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Photo of the Week: May 18, 2012


Having so many terrific Travel images to choose from made this kickoff week of the “Yahoo Travel Picture of the Week Contest” especially daunting.  As a magazine travel photographer, it became obvious years ago there are many places on this Earth which could be dubbed “the most beautiful place in the world,” since beauty is totally subjective – you can’t measure beauty – it’s entirely between our ears.

Beauty is as beauty is beheld and perceived, at a specific moment in just the right lovely light and, clearly, many of you are seeing and beholding this world’s many natural wonders through very artistic eyes!

This week’s Picture of the Week - “Please Remain In Your Seats...” by Enrique Mendez - strikes us as a classic travel image, visually reminiscent of vintage, “lost island films” where life was idyllic in a land of plenty, an ideal climate and with gracious, accommodating natives as hosts.  Just a glimpse of this plane makes me think “fantasy island.”  An image is always effective when it makes you wonder what’s comes next...  This photograph conjures up imaginings of a plane full of weary travelers arriving at this lovely island retreat, where daily realities will quickly fade away, as this idyllic destination revitalizes and restores those fortunate enough to find their way to this lovely retreat.

Technically, this image appears to be color-manipulated for this subtle yet dramatic effect.  In many cases, it is fool’s folly to “guess” precisely how an image was manipulated, though the look appears to be part black & white/part color.  In this case the vintage look of this doesn’t show us our ultimate destination as much as it conjures up fantasies of having traveled to an incredible place in the world, where many more great images await the seeing traveler.

Tip of the Week


Whether your journey is long and exotic or just a simple day trip to the beach or even the park, always keep in mind travel photography can include ANY photography you make while traveling.  Though we generally consider travel as “distant,” it can be near or far. So always take your camera even on local day trips – and use it!

During your travels, look for beauty and compelling visual compositions in gorgeous landscapes, local people, your own family or traveling companions and details of interest, sometimes including close-ups which show little or no relationship to your destination.  Think about the light:  is it extraordinarily beautiful or harsh?  Look for images in good light rather than attempting make good pictures in mediocre light.  One trick of professional Travel photographers is to shoot outdoors only during early mornings and late evenings, when possible, in order to avoid nasty midday light.   

Great pictures are there for the making to all keen observers, regardless of location.  Remember, as a traveler you are documenting what YOU appreciate and enjoy, so pursue any visual imagery which lights you up; there are no rules or barriers.  When in doubt just make the picture – decide later if it’s worthy.  React with spontaneous enthusiasm to the visual possibilities encountered along your way, then show us your unique vision! 

Remember, the best photographs are typically those we’ve not seen before: Be creative and surprise us!!!

Gary Parker is an advertising, corporate and editorial photographer based in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA.  Gary was a staff travel photographer for Southern Living Magazine, as well as a frequent travel photographer for Sunset Magazine.  Gary was twice named a National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, Southern Photographer of the Year and has won international advertising and editorial awards.   Gary’s work may be seen on either of his websites: http://www.garyparker.com/ and www.CatDogPhotography.com


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