Travel photography shouldn’t be a through the hordes. Geoff Harris points the way to some of the planet’s less packed, but still very photographic, places.
With winter coming to an end, many readers will be thinking about which photography destinations to visit on their next holiday or shorter trip. The problem is we are for choice as it’s never been easier to get to photogenic places. Problem number two is that every other photographer, be they a less-exalted snapper, will often be heading to the same photography destinations. Landscape pro Tom Mackie recently lamented having to queue for over an hour to enter a particularly ‘serene’ temple in Japan only to find the place with trying to get the same shot. To help you beat the hordes while still getting great pictures, we’ve asked some top travel photographers and AP readers to share their favorite photography destinations off the beaten track.
In terms of what gear to take it depends on your favorite genres and how much room you have but think about a relatively light camera body a 50mm or 85mm ‘fast’ prime lens for portraits a wide angle zoom to soak up impressive landscapes and architecture and a 24-70mm workhorse zoom along with a travel tripod and essential lters such as polarisers.
We can’t hope to cover everywhere in this article and have focused on Europe, Scandinavia, so please tell us your favorite ‘less visited’ photo destinations too.
Aland Islands, Finland
Norway’s Lofoten Islands and Iceland are now full of photographers but there is plenty more of Scandinavia to enjoy such as the Åland Islands. ‘This Baltic archipelago sprawls between southwest Finland and eastern Sweden,’ says award-winning travel, Tim Bird. ‘The islands are connected by bridges and ferries, making it easy to explore the rolling landscapes and shoot rugged shorelines rustic meadows medieval castles and stone churches and red-barn farms. As well as the coastal landscapes wildlife photographers can see, whooping swans and migrating birds in spring white-tail deer elk and seals.’
Camargue, Southern France
‘You don’t have to travel to the ends of the Earth to get somewhere truly remote,’ says regular AP contributor Steve Davey. ‘The Camargue in Southern France is a vast wetland where cowboys or ‘gardians’ on white horses raise black bulls, and flamingos fly up from Africa. Head to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for a sunset drink as flamingos fly overhead; head on a 4WD safari into the wetlands for the best wildlife opportunities and time your visit for May, where gypsies from all over Europe congregate for a pilgrimage.’ Steve is giving travel photography workshops at the Destinations Travel.
In Finland remote doesn’t always mean ‘inaccessible’. ‘A good road reaches the village of Kilpisjärvi in the far north-west way above the Arctic Circle in Lapland and near borders with Norway and Sweden,’ Tim Bird adds. ‘Finland doesn’t have many “proper” mountains but the fells in this area rise to above 1,000 metres – great backgrounds for aurora scenes. My favorite time is autumn, when the Arctic vegetation is a palette of blazing reds and oranges.’
One of several Estonian Baltic islands restricted to the military in the Soviet era Hiiumaa is now open to all although it retains many relics of that era together with a well-preserved natural environment. The island is a rich store of camera fodder blessed with meadows carpeted in spring flowers and pine forests harbouring surprises such as rusting Soviet tanks a crumbling Russian church, a forlorn military cemetery and derelict bunkers and lighthouses.