Marina Beach and Birds at Sunrise in Chennai

Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. Marina beach is a huge natural beach in Chennai, at around six kilometres in length it is the longest natural beach in India. It is also one of the most crowded beaches in the country with up to 20,000 visitors daily during the summer months. It is not only people who flock to the beach each day, every morning at sunrise thousands of birds can be also been seen at Marina Beach. Click through the slideshow below to view the birds at Marina beach, the volunteers who feed them and the people who visit early enough to see this fascinating sight:

I stayed in Chennai for a few days on my travels around India this year. I liked the city and found it a great place for photography especially the beach area which is always full of life. I discovered the feeding of the birds one morning whilst I was at the beach ready to take some photos of the sunrise. There are volunteers daily at the beach as part of the Marina Beach Pigeon Feeding Centre. They have a designated area and feed the birds daily on a designated section of the beach. The volunteers control the area and make sure nobody gets to close to disturb the feeding birds. Along with pigeons there are also a large number of crows.

If you want to view this spectacle it is best to arrive at the beach early in the morning before sunrise. The beach is already starting to get busy at this time of day with a yoga class taken place by the Ghandi statue and several people running or walking along the promenade. Further along the beach during the summer months is a small funfair which is a great place to take documentary and street photography.

I spent six months traveling around India from South to North via Bangladesh before a brief visit to Nepal and finally Sri Lanka. I have literally thousands of photos from the trip which now need editing and I plan to write some more blog posts in the coming weeks. More of my travel photography from my India travels can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or collaborating in any way please email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

3 Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Family Moments

Whether you’re trying to make the everyday moments last forever or just capture those special times in your kid’s childhoods, there’s a lot to learn about the art of lifestyle photography. Even inexperienced photographers can master the basics to create a quality image that lasts a lifetime. These memories are what you’ll look back on as your kids age. They’ll love that you had an eye for these special moments and knew to capture them early on.

How exactly do you capture these moments? Not only do you need the right gear, but you also need some perspective. While smartphone cameras have come a long way, they’re not nearly as flexible and powerful as a DSLR. Luckily, the price of entry-level DSLR cameras has reduced dramatically recently, so photographers of all levels now have access to this technology. Next, you’ll need to follow the 3 tips below to master the art of capturing family moments:

Photography Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Family Moments

Photography Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Family Moments

Image via Pexels

1. Focus on the Details

The memories all rely on the details. In a few years, you’ll likely remember your child’s first birthday or their excitement on Christmas morning. What you won’t remember is their toothless grin or the way they twirl their hair. These are the small details that make your images come alive with stories.

This doesn’t mean you need to hyper-focus in on the smallest details (unless that’s your goal). Instead, focus on composition. Even the most ordinary circumstance becomes extraordinary if you consider how to build a photo around a single detail.

Think about the perspective of your composition as well. For instance, many adults opt for taking photos at their own height. This makes sense since it’s how you see the world. Step outside of that perspective and get on your child’s own level. Take the photo from their perspective. These are the small things that tell a very real story of our lives.

Taking photos of the family.

Taking photos of the family.

Image via Pexels

2. Artificial Conditions

While it’s important to take photos of everyday life, some special events call for a little more planning. Using backdrops and props doesn’t mean your photography will appear tacky. If done tastefully, it can be a great way to commemorate special moments in your family life. Denny Manufacturing makes a variety of unique props and backdrops, and these don’t have that stale quality you see at run-of-the-mill photography shops.

Artificial conditions also give you more freedom to play with lighting and effects. While natural lighting is usually best for most photography, when you’re working with a set, whether professional or homemade, there are no limits to what you can create.

The reality is that sometimes you have to make the magic happen. Kids definitely can be cute all on their own, but sometimes they need some help. Creating scenarios that bring out these adorable moments is just part of capturing memories.

Photography tips: taking photos of your children.

Photography tips: taking photos of your children.

Image via Pexels

3. Bring Your Camera Everywhere

Finally, as said before, you never know when your kid will be doing something special. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of smartphones which we have with us at all times. Bringing your camera with you everywhere is the best way to capture both the exciting and the mundane. While your smartphone might get the job done, do you want to look back on your images only to discover they’re blurry and dark?

The more you get accustomed to traveling with your DSLR, the easier it will be to scope out these special moments. Your children only have one childhood. You don’t want to miss out on a single second, and these photos will last a lifetime.

Final Thoughts

Understanding just a few simple things will help you make the most of these family photos. You don’t need a lifetime of professional experience to get the hang of family photography. Since you know your family the best, you can determine when the camera needs to be nearby to create snapshots of those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

You’ll be surprised by just how incredible even the small things are. Every moment you spend with your loved ones is precious. Make the most of it with your camera.

This was a guest blog written by Wendy Dessler from The Blog Frog. If you are interested in writing a guest blog or other forms of collaboration please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com. More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my Flickr account.

Geraint Rowland Photography on Getty Images

For the last couple of months I have been going through years of old photos and adding them to my Getty Images account.  It’s a very laborious and time consuming process but hopefully one that will bring in some financial gains in the months to come.  You can view some of my photographs available via Getty images in the slideshow below:

I was originally invited to join Getty images around seven years ago when they joined a partnership with Flickr.  Several of the photos on my Flickr account were chosen to be part of the Flickr collection on Getty including: this travel image of a cat in Chefchaouen, Morocco and this street photograph of a bicycle locked up in London.  I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time and only made a couple of sales over a twelve month period.  If I recall correctly it was only images that they invited from your Flickr account that could go on to the collection at that time.  

In 2014 Getty ended their partnership with Flickr but maintained the user’s contracts.  Therefore if you were an existing Flickr contributor to Getty you could continue on the platform.  In fact they began inviting those contributors to upload more photos to Getty images.  It was around this time whilst travelling in Peru that I met a couple who made their money through stock photography.  They encouraged me to get on board but it did sound like a lot of time and effort at the time, especially whilst travelling. 

How to sell photographs via Getty Images

The upload process for all stock agencies is time consuming and monotonous.  In addition it is difficult to discover concrete information about how stock photography agencies work (especially with Getty) and there is also a lot of competition.  A search for ‘Travel’ on Getty images will produce over four million results, and that is just one of many stock agencies.  So what do you have to do?  Well firstly you have to have sellable, high quality images.  Getty seems to favour artistic imagery more than some of the other agencies but the photos still need to be technically correct with regards to focus and composition.  Next you have the upload process, this involves uploading the images to the Getty platform and adding information to each image.  This information includes: Title, Description and up to fifty key words.  Although you can attach this information to a batch of uploaded images this process takes a long time!  

After submitting your images you then have to wait for the Getty employees to review your work and either accept it, decline it, or send it back for revision.  This waiting period used to take a very long time and could be weeks before anyone even checked the images.  This was another reason I used to tire of the process and gave up trying.  Another is the two month delay in royalty payments and a third issue is their outdated, difficult-to-use upload system.  However, Getty have drastically reduced the waiting time for this process and in my experience images are accepted (or returned) much faster now, often in a 24 hour period.

As I have been finding out there are several reasons for rejecting an image: Getty will not accept images with children under the age of 18.  Images that have recognisable people or property in them need a signed model release form or they can only be sold under an Editorial License.  Certain famous buildings and landmarks in the world are copyrighted and therefore need further information added to the description field of the image.  This is true for the City of Arts & Sciences buildings in Valencia.  Any recognisable trademarks or branding will also be rejected or returned and asked for a revision of the image with the logos removed.  Getty also seem to reject images with street art or graffiti, presumably due to fear of trademark or copyright themselves.

Is it worth it and can you make money via stock photography?

The couple I met in Peru were making around $1000 dollars a month when I last spoke to them around 5 years ago.  They had been in the stock photography game a long time and treated it as a full time job, researching the trends thoroughly and uploading a lot of photos.  Even back then I remember them telling me that it was becoming harder to make a living via stock photography.  Recent feedback I have been receiving from other members on the Getty forum has supported this:  The average price for images sold seems to be constantly decreasing whilst the struggle to get your images seen amongst the huge collection increases daily.

In addition, Getty take a huge slice of the profits, around 80% of the sale, putting a large amount of photographers off using their platform in the first place.  However, Getty is the largest stock agency in the world, and as such they are far more likely to sell the image than you are.  Once the initial time consuming task of uploading the images is completed, all you have to do as a photographer is sit back and wait for the money to roll in (or not as the case may be!). 

If like myself you have a large amount of photos on various hard drives that you are doing nothing with, why not have a go at stock photography?  The key to making it work in the least painful way is to make regular uploads to the stock agencies as and when you take new photos.  Instead I have delayed it for over five years, with tens of thousands of disorganised photos making the task far more complicated than it should have been.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing. 

I would love to hear from anyone who has experience with Getty images or one of the other photographic stock agency companies.  It has been a steep learning curve for me and I am still trying to figure out the system.  At time of writing I have over one thousand images available for license on Getty images (double the number I had six months ago).  I still have several years of travel photos to plough through and upload in the new few weeks.  The images I have available for license via Getty images can be found here.

More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook 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.

Picture a Healthier World: Art & Photography by Geraint Rowland

Some of my travel photography and abstract artworks are now available as greeting cards and prints via 'Picture a Healthier World'. The organisation supports global health & human rights through art.  The images are available as folded greeting cards or as prints in various sizes and with a range of frames.  For a look at some of the images I have for sale via 'Picture a Healthier World' click through the slide show below:

About the Organisation 

Picture A Healthier World (PAHW) is a growing, global community of artists with a shared belief in our limitless capacity to change the world through art.  The organisation raises exposure for artists' work while turning their art into meaningful health and human rights services around the world.  Sales of the artwork go towards bringing health services to communities in need around the world.  Currently, profits support the following initiatives led by UNICEF: clean water, measles vaccinations and school supplies.  

You can find out more about Picture a Healthy World on their blog.  My artwork & photography available via the organisation can be viewed here.  More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  For any questions please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Photojournal - Streets of Havana (Photo Essay for the Sixth Issue of Dezine Magazine)

I recently spent a week photographing the streets of Havana, the Capital of Cuba.  It is an amazing city for photography: full of colourful vintage cars, beautiful people who are full of character, and interesting ramshackle architecture.  This blog was published as a photojournal for the online magazine Dezine.  Click through the slideshow below to view my Cuban travel images from the capital:

Cuba is a country located in the Caribbean, south of the US state of Florida, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica.  Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and has over 11 million inhabitants.  Havana is the capital city and leading commercial centre of Cuba.  Below is a description of the photos in the slideshow above in the order they are seen with links to the individual images on my Flickr account:

1.  Havana is full of colourful old classic cars.  Here one causes a splash after a rainfall in front of an Orthodox Russian Church along the seafront.  

2.  The city of Havana attracts over a million tourists annually, subsequently the entrepreneurial locals have figured out ways to cash in such as posing for photographs with the local cigars.

3.  The streets of Havana are full of energy and life.  Here a taxi driver stops to buy some fresh fruit, while a man on his bicycle sells freshly cut flowers.

4.  You hear music everywhere in Havana, here some street musicians play the classic Cuban song, 'Guantanamera'.

5.  Along with classic cars you will find many other forms of transport in Havana including the Horse & Cart which is used an an alternative form of taxi for the locals.

6.  Evidence of Cuban's communist past still exist throughout Havana.  Here a local poses as Che Guevara for the benefit of the tourists.  

7.  Havana is full of beautiful, colourful, old colonial buildings, many of which have fallen into ruin including these along the seafront.

I have written two previous photography blog posts from my trip to Cuba, the first being, 'Street Portraits in Havana, Cuba', and the second, 'Cuba and Cigars'.  More of my travel photography from Havana can be found on my website, my Facebook and my Flickr account.  This photo journal, 'Streets of Havana' can be viewed in full here in the sixth issue of Dezine magazine.  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

Portrait Photography using an Anamorphic Lens

I have written a previous blog about anamorphic photography and my experiences using an anamorphic lens with a DSLR camera.  Upon recently viewing my website statistics I discovered that a large volume of traffic to my website was due to the above blog titled, 'Anamorphic Photography by Geraint Rowland'.  I therefore decided to write an additional blog focussing on my experiences of using an anamorphic lens to take portrait photos.  Click through the slide show below to view some of my anamorphic portrait examples:

The interest in both my blog on anamorphic photography and my page on anamorphic photos themselves was a surprise to begin with.  Search terms most often used on google to find this blog included: 'anamorphic photography', 'geraint rowland', 'anamorphic lens for photography', 'anamorphic photo', and 'anamorphic dslr'.  

Why take Anamorphic Portraits?

However, in today's image saturated world of social media including Instagram & Facebook many photographers are looking for alternative ways to take photos.  This is especially true with portrait photography with photographers experimenting with different lighting techniques as well as lenses, and the shoot locations themselves.  With so many good photographers in the World today, anamorphic photography can offer an alternative way to take images that can not be replicated post production.  

There is something very unique about a photo taken with an anamorphic lens.  The images have a very particular cinematic quality with a shallow depth of field yet on a wide shot.  The lenses also bend the light in a particular way that can not be replicated due to their oval shape inside. And then there are the unusual horizontal flares that are produced that are often seen in movies especially science fiction.  The amount of flare you can achieve depends on what primary lens you are using, the new advanced lenses are built in a way that tries to prevent any kind of flare from occurring.  

I haven't used my anamorphic lens for several years as it can be a bit of a fiddle both using the lens and then again in post production.  However, with patience and some practice it can produce some excellent and original looking portraits that will stand out from the crowd.  All of the anamorphic photos above were taken with a Canon 5D2 and a Canon 85mm 1.8 lens with a red isco Schneider ultra star HD x1.75 anamorphic lens.

More examples of my anamorphic photography and portrait photography can be found on my website or on my Flickr account.  Or you can view my Instagram account here, I appreciate any follows and comments!  If you are interested in purchasing any of my anamorphic prints or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Photo Art and Prints for Sale by Geraint Rowland Photography

You can now buy prints of my travel photography via Linda Wisdom Photography Co on Etsy. Check out the shop for a selection of my travel images as well as a range of excellent photos from the talented photographer Linda Wisdom herself.   The images are available in a range of sizes and on high quality Fuji photo paper.  There is currently a 10% sale on all the images!  For a visual representation of some of my images for sale click through the slide show below:

A range of my travel photography is available via Linda Wisdom's Etsy shop including some of my abstract ocean images, my colourful Cuban car shots, photographs from Machu Picchu, and some colourful and cute photos from Senegal.

Geraint Rowland is a travel photographer from Cardiff who is currently based in Lima, Peru.  He has spent a large amount of time living and traveling in South America.  He enjoys taking candid photography of people around the World as well as capturing the beauty in the nature.

Linda Wisdom is a street photographer based in London.  She takes beautiful timeless images in black and white throughout the streets of London.  She runs Street Photography courses via Airbnb in London & Lisbon.  Take a look at some of her street photos on Facebook.  

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.  

Parque Kennedy, a Park full of Cats in Lima, Peru

In Lima, the capital of Peru you can visit Parque Kennedy, a park full of cats. It's up there with Machu Picchu with things to see and do in Peru...  All joking aside, Parque Kennedy or Kennedy Park is a beautiful, well kept park in the tourist district of Lima called Miraflores.  Full of fresh flowers, cats, and with free wifi it is a great place to go and relax amongst nature in the city. Click through the slideshow below to view some of the adorable cats living in the Park:

Where is Parque Kennedy?

Parque Kennedy is located in the centre of Miraflores, one of the main tourist areas of Lima. Miraflores is full of shops, restaurants, hotels and hostels, a very clean and safe area to walk around at day or night.  Miraflores is approximately 18km (11 miles) away from Jorge Chávez International Airport and some 11km (7 miles) from Lima's downtown area.  Parque Kennedy is less than a mile away from the coastal park areas (Malecon de Miraflores) on the cliffs overlooking the ocean and the beaches themselves of Miraflores and the Costa Verde.

Why all the Cats?

At some stage in the not too distance past people started dropping off their unwanted cats to the park.  It didn't take long and there were over one hundred Cats in Parque Kennedy and further breeding started.  When I first visited Lima in 2011 there were actually a lot more cats than there are today due to the help of a local feline adoption association called 'Gatos Parque Kennedy'.  The majority of the cats are now sterilized, and well fed and looked after by the local volunteers.  Via the association people can now adopt the cats which has helped to keep the numbers down.  Although the numbers have gone down there are still plenty of Cats throughout the park, climbing the trees, shading in the flowers and getting spoilt by the tourists and locals alike.

Kennedy Park, aside from the Cats

In addition to the cute cats, and well kept gardens there is plenty to do and see in Parque Kennedy making it a regular attraction for both tourists and locals alike.  Surrounding the park are  several artists who sell their arts and crafts including paintings, fabrics and so on.  Delicious fast food, sweet and savoury can be bought at affordable prices throughout the park.  In the centre of Kennedy Parque is a small amiphetre which is often used for small concerts, performances or dancing.  Sunday's in particular are a good day to go and watch the local people dance salsa which always draws a big crowd.  There is even a beautiful church, so visit Parque Kennedy when in Lima and stroke some cats...

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.  

Down by the Sea, Senegal

I recently spent a couple of months in Senegal, a country in West Africa.  I spent the majority of that time in the capital Dakar, mainly at the beach town of Yoff.  The town is built along the broad beach at Yoff Bay which faces the Atlantic Ocean, directly north of the city centre of Dakar.  In West Africa the beach is much more than a place to relax and soak up the sun.  Click through the slideshow below for some of my travel photos taken at Yoff Beach in Dakar:

The beach at Yoff is used as a means of transportation with Horse & Cart transporting people and produce along the beach.  In the afternoons the beach becomes a huge gym with hundreds of Sengalese coming to exercise in groups or alone.  Several football games take place along the stretch of sand and men practice the Sengalese form of wrestling by the shore.  Yoff is also a place to pray with one of the biggest Mosques in Dakar situated overlooking the beach.  

The most important function of the beach however is access to the ocean for it's fish.  At the far end of the beach lies the fishing centre where many colourful fishing boats line the sand.  On the shore women wash and prepare the fish, old fridges lie around storing the catch of the day and locals visit to make a purchase.  Everyone here seems to be involved in some way with fishing, be it transporting, cleaning, cooking, catching or selling the daily catch.  A very lively and colourful place it was great for photography.  The beach also has regular and consistent surf, another good reason to visit and spend a few days there...

More of my travel photography from Senegal 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.

Street Portraits in Havana, Cuba

I recently spent a week in Havana, the Capital of Cuba.  It's a great place for photos, full of old classic cars, interesting architecture, and a lot of colour.  Whilst in Havana I also took several portrait shots of some of the locals.  When I first started taking photos I took mainly nature shots: flowers and landscapes.  I then became interested in Street photography capturing people around the World in a candid manner.  A friend once told me that the best photographs are those which contain people and I now tend to agree with that more and more.  Click through the slideshow below for some black and white Cuban portraits:

All of the above photos were taken with a Canon 5D IV using natural light.  The lenses used were the Canon 50mm 1.4 prime lens and the Sigma Art lens at 135mm.  Some of the people I captured in Havana were there for the tourism and received money in exchange for photos, but a couple were strangers in the street whom I asked if I could photograph.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and with street portraits I believe you get an even more interesting story from an image.  I was happy with the head shots I got in and around Havana and plan to take some more in the future.  I converted the images to black and white using Lightroom as I preferred the overall mood of the resulting series.  However, Havana is a colourful place and it is often nice to see the images in colour.  One of the cigar smoking ladies can be seen in colour here, whilst the cigar smoking gentleman can be viewed here.

Cuba is a country located in the Caribbean, south of the US state of Florida, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica.  Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and has over 11 million inhabitants. Havana (Habana or La Habana in Spanish) is the capital city and leading commercial centre of Cuba.

More of my travel photography from Cuba can be found on my website, my Facebook 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.