Mastering taking photos of fish underwater is one thing – trying to take decent portraits of people on land is quite another
24 April 2010, 5 Years Ago This Week: When I first got into underwater photography, I’d never been much more than a point and shoot kind of guy with any kind of camera. Taking photos while diving was a series of challenges – not only knowing how to handle a camera and what works and doesn’t work underwater, but also being good enough at diving to manoeuvre without crashing into anything and avoid spooking already skittish sea creatures.
Eventually, I got quite good at taking underwater photos, but I realised that just because you’re good in one area of photography, it doesn’t help you with other specialities. Taking memorable portraits or being able to photograph landscapes for full impact are two classic examples where my dive photo knowledge was pretty much redundant. As such, I decided to take a workshop course with my friend Aloha Lavina, a polymath pro photographer and educational expert.
We did a day of shooting with a model, Angie, and it was fascinating to see the different tricks and techniques with lighting that Aloha demonstrated to me. We were doing the shoot in a abandoned building (one of Bangkok’s many ghost buildings) and I particularly like the contrast between Angie’s glamour and the grittiness of the surroundings. There’s a dystopian sci-fi feel to it. It was also a liberating experience to take photos of someone who not only didn’t mind being photographed, but knew how to work with a camera – Angie brought a huge suitcase of clothes and jewellery and figured out what would fit with where we were and suggested numerous ideas for different shots. It’s a collaborative process rather than taking shots of someone passively posing, which I hadn’t really thought about before. While I can’t claim I have mastered portrait photography, the workshop was a hugely enjoyable crash course in the possibilities of taking photos of people.
What Is 12 Years Of Travel?I'm publishing a photo each week during 2015 that was taken in the same week sometime in the previous 12 years on my travels. Join me in my journey to combat early senility by trying to remember what the hell I was doing over the last decade.
- Week 1: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Melbourne
- Week 2: Cannibal Rock, Komodo, Indonesia
- Week 3: Ocean Reflection, Ari Atoll, Maldives
- Week 4: Vertigo Bar Sunset, Banyan Tree Hotel, Bangkok
- Week 5: Talc Alf Sculptures, Flinders Ranges, Australia
- Week 6: After The Tsunami, Khao Lak, Thailand
- Week 7: Drugs Warning, Jakarta Airport, Indonesia
- Week 8: Beng Mealea Temple, Angkor, Cambodia
- Week 9: Failing To Climb Mount Kinabalu, Borneo
- Week 10: Night Diving At Maaya Thila, Maldives
- Week 11: Schwezigon Paya Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
- Week 12: Octopus, Hin Daeng, Thailand
- Week 13: A View With A Room, Bangkok Tree House
- Week 14: Koh Haa, Thailand
- Week 15: Angry Whopper, Singapore
- Week 16: Kuda Gili Shipwreck, Maldives
- Week 17: Model Shoot, Bangkok
- Week 18: Banda Islands, Indonesia
- Week 19: Port Eliot, Cornwall
- Week 20: Exmouth, Australia
- Week 21: Newquay Cliffs, Cornwall