Getting this Shot | Adventure Photography

Adventure photography doesn’t always have to be about the epic wildlife and/or landscapes you encounter.  Sometimes it’s about documenting the journey.  This is crucial for storytelling, but it also can yield some fun photos and allow you to get creative.

  • Photographing maps is a great way to document your journey…not just for record keeping, but it’s a unique way to inject an honest sense of adventure in your trip photo album. Trips based on yachts are perfect for this (Galapagos, Alaska’s Inside Passage, etc.), as the bridge usually has both extensive and detailed maps of the areas along with unique measurement instruments typical of nautical navigation.  During some down time, visit the bridge and ask the captain if you can take a photo of your current position.  Very likely he or she will be delighted to show you, and you’ll get a nifty photo out of it
  • The map itself is great, but see if you can put a pencil, or better yet a navigation instrument on or near the map.
  • The real trick to this type of photo is to have a very shallow depth of field. That is, a very small f-stop number.  This adds in the artistic element by creating depth and a bit of intrigue in the photo.  All rules are meant to be broken, so don’t let me convince you to not take a birds eye view of the map directly from above, or another angle that you find particularly pleasing.  However, by getting the camera down low and close to the map, you’ll be able to force your camera to blur the parts of the photo outside the plane of focus.  For instance, if you shoot with an aperture of f/4, and focus on a point in the map in the middle of the frame, the parts of the photo closer and farther from that middle focal point will have a bit of blur to them, just like in the above photo.
  • And that’s pretty much it! But it doesn’t stop there…taking close up photos of dials on the bridge, the barometer at the desk, or a dial showing speed of the vessel are all unique shots that will add to your album and are easy to photograph during motoring times.