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Better Travel Photography Tips
Better Travel Photography Tips

Working with National Geographic Expeditions, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jay Dickman recently completed his second “Around The World By Private Jet” trip, a 24-day journey to six continents by private jet. While circling the globe, Dickman photographed some of the world’s most treasured and legendary natural and cultural wonders in Peru, Easter Island, Samoa, Australia, Cambodia, India, Tanzania, Egypt and Morocco. He captured it all. And now, inspired by his trip, Dickman has compiled a list of travel photography tips.

Snow and Beach Photography

Shooting snow and beach scenes can challenge even the most sophisticated metering systems on today’s cameras. There are two ways to ensure successful shooting in sand and snow:

  • On most consumer-level Olympus cameras, and many prosumer Olympus cameras, shooters will find a “snow/beach” mode. This highly accurate tool provides about 1.5 to 2 stops overexposure, which will expose the snow (or beach) accurately. For those shooting manual exposure, take the reading with the onboard meter, and overexpose by those 1.5 to 2 stops.

  • You can also set your exposure compensation, which will allow you to follow meter settings without having to extrapolate the exposure.

Snow and Beach Photography Samples
Underwater Photography Samples Underwater Photography
  • Counter to everything photographers learn about not shooting at noon—when the light is harsh and the shadows are unforgiving—this time of day can provide the best lighting conditions for your underwater photography, especially in the shallower, snorkel-friendly areas.

  • Use a fellow diver in your underwater photos to establish a “sense of place” and provide scale for your images. Remember that Olympus Tough cameras are waterproof to at least 10 feet, with the most rugged models waterproof to depths of 50 feet.

  • Shoot at an ISO of 200 to 400. This will allow the camera to increase the shutter speed to help counter movement caused by the motion of the water.

  • Olympus Tough point-and shoot cameras or those designed to be used within an Underwater housing have an Underwater Scene mode. Switching your camera to this mode with warm up the colors underwater, creating a more appealing image.

  • Underwater, the onboard flash can provide pleasing fill light for close-up shots of fish and reefs. Go to the “forced on” setting in your flash menu to experiment with this technique.

Bonus Tips for E-System, PEN & OM-D -
When the Sun Goes Down: Painting with Light

Painting with light is a fun technique that provides after-sundown enjoyment when you’re on a trip. It is called painting with light because this is what you are actually doing while taking the shot. You can refer to my image of the ancient heads standing tall on a moonless evening on Easter Island—with the Milky Way rising silently behind the scene. It was incredible. A great opportunity for some painting with light! Here are some tips for how to setup your camera for light painting success:

Paiting with Light Sample
  • You’ll want manual exposure here, with your camera set to B(ulb) so you can accomplish the longer exposure that painting with light necessitates. The aperture should be set to wide open or one stop down.

  • A RAW file will provide greater dynamic range.

  • Set the camera to manual focus, as you don’t want the camera to sit there seeking focus for 10 minutes.

  • Bring a powerful light so you can see the subject you wish to focus upon. Also, a small and low power headlamp is helpful in checking the camera settings and setup. I carry one that has a red beam, so as not to negate my night vision.

  • Switch you camera to Daylight White Balance if you’re shooting a jpeg.

  • Make sure Noise Reduction is turned on.

Editor's Note: Have an E-M1, E-M10, E-M5, E-P5, E-PL5, or E-PM2? You can see the progress of your exposure during shooting. To view, choose a display interval for [Live BULB] or [Live TIME]. This makes it easier to choose when to end the exposure. If [Live TIME] is selected, the display can be refreshed by pressing the shutter button halfway during time photography.

About Jay Dickman
Jay Dickman

As a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine and more than 15 Day in the Life book projects, Jay Dickman is one of the most traveled, most experienced, most celebrated photographers in the Olympus Visionary program and the living embodiment of Olympus’ capture-it-all spirit.

Dickman has captured a variety of subjects during his three-and-a-half-decade career. He has documented the civil war in El Salvador, six Super Bowls, the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and the Summer Olympic Games. He has taken photographs for a who’s who of corporate clients including Nike, HP, Quaker and the NFL.

Learn more at jaydickman.net or follow @jaydickman on Twitter.

Want More Photography Tips? Perfect Digital Photography

Jay Dickman is the co-author of “Perfect Digital Photography.” Learn more about this book at perfectdigitalphotography.com.