This is the third and final installment of my series on picture taking tips for taking pictures in the Holy Land.
7. Have your camera ready and not tucked in your backpack. This includes even your time on the bus. You have probably paid quite a bit for the trip and quite a bit for the camera, so don’t pack your camera away just because you think that there might not be anything of interest. I have missed a number of shots simply because I either was not paying sufficient attention or I did not have my camera ready. While I am on the topic, keep in mind that taking a decent shot out of a moving bus window is a bit of a challenge. You might have to contend with glare off of the glass, dirty windows, and the difficulty of trying to capture a still object while moving. So it might be worth learning about shutter speed and even practicing at home (in the car) in order to improve one’s chances of a better shot.
8. Don’t forget to think small. Holy Land trips are basically large-scale affairs. You are taking pictures of buildings, ruins, bodies of waters, mountains and valleys, etc. But sometimes thinking small and getting up close can make for an interesting picture. For example, many take pictures of the Western Wall in general of men and women praying at the Wall. But you might be able to get an interesting shot by focusing on an individual prayer stuffed into one of the wall cracks.
9. Take more rather than fewer pictures. As I noted previously, digital photography is relatively inexpensive. You might pay quite a bit for your camera, but after that the costs of actually taking pictures is minimal. I don’t know if there is a name for this rule, but the more pictures you take, the better chance you have of taking a really nice picture. The worst picture that you ever take is the picture that you never take. Bad photos can always be deleted later, but in many cases you won’t be able to go back to take more. So fire away.
10. Download and review your photos each night on a computer (if you bring one). Not only will this free up memory on you camera but this will also help you see what you did right and how you can do better the next day. Back in the film days this was not possible, but today we have near immediate feedback to learn from our mistakes.
I would add two more tips that are not directly related to how to take photos, but might be of some help nonetheless.
11. Consider what you will do if your camera breaks on the trip. Unfortunately, it happens all too often. Cameras get dropped, left behind, and sometimes even stolen. I usually take two cameras. I take my best camera and then a more basic camera.
12. If you’re traveling with a spouse, consider sharing duties. It is difficult to be both the note-taker and the photographer. Perhaps one can manage the camera and the other can write down the explanations.
It is my hope that you have found something of value in these suggestions. Feel free to leave your tips in the comments.