take you around the famous brilliantly colored cliffs of Sedona to enjoy amazing geological features by day and clear skies by night. You’ll also get a chance to sample backcountry cuisine at your campsite and relax around a campfire. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the deer, bobcats and mountain lions you’ll cross paths with on your adventure.
Photo by Mark Skalny / Istock.com

Mayan Exploration Tour

Explore the historic trade routes of the Mayans in Mexico with the nine-day Mexican BLT package through TrekAmerica. This is your chance to see the historic sites and landmarks around the Yucatan. Take a jungle tour in Palenque, explore the Misol Ha Waterfall and see the new world’s only walled city along the coast in Campeche.
Photo by: Joel Carillet / Istock.com

Boating and Snorkeling Adventure in Puerto Rico

If you’re in the mood for a tropical getaway, plan on island hopping and snorkeling your way around the crystal-clear waters of Puerto Rico. Explore uninhabited islands and sail around Cordillera Cays Nature Reserve. The Mini Boat Adventures tour package includes snacks and refreshments, as well as a guided tour.
Photo by: Marco Plunb / Istock.com

Treasures of Turkey Adventure

Explore Istanbul’s historic sites and experience a real Turkish bath over a 15-day excursion with Peregrine Adventures. Designed for adventurous spirits, this is the perfect way to learn about Istanbul’s rich history, trek across the rocky terrain around Goreme and participate in ancient healing rituals.
Photo by Lorraine Boogich

Of the 12 places shown here, which one would you like to go to? These 12 places all offer some amazing photo opportunities. Any of these on your bucket list?


The 10,000-hour rule is often quoted as the magic number of hours that you need to practice in order to master an activity. Now, I’m not saying that after 10,000 hours of practice you’ll definitely have mastered photography. But I do think it’s true that the more you practice, the better you will get!

The secret of practicing to improve your skills is to have a plan. You need to know what you’re practicing, you need to set goals, and you need to find a way to somehow measure your improvement.

Recently, I spent the day practicing with a new lens at Silverstone motor racing circuit. I just wanted to improve my panning to show speed and learn more about my equipment. I was reminded at the time that many photographers can find real joy in just practicing their craft and trying to improve. So with that in mind, here’s my guide on how to make a plan to make your practicing more productive!

Decide what to improve

It sounds obvious, but you need to start with something in mind that you’d like to improve. Wanting to improve your photography is too general. Try and narrow it down more. I wanted to improve my automotive photography and identified that shooting moving objects was a real weak spot in my technique.

Once you’ve narrowed it to something specific you can begin to research. Start here on Digital Photography School. There’s a handy search bar on every page to help you find articles that might be useful. Read those articles and make some notes on things to keep in mind when you’re next shooting. Start building your own instruction manual in your own words to take with you.

Plan your practice

When you’ve decided the things you want to improve, you need to start planning a subject, time, and a place to shoot. This could be as simple as photographing food in your kitchen, or as complicated as a week-long road trip. Put your plans in your diary and make a note of how long you’ve got to prepare. If you get organized, you’ll be far more likely to stick to your plan.

Make sure what you plan is something you find interesting too. Don’t plan for a day of photography (or even a few hours) that you’ll find boring and won’t enjoy. It’ll only put you off photography in the future.

Source the right equipment

If you need a piece of equipment that you don’t currently own, now is the time to decide how you’re going to get it. Hiring lenses can be a cheap way to try new options before buying (but borrowing from friends is even cheaper). Sometimes a piece of new equipment can be just what you need to kickstart your photography, but you need to practice and learn how to use it.

For some pieces of equipment, there are even DIY solutions. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try things out. It doesn’t matter if your shots aren’t perfect; this is an exercise in practicing, not perfection!

Take your notes with you

When you go out shooting to practice, make sure you take your notes with you. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a notebook or on your phone, but make sure you’ve got that research that you did while you were planning.

If you’re trying something new, then you may well have questions as you practice. Even if you’re an old hand at photography, it’s still good to refresh your knowledge before you start taking pictures.

Practice as much as you can, for as long as you can

The costs of film and developing don’t limit you in this digital age. This means you have the opportunity to shoot lots of images when you practice.

Digital storage is cheap, so take a couple of memory cards and keep shooting until you get it right.

Make the most of your time out practicing photography and shoot as much as you can. You never know which image you’ve taken will teach you something new. It could be the first, or it could be the last!

I like to make a day of it when I go out practicing, stubbornly shooting images long past everyone else has left, and my friends have got fed up. It feels like the more I practice, the more I learn, so I try to make the most of the opportunities I get to practice.

Don’t worry about perfection

The aim of practicing isn’t to get images for your portfolio or to take pictures to publish on social media or show your non-photographer friends. The aim is to improve your technique or your creativity.

Check your images as you shoot. The displays on the back of digital cameras are good enough to see if you’re on the right track.

You should be taking the opportunity to try new things and be experimental. Don’t just write off an idea that you’ve had because it won’t work – take the pictures and prove to yourself that it won’t work! You never know what you’ll learn from a failed experiment until you’ve got back home and reviewed the pictures.

Review your shots

Sometimes your practice will be over when you finish shooting. You’ll have learned enough about the technique that you don’t need to review the images.

However, while the experience is fresh in your mind, it’s worth sitting down at a piece of software such as Adobe Lightroom and reviewing the images in conjunction with the EXIF data to try and work out exactly what worked and why (and what didn’t work and why).

The Library module in Adobe Lightroom has the ability to view all the data from your images including shutter speedISOaperture, and focal length. Start pulling up your images one by one, marking the ones that you like, and then reviewing the EXIF data for them.

Make some notes

Ideally, with the research notes that you made before you went shooting, make some notes on how your practice went. Look for patterns in the EXIF data to tell you what was successful and what wasn’t. Write down how you feel about the images, and perhaps make a note for other related techniques that you’d like to work on in the future.

Research how to correct your mistakes

If you consistently made the same mistake over and over while you were practicing, then you’ll want to work out how to fix that for next time.

Read some more articles or even try and find a mentor. Ask questions to your friends who seem to already have the technique nailed (or see if you can go shooting with them for some practice).

Make notes on how to improve for next time using everything you’ve learned so far. If you try and keep it all in your head, then I promise you’ll forget most of it before you get your camera out again!

Plan more practice

Practice makes perfect, after all. And you don’t learn everything on your first attempt.

Using the notes and research that you’ve gathered plan another time to practice. Perhaps this time you’ll work on something related that you’ve identified as a weak spot in your technique. Perhaps you could try the same technique but in a different setting (I’m planning a day out shooting moving wildlife next having now practiced on cars at a racing circuit).

Whatever you plan next, don’t stop practicing. Not even after you’ve reached over ten-thousand hours of practice because there’s always something new to learn.

The post The Best Photographers Make Time To Practice appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

This is blog #985
Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com
Photo by Sam Forson on Pexels.com


This might just be lined up with “Basic photo 101” but how quickly we forget the basic steps to great photos.

Let’s go over them again so we all get the best photos, every time you stop to take a photo:

A lot of good photos that we take today, are probably taken “off the cufff”, meaning: we see something and we just grab our camera or cell phone and just snap the photo. Hopefully it turns out. But, what if we take the time and purposely go out and decide: Today I want to go out and take photos of such and such. This is what I am talking about today.

Travel photos are usually that type of photo. I know that for me, travel photos are my souvenirs. There is the memories of the whole trip. I can make better memories than what I could buy. So many times, I notice people buying post cards of the areas that they just went to. So sad. Why don’t they just take the photo. You know you can make post cards from photos. Are you that bad of a photographer? Well, let’s see if we can correct that now.

I want to give you 6 steps, that I think would give you the best photos every time you go out to take photos. Make yourself a card or something that will remind you what you need to do. In fact, at the bottom of this blog, I will create a card that you can take with you so you don’t forget. But, let’s look at number 1:

1- Prioritize your subject:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Take a look at the main subject and take a photo of that subject. Is there going to be a person in the photo? There should not be a person blocking the main subject. If you absolutely have to have a person in the photo, put them off to the side so you can still see the main travel subject. When you show photos to people later on, they really want to see the other subject, not your family. (Sorry, I know you love your family, but take separate pictures away from the subject. Whew, got that off my chest) In other words, make the subject the subject.

2- Don’t shoot directly into the light

Unless you know what you are doing the subject will be totally dark and the light in the background will either be too light or just perfect, leaving your subject in a silhouette. The way to correct that is either put your main subject into the light, or use a flash, so that the flash lights up the subject. But, then again, the flash only has a certain range. So make sure your subject is close to your camera if you decide to use your flash.

Here is a photo of the subject where the subject is in front of the light. The light meter of your camera sees that light, and exposes for that, and thus it tries to correct for that too, and you get a backlit photo.
Courtesy of Bing Photos / mollymz.blogspot.com

3- Make sure your main subject is actually in focus

This is a problem especially with the DSLR cameras, and the cell phone cameras. If your subject that you are taking a photo of, is not in the middle of the viewfinder, it will generally focus in the background. How does it know that you want it to focus to something off to the side? Some cameras can do that, but, they are usually the very sophisticated cameras that sense that you want a person in focus. In your better cameras, you can always override the autofocus, and manually focus on your main subject. Be aware when you do that, that you will throw the background out of focus sometimes, unless you are aware of how to control the depth of field (that’s a subject for another time).

Notice how the subject is off-center. A regular automatic camera would just put her out of focus. You will need a camera that you can control the focus to make this work.
Photo by mariy on Pexels.com

4- Try different camera angles

When taking photos of things that are normal travel photos, try different angles. Everyone will take the same photo of the Redwood trees, but what if you took something different in that forest? Try different angles, look around and find some other interesting things to take photos of. It will be so much more interesting than the same photos everyone else sees.

Take different angles of the forest, there are so many different ideas that are yet to be explored.
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

5- Include variations in light, color and texture in your photos:

This one will take some practice and patience, but could be so rewarding. If you are out taking photos in the same places that everyone else is taking photos, can you see different light schemes, different textures, or different colors to photograph that everyone is missing? This is a training exercise on “seeing artistry”. This is my favorite part of photography. This is what makes you, yes you, an artist. Can you see something different than anyone else, and yet it is artistic.

Photo courtesy of Bing Photos.
Can you see how much nicer the photo is at the bottom, by eliminating the clutter in the background and by moving in closer to your subject.
Photo by Phil Kallahar on Pexels.com
Here is a great photo that shows both color and texture. Would you think to look there?

6- Find natural frames for your subjects

When you are in the great outdoors, nothing will improve a photo that a natural frame. Look for something that you can use to frame your subject. It could be branches on a tree, a rock formation to look through, or other great ideas:

See how this is naturally framed with another arch
Yes, this another way to frame! The photo is definitely of the baby.

These 6 steps will be some things that you should keep in your mind as you set to take some photos. Look for these steps to do as you take photos. Want to have a small card that you can take with you? Below is a small card you can keep with your camera or phone to help you remember:

  • 1- Prioritize your subject
  • 2- Don’t shoot directly into the light
  • 3-Make sure your main subject is in focus
  • 4- Try different camera angles
  • 5- Include variations in light, color & Texture
  • 6- Find natural frames for your subject
This is photo blog # 984

This article was written by: Lanny Cottrell. Lanny Cottrell is the producer, editor of 123PhotoGo. He has been involved in Photography for many years, taught photography for over 10 years, and has sold photography equipment and owned, personally almost every brand of camera. Right now, he is personally involved in creating these blogs, and now writing a book titled: THE BEST OF 1000 BLOGS.