Travel Photographer: Richard Martin

Cliché postcard shots are not in this veteran’s repertoire.

India customs and traditions
India customs and traditions
Understanding the customs and traditions of a place is very important. It is essential to act in a way that is not rude or offensive. Be sensitive to the scene in your viewfinder. If people are getting nervous, ask permission or move on. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin

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What drew you into travel photography?

I have been teaching photography workshops for more than 20 years. They’re based on design and visual expression. The travel stuff is an extension of that. I started to do a lot of photo tours and location workshops.

Do you find that a lot of newer shooters get stuck looking for typical postcard images?

Yeah, that’s a really common thing. A lot of times when people travel, they bring with them preconceived ideas about how things look because they see brochures and magazines. It’s an interesting exercise to break away from that. Sometimes I’ll ask my students to take a cliché destination photograph and try to find a different angle. They come in with postcard vision and it’s fun to challenge them to go beyond the stereotype.

How do you typically pack for your trips?

As years go on and I gain experience, I get lighter and lighter with my gear. Even more recently it has become a huge pain traveling due to restrictions. I have lots of equipment, but, it’s one thing to go on a trip in your car where you can carry it in the trunk, but it’s another thing to actually have to take it on the plane and lug it around. I have recently been really excited about the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF all-in-one lens. Even though it goes to 270mm, I use it mostly between 18mm and 200mm. When I don’t need the extra DOF, I tend to shoot at around f/8. In India, I used it exclusively for over 3-weeks. Otherwise, I usually also carry a Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f / 3.5-4.5 DI II Zoom Lens, a carbon tripod, memory cards and batteries in a little sling bag. I used to take a lot more, but I find that this works for me when traveling.

What is your approach to photographing people when you’re traveling?

It depends on the country, but for me, it’s a matter of talking to people, especially if you’re trying to for a portrait approach. Basically, I like to respect people’s right not to have their picture taken since I know I don’t like having mine taken.

Is your approach different for candid photos?

Candids are different. You have to get it at the moment and you can deal with their response later. I like to spend time in one area like a street corner or a place with a beautiful background and let people come into my space. Often, I don’t speak their language, so a lot of it is eye contact. Usually if you have a camera in your hand, you can make the gesture and they’re OK with it. In India they actually asked me to take their picture, which is totally different than a lot of other places I have been.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in travel photography?

Invest in a lens with vibration reduction if you plan on shooting in the streets. I have been using a tripod my whole life and they’re great if you’re shooting landscapes, but when you’re using a tripod around people it becomes something different. It can get you in more trouble.

Also, don’t get fixated on things that you might read about in the tour book. By keeping an open mind, you can stumble into opportunities for great photographs. Often the best photographs come from the uncelebrated or unplanned. You may be going from point A to point B on the itinerary, but the best photographs usually happen somewhere in between.

Cuba
Cuba
I was attracted to the strong shadows and the warm quality of the early morning light, which add a sense of mystery to the image. Be patient. Street scenes change continuously. Choose a spot that has potential, relax, and wait for the elements to fall together. Tamron SP AF 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical.Richard Martin
Children Southern India
Children Southern India
Backlighting at sunset created strong silhouettes of children climbing on wooden fishing piers along the shoreline. The only way to discover the pattern of life in a place is to experience it so “get out there”. Early mornings and late afternoons are perfect times. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
Cow and Bird
Cow and Bird
Always have your camera with you and always keep your eyes open. Serendipity plays an extremely important role in travel photography. You never know what you are going to run into, and you have to be ready. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
Southern India
Southern India
As I photographed the color and shadows of this village home in the warm morning light, a curious child peeked thru the doorway. I carefully zoomed back to include him in the composition, providing both context and balance to the design. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
India customs and traditions
India customs and traditions
Understanding the customs and traditions of a place is very important. It is essential to act in a way that is not rude or offensive. Be sensitive to the scene in your viewfinder. If people are getting nervous, ask permission or move on. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
Venice Italy
Venice Italy
Don't be shy about asking for directions. Wander down alleys. Sit in cafés and watch life pass by. Try and avoid restaurants where the tourists frequent and choose local favorites. Get away from the crowds, wander down a street and see where it leads. Getting away from the tourists and tourist sites, away from what is too familiar and comfortable makes it easier to get a feel for the rhythm of a place, and to be more perceptive to a new territory. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
Regusa Sicily
Regusa Sicily
When traveling to new surroundings, it is important to be conscious of the negative aspects of ‘over stimulation’. There is a natural tendency to be less observant in general, while engaged in exciting new situations. Ultimately, the challenge is to consciously observe beyond the surface of one’s own ‘selective reality’. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
Cuban Boy
Cuban Boy
Have confidence in yourself and your vision. When photographers are open to new possibilities, the world offers us many surprises. Tamron SP AF 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical.Richard Martin
Eureka Dunes, Death Valley CA
Eureka Dunes, Death Valley CA
Eureka Dunes, Death Valley CA Make an effort to relate the photos that you make with your own experience and impressions instead of merely repeating what you see on postcards and travel brochures. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AF.Richard Martin
Mesquite Flats, Death Valley CA
Mesquite Flats, Death Valley CA
Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC AFRichard Martin
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