This is the first part of my rough guide to holiday snaps. There is nothing especially technical here - the last things most people want to think about on their hols are ISOs and f-stops - it's more a collection of ideas that can help you create more interesting travel memories that will fascinate your friends and family back home.
The locations featured here are the picturesque mountain-hugging village of Limone on Lake Garda, Italy, and the Dolomites (Dolomiti).
Mountains make for attractive photo opportunities, especially if you have a wide angle lens stuck on the front of your SLR - but look for foreground interest too - to give the landscape depth and perspective.
Look for subjects that help tell the story of the area, such as this statue of a cycle racer (many of whom you'll be able to wave to from the comfort of your vehicle as they sweat their way up the Dolomites).
When photographing statues, icons and the like, consider the surroundings - can they be used to tell a story, or add a bit of drama? Think about potential black and white conversions too; I always shoot in colour and convert later (as you can't recreate the colours if you shoot b&w), but here I knew that polarising the sky would create a nice deep blue that would convert to a dark dramatic grey using Photoshop's black and white tool.
Enjoy the grand vistas but don't forget to get in close and focus on some details too, or as above, make the background more abstract and moody.
When framing a shot, an object isolated on the horizon can make a good focal point. The tree in this shot also adds some perspective to the scene.
Backlit subjects can look pretty dramatic, but may test your camera's exposure meter. Take the camera out of 'auto' mode to be sure you're exposing as you wish - the camera could get a scene like this very wrong, depending on whether it exposes for the bright sky or the shadowy mountain side. Bracketing is a good idea for this type of scene - you can then pick the best shot later, or maybe merge elements of the different exposures together (if you keep the camera very still between shots i.e. use a tripod).
The courtyard above is nnother high contrast scene that might cause your auto-exposure mode to throw its hands up in the air. Shooting RAW allows you to reclaim shadow and highlight detail that JPG would lose - though even RAW has limits to how much can be saved.
Eveyone has their own 'signature' holiday pic - the type of quirky image you somehow manage to take wherever you go - mine is rooftops and aerials. Don't ask.
These last two images were shot through a coach window. I needed a fast shutter to avoid blur, but wanted to reduce reflections in the window too. I couldn't risk a polarising filter to remove the reflections, as I would lose too much light. Placing the lens very close to the window kept reflections to a minimum - just mind your glass!