travel blog

Travel Portraits by Geraint Rowland

During my travels I often capture people around the world in a candid manner in their natural environment.  As my confidence has grown and my photographic skills have improved I have begun taking more portrait photographs.  These are often what are called 'environmental portraits', a portrait taken in the subject's usual environment and which normally include the surroundings as well as the person.  More recently I have also started taking 'head shot' style portraits, a tighter cropped image where the focus is on the persons face only.  For my head shots I normally ask the person for their permission first.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of my travel portraits:

With the majority of travel portraits above I asked for permission for the image to be taken. Often in touristy areas you are required or asked to pay for such portraits as was the case in Cusco, Peru, and Havana, Cuba.  The image of the Mexican girl in the Day of the Dead makeup and the final image of the Bolivian lady were the exceptions as both were caught candidly.  The beauty of head shots and or tightly cropped portraits is that you minimise the clutter in the background of the image.

All of the portraits were taken using a Canon 5D (Mark 2 or 4) and the majority were with the Canon 50mm 1.4.  Other lenses used were the Canon 85mm 1.8 and the Sigma Art Lens 135mm 1.8.  All of the images were taken using natural light and without the use of a flash.  The images were often taken with a shallow depth of field to create a pleasing background and draw attention to the persons face.  Images of people from around the world fascinate me, I think that they tell you more about a place than a landscape ever can.  In the future I want to focus more on portraits and improve my skills in this area of photography.  

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like any more information about any of my images please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Volunteering in Lima, Peru with Reciprocity NGO

I have recently been volunteering for Reciprocity NGO, a great NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) in Lima, Peru.  Reciprocity NGO is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the living conditions in the pueblos jóvenes (shanty towns) of Lima, Peru.  Visiting these areas is a real eye opener.  They are a short distance from the posh high rise districts of Miraflores and La Molina but a World apart.  These communities live in extreme poverty, many in small wooden huts without access to running water or electricity.  Click through the slideshow below to see some of the communities supported by Reciprocity:

About Reciprocity NGO

Through various humanitarian projects they strive to improve the lives of those living in extreme poverty within Lima.  The projects combined with the hard work of the Reciprocity volunteers and locals helps to establish a foundation for the communities to build on and become self-sustainable in the future.  Work varies to cater specifically for what is needed most, but the aim is to ensure the people have basic infrastructure.  This may include: building safe stairways and supporting walls, community centres and schools, clearing the communities of garbage and planting flowers and trees.

Although the organisation works with the communities as a whole,  their primary focus is on the children.  Reciprocity NGO believes that by providing the younger generation with access to education, nutrition, social capital, and hope they are giving them the tool to escape the poverty cycle.  More information about Reciprocity NGO and the story behind their founder Edwin Rojas can be found here.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of the cute & cheeky kids supported by Reciprocity NGO in Lima, Peru, South America:

Reciprocity NGO are always looking for volunteers and donations.  The volunteers are a really nice group of people from Peru and around the World.  They take you safely to the communities via mini bus from Miraflores before dropping you back later, and there is no cost involved.  If you want to help, send them an email: ong.reciprocity@gmail.com or you can Whats App or call.

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, or are interested in collaborating please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

A Frame within a Frame: A useful composition technique in photography.

What is a 'Frame within a Frame'?

In photography, a frame within a frame is when the photographer uses something within the scene in front of them to frame the main subject.  Therefore a second frame is created within the image hence: a frame within a frame.  This compositional technique can improve your image in several ways: Firstly it draws attention to the subject helping to isolate it from any distraction and clutter within the image.  Secondly it can add depth and layers to an otherwise flat and boring image.  Finally a frame within a frame can create mystery and intrigue within a photo resulting in the viewer exploring the picture for longer.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of my travel images which use the 'frame within a frame' method of composition:

Why should you use a 'Frame within a Frame'?

Composition is one of the most important aspects of photography.  Correct composition can transform an ordinary scene into a great picture.  Unlike certain elements of photography such as lighting, no technical knowledge is required for successful composition.  Finally, anyone with a camera can take images using this technique.  Regardless of price, make or model, anyone with a camera or mobile phone can go and try today.

Opportunities for Framing

Opportunities for framing a scene are endless but often go unnoticed.  For example, nature often provides a vast number of natural frames such as trees, clouds or flowers.  In addition there are many man made objects which can be used equally well.  These can include: windows, archways, bridges, buildings and so on.  The more of this kind of image you take, the more potential you will see in everyday situations.  In the slide show above, framing examples have included: modern art in Havana, car window frames in West Africa, a boat in Peru, shadows in a street shot in Cuba, bananas at a market stall in Lima, and an archway of a palace in Madrid.  Wedding, travel, and street photographers all regularly take photos using this compositional method of a frame within a frame.  

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, or are interested in collaborating please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Panning Photography by Geraint Rowland

What is panning?  Panning is a technique used when photographing moving subjects.  The basic idea behind panning photography is that you pan your camera along in time with the moving subject.  Once perfected it can produce images with a relatively sharp subject and a blurred background.  This blurring of the background adds to the overall feeling of speed and movement and can be used effectively with any fast moving subject such as cars, animals, cyclists etc.  Click through the slideshow below for some panning photography examples that I have taken on my travels:

How to master the photographic technique of panning

Panning photography requires a lot of practice and often some luck.  For successful panning your camera should follow the subject's movement whilst matching it's speed and direction. Panning is easiest with subjects that are moving in a relatively straight line so that you can predict where they will be moving to.  A recent famous example of this is the photo of Usian Bolt winning the 100 metre race at the Rio 2016 Olympics.  The photographer talks about taking the photo here.  

Some tips for taking successful panning photographs:

Use a slow shutter speed.  Experiment depending on the light and speed of the subject but start with 1/60 or lower.  Bear in mind that the faster your shutter speed the easier it will be to keep the subject crisp.  The faster the subject, the more difficult it will be to pan, meaning cyclists and skateboarders will be easier to pan than motorcycles and racing cars.

Track your subject.  Follow the subject before during and after the shot in a smooth and continuous motion.

Set the Shooting mode to Continuous.  This will allow for more opportunity to capture the best moment as well as minimising camera shake from pressing the shutter.

Choose an interesting background.  Although the background will be blurred it will form an important part of the photo so choose a background that is interesting and colourful.

Keep your camera as stable as possible.  Due to the slower shutter speed there is an increased chance of motion blur.  I recommend using the viewfinder as opposed to an LCD screen when panning. 

Practice makes perfect.  As with everything in photography, practice is required.  Try panning with different moving subjects and in different locations until you master this difficult technique.  I had some time recently to give the technique a revisit in Havana with all of its colourful vintage cars.

More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.