As a photographer it is our job to capture the world around us. For some of us that involves working in a studio with flashes and models, for others it means traveling around the world and working with whatever light we are given. Regardless of our field of expertise (or passion), it is always good to be prepared. This not applies to having the right camera, lenses or accessories…but also being ready for “the” right moment to press that shutter button.
Caption: A Monk Walking through Angkor Wat in Cambodia
On my first trip as a photographer (some 9 years ago), I found myself in the heart of south east Asia traveling throughout Cambodia. One morning I made my way up to the top of the famous ancient city of Angkor Wat and snapped what ended up being the best image of my early career. The truth is however that I got lucky. Being so new into photography, I wasn’t fully aware of how aperture, shutter speed and ISO worked. When I realized this monk was about to walk across this sun light pathway, I simply lifted my camera up to my face and waited, never thinking twice about what settings I was using. In the end it worked out, but I also learned a valuable lesson that morning.
Caption: A dive boat returning to shore in Thailand.
A few months after I took the image of the monk in Cambodia, I found myself on the tropical island of Koh Tao in Thailand. For two straight days, I scouted around the island for various subjects and scenes to photograph, coming up with a variety of images I was happy with. However each evening I noticed that the dive boats would return to shore right during sunset. On the third day, I searched for the perfect spot (which ended up being a slippery group of jagged rocks) that would allow me to capture a silhouette of a dive boat passing in front of the sun as it set on the horizon. I adjusted my settings, shot off a few practice images to be sure and then waited patiently. By the time the sun was getting into the right spot, a dive boat appeared, allowing me to take the very shot I had envisioned two days before.
Caption: Hot Air Balloons move throughout the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar
Years later, I found myself in Bagan, Myanmar…which is home to thousands of small Buddhist stupas. The trip had been planned months in advance in preparation for the image you see above. I choose the month of November because it was both off season so there would be smaller crowds, but also because the haze in the sky would still make for great sunrise/sunset images at this time of year. I did my research online, knowing full well that shortly after the sun rose each day, hot air balloons would be set off in the north and travel south. Then to wrap things up, once I got on the ground, I scouted out different locations, looking for the best angle (and best temple) to use in my shot. After spending four days exploring the ruins, I finally found the perfect spot. The following morning I woke up at 5am, took my electric scooter to my chosen vantage point and waited. Needless to say, all my preparation and anticipation paid off.