Travel Security: 5 Tips For Safe Travel

 

Security of yourself and your camera is very important when traveling.  No one likes to have a job assignment or vacation ruined because of a thief.  Here are 5 steps that might help the next time your out-of-town.

 

1.  You are not going to blend in.  Don’t try to fit in but don’t try to stand out either.  The locals already know you don’t belong, but you should not aggravate that situation. The only place a person with expensive cameras and big telephoto lenses blend in is a sporting event.  If you find that you need to travel to a less than savory area of a city or country, hire a local guide or a local photographer as your second shooter or security. Do not go alone.  The locals will know where it is safe to visit.

 

2.  Hotels are vulnerable when the maid is cleaning your room.  It’s usually not the maid or hotel staff you have to worry about.  A well dressed person can simply walk into your hotel room while the maid is there and claim they forgot something.  Wham!  You just got robbed.  Use the hotel vault or use the safe in your room to protect things. You could also lock your bags with a chain around a bedpost or the dresser.

 

3.  Make sure to zip your bags closed.  The easiest way to do this is just to lock you bags with a small travel lock.  When walking around with a backpack, this can prevent pickpockets from accessing your things easily.

 

4.  When you’re in the local environment the type of bag you use for your equipment is important.  A major rule is less is more.  Remember you are a photographing “tourist”, not a pack llama.  Several photographers use hunting or fishing vests that have several deep pockets and carry things like UV lenses and cleaners.  Backpacks are great but you have to take them off to get anything.  A sling bag worn across the body is better. It’s easy to carry the bag in front of you if you need access to the bag.

 

5.  Remember that no camera or personal equipment is ever worth your life.  Equipment is replaceable, hopefully you aren’t.  That is what insurance companies are for.  Get insurance, either a travel policy or a separate business policy.  If you are traveling internationally, keep a list of phone numbers for your countries embassy or consulate in case something happens.  If something bad happens, speaking to a person who speaks your language fluently will make all the difference in what happens next.

Most of all, just use common sense.  Real life is not a scripted reality TV show.  Respect the laws, customs, and any police or security officers with large automatic weapons. Be safe.

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5 Ways to Decorate with Photography

People are always interested in finding new ways to decorate a room or even a whole house.   Photography gives the everyday person and professional interior designers a new tool in their design and decorating arsenal.

  • Mugs – Mugs and ceramics are a great choice   in a number of styles and functions. You can buy ceramics with your favorite picture or even fine art printed on the side. Placing photographs on everything from steins to bone china serve a dual purpose. I love the idea that I can use my art.  It decorates but also has a purpose.
  • Magnets – these aren’t just tourist magnets on your refrigerator anymore. Magnets placed on file cabinets, metal desks, metal baskets, even dry erase boards add a decorative and functional touch to the business or home office.
  • Calendars – Calendars come in all variety and styles and are everyday items found decorating most  kitchens or offices.  Once again it has both a function and an artistic value that gives it added value people are looking for.  A different picture displayed every month will add that special missing decorative element missing from a room.
  • Canvas –   These are popular at all the local fine art fairs.  The technology of putting a photograph on a printed stretched canvas has improved greatly over the last few years. Want to put a fine art landscape scene in a room?  Try a canvassed photograph and be surprised at the results.
  • Framed Fine Art – The classical photographic print.  They come in different sizes and shapes.  Placing a nice close up picture of a flower is very practical and modern. Choosing a sepia or black and white photograph highlights the artistic shades of color and movement in a rooms décor.   It gives a look that provides links to the past or modernize and update the antique to the present.

People wanting to change a room, or just give a space a wow factor use photographs.  They easily fit in places where paintings and other traditional poster print just won’t fit.

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The Story of Gulf and Clouds

The really cool thing about photography is that often times there is a story that goes with a particular picture.  Such is true with the picture Gulf and Clouds.

Ann and I were sitting at a bar in Key West Florida.  We were enjoying beautifully created Piña Coladas on a well deserved vacation.  It was one of those magical moments where you could feel the warm breeze, hear the ocean, and smell the salt of the water.

Our fabulous get away was suddenly interrupted by that satanic spawn of technology known as my wife’s cell phone.  I thought “Well, that ruins the moment.”  It was a text message from her co-worker asking where such and such file for a customer was.  Annoying!!!!   Hello!  She is on vacation!

Her response was to take a picture of the scenery with her phone.  She sent the picture back to her coworker with the following response.  “ I’m not in my office.  Be back Monday.  Maybe…..”

It was such a perfect response that I grabbed my camera and took the shot you see now.  Thus, Gulf and Clouds was born.

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Does Your Art (Pictures) Make Links?

 

Creating links is an extremely important part of the human experience. Indeed, One definition of culture is how a group of people creates links with their environment and each other while surviving both.  So what does this have to do with your pictures?

Well, do your pictures create links with your audience?

  • Physical Link: Is there a physical link in your photograph?  Things like water, rocks, leafs, or puppies.  People know these objects and find them in the physical world. This provides their link to the photograph.  The picture becomes an experience.

 

  • Emotional Link: Is there an emotional link in your picture?  Color causes emotion and that’s a good place to start.  Ever feel down or sleepy on a gloomy cloudy grey day?  That’s the power of color to cause an emotional response.  Show a picture of a dark hallway to cause fear or suspense or bright sunshine flowing off the petals of a beautiful flower to create happiness. A still lake with reds and blues will create calm. Emotional links in a picture is very powerful.

 

  • Spiritual Link:  This link is tricky as everyone is different and has a very personal link to the divine.  What may work for one viewer may not for another.  The subject of the picture needs to remind the viewer of a religious or personal story they have heard or believe in.  A ray of sunshine bursting through storm clouds or a rainbow may remind people of the story of Noah, or God.  This transmits a feeling of hope.  A picture of a wooden flute with a lotus flower signifies peace and meditation to a Buddhist or Lord Krishna to Hindus.  However, be careful you are not transgressing on a belief or a cultural system of laws.

 

  • Logical Link:  These are patterns and special relationships.  Use the rule of thirds or the Golden Ratio to meet this kind of mind stimulation.  The picture of a chessboard or checkers being played in a park or an ancient Go table with black and white pebbles.  These can create the images that stimulate your thoughts and the logical sides of the brain.

 

Truly great art will contain elements of all 4 links and more.  So there are 2 reasons why people might not like a piece of art.

  1. It has all the links, but your experience with one of them is a negative one.
  2. It’s missing one or more of these elements.

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The idea for this post came from reading parts of Multi-modal Intelligence and Multiple Intelligenceshttp://goo.gl/VRgYl

Can You Interchange Lenses?

There is a new question on whether camera lenses are interchangeable to other cameras?

The answer is a definite maybe. It depends on your camera and on the lenses you want to interchange. My opinion is that the older the lens or the camera the more likely that technology has passed you by and you are facing a planned obsolescence of one form or another.  This can even occur in the same brand let alone from one brand to another. Even so, you will most likely have a buy an adapter.

Why would a person do this?  Well, camera lenses and marriages are expensive.  “Honey, I need to buy a new DSLR and a $5,000 lens because the old one doesn’t work anymore.” is not good for your wallet or your spousal relations.   Plop a couple thousand dollars down for a camera lens and I guarantee you will want that lens to last and last and the good news is that they do.  The problem is they can last longer than the camera.

Your best shot is to Google the make of your camera.  A fair warning, There is no chart that I was able to find that covers all the possibilities even among a single brand.   Some helpful sites I was to find include:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/reviews.htm

http://www.photoimagenews.com/lens.htm

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Lens-Adapters/ci/3420/N/4077634486

 

Pros of an adapter

  • When camera lenses you own are very expensive, and very high quality.
  • When you don’t have the money to spend on a full set of new lenses.

Cons of the adapters.

  • The camera lenses you own are cheap.
  • The adapters may not give good optics.
  • They are very expensive $60 to $5000+
  • The available adapters may not fit correctly on either camera body or the lens.
  • You may lose the ability to auto-focus.
  • The sensor size in your new digital camera may not offer the same results with a lens from the age of film.

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Photographic Art that tells stories.

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