Category Archives: Photography
While visiting the sights is one advantage of using the Ho-Ho, you can’t beat an elevated view for capturing street images and people.
At street level there are far too many obstacles to good composition, not least of which are the oblivious ones who step right in front of your lens as you press the shutter release. Being above the oblivious has obvious advantages.
But there are disadvantages as well. For one, your ability to take level photos is compromised aboard a moving vehicle and your camera’s level indicator is rendered useless.
Tilting buildings can be straightened in post processing, but not without cost. If your manipulating a JPEG each and every “save file” results in more compression and loss of image quality. Also, straightening a image means some objects along the edge are going to be rotated off the image, which in turn may make additional cropping necessary.
At any rate you may find an advantage here of zooming out to a slightly wider angle than you would normally prefer for maximum flexibility later on. This may be one of the few times camera raw will benefit the average photographer as well, if you’ve taken the time to master the intricacies of dealing with raw imagery and converting to JPEG or TIFF.
Another disadvantage is that cardinal sin in photography of cutting off people somewhere above the feet. It simply may be unavoidable in certain shots, so make sure the subject of the photograph is strong enough to detract from this flaw.
On the other hand, you won’t get shots such as this at street level:
But the point of travel photography is to bring a sense of your destination to the viewer. Let’s face it — composition will at times be secondary to that goal.
But not always:
Over the next two weeks we’ll view Santiago from the vantage point afforded from the upper deck of what is rapidly becoming a touring favorite in cities around the globe — the Hop-on/Hop-off bus. These conveyances are great ways to tour a town to scout out areas that pique your interest and deserve further scrutiny later. Another advantage is that you can hop off the bus at any of the stops, and then hop on another after you’ve walked a certain area all for one convenient price. Hence the term “Ho-Ho,” short for Hop-on/Hop-off.
The view from the upper deck also affords the photographer with a vantage point not available from the ground, obviously. But you have to adjust your camera settings to take advantage. You’ll probably want to up the ISO to obtain higher shutter speeds since motion blur can be a problem aboard a moving vehicle. This is especially true during cloudy conditions, at or just after dawn, right around dusk, and in shady areas. Best to just go ahead and set to between ISOs 200 and 400 depending on the size and pixel rating of your camera’s sensor. Remember what I’ve told you before in my photography lesson blogs — in low light conditions bigger (sensor) is better, but more (megapixels) are not your friend. The more megapixels crammed onto a sensor means a reduction in the size — and thus light-gathering capability — of the individual pixels. This results in digital noise and reduced resolution, especially at higher ISO settings.
Thus, depending on your camera, ISO and shutter speed can become a critical balancing act in the effort to obtain the highest possible quality image.
I currently take two cameras with me while on vacation. My trusty Canon G1 X has become my back-up, but its 12-megapixel, 1.5-inch sensor is still a champ for low light. My primary travel camera is a 20-megapixel, 1-inch Panasonic FZ1000, but it also sports a much more versatile 25mm-to-400mm lens as opposed to the Canon’s 28mm-to-112mm zoom. That clearly gives the travel photography advantage to the FZ1000, especially in bright lighting, and Handheld Night Shot mode nullifies much of the Canon’s low-light advantage during stationary photography.
Fortunately today’s Ho-Ho excursion took place during mostly sunny skies, so I didn’t have to give up too much on the FZ1000. Most shots shown today and for the next two weeks were taken at around ISO 125 to ISO 160, and the FZ1000 seems to be quite capable of going up to at least ISO 800 before noise and resolution start to noticeably impact image quality.
Keeping ISO below 200 for most of this excursion allowed shutter speeds of 1/500th or faster, which was more than adequate to stop motion blur.
At other times I would wait for the Ho-Ho to slow, or quickly up the ISO for a specific shot.
The trick here is to keep the ISO as low as possible while still freezing motion. Another tip is to take advantage of the widest aperture available on your lens, which on the FZ1000 ranges from f2.8 to f4.0 depending on the amount of zoom employed.