Category Archives: North America

4+1 Photography Tips for the Business Traveler

Imagine this scene. You’ve been walking through the forest/city for days, mentally preparing yourself for the moment your subject/scene will appear before you. You know your camera, you’ve studied the weather, the lighting, the time, you can even see with your mind’s eye that one image that you want to capture. Finally, the time and place is right. Your subject is there, the light is right, the camera is purring in your hands. You look through the viewfinder, you feel the rush, the connection between you and that small part of the world you see in front of you. Click. The perfect photo. The trip was worth it.

A view of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. A little known fact is that, according to my dodgy guide (who even introduced me to the last nephew of the last emperor, not a scam, promise) entry to the City was not forbidden, it was just that males entering the city had to be castrated to do so - which justifies the name. An even lesser-known fact is that I hiked up the hill in Jingshan Park behind the Forbidden city to take this photo wile every hung-over from a late dinner with collaborators in a business suit.
A view of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. A little known fact is that, according to my dodgy guide (who even introduced me to the last nephew of the last emperor, not a scam, promise) entry to the City was not forbidden, it was just that males entering the city had to be castrated to do so – which justifies the name. An even lesser-known fact is that I hiked up the hill in Jingshan Park behind the Forbidden city to take this photo while very hung-over from a late dinner with collaborators – in a business suit.

The above scenario is what dedicated photography trips are all about. You choose the place, the time and think about the images you want to come away with. Most importantly, you have set aside a good amount of time to allow you to concentrate on getting that perfect image. That means time to explore the scene, time to try different viewpoints and techniques, time to make sure that as many of the key elements of your image come together before that crucial final capture. This is the stuff photographers’ dreams are made of and the reason why people pay considerable sums of money to embark on these highly organised and professional led trips.

A view along the river Rhine in Strasbourg, France. Camera on a portable mini tripod, photo taken while eating a decidedly mediocre lunch with a work colleague.
A view along the river Rhine in Strasbourg, France. Camera on a portable mini tripod, photo taken while eating a decidedly mediocre lunch with a work colleague.

What if you don’t have the time and/or money to do that though? What if you do have the opportunity to travel, say since work sends you to different places around the country/world, but not the dedicated time to allow you to take photos? Is it time to give up, take some quick snapshots through the taxi, buy a souvenir at the airport on your way out and call it quits? Not to fear fellow business traveller, photography beyond casual snapshots and selfies is still possible, provided you’ve done a bit of homework and are dedicated enough to make it happen. Let’s see how you can have your cake and eat it.

A view from the top of St Peter's Cathedral in Munich, Germany. One of the good things about work travel is that lunch time can usually be your time and is also a time where popular spots are free of tourists. In this case I didn't have to cue up to climb to the top of the bell tower, which meant that I was up, photographing and down within 40 minutes.
A view from the top of St Peter’s Cathedral in Munich, Germany. One of the good things about work travel is that lunch time can usually be your time and is also a time where popular spots are free of tourists. In this case I didn’t have to cue up to climb to the top of the bell tower, which meant that I was up, photographing and down within 40 minutes.

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I Want to be a Part of It: New York City

Once upon a time a girl from Toronto had big dreams of moving to New York City. She had hopes of attending FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) about 17 years ago. She submitted her portfolio to the Fashion Design program and found a roommate to share an apartment with in Soho. She found out less than a month before her move that FIT misplaced all her original work. Her portfolio was misplaced and she wouldn’t be able to attend that semester. That girl’s heart and dreams were suddenly crushed. That girl was me.

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Times Square | Shot on Sony A7 | 1/400 at f/7.1, ISO 125|

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Springtime In Washington, D.C.

Living in Toronto I have had the opportunity to travel to a myriad of the northeastern US states. One of the only places I have never had the opportunity to visit was Washington, D.C. Growing up I recall people expressing how quite dangerous DC could be. Also, I never had the desire to explore a city that was highly influenced by politics. DC always created the impression of a place one would go on a middle school field trip. Someplace I thought may bore me. Don’t get me wrong, I was interested in planting my feet in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (The White House), seeing Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument to name a few.

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The White House | Shot with Sony A7 |

As a photographer my interests have changed and many of the places I never had the desire to visit are places I now have a fascination to see. After visiting Miami & Tampa, Florida and making a brief stopover in Savannah, Georgia, Washington, D.C., was the next place I wanted to visit before returning to Canada. I didn’t do any research on where to go or what to see besides the obvious things. Places that are frequently shown on the news and on television. Surprisingly finding a hotel was challenging due to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. As a matter of fact, the pricing of hotels is astronomical. More than double the rates I paid in New York City a few days later.

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Cherry Blossoms Surrounding the Tidal Basin | Shot with Sony A7 |

I was so poorly schooled about DC that when someone asked me if I was going to visit The National Mall, my response was, I did enough shopping while I was in Miami. Doh! With a laugh at my expense, I immediately learned that The Mall was the area between the Lincoln Memorial and The Capital. Shameful! I will blame my lack of US knowledge on the Canadian schooling system. Along The Mall there are 10 museums including the Smithsonian and the National Building of Natural History, both of which I visited.

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Savannah, Georgia On My Mind

Savannah, Georgia has been on my “must see” list of places to visit in the US for many years now. I have driven the lengthy 24 hours from Toronto to Miami countless times. However, throughout the years I have never driven through the more picturesque eastern side of Georgia, I have always gone through Atlanta because its been said it’s safer when the weather conditions are unpredictable during the winter months. This time, I made sure to stop in Savannah on the drive back from Tampa, Florida.

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One of the Many Squares in Savannah | Shot on Sony A7 | 1.6 sec at f/10, ISO 50 |

The majority of my time away, this trip, I chose to use my Sony A7 for several reasons. I adore the quality and sharpness of the images. Especially when the shooting conditions are ideal as far as lighting and there is no moisture in the air. The light weightiness of the camera makes it quite painless to lug around than a DSLR and not break my back. And lastly I really want to get familiar with my Sony like I am with the Canon 70D in different scenarios.

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Saying Goodbye To South Florida

After just over a month in South Florida, my time having fun in the sun is finally coming to an end. I was excited to leave the brutally frigid Toronto winter and embrace the warm, tropical Miami air. I had my usual list compiled of all the places I wanted to shoot as I always do before I venture anywhere. However, my list doesn’t usually get fulfilled for one reason or another due to unforeseen circumstances. I often take for granted the amount of time I have to complete my wish-list.

In Miami I was fortunate to have stayed in a condo situated 48 stories up in the downtown area (as I mentioned in a previous article) which was facing due west and perfect for capturing sunsets. Every evening that I was at my temporary abode, I would patiently watch the sky hoping to capture something spectacular through my lens.

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Downtown Miami | 1 sec at f/9, ISO 100 shot on Canon 70D |

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