TED ADNAN TALKS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY
You Don’t Have to Spend a Bomb
For many, travel photography involves faraway and exotic locales such as the Taj Mahal, the Temples of Borobudur, the Pyramids of Giza, Petra, the Hagia Sophia, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, and the list goes on. If you’ve got the time and money, by all means, do go and visit the places, tick them off of your bucket list! After all, you only live once.
For the rest of us, fear not. There are a lot of hidden gems located in our own backyard. By definition, it’s still travel photography because well, there’s traveling involved. Take the Land Beneath the Wind, for example, our very own Sabah. For this article, I’ll be talking about Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna, Sabah, which I had the pleasure of visiting back in 2007 with some friends.
From my own experience, travel photography shots can be separated into three distinctive categories: People, Places, and Things. When shot individually, these pictures can tell a thousand and one different stories. When combined together, however, you’ll be able to create a single story that has context, which is in my opinion, a more challenging and rewarding thing to do.
For example, during my trip, we stopped by a little fishing village called Kunak. In a fishing village, you’d obviously want
to take photos of fishing boats, fishing nets, fishes, and of course, fishermen. If you’re able to fit in all of the above into a single frame, you’d get a picture that’s visually more interesting because you have a main subject, as well as supporting subjects in the background. Getting all these into a single frame is more difficult that it sounds though, so try and try again if at first you don’t succeed.
The most important thing though, is to not forget to have fun. Be candid and learn how to anticipate a great photographic opportunity. While I was exploring the fishing village of Kunak, I noticed a house painted in blue. I wanted to photograph my young tour guide with the house as the background, but she was a little too “aware” of my camera. To get her to loosen up, I took other random shots, including that of some, pardon my French, dog poo. As she saw me taking that picture, she began to giggle, giving me the perfect opportunity to snap a picture of her.
All the photos featured in this article were taken using a now-discontinued Sony Alpha 100 with a 1680mm f/3.5-4.5 Carl Zeiss lens, and a polarizing filter. For more of my work, or to get in touch with me, you can visit my official website at tedadnan.com.
Upon arriving at your destination, keep an eye out for scenes that would show where your shot took place.
My young tour guide smiled only when I did some silly stuff. Try to get your subjects to loosen up to get more candid photos.
Juxtaposing fishes in the foreground with the jetty in the background makes it seem like the fishes are bigger than they really are. Always play around with angles!
Sometimes, you have to get up close and personal with your subjects for a photo that captivates. This young lady is wearing a homemade facial mask made from pounded rice.