Photo Tips Pt IV – Too Many People!

We’ve all been in this situation.  We’re on a terrific vacation in a wonderful place.  We want to get some photos of the landmarks.  We want to get some photos of the architecture.  Whatever it may be.  But there are just too many people.  Others trying to get the same shot we’re getting.  Too many people milling about so we can’t get a nice, clear shot of our intended target. What do we do?

Truth be told, there aren’t a lot of ways to deal with this type of situation. Here are a couple that may help you.  You can travel during non-peak seasons.  This will lessen the number of people at the destination at the same time you are.  It’s also a great way to save some money because hotels are often priced much lower during what are considered ‘off peak’ times.  If you want to travel during peak season then your other choices are to get up early or stay up late.

Being out early or staying out late has some other advantages too.  You’re working with more interesting light than everyone else.  When the crowds are at the worst the lighting for photographers is generally the least appealing too.  The harsh light of the sun from about mid-morning to late afternoon is generally considered to be the less attractive light.  But shooting early in the morning or in the early evening will mean you’re shooting in what’s called ‘Golden Hour’.  This is when the light has that beautiful warm glow.  This is true even in winter.

Big Tub Lighthouse

During the day and in the summer season there is typically a good number of people walking around this lighthouse.  By getting up early and getting to the location before the crowds I was able to get this shot.

Your other option is to stay out late and do some night time photography.  Night photography can produce some really captivating photos.  The contrast between the lit and unlit areas of a shot can be very interesting.  The colours of the lights can add some terrific hues that you wouldn’t otherwise see.  You do want to work with a tripod or have some other stable place to put the camera because your shutter speeds are going to be longer.  But those longer shutter speeds can also add interest to a photo with things like moving clouds that become willowy wisps of white.

Canadian Parliament at Night

Even in the winter there are quite a few people visiting Ottawa.  By waiting till well into the night hours to get this shot I got the clean shot I wanted with no people and the slow shutter speed rendered the few clouds in the sky as long wisps of cotton candy.

How do you approach your photography when travelling?  Do you want to try to get shots without people?  What approaches do you use to do that?




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