You may have seen countless posts about travel photography tips online. Most of them touch on more or less the same stuff, which is fairly obvious or pretty commonplace.
In this post I’ll discuss travel photography tips that I would consider fairly unusual. They aren’t something you commonly hear and they’re focused on RV travel. The tips come from years of my own experiences combining photography with the RV lifestyle.
I try to create photos that are unique to the place but different from the masses of images out there in cyberspace and elsewhere. I’d say that the knowledge I’ve accumulated from years of RV travel has helped. And, these tips may help you too.
The main “event” is often not the main thing photographically
The main event can be a festival, an RV rally, a bird sanctuary, a special event, even a market day. Sometimes these main events are amazing, but other times shooting “around” them and without the crowds makes for much more interesting and engaging photos. The above photo is just one example.
It was taken at 6 a.m.—before the major events of the annual Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge started. Just the sunrise, the sandhill cranes as they prepare for flight and a few avid photographers that brave an early morning November chill.
There won’t be a next time
I’m sure I’m not the only one who says “That’s a great scene, but I’m just too tired, or I’m in a hurry. I’ll return later when there’s improved quality of light or come back another day.” There’s rarely a next time—and if there is, conditions have changed.
I photographed this Rocky Mountain goat in Jasper National Park one afternoon while traveling on the Yellowhead Highway to points west. I saw the goats while driving our motorhome—a rare sighting as these sure-footed beasts are more commonly seen at precipitous heights in alpine regions. I took advantage of the opportunity right there and then. I’ve driven this route dozens of times over the years and have seen wapiti (elk) and Rocky Mountain sheep without another sighting of goats.
Try a new perspective
This tip involves putting yourself into interesting positions. Sometimes eye level is boring and switching things up can help dramatically—get high, get low, or get sideways.
Try actually lying on the ground and taking some photos. The world looks really different from down there and your photos will be completely different too. Really intrigued by an insect pollinating a wildflower? Get down on the ground and shoot from their level as I did in the above photo of Mexican poppies along the Pinal Parkway near Coolidge, Arizona.
Going high and low is a fun way to photograph any scene. Yes, you may get some strange looks but who cares—you’re the one with the memorable photo.
Aim to have the action on your doorstep
By action, I mean whatever you came to photograph. Desert flora and fauna? Early morning or late day light? National or state park? Whatever that is, you want to be close to it—and you can be by careful and insightful choice of campgrounds or RV resort.
The photo I’ve included is of early morning light at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa, Arizona. Camping in the park enabled me to shoot early every morning when the place was buzzing with energy.
When the weather is bad, run for the camera
When we think RV travel photography we anticipate sunny blue skies and dread dark, cloudy skies and grey, wet scenes. An unanticipated snowfall along the road or at your camping site can provide some great photo opportunities which aren’t your typical post card shots. The above photo at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada is an example.
Be prepared regardless of the weather.
No matter how advanced your camera you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want.