Photography while Traveling

We all love to capture moments, as they remind us of our happier times. This is especially true of our travels, as we might not be able to revisit the place. However, for those who are not aware of what the basics of photography are, they can have a hard time capturing a good shot. And I am not even talking about ISO, which forms the bedrock of a photography class.

Imagine you clicking a selfie with the sun shining brightly in the background, or a landscape you clicked that looks too monotonous! Avoiding these mistakes doesn’t require any Technical know-how of the device. If you have a decent camera, which even the phones have these days, you can still do a pretty good job with your pictures.

Having traveled extensively over the years, and captured (and learned from) every type of a view, I now have pictures that speak more than what they show…and I do nothing special with them! Just keep these basics in mind, like I do:

1. The frame: How often do we think where we are before we click a shot? Almost never, as we rely on the popularity of the attraction. But, in spite of that, you can still do a lot better by inspecting the view. For example, if you are at Taj Mahal, look around and find the best setting for your click…the Sun, the colors, the contrasting and complementing objects – all contribute to a great frame.

Another example is below, which I clicked on New Year at Miami in Florida. See how I used the reflections in water to complement my primary object – the magnificent skyline; the colors provide for additional beauty!

The frame

2. The light effect: Having looked at thousands of selfies on Instagram with bright Sun in the background, I wonder how can people do that. This is so basic, yet so elusive a concept! If you want to take a picture of yourself, you need to have the focus on you and not on what is behind you. The background should not be overly bright or dull; just enough light to complement your primary object.

I was at The 12 Apostles in Australia and played around with this concept. I would never post this picture of my better half on social media!

The light effect

3. We love symmetry: If you have to capture the calmness of ocean with the vastness of the blue sky, the ocean layer has to be horizontal. If it is not, it would not appear so logical to the audience. Another example is of an architecture which, more often than not, would be symmetrical and would be best presented if captured that way. Moreover, remember that there is symmetry in asymmetry also!

Compare the pictures below from Bondi Beach in Sydney. Take your pick!

Symmetry 1Symmetry 2.jpg

4. Impeccable Clarity: This point can’t be overstated, nobody likes messy pictures! That’s why many of us carry the tripod around. However, if you practice enough to keep your hands steady, you would not have to carry the extra weight along. A quick tip is to find a place at the location (maybe a bench or a rock) where you can rest your camera for the shot.

5. Attractive colors: Even if the image is a monochrome, we like a nice contrast between the black and white in it. A lot of photographers do post-processing on their pics for the same reason. In a natural setting, nature does it for us; we only have to have an eye to make the best of the scenery.

This click is one of my most ‘liked’ and ‘commented’ ones…no prizes for guessing why!

Attractive colors

6. Always experiment: Nothing can beat practical experience. When I was a novice in the field, I used to take my camera out just to experiment on above aspects. That’s how you can make out what went wrong, so you won’t make a mistake when it matters!

All this may sound basic, but that’s where many of us go wrong. You won’t have to spend a lot of time processing your raw images once you learn these basics. Of course, from a professional standpoint, you can do much more with a great shot that you have already taken!

Once you have a decent collection of travel photographs, next would be to show the best ones around. Now, who has the time to manually pick and choose? I use, which is world’s first intelligent photography curation platform. Siftr creates a website from our existing online photos (Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook pages) in a couple of minutes, and surfaces the best shots in a visually compelling manner.

Do check them out to create your own website for free, available as an introductory offer!

A Symbol of Love – Boldt Castle!

Few weeks back we went on a 3-day trip to the Thousand Islands, Adirondack Region, Saratoga Springs and Howe Caverns in the United States. Within these overall classifications, we specifically targeted Cape Vincent, Wellesley Island State Park, Boldt Castle, Whiteface Mountains, Lake Flower, Lake Placid, Lake George, Saratoga Race Course, and Howe Caverns…and within each of them we did various activities.

Most of these places are very close to US-Canada border and at one point in time we were actually standing at the Border and were looking at the Immigration officials!

Each of the places we go to, in general, are thoroughly researched first by my wife. The reason being we want our experiences to be everlasting. So, we have a plethora of memories (and pictures, of course) from our trip, which are impossible to cover in a single post. Hence, this post will be solely dedicated to the Boldt Catle, a monument with a history well worthy of mention.

Boldt Castle is located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands region, along the northern border of the state of New York. Construction of this castle began in the 1900 as a result of an ambitious plan by George Boldt who wanted to build a huge masonry structure as a gift to his wife. However, as luck would have it, she died in 1904. The construction was immediately stopped and Gorge Boldt never visited the place again.

The castle bore the brunt of time till it was acquired by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority in 1977 and since then has been undergoing restoration and further improvements.

We took the Uncle Same Boat Tour from downtown Alexandria Bay in New York towards Boldt Castle. On the way, the guide talked about some other locations that we were passing by and their historic significance.

how to reach boldt castle
On the way to Boldt Castle

uncle sam tours boldt castle alexandria bay

We also ventured into the Canadian waters (the immigration doesn’t stop these boats, since they are allowed to pass by for tourism purposes). In the below pic, we were just a few feet away from Canada!

canada us border

Finally, after spending close to an hour looking at marvelous structures and few terrific sights both in the US and Canada, we reached the Boldt Castle.

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A huge Mansion that was supposed to be a symbol of Love (much like Taj Mahal in India) now stands amidst pristine beauty, and as a major landmark and tourist attraction.