Photo Essay Iceland’s People and Places


Iceland Through the Lenses of Many

Iceland is a world of unbelievable beauty – so much so that during my journey along it’s south coast, I had to pinch myself to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep and begun dreaming about being on the moon. Towering mountains and volcanoes give way to black, jagged lava fields that stretch on to the horizon, via the odd giant blue ice cap or cascading waterfall.

But to present a photo essay made up of these scenes alone would be misleading. Every grand feat of nature I went to visit had 43 other human beings standing between it and me, taking photos, because of course you’d want to take photos – it’s hard to resist catching such otherworldly landscapes on film.

But it made me uneasy, because I didn’t want to take exactly the same photographs as everybody else. So in between trying to capture these natural wonders without all the crowds in the frame, I did exactly the opposite, and included the crowds.

Capturing the Many Facets of Spring


When it comes to spring photography, those of us living in the mountains get pretty excited. Traditionally, we endure six or more months of white, monotone, snow-covered landscape. As the snow melts, the world comes to life. Waterfalls flow, meadows flood, and the world turns a vibrant green. Spring is a time for rejuvenation and an affirmation of life. That excitement fuels our desire to get out there and photograph with a passion.

Passion can, however, move us in a narrow direction. We can be so excited to get out there and shoot that we focus on the first thing that we identify as spring conditions. I want to remind everyone that spring brings many possibilities for landscape photographers. As the snow melts high in the mountains, rivers and waterfalls flow heavily. Spring storms approach, bringing dramatic light. Wildflowers bloom and blanket hillsides. Trees explode with vibrant green leaves. Lakes fill to capacity. It is important to stay open to all possibilities and make the most of this season of rejuvenation, both as photographers and as people.

As many of us in the US are living in areas strongly affected by drought, this spring may be different.

Equipment for Wedding Photographers


Should you try to make quality wedding images as a paid professional with just a Canon Rebel and the kit lens? The answer is no, you really shouldn’t. However, any digital SLR body combined with a decent lens (see below) is a good start. This article will explain the equipment that a typical wedding photographer uses and some of the reasoning behind those choices.


An Important Note on Renting vs. Owning

When you are responsible for documenting something as important as a wedding day, there is no excuse for not having the right tool. This is doubly true if you are presenting yourself as a working professional. So how do you get your hands on a $1600 Canon 16-35 lens when you only have $100 in your wallet? Rent it! Most professional photography stores have a rental department. Prices for a digital body range from $100-200 per day and most lenses range from $24-100 per day. Many rental operations offer a discount for multi-day or weekend rental as well. This is good because you get the chance to become familiar with a particular piece of equipment before you have to use it on the job.

No photography rental

Photographing Your Way Around the World

A Photography Themed Gap Year

Have a guess where the most photographed spot in the world is. Go on. Have a think.

The Eiffel Tower? The Taj Mahal? The Statue of Liberty?

Nope. According to Sightsmap’s map of the most photographed places in the world it’s the Guggenheim Museum in New York. This place:

Snapping the Big Apple

Where better, then, to start the ultimate photographic trip round the world than this most iconic city? Photographers have been drawn here for as long as cameras have existed and with good reason. From the obscure corners of the Bronx to Times Square in the heart of Manhattan the scenes of New York have played host to some of the most famous frames in photography. Ever.

While the Vivan Maiers, Diane Arbuses, Bill Cunninghams and Elliott Erwitts of the world had years to explore New York, your gap year might leave you with only a few days or weeks. So, make the most of it. Don’t hold back. Take those shots of the amazingbusker on the subway, that incredible sunset from the top of the Empire State Building or that abstract photo of the Guggenheim, and add yours to the photographic tableaux that captures every moment of life

5 Ugly Truths About Photography To Think About in 2016

It’s not that I’m the half-empty glass type or anything, but I like staring reality in the face. I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore the downside of something because you’ll end up shooting yourself in the foot and I also believe you’re doing yourself a lot of bad by not being grateful enough for what you have or for how awesome something like photography is.

Nevertheless, it’s a new year and a fresh start and I like to think it’s best to approach new beginnings with a clear mind that can separate the good from the bad without turning away from either. Here are five not so fun truths about photography that you should be thinking about this year.

1. It is cheaper than ever

Photography has become cheap, and I don’t mean that in just the financial way. It’s always struggled to be considered a real art form and as it finally achieved that (no thanks to Peter Lik) it seems like it’s losing the battle again. Gold and diamonds are valuable because they’re scarce. Things are completely opposite with photography because there is a photographer everywhere you look now. Your cousin bought a DSLR and

Stunning Photos of the Northern Lights Combined Into a Magical 3-Minute Video

The northern lights is a passion that began to develop for Canadian photographer Richard Gottardo while living in Ontario.

“The first time I saw them was over Georgian Bay – the southern shore of Lake Huron. I knew there was a good chance they would be out that night, so I drove out and waited a few hours for them to show up, but nothing happened,” he explains.

That night, Gottardo gave up, heading home after hours of futility.

But, on the drive back, he passed an area along the shore where he used to find fossils as a kid.

“I decided to stop for a bit since it was a nice, clear night, and then the northern lights showed up! It was a pretty magical experience,” he recounts with a hint of nostalgia.

After that, he was hooked.

A move several years ago to Calgary, Alberta, seemed to cement his obsession with the northern lights even further. There, farther north than his former home in Ontario, the northern lights are much more vibrant and frequent.

What began as occasional forays into the mountains to snap quintessential postcard-like photos of the phenomenon quickly became a way of life. And,

Panasonic DMC-GM5 A Lightweight Champion

It was released over one year ago and it still packs a punch in its market segment. The GM5 was included in DPReview’s yearly lineup which emphasizes what we already know, that’s it’s a very good little camera.

This miniature-like stylish interchangeable lens camera packs a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, but unlike its predecessor, the GM1, it also comes equipped with a 1, 16 million pixels EVF.

Here are some of the key highlights.

  • 16 MP Live MOS Micro 4/3 sensor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • 1080p 60p video recording
  • 1/16,000 maximum shutter speed
  • Focus peaking
  • Magnesium alloy construction

It’s easy to see why the GM5 is an impressive small camera. It’s so small that it’s sometimes easy to forget it’s a M4/3 system and you can change lenses. Despite its small size, it manages to feel solid and reliable. The mechanical shutter speed only lets you take the speed up to 1/500th and while that can be somewhat limiting, once you shift to electronic shutter you regain full access to a wide variety of shutter speeds that lead all the way up to 1/16,000.

The electronic viewfinder is far from being jaw dropping and it’s in fact quite small in size, but that too is something to be expected from such

Sony A7S II The Younger Brother of a Legend

It was only natural for Sony to create the successor. The A7S II has taken everything good about the A7S and added even more goodness. The original A7S still is a fantastic camera, yet it lacks some important features that made some potential buyers jump boat and go with the acclaimed rival, the Panasonic GH4.

All three cameras are more or less obviously intended for video use and with the A7S II it seems like Sony’s been listening to market feedback. Here are some of the highlights from the specs sheet.

  • 12 MP CMOS sensor
  • Bionz X Image Processor
  • 5 axis Image Stabilization
  • Internal 4K Recording
  • 169 focus points
  • XLR Support Via Adapter

The A7S II uses the same 12MP sensor from the A7S which means the camera inherits the unusual low light performance that made it so popular. The most obvious new feature is the ability to shoot 4K internally, without the help of an external recorder. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the A7S and it’s good to see Sony have brought things up to date. Even though the A7R II offers the same feature, the quality of 4K footage coming out of the A7S II is much better. The reason for that is

Mastering the Art of Travel Photography

How to Nail the Perfect Shot and Become a Great Travel Photographer

I really love photography. I love taking photos, I love visiting photography exhibitions and I love talking about photography with friends, but as with most creative activities, I find my inspiration and drive comes in bursts.

I’m sure photographers of all skill levels will agree that sometimes it can be a real struggle to find the inspiration to get those ‘killer’ shots. It’s sometimes taken for granted, but inspiration truly sits at the heart of all great photography and, for many keen photographers, this is where much of the value of travel lays.

Beautifully vivid magazine shots of Indian markets may inspire others to visit, but the inspiration to take those great photographs will have undoubtedly come from the fascination and sense of wonder the photographer felt when he or she was there, amid the bustle and shouting and smells. This is the symbiotic relationship that exists at the heart of travel photography. Travel inspires photography and photography inspires travel.

Thinking Ahead

It’s probably fair to say that I’ve never been one of life’s natural planners but when it comes to travel photography, there is definitely value in forward thinking; especially if you’re

A Guide to Photography for Beginners

Learn to Take Amazing Travel Snaps

Let’s dispel a myth right away – you don’t need to be a professional to take travel photos. You just need to know the basics of your camera and follow a few rules. Some of the best photos you’ll take will be from being in the right place at the right time, and that happens often when you’re travelling.

I have broken this short guide into five sections to give you some fast tips on travel photography. Happy snapping!


There is no standard equipment for taking photos but when travelling you best make sure you have the necessities with you. Most people will be taking a point and shoot or a DSLR due to space constraints. For both cameras the following is recommended:

  • Make sure you have a big enough memory card for the camera – Rather than buy one huge memory card, I would recommend buying three or four smaller ones and keep them separate from the camera. That way if you lose your camera you don’t lose all of the photos.
  • Bring a charger – Nothing is worse than being in a foreign country and the battery on your camera dying, and spending all afternoon trying

Incredible Faces of People Around the World

Incredible Faces of People Around the World

Tina Thorburn accepts the challenge of capturing a moment in an expression

The famous photographer Henri Cartier-Bressi once said: “The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt,” and this challenge is what I live for.

You can’t just go up to a stranger and ask to take a close up photo of their face and hope to capture genuine expression. No, instead there must be a relationship. The photograph is not just about capturing a moment, its about the moments before that made it possible.

These people have all been a part of my life while I was on my year of volunteering with Global Vision International. While I taught three, four and five-year-olds in Peru, I shared the daily joy of capturing their expressive faces as they learnt shapes and social etiquette.

In Thailand I walked with elephants and mahouts in the forests and captured the expressions of the villagers as I built a heartfelt relationship with them.

In India I worked with orphans, teaching them English and Maths, catching whenever I could that curious glow that stretched across their faces.


Photographing Lightning Without a Tripod or Wireless Remote

Photographing Lightning without a Tripod or Wireless Remote

Hints and tips on how to shoot lightning in a storm

I’m in Turkey and just as I’m getting ready to go to bed, there’s an almighty boom from outside. I open the curtain to see a thunderstorm is creeping up on us from the Mediterranean.

As silly as it sounds I get a rush of adrenaline. I’ve never had a legitimate chance of photographing a storm before. I have a good idea how I’m going to approach it and my experience in travel photography tells me one thing – do not wait around.

Make a split second decision if you’re going to go, and if you do go, go all out. Stand by the curtain wondering whether to step outside and every flash is a potential photo gone. I grabbed my Nikon and 10.5mm fisheye lens – that’s all I need for this situation. There are plenty of objects that can substitute for a tripod. Also any lens other than a fisheye won’t be able to capture the scale of the storm.

Using a pier post as a tripod

After a brief jog down to the beach I’m faced with an oncoming storm. It’s a big one

7 Things To Do Besides Take Photos

Photography Fatigue: There’s More to Travel Than Filling Your Phone

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they’ve had enough of clicking the shutter on their camera. It may take years, months, hours or even minutes but at some point I can guarantee the average person will get photography fatigue and just want to put the camera to one side.

I travel with a Go Pro, an iPhone and a point and shoot camera, I feel ridiculous but they’ve all got their purpose. Sometimes I even add a DSLR on top of that too. I’ve increasingly noticed lately that I’m just not in the photography mood, and as a full time blogger, my snapping can come more from duty than from love.

I just feel like people are taking all these photos, thousands for every trip, but what do they do with them all? Is it not better to live an experience for real, rather than view it from behind the lens?

1. Look up

When I went on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania everyone was stuck to their viewfinder. You can get the same view as they did if you Google ‘Ngorongoro Crater’ and for a lot cheaper too. The

How to Photograph the World in 1021 Days

An Interview with Uruma Takezawa

Most people have suffered those aleatory urges to travel that are steeped in some flavour of cliché. A thirst for adventure; to escape a well-worn routine; fatigue with a culture that doggedly runs us ragged; self discovery.

Few people follow through on these motivations like Uruma Takezawa, a professional marine photographer for ten years before he left his job with his camera in tow to see the world and didn’t return for 1021 days.

“I had reached a moment in my life where I had to make a decision,” Takezawa says via email. “I was either going to move in a different direction with my photography or stop being a photographer.”

He knew straight away that a short journey, a brief change before returning to the ocean, would not satisfy him. “I decided to go on a long journey,” he says. “I was looking for new experiences that would reinvigorate and transform me.”

A trip of any length requires some planning, and this was no different, but Takezawa was sure to create an itinerary sketchy enough to give him the freedom to wander and discover. What he wanted to find on his journey would not be offered by any tourist

A Photographer’s Guide to Santorini, Greece

Santorini is one of the most visited islands in the world (placed in the top 10 of most visited islands), a destination where tourists come to from all over the world.

They come to admire the cave houses built on cliffs measuring hundreds of meters, the rooftops painted in a blue more intense than the sea, the clear sky and great weather, or the donkeys waiting to carry the tourists from the harbor to the heart of the cities.

The pride of the Greek islands, Santorini is, simply put, a place of contrasts. A place where, during the touristic season (from late April to late October), one must struggle to find a place to hide from the crowd. And when the season ends, more than 80% of the islanders become inlanders and move on the continental Greece, mainily around the big cities of Athens, Salonic, Sparta, Kalamata, etc. Even at the highest peak, during the months of July and August, when the streets and beaches are overcrowded, you can still find places that seem deserted.

More than that, Santorini is a unique place to visit. The tourist visiting these places for the first time is faced with a strange feeling of confusion. It

Top Tips for Travel Photographers

So you want to be a travel photographer? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been a travel photographer for 20 years, ever since I left my suit-and-tie/shined shoes job as a VP/Group Supervisor at a NYC advertising agency.

Since then, I have traveled to almost 100 countries documenting fascinating cultures, incredible wildlife and exotic locations. What fun, even though on some trips I had to take malaria medicine (which gives you strange dreams), get shots for typhoid and yellow fever, and get hepatitis A and B booster shots. In addition, on most trips I had to take Imodium. The worst deal was being seasick.

Speaking of being seasick, do you know that there are two stages to being seasick? In stage one, you feel as though you are going to die. In stage two, you wish you were dead. Been there, thought that.

All things considered, being a travel photographer is a great job. I would not trade it for the world. (If you see me on a trip, remind me that I said that when I am in stage two of being seasick.)

Okay, onto some serious stuff.

In this article, I’d like to share with you some of my best tips

Night Photography

In this series of Travel Photo Tips articles for, I plan to cover every aspect of travel photography. Hey, I know that is a tall order, but I have been traveling around the world for 30 years, and have photographed just about every subject in every condition in more than 100 countries. What’s more, I’ve made every mistake in the book! Therefore, I am in a good position to help you avoid mistakes and to help you get the most out of your travel photography experience.

I’ll lead off this series focusing on Night Photography—and I’ll lead off this article with one of my favorite nighttime images, a photograph I took just after dusk at Niagara Falls (using the technique I mention below for blurring night lights).

The tips here are in no particular order. If you see a photograph you like, scroll down and grab that tip—and then move on to other photos and tips.

If you like what you read and see, you can learn more about me and my photography in my latest book, Exploring the Light—Making the Best Possible In-Camera Exposure.

Ready? Let’s go!

Creative and Inviting Images

Pictures taken at night often take on a more creative and inviting look

A Photographer’s Guide to Amsterdam

A friend living in Amsterdam told me there is this saying: “God made the world and the Dutch made the Netherlands”. And that actually says a lot about this country and the inhabitants. It tells us bits about the maritime power that Amsterdam once was, about the huge effort people have put in building it and also the costs (to themselves and the rest of the world). The name of the Netherland’s capital, Amsterdam (former Amstelledam), actually comes from the river Amstel, the only natural water course in the city. It stands for the name of the river, Amstel, combined with the English word dam (a block against the waters).

Sebastian Vaida - care for a tea spoon?

care for a tea spoon?

A very brief history overview

The year 1275 stands for the birth of Amsterdam, thus the city celebrating its 735 years this October on the 27th. First founded as a fishing village, Amsterdam grew rapidly in the 14th and 15th centuries, evolving to the well known Golden Age, from 1585 to 1672, when the city expanded both in size and power. During this period of time, Amsterdam was the leading maritime force in the world.

Creating a Photo Book Proposal

In my last column for, Creating Photo Books, I explained some of the aspects that go into marketing and creating a photography book. In that column, I noted that pretty early in the process of selling a photography book to a trade publisher you need a book proposal, because a “book proposal is the sales collateral with which you can approach book agents and publishers.”

In other words, a book proposal is a marketing tool. Thinking more broadly, you might also consider a book proposal as a kind of blueprint, or business plan, for your book—and from this viewpoint it is worth creating a book proposal even if publishers are not involved and you are planning to release a book using one of the publication on demand (POD) services.

In any case, unless you are already world famous and a household name, a book proposal is a necessity if you want to approach an agent or a conventional book publisher. The proposal shows that you are serious, that you understand the book industry, and that you are approaching your project in a grounded, business-like way. Hopefully, it also provides a dynamic sales proposition—and makes an acquisitions editor at a publisher feel

Becoming Composition Conscious

This is the third in a series of articles about becoming a more productive and inventive photographer. In these articles I’ll share some of the techniques I use to boost my creativity and I’ll show you how I’ve learned to be more imaginative with my photography. My goal is to help you to become more creative, too.

Each of the articles in this series presents assignments that will help you hone your creative approach (should you choose to accept them!).

In the first article in this series, Expecting the Unexpected, I explained that:

  • There is no simple formula for creativity;
  • It’s important to learn to see what is really there, as opposed to what you expect to see;
  • Great photographs can only be made when you strike the right balance between planning and “going with the flow”.

The second article, Focusing on What Matters, moved on to take a closer look at what you photograph. As I noted in the article, “Don’t believe those who think of photography as something than can always be done casually.” As with life itself, it is often (but not always) the case that the more effort you put into your photographic work, the more you will get back.

The point of

Missing Pages Flash Modes

The Missing Pages column is a collection of all of the information that should have been included in your camera’s Owner’s Manual—but somehow got left out. This is a hybrid assortment of short articles that delivers the know-how you need to derive the maximum enjoyment—and creative expression—from your equipment.

It’s sort of a juiced-up User Guide for creative people who are not necessarily technical. Each part will teach you how to use one of the camera features or functions that you previously ignored or left set on Auto. And each will include a Creative Project so that you can try some scripted experimentation.

We will explain complex technical subject matter a way that everyone can understand. And if you happen to be a technical expert yourself, we’re including “Nerds Only” sidebars just for you. That way you can dig in deep—or just straddle the edges—of the technological stuff. It’s your decision.

Installment VIII: Flash Modes

Definition: Preset combination of exposure settings that determine whether or not a built-in flash will fire and if it does, how it will synchronize with the camera’s shutter mechanism and other camera parameters.

The little flash that’s built into or pops up from your camera is simple, right? When it’s

See What Your Camera Sees

The following book excerpt has been republished from Nature Photography by Chris Weston with the permission of Focal Press. The complete book is available for purchase by users for 20% off the cover price for a limited time (use promo code “PHOTONET”).

Nature Photography: Insider Secrets from the World’s Top Digital Photography Professionals takes a contemporary and innovative approach to revealing the day-to-day habits of the world’s most successful wildlife, landscape and macro photographers, divulging the core skills and techniques through which they excel.

See What Your Camera Sees

Have you ever returned from a photography session only to find that the image you made looks nothing in print like it appeared to you at the time? This is the type of conundrum I hear talked about often during the workshops I run and in e-mail questions I receive via my website. It is the perennial photographic problem and one that continues even after the technical aspects of photography have been mastered. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a simple solution.

The camera sees the world very differently from the way in which we see it. For example, we see in color, while cameras see in black and