Basically the title says it all. Today we’re going to talk about travel photography and the most important rule in travel photography is to ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA AT THE READY!
When traveling to new places that you’ve never been before you never know what you’re going to see and experience. There could be a perfect photo opportunity lying just around the corner and if you’re camera isn’t out and ready to go when you turn that corner chances are you’ll miss it.
Even a short taxi ride from the airport to your destination can yield photo opportunities. Perhaps the driver will pass a famous landmark building along the way. Or you might see some interesting native folks whose photo would help to show just how different the place is your visiting. Or maybe you’ll pass some wild looking plants like nothing you’ve ever encountered before.
It’s pretty hard to snap photos of these things while flying by them at 55 MPH if you don’t have your camera ready to go and accessible. I knew a guy who loved taking photos out car windows on the way to and from the airport. At first I wasn’t quite sure what the benefit was, but once I saw them it immediately became clear.
To further stress my point let me tell you a story about an amazing, colorful, and eerily bizarre thing that I encountered in the Detroit Airport of all places…the famous Light Tunnel.
In the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (man that’s a really long name) hidden under the tarmac, connecting the “B” and “C” concourses with the Main Terminal building lies the Light Tunnel. An amazing and other-worldly sensory overload of color, sound, and awesomeness.
My first encounter with this strange beast occurred roughly 2 years ago on a connecting flight from Huntsville, AL back to NY. I changed planes in Detroit. During my first encounter with the Light Tunnel it really snuck up on me and I had no idea it was there or even what it was.
You see the Light Tunnel’s light and sound show is not continuous, so sometimes when you encounter it you may just think “Oh this passage has some cool architecture and I like the way it’s lit” as shown in the photo below.
This is exactly what I saw. So picture it…I just got off my plane with only a 30 minute layover before my next plane. I’m rushing to find it while I’m on the phone with somebody.
I start walking down this passage way not really noticing it too much, when all of a sudden. The lights go out…this really funky new age music starts to play and the passage way explodes into all kinds of strobing pulsing changing colors! I couldn’t believe it. Did I enter some sort of twilight zone? Am I on a bad acid trip? Did I just get smacked in the face by a big rainbow lollypop???!!!
It was incredible, I remember remarking to the person on the other end of the phone “I don’t know where the heck I just traveled to but it’s one hell of a show”. Of course I didn’t have time to really enjoy it or take it all in since I had a plane to catch at a gate on the far end of the terminal in just 10 minutes.
So I rushed through it and got to my plane just as they were closing the doors. The absolute worse part about it is that I DID NOT follow my own advice and have my camera ready. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnesses with no proof or visual reference to show people. How would they believe that I really experienced this and it wasn’t just a bad case of jet-lag.
Often times in life, opportunities like this are never repeated so that is why it’s super important to have your camera ready to grab that photograph at any time!
Ah but how does my story end you ask? Well lucky I recently had the opportunity to travel through the Detroit Airport again, but this time I was ready! I now knew the great light show that awaited me when I stopped to change planes and I was going to take full advantage of it! I scheduled myself a 2 hour layover…plenty of time.
So now we come to an important rule that’s universal in all photography. “Do whatever you have to do to get the shot!”
I got off my first plane and headed straight for the Light Tunnel. I unpacked my camera and Gorilla-pod and proceeded to sit on the floor right here in the spot circled in the photograph. What a strange sight I must have been sitting on the floor in a pedestrian walkway in the middle of an airport with a camera mounted on a Gorilla-pod taking photos.
For almost 1 hour I proceeded to take all sorts of photos of the Light Tunnel with it’s crazy psychedelic light show.
All the while I was getting odd looks from travelers as they rushed along hurriedly trying to make their next flight. No less than 3 times did airport workers come over to me to ask “are you ok?” “Do you have a problem?” “Do you need medical help?”
I must’ve looked pretty strange to all of them, but I didn’t care I was getting some awesome shots, and erasing a mistake I made 2 years earlier when I was one of those travelers rushing to my next gate not stopping to see and photograph the incredible sight surrounding me.
So the next time you guys are traveling learn from my mistakes, and be ready at all times to snap that great photo. Please feel free to share your results with us.
For those of you who are curious about the Light Tunnel at the Detroit Airport here is some more information courtesy of Wikipedia the full article may be viewed by clicking here:
This walkway, known as the Light Tunnel, features an elaborate multi-colored light show behind sculpted glass panels extending the entire length of the walkway, as well several moving walkways. The light patterns are synchronized with an original musical score composed by Victor Alexeeff, which runs for nearly a half hour before repeating. This installation, one of the first large scale uses of color changing LED lighting in the United States, was produced by Mills James Productions with glasswork by Foxfire Glass Works of Pontiac, Michigan. The display won multiple lighting design awards including the prestigious Guth Award of Merit. For passengers who are prone to medical conditions such as seizures, there are buttons at each end of the tunnel that will suspend the light show for five minutes so they can pass through with no adverse effects.
Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several nationally circulated magazines and publications. In addition, his work can currently be seen in 2 exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios