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For me to say This is Sri Lanka, I’d only be telling you half the story of this unique island off the coast of India.  I made a mistake in Sri Lanka that I rarely make when I travel.  I made a reservation at a hotel in Colombo and that’s the only plan I made.

Colombo is the capital city of Sri Lanka and it’s not the most desirable city in the world.  The hotel where I stayed was also being renovated so I was jolted awake every morning by the sound of a jackhammer.  I’m an easy going kind of guy and I go with the flow wherever I am in this world.  But the bang bang bang wake up call was a bit much even for me.  And, there was no way out of the reservation.  I tried.

So, I found a small beach resort near Galle in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka and I parked myself there until it was near time to leave.  This sounds like a bad attitude to have, but the truth is I just wanted peace and quiet.  I wanted to vegetate on a beach.  And, so I did.

By taking the action I did, I missed out on what Sri Lanka truly has to offer.  I have good reason to return one day to properly explore.

All that said, I was dropped in the middle of a Sri Lanka jungle as the beach resort was overbooked a couple of nights.  Going with the flow as I normally do, I went along and had an experience I’ll never forget.  The jungle was great and I still got the peace and quiet I was seeking save for the unknown creature sounds in the middle of the night.

As with any travel destination you’ll want to take great photos.  Consider the following travel photo tips:

Use the camera grid

The “rule of thirds” is a theory that images are more aesthetically appealing when the main subject lies one third of the way across, and down, your image – it makes an image more interesting than if you put the subject square in the middle. To help you with this there is an option to place a grid of thirds over your viewfinder screen. The button to turn this on isn’t found in the camera app itself but rather the “Photos & Camera” tab in the settings app.

It also has a bonus effect – the straight line helps put an end to images with distracting wonky horizons.

Boost the contrast

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a feature that quickly takes three photos with different settings and combines them in order to get better contrast. This prevents parts of your image being over and under exposed. For instance, you could take a picture from inside a car on a sunny day and the interior of the car and the bright sky would both be visible. With a normal picture you would either find the sky washed out or the car a black smudge.

It gets an unfair reputation for producing overly dramatic shots that look digitally manipulated, but the iPhone does a relatively subtle job. Turn it on by tapping the “HDR on” option in the camera app. After you press the shutter you’ll have to wait a second or two for the processor to combine the images into one.

Don’t zoom

Often you’ll find yourself some distance from what you want to photograph, and it’s tempting to use the zoom. Don’t. The iPhone comes with a digital zoom only, meaning that all you do when you zoom in is crop your image – no extra information is recorded. So while the subject that was filling only a tiny fraction of your image is now filling the whole photo, it’ll be grainy and washed-out.

With a larger, dedicated camera you may have an optical zoom that could get you closer to the action. But on a phone camera the only way to do this is literally get closer to the action – get nearer to your subject.

Unusual angles

While phone cameras are limiting in some ways, they’re liberating in others. Their small size allows you to easily get creative shots. Most images are taken at shoulder height simply because that’s where it feels most natural to hold a camera. Get inventive with your angles: shoot from low down or high up. The results can be much more interesting.

Take a few shots

A lot of phone photography comes down to luck, and you’re three or four times more likely to get lucky if you take three or four photographs. Once you’ve got your phone out and composed a picture, you may as well press the shutter button a few times. Maybe in one of them all your subjects will even have their eyes open at the same time.

WIPE THE LENS

Unlike an expensive camera, which gets treated with kid gloves and placed in its own padded bag with a proper lens cover, your phone just gets shoved in a pocket or handbag. Consequently, the lens is likely to get a bit mucky. Get in the habit of giving it a wipe with a tie, soft corner of clothing or napkin before you take a shot and you’ll find your photographs much clearer.

 

What is the best way to explore and discover London?  Randomly.  There are unexpected finds around every curved road in London.  There is no doubt about that.  This is London.  Take her each day.  Take her at night.  Take her your way and don’t let a guidebook guide you.  

If you love travel photography, London is the perfect place for you.  There are no shortages of photo opportunities.  In fact, I write a series on this blog called “The Best Places to Photograph London” where I list all the top London photo spots.  But in this post, let’s talk about capturing the best London photos with your iPhone.

The iPhone camera is convenient for spontaneous moments.  It is also a power little tool that fits in your pocket.  The cool thing is you only have to follow one rule.  Don’t Think.  Just Shoot.

Forget the postcard travel photos.  Try one full day where you candidly snap shots without thinking.  The idea isn’t to capture the perfect photo.  Don’t review the photo just after you’ve taken it.  Keep shooting.  Look up.  Look down.  Turn sideways.  Get down on the ground.  Go up some steps.  Try any and every angle you can imagine.

The theme is London.  What will you see that is the epitome of London?  What will you photograph?  When you review your photos at the end of the day, the ones you see that scream LONDON are the right ones.  

Soho is brilliant for this sort of candid photography.  There are ample opportunities all throughout the once sordid area of the WestEnd.  Try a walk along the Thames River.  The Southbank is one of my all time favourite London walks.  It is also full of photo opportunities.

The idea for this exercise is to strengthen how you see and your photo composition.  Exploring aimlessly with your camera phone is also a fantastic way to learn more about the city.  If you don’t find yourself in London, try the same photo challenge wherever you are.

I’ve listed a few tips about taking nice travel photos with your iPhone ::

10 Handy Tips for taking better travel photos with your iPhone

1. Clean your lens
This may be the silliest thing you’ve ever read as a tip for better photography, but there are so many times phones are picked up, the lens gets accidentally swiped by a finger and one forget to wipe the smudges off before snapping a photo. These photos tend to come out cloudy or blurry and the shooter doesn’t realize it until looking back at the images later when she wants to post. Carry a lens safe wipe and before any photo taking commences, wipe that lens clean.

2. Get to know your camera settings
There are a number of options in the iPhone camera settings that will allow you to have a better understanding and guide when taking any kind of photos. It takes just a few minutes to explore what the settings include and having the better understanding will help you feel just that much more comfortable with what you are looking at when you shoot. The following are some adjustments to make in your setting:

3. Keep HDR in auto mode (turn it on)
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it blends the best aspects of three different exposures into a single photo. You are also able to keep the normal photo you take if you’re making adjustments to the screen when you snap the pic, but if you want to edit the photo after it’s been taken, the HDR photo is going to be your best version to modify.

4. Turn on the Grid
Do you ever wonder why the grid shows 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines in the camera view? This is because it’s helping you set up for the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a photography technique that has the photographer align the subject to intersect with the lines or specifically fall in one of the three divided planes of the photo. All photos don’t need to be taken with this rule in mind, as you may want to simply center a subject for a different effect. But placing the subject at the intersection of the lines can add more interesting tones to an image.

5. Avoid using the flash
Turning the flash on and off isn’t in settings, but actually in the camera app. Your best bet is to take the photo with the best natural light or add more lighting to the subject. There are a number of variables that could turn for the worse when using a flash, so best to avoid altogether.

6. Don’t shoot with a filter
There might be some default filters in the iPhone (or camera) that you love and gravitate toward, but your style or preference may change down the road and you can’t take it back. It’s best to take your photo filter free and add it later. You can always duplicate the image and add the filter to it after.

7. Turn Live Photos on or off
Live photos are essentially mini videos and now the iPhone models allow you to edit the Live Photo in a variety of ways. If you want to have the opportunity to turn it into a gif more easily, turn on Live Photos, consider the subject and it’s movement when you take the photo.

8. Never zoom 
This may seem counter-intuitive, but because the iPhone camera isn’t optimized for a zoom it destroys the quality of the image the closer the zoom gets to the subject. Instead, consider two choices. 1 – get much closer to the subject. It has the potential to create a more interesting image. or 2 – take the photo as is and then zoom in later and crop. Photographing this way retains the integrity of the image and makes for both a cooler and more impressive shot.

9. Avoid using the selfie camera
Unless you’re obsessed with taking selfies, shooting any further than a short arm’s length away doesn’t make for quality images with the front lens. You may want to turn the selfie camera on to shoot yourself and see yourself in the photo while it snaps, but it won’t come out the way you hope. You’re better off setting the camera on a tripod and photographing yourself with the timer. The lens on the front of the camera isn’t as good as the one on the back.

10. Take action shots in burst mode
Burst mode is often overlooked! There’s no need for you to guess when it’s the right timing to take the shot and there’s often a delay. Hold down the shutter button and shoot away. You can go back and pick the photo with the best quality and edit from there.

 

If you’ve ever wanted to forget your swimsuit and the rest of your clothes for a week or more, head to St Martin.  St Martin is the French side of St. Maarten.  Live the nudist lifestyle amongst others who enjoy the same and have no shame doing so.  There is no shame in nudity is there?  No.

Orient Bay is predominantly featured in the video presentation at the beginning of this blog post.  And it’s at Orient Bay where you can be naked and no one cares because everyone else is naked, too.  There are a couple of other nudist areas in the Caribbean, but St. Martin is the best.

Hurricane Maria literally wiped out Club Orient, the nudist resort, but it is slowly being rebuilt.  The beach, however, remains open.

I never thought I’d write about nudity in public so enthusiastically.  I’m a rather reserved and conservative kind of guy.  When I talk to people about going to a nude resort and/or beach, I’m always met with nervous laughter or complete surprise that I’d do such a thing.  Such a thing?  

Here’s the deal about going to a nudist resort – it’s no big deal.  I will write about this topic in greater detail later in another blog post.  As there are images in the slideshow with hints of nudity, I’m touching upon the subject now.

There is much more to see and explore in St Martin.  The hilly terrain takes you through a lively landscape that you’ll thoroughly enjoy.  When you are high on a vista, you’ll see all the way to St Barths and Anguilla.  The views are incredible.

You can find a secluded beach and think you have your own private beach for the day.  The feeling of being alone on a stretch of sand with calm waves coming ashore is second to none.  Be who and what you are as you’ll be the only one there.

Almost all of the touristy sort of fare you’d expect to find on a Caribbean island is found on the Dutch side of the island which is St Maarten.  If you want shops, duty free shopping, nightclubs or a casino, you’ll need to drive across the island for that.

When I’ve visited St Martin, I’ve stayed mostly at Orient Bay to enjoy the abundant sunshine, white sand beach and the peace and quiet.

Photography is not allowed at the nude beach and rightly so.  There are plenty of other photo opportunities all throughout the island.  Consider the following iPhone travel photography tips for any tropical island you choose to visit –

1. Switch it up
Don’t stick to one photo orientation: For better options, take a vertical and a horizontal shot every time. On an iPhone, turn on the grid feature (in Settings, under Photos & Camera) for well-planned composition. You can capture more of the scene when you shoot horizontal, and the rule of thirds (a photography concept that says images that are divided evenly into thirds are more visually appealing) is more easily followed with the grid—just line up the point of interest with the gridlines. You want the focus of your photo to be at the intersections of the gridlines (four points near the center of the shot). Vertical shots may offer a different perspective, though, so take the time to do both! You never know which angle will prove most Insta-worthy. And, if you’re shooting for Instagram, it’s easiest to take a rectangular photo and then crop in—it gives you more options for your final post than a square shot might.

2. Use a filter
Polarizing filters on cameras cut out the glare and increase saturation and contrast in colors. You can’t get the same effect in editing, so consider investing in a lens filter that easily attaches to your phone. Or put the lens of polarized, clean sunglasses in front of your camera (hold them close!) and then shoot. Just know that whatever tint your sunglasses have may affect the final colors of your photo, but that can be adjusted in editing. If you’re on the clumsier side, you might want to enlist a friend to help hold the glasses in place while you shoot.

3. Shoot from the water line or underwater
Most pictures are taken from the beach looking into the water, but you can switch it up and take pictures from the water of the beach for an unexpected angle that’s all but guaranteed to bring in the likes. Pictures of the water from the water also pop in Instagram feeds—see the proof below. With some waterproof cases, this is easy enough, but for underwater photos (like when you’re snorkeling) make sure to get a pressurized case.

4. Find a composition anchor
Shots of water and sand are beautiful, but a pop of color from something like a bird, a sailboat, a palm tree, or a beach umbrella adds visual interest to any beach shot. Refer back to rule #1 for placement: You want your anchor to line up with the intersecting gridlines.

5. Use burst mode to catch great action shots
The burst mode on the iPhone can capture several photos within fractions of a second—all you have to do is hold the button when you take a picture. Use this function to capture crashing waves, jumping whales, or any other moving beach scenes. All the photos taken in the burst will be grouped together in your photos, so you can pick the best.

6. Check your exposure
Use the AE/AF lock on your iPhone to ensure the bright beach sun doesn’t overwhelm your photos. Select the brightest part of your photo and press/hold on the screen. Once the AE/AF lock is enabled, a yellow box will appear. Slide the exposure bar that appears next to the box up or down to get that bright beach day vista just right.

7. Stick to the shadows (or not)
Lighting is 99 percent of what makes a great image. Shadows can introduce great effects to a photo, but depending on what you’re shooting, you may want to avoid them. For objects, consider shooting in direct sunlight, so the shadows stand out and make your photo distinct. For people, consider shooting in the shade, or from under cover: The lighting won’t wash out your subjects or cause heavy shadows on their faces. And don’t get discouraged by a cloudy day at the beach (it makes for dreamy lighting).

8. Don’t zoom
The zoom function on most phone cameras only degrades the quality of the image. Instead of zooming, move as close to the subject of your photo as possible and explore it from different angles. Avoid zooming in when cropping your photos, too: This also makes the image fuzzy and lowers its quality.

9. Invest in a portable tripod
$40 seems like a small price to pay for a tripod (try the JOBY GorillaPod) that lets you actually appear in your photos. An added bonus is increased stability in all your photos, though in a pinch you can always use two hands when shooting for more stability and better focus.

10. Keep your lens clean
Salt air and the hot sun can create a film over your phone’s camera lens, so make sure you wipe it before taking photos—just be sure whatever you use is dry and sand-free (Coastal Living’s pros carry microfiber cloths with them, but a dry sleeve can work just fine). It’s worth the extra second of effort for clearer pictures!

11. Don’t forget video
Photos are amazing, but nothing beats listening to the sound of ocean waves when you’re back at work dreaming of another getaway. Filming horizontally is a must here, especially if you plan on uploading your videos to any social media platforms. (Note that Instagram stories and Snapchat look best with vertical video, though.)

12. Edit
There are countless apps out there that you can use to edit your photos, and Coastal Living’s photo pros recommend downloading at least one (try A Beautiful Mess, Photoshop, VSCO, Camera+, or ColorStory). Use them to slightly increase the contrast, reduce highlights, and bump your vibrance/saturation to make your photos pop. Slightly is key here: Over-edited photos can detract from the image itself and degrade its quality.

It is entirely possible that New York City was made for photographers.  Any photo you capture could easily say – This is New York.  If you are a keen street photographer, what I’ve just said is absolutely true.  

Strangely, I’ve always found NYC to be difficult to photograph.  Part of my problem is I’m accustomed to wide open spaces of Texas.  In New York everything is way up in the air and compact.  My other issue is I’ve never gone to New York with the intention of just taking photographs.  I’ve had no plan.  And, I’m unsure what interests me the most in the city to capture with my camera.  I’m never without a plan.

More importantly, I haven’t allowed myself enough time to properly photograph New York City.  It’s on my list of things to do.  And it does take time if you want to capture splendid photos.  This is true of anything you want to photograph.  

Instead, I’ve capture random shots with no rhyme or reason.  Most photographs were taken in Midtown which is a cool area of Manhattan.  Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station are all fantastic locations.  If you go out and about around three or four in the morning, there is a good chance you’ll have the city to yourself.  That’s not so good for street photography.

My best suggestion for New York City photography is go with a plan.  Know where you’re going and know what you want to photograph.  As always, be prepared for the unexpected as there are brilliant photos waiting to be taken when you least expect it.

Consider the following tips the next time you take your travel photos of New York City ::

Photography Is Legal Anywhere In Public
That means that if you’re taking a picture of someone or something and someone tells you not to, just remember that you’re within your legal rights. A cop can also not take your card away from you or legally tell you to delete a photo. Just remember: public space = total freedom.

Don’t Stop In The Middle of Swarming New Yorkers to Take a Picture
Not only is this dangerous as you’re throwing off the flow of traffic, but it will also get lots of people annoyed at you for doing this. Lots of tourists tend to just stop walking and make a total about face just to take a picture of something like the Empire State Building.  That’s very annoying.

Do Get Out of The Way
If you just step to the side of the on-flowing traffic to take the photo, you’ll be fine.  You won’t upset New Yorkers.

List of Places For Awesome New York City Photo Opportunities
Chinatown used to be worth it, but now it really isn’t.  Be sure to check out Little Italy on weekend nights, South St Seaport, the Top of Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, the High Line, Fort Tryon Park, the USS Intrepid and the West Side Promenade. Additionally, the World Financial Center and Ground Zero offer great photo opps.

Thoroughly Plan Out Your Trips
During the vacation season, New York City becomes very congested with people.  Chances are that you’re going to use MTA’s services like the subway and buses.  Have a map with you and plan the trip out thoroughly so that you’ll get there quickly, safely and without spending lots of money going back and forth on the lines. New York’s Subways offer lots of photo opportunities as well.  Yes, it’s legal.

Remember Times Square Was Re-Designed For You
In summer of 2009, Times Square got transformed into a “Pedestrian Mall.” Most New Yorkers don’t hang out in Times Square unless they’re taking advantage of the lounge chairs. This area was designed for tourists to come take pictures, spend money, and meet lots of crazy folks like the Naked Cowboy, SpongeBob Squarepants and others.

NYC is A Lot Safer Than You Think
New York City is one of the safest cities in the US because of high security, so you shouldn’t really have to worry about being robbed, etc.  However, do exercise caution and common sense. And trust your instincts.

Do Read Your Manual on How to Use Your Camera
Lots of tourists buy a new camera for the journey and don’t read their manuals.  They also don’t know how to actually use their cameras or even to the fullest potential.  You should really read your manual or carry it around.  Better yet, test out your new camera before you travel.

Bangkok is a world of wonder whether you are visiting for the first time or return for multiple visits.  This is Bangkok – a city with so much activity and is overcrowded beyond comprehension that you can’t help but fall in love.  Rich and dramatic historical sights such as The Grand Palace will send you into cultural overload while the tall modern architecture reminds you that you’re in a cosmopolitan city.  

It is safe to say the city is one that you could visit ten times and still not see everything you want to see.    Take it slow and take in small portions so you can take it in and absorb it.  It’s guaranteed you’ll find travel photo opportunities almost everywhere you turn.

Bangkok is a city to add at the top of your dream travel destinations.  It is also a city where mobile phone cameras might be better suited for trekking around rather than carrying a large bulky DSLR.  The video in this particular blog post shows only a small morsel of what Bangkok has to offer.   What’s more is each image included in the travel video was captured with an iPhone.

If you’re keen to learn more about how to capture great travel photos with your own mobile telephone, consider the following tips :

iPhone Travel Photography Tips

1. Use a Tripod

Carry a compact and lightweight tripod that can be placed almost anywhere.  Small tripods are great for self-portraits or when you are shooting in low light like at dusk or at night.  You can also use a stabilizer or selfie stick to steady your iPhone to take sharper photos.  The recent iPhones provide great low-light shooting features, but having the camera stabilized will certainly help with image sharpness.  Blurry photos aren’t cool unless you intend them to be that way.

Useful tip: When taking a self-portrait or a group shot that you want to be in, use the iPhone camera’s self-timer.  The self-timer is also good if you want to avoid camera shake.

2. Grid Lines

Nothing says amateur like a crooked horizon line.  You will want to align the landscape so that it is perfectly straight. Also, turning on the grid lines will allow you to work better with the rule-of-thirds, providing guides to compose your shot.  Having the grid toggled on will definitely help you with your composition skills.  On the iPhone, the grid lines are quite discreet and will not distract your view.

How-to: Go to your settings and click on camera then toggle the grid to on.

3. To Flash or Not to Flash

The iPhone flash is to be used sparingly and only when necessary.  The iPhone camera has many great features, but the flash is not one of them.  In fact, I rarely use the flash on my iPhone.

You can use the flash outdoors when the sun is high and is creating harsh shadows.  This can be unappealing, especially when photographing people. The flash will fill in the light a little and smooth out any dark shadows that are created.

Using the iPhone flash is hit-or-miss.  I prefer to use as much natural light as possible, or, when needed use another source of light like a flashlight to position extra light on my subject.

4. Focus and Exposure

To get a well-focused shot, tap your screen where you want the camera to focus.  You can also lock your focus point by tapping and holding it.  An AE/AF Lock sign will appear; you can then recompose your shot while the iPhone camera remains exposed for the focal point you specified.

You can change the exposure of your shot directly in the iPhone camera app.  Slide the exposure button that appears once you’ve activated the focus point (the little sun icon) up or down.  Sliding up is especially helpful in low light situations or at night.

5. Photo Editing Apps

Once you have a photo that you really like and want to take it up a notch, you can use photo editing apps, software, and filters to make it the best that it can be.  You don’t have to learn complex software in order to edit your photos.  A user-friendly photo editor like Photolemur will make your photos look professional with a few simple clicks.

Try transforming some of your images into black & white photographs with the filters provided in the iPhone camera app, or Photolemur Mono Style.

Useful tip: Be careful not to over-edit or apply too many filters.  This can make your photographs look unreal and over-worked.  The filters provided in the iPhone camera app are fun to use and were very trendy for a while, but sometimes less is best.

6. HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and the iPhone uses this to create well exposed images.  It snaps several shots at different exposures and merges them together to create a well exposed final photo.  Sometimes it can create an image that looks unreal, but it usually produces a good photo.  You can turn the HDR feature on or off on your iPhone in the settings.

7. Attachable Lenses

Many companies are producing lenses that you can attach to your iPhone providing more versatility to your camera phone.  Some will give you the option to zoom or do macro shots, and others will provide a wide-angle or fisheye.

Useful tip: Zooming in with your iPhone will considerably lower the quality and sharpness of the photo and can even create camera shake.  This is where an attachable zoom lens comes in handy.  Also, if you like to do food photography, then an attachable macro lens would be a great gadget to have.

8. Observe Colors

When traveling, always be on the lookout for pops of color or contrasts between colors.  A bright blue sky against a colorful building can offer up a great image opportunity.  The iPhone HDR feature comes in very handy when shooting contrasts of colors that are in different light.

9. Use the Shooting Modes

Your iPhone offers various shooting modes; from square to pano.  The latest iPhone models come with a portrait mode that lets you shoot with a shallower depth of field, making the background blurry and the focus on the object.

Useful tip: Remember that Instagram photos are displayed square.  If this is your eventual destination for your photos, shooting in square mode will help you keep total control of your composition.

10. Tell a Story

Don’t just shoot photos.  When you are traveling, there are countless opportunities for taking great photographs. Take the time to observe your surroundings.  Look at people going about their daily lives. I find that markets and places where local people mingle tend to be interesting places to get photos that transform into authentic stories.

With iPhones continually improving and offering better camera feature functions, it’s normal that even professional photographers now shoot travel photos with iPhone cameras.

 

From the winding and confusing alleyways in the Old Medina to the lush desert gardens at Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle, This Is Marrakech.
A view from the airplane window will reveal a red dust covering a rustic city that makes you wonder if you’ve made the right travel choice.  Once you’re on the ground and out of the airport, it’s completely evident that Marrakech is indeed an oasis that will fuel your senses.  The sights, sounds, aromas and tastes of the Red City are everything you could ever imagine.
Jamaa El-Fna is the main square and the heart of Marrakech’s Old Medina.  Here you’ll find an abundance of fresh squeezed orange juice, temporary restaurant stalls that have operated for decades, overprice souvenirs and deafening sounds of entertainers.  Snakes will charm you and monkeys will delight for a price as will any photo you capture.
Don’t miss the incredible Ben Youssef Madrasa, a centuries old Islamic college which is now a historical site and a popular one at that.  Have your camera ready as the tile work is like an explosion of colour and patterns.  The  Alahambra architectural feel will remind you of Morocco’s strong connection to Spain and the doorways are phenomenal.  
Saadian Tombs is another favourite of mine as it is the eternal home to the members of the Saadi Dynasty that ruled nearly six hundred years ago.  The tombs are simple in design tho’ the intricate tile work and ornate columns are mind blowing.  We are fortunate to enjoy the craftsmanship today.   The Saadian Tombs can be found at the southwestern part of the Old Medina and near Palais El Badii.
The textures, colors, and patterns you’ll find at every turn will keep your shutter clicking finger busy the entire time.  Do be mindful, however.  Many shopkeepers are not keen to have their photo taken.  Don’t be surprised if someone asks you to pay to take a photo.
The video in this blog shows a variety of sights throughout the Medina as well as the impeccable Jardin Majorelle.  Keep reading below for nice tips for you to capture better travel photos during your next trip to Marrakech.

 

30 tips to take better travel photos with your MOBILE PHONE

A beautiful travel picture can be with you for the rest of your life: on your laptop, on your desk or even on the wall, as an element of interior design.  Even if you are not a photographer, you can create high definition images with a smartphone.  Smartphones are more portable than professional cameras, and the quality of photographs has steadily been improving.  But what makes an high definition image an outstanding image?

Composition
Take photos with people
  • Incorporate a human element into landscapes, such as a person or their property.
  • It makes photos more personal, more memorable and gives them a sense of scale and place.
  • Put famous landmark in the background (the Tour Eiffel is a clear example) and capture how locals live their lives around them.
  • For portraits, shoot at eye level or elevate the subject.  Avoid shooting down at someone.
Play with reflections and symmetry
  • Symmetry brings aesthetically pleasing balance and proportion into photography.  When used correctly, it can create outstanding images.
  • Look for reflections as this can make for a beautiful photo: a mirror, a lake or a window can help you to take a unique shot.
Forget selfies

They are not cool any more.  It is cool to take a professional photographer with you.  Of course, if you an ordinary traveler, you might use the person with whom who you are travelling.  The quality might be not that extraordinary, but still, it’s better than selfie!

Capture the perfect moment

The crucial thing to remember is to think of your camera when something exciting happens.  If you are lucky enough, and keep cool, then it’s done.  This is why the smartphone is such a useful thing. You don’t need to prepare, just grab it out of a pocket and SHOOT!  Use burst mode to capture the perfect moment in motion.  To use burst, hold down the shutter button and it will capture 10 frames per second.

Keep your lens clean

We bet that your smartphone is not always in the clean and sterilised place.  So you better wipe your lens before making a shot-of-your-life.  Otherwise, no one will believe you if you’re just saying that you really spotted the troll in Norway.

Focus & Light
  • Look for a focal point rather than taking a photo just of the sea: a pattern in the sand, footprints, water over rocks.
  • Use lines in your composition. They should lead to your focal point.
  • Focus on the foreground even if the backdrop is what you want. It adds character and depth to the photo.
  • Use High Dynamic Range (HDR) which will result in a perfectly exposed photo.
  • Use the focus feature by tapping on what you want to be in focus. In this way will adjust the light in the photo (this is really useful for sunset and sunrise).
Don’t you ever use the flash

Not only because it turns nice old ladies in theatres and museums into scariest monsters ever seen, but because it ruins the quality of the image.  Believe us.  If you don’t, then try to investigate by taking such pictures, asking your professional friends, reading blogs and magazines and then, just don’t do it.  Don’t use flash.

Don’t move

Keep your photo sharp using these easy tricks:

  • Hold the smarphone with both hands
  • Lean the smartphone against a steady element or a flat surface;
  • Shoot the picture with the volume button instead of the screen tap
  • Use the self-timer
Sunset & sunrise always win

For great landscapes get up early or stay up late.  Shoot early in the morning or as the sun is setting to give your image more impact, with longer shadows and softer lights.  Shooting at these times means you will likely be there when no one else is, giving you a unique perspective.  Create silhouettes using the sunset (as the flash on most phones cannot carry long distances).  Try to shoot a sunset with clouds to provide some interesting patterns and uniqueness.

Use photography apps

Photography apps are something that might help a simple picture look cool.   “It allows you to shoot in bursts and separates the AF lock from the exposure lock”  Don’t use Instagram to take pictures: it gives you a lower definition than the built-in photo app.

Edit
Crop it. Don’t zoom it.

When you zoom in on your smartphone the quality of the picture is just not as good.   The camera simply guesses what the image looks like and makes it more precise, based on these assumptions.  The picture gets ugly fast.

Don’t add fake blur

The depth of field is a feature of the cameras that is hard to replicate with smartphones.  Wide angle lenses and sensors makes quite difficult to have a blurred background picture.  But replicating a blurred background effect through an editing app makes things worse!  Apps apply the blur effect uniformly: in this way the picture will have an ugly transition from sharp to blurry and it will look unnatural.

Instagram

Instagram has become one of the most popular ways to edit and share images.  

  • Don’t share everything on Instagram, share your best images.
  • Edit photos with a light hand that compliments, rather than detracts, from your original.
  • Though Instagram has filters, remember that putting a filter on a bad photo will not make it great.
  • These are down to individual choice, but the most liked photos have the following filters: Willow, Valencia and Sierra.
  • #nofilter brings in the most likes on Instagram.

Your smartphone can be a great solution to keep beautiful memories of your travels around the world.

As I write this Hong Kong is experiencing a bit of turmoil.  The photos of protestors I see are quite striking and a reminder that when one’s freedom is taken away, trouble is not far behind.  But for me, this is Hong Kong.  The city is filled with spirited people who are not afraid to stand up and be heard.  While Communist China will ultimately win, perhaps positive changes can be made tho’ I’m cynical to believe freedom will win.

That said, Hong Kong is a vibrant and vigorous city that rivals New York City with it tall and massive skyscrapers.  It is easy to feel dwarfed walking along the streets.  You might even feel as if you’re in a deep hole as natural light seems so far in the distance.  If you reach your hand toward the sky, perhaps you’ll touch the light tho’ you never seem to touch the light.

I’ve spent a relatively short amount of time in Hong Kong as the city is always a stopover as I travel to/from Bali.  Sometime I’d like to spend an extended period of time in Hong Kong to touch the soul of the city.  I want to know all of its curves, quirks, tastes and sounds.   Up to now I’ve experienced the top tourist things to do and this isn’t quite so satisfying for me.  It’s almost as if I’ve only seen the superficial while I know there is a heart and soul to the city.

As you can view in the video presentation in this blog post, I can only recommend the Star Ferry Harbour Tour, the Tram and Tramoramic Golden Ticket Tour and Temple Street Night Market.  Let’s not forget the cable car ride to Big Buddha on Lantau Island, which is officially named NGONG Ping 360.

The tram ride through the heart of Hong Kong will allow you to conveniently explore various parts of the city with a hop on – hop off feature.  You will be treated to running commentary throughout the ride so you know where you are and what you are seeing.  I highly recommend the purchase of the golden ticket as there really is no easier way to navigate a city you don’t know.

The same is true for the Star Ferry Harbour Tour except you will be on the water instead of the streets of Hong Kong.  The ferry leaves at designated times and takes you along the edges of Hong Kong.  The views are splendid as you’ll see the city’s impressive skyline and understand just how compact Hong Kong really is.  The ferry ride lasts about an hour.  I went just near sunset so it was a real treat to see the golden sky reflect on the choppy harbour water.

sunset over hong kong harbour

Hong Kong has many markets tho’ the Temple Street Night Market probably gets the most attention.   There are plenty of local eateries to enjoy.  If you like fresh seafood, be sure to arrive at the market a wee bit hungry.  I found a cool local artist and bought small embroidered artwork as my souvenir.  Expect to find numerous stalls selling typical tourist wares.  If this is your thing, you’ll love every minute of your visit.  I especially loved the photo opportunities that are in abundance at the night market.

A journey to Big Buddha on Lantau Island is worth the effort solely for the long cable car ride that takes visitors through lush green mountains.  The views during the ride are phenomenal.  Don’t be surprised to find your head in the clouds as they rapidly move through the area.  Oh.  And Big Buddha?  The statue of the Sitting Buddha is indeed big.  Your guide will tell you the statue is the largest in the world, though the one in Bhutan is definitely larger.  

Otherwise, I had always wanted to try acupuncture.  I thought – ok, I’m in China.  What better place is there to try acupuncture.  My hotel made the arrangements for me so all I had to do is show up at the office, which I did.  I met grace, the doctor, who pinched my hand and immediately told me what ailed me.  After that came the needles and one of the most relaxing self-indulgent treatments I’ve had in quite some time.  What’s more is I slept better that night than anytime before in my adult life.  I’ll be sure to stop back again during my next visit.

If you’re into photography, be sure to read my tips below for capturing the best possible photos of Hong Kong.

Neighborhood: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
One of the most famous spots in Hong Kong to capture the beautiful Skyline is Victoria Peak.  Victoria Peak is a mountain in the western half of Hong Kong Island.  Weather will always be on one of the variables you face.  Thick fog can cover nearly the entire city, creating challenges for Hong Kong photographer.   Try to pick a perfect time right before a storms move in.  The Peak can close down due to heavy rainfall so be aware of this.  Be patient and any weather conditions will reward you as you capture one of the most exciting city skylines in the world.

Neighborhood: Shek-O
Hiking throughout the vast nature Hong Kong has to offer can be well worth your while as you search for photo opportunities.  The Shek-O hike can be memorable.  Shek-O has quite a few trails, some harder than others.  Shek-O is quite easy to get to, multiple buses run throughout the day that take you straight to the trail.

Neighborhood: Kowloon
Kowloon encompasses the northern part of Hong Kong, on the mainland across Victoria Harbour.  Compared to Central, Kowloon offers more of the raw part of Hong Kong, where all the locals reside.  

Neighborhood: Central
Photographing Hong Kong at night time is one of my favourite experiences.  Throughout Central, there are numerous overpass bridges for pedestrians to travel to one side of the road to the other.  The roads are always super busy, which makes for a great long exposure to capture the light trails.

Neighborhood: Fortress Hill
Hong Kong is filled with Food Markets offering fresh meat, produce and anything you can think of.  Throughout the Neighborhood of Fortress Hill (Located in West Hong Kong Island)  markets are tucked away in streets. With it being tucked away between larger buildings, you can find great light here at any time of the day.  Through the markets people are constantly pushing around product on carts, creating for some cool photo opportunities.

Neighborhood: Lantau Island
Another must see in Hong Kong is a trip out to Lantau Island.  It is home to NGONG Ping 360, which is a cable car rides (with the option of glass floor) that takes you up and around the mountains.  The long cable car ride might possibly be one of the best experiences you could have in Hong Kong.  The scenery that you glide over is absolutely stunning and more impressive than Big Buddha itself.

HONG KONG PHOTO TRAVEL TIPS

1.  Wear your most comfortable runners as you will be walking A LOT.
2.  Purchase and use an Octopus card. Click here for more info on Octopus cards.
3.  Dress lightly as Hong Kong is very humid.
4.  Be prepared for rain at any time.
5.  Most people under 35 speak English.  I met a man on a trolley who struck up a conversation about being a    photographer for many years.  You never know who you’ll meet so be open to almost anything.

When I first thought about visiting Nepal, I thought of fresh air, Hinduism and an incredible view of the Himalayas.  I did not expect utter chaos on the streets and pollution so thick that the highest mountain range in the world was near impossible to see.  This is Kathmandu I’m referring to and not the entire country of Nepal.

There were grand plans to tour around Nepal to see the incredible landscape,  but a near fatal airplane ride that lasted all of ten minutes changed my mind.  The airplane I was on was put together with Band-Aids.  I’m sure of this.  Once the plane landed again in Kathmandu, I swore I would never fly again.  It was that scary. 

So, all of my time was spent exploring the capital city of Kathmandu.  Visiting and seeing the Pashupatinath Temple and Kathmandu Durbar Square were incredible experiences.  The intricacy of the architecture alone is mind blowing.  The crowds at each historical site make them feel a little less holy as it were.  

The traffic from Point A to Point B, however, made the experience less than enjoyable.

I don’t mean to entirely knock Kathmandu.  The people are charming and everyone I encountered was more than friendly.   If you love people watching and have no trouble talking to strangers, you’ll love Kathmandu.  If you want to feel the unique vibe of the city  make your way to Thamel.

Thamel is interesting with its overcrowded streets and hundreds of electrical wire twisted and tangled on electric poles.  If you want to experience real Kathmandu life, venture a street or two away from Thamel.  Explore.  Discover.  That’s what travel is about.  Have a look a the video in this blog post and you’ll see what you’ll find.

All of the images in the video slideshow were taken with an iPhone.  If you’re interested in capturing better travel photos with your own mobile device, have a read below.

Tips For Capturing the Best Travel Photos With Your iPhone

1.  Keep Your iPhone Steady

The best way to eliminate camera shake is to steady your iPhone.  You can do this with a mini-tripod setup, but you can also just lean the camera on a flat surface like a table or chair using a sweater or similar to prop it up. Using the self-timer will make sure you don’t end up moving the phone as you take the shot.

2.  Click The Shutter Using the Volume Buttons

iPhones offer two ways to fire the shutter: pressing the on-screen button, and using either of the volume keys.  The volume keys will almost always be the better option because they allow a firmer grip. By holding the phone firmly with both hands, you’ll get a steadier shot than you would using the on-screen button. It also makes it easier to keep the camera level with the horizon, so you don’t get a tilted shot.

3.  Use ‘motor drive’ for low-light shots

Low-light shots are always tricky.  The iPhone amplifies the signal to the sensor to make the most of the available light, but it also needs to keep the sensor switched on for longer.  This makes it much more likely that camera shake will create motion blur.  You can maximize your chances of getting a steady shot by holding down the volume key to take a burst of half a dozen shots.  Usually one of the later ones will be better as you eliminate the small movement you tend to get when pressing the shutter release.  It sort of sounds like cheating, but it works.

4.  Keep HDR On

Camera sensors have limited dynamic range.  What these means is that if you expose a shot to capture detail in the shadows, the brightest parts of the image – the highlights – will be blown out, appearing pure white.  Conversely, if you expose for the highlights, shadow areas will appear solid black.

High Dynamic Range takes multiple exposures and automatically blends them together into a single image that captures details in both the shadows and the highlights, so keep HDR switched on.  While you may occasionally want to switch it off for creative reasons, you’ll want it on most of the time.

5.  Keep The Flash Off

A flash throws a lot of light a very short distance. A typical photo of a person with the flash on will light their face properly but everything else will be under-exposed.  The result is a photo that could have been taken anywhere.  If you want to show the surroundings, try the shot without flash first – using the above tips to help.  If you’re in any doubt about the result, you can take a flash shot as insurance.

When you’re taking a photo of anything more than a few feet away, flash is not only pointless, it’s actually counterproductive.  It won’t light what you’re trying to photograph, but will light up anything in the foreground, which may ruin the shot by making the rest of the shot dark.

So my advice is to keep flash off by default, switching it on only when you specifically want it.

6.  Pay Attention to the Natural Light Around You

When taking a shot, look at where the light is coming from. For most photos, you’ll want the light coming from behind you. If you shoot directly into the light, the shot is likely to be underexposed, and even if not, detail will be washed out.

When photographing people, you’ll show the shape of their face when the light is at a roughly 45 degree angle. This tends to produce the most interesting portraits.

As with all photography ‘rules,’ there will be times you want to break them. Shooting directly into the light – known as contre-jour – can produce great effects when done deliberately. You will, though, typically need to use photo editing software to recover detail from the shadows, and you’ll probably see lens flare in the shot.

7.  Know All About Where You’re Going

For travel photography, some web research can pay real dividends in the sights you’ll see and the photos you’ll get. On a visit to Shanghai, it was web research that alerted me to the fact that one of the most spectacular views in the city was actually seen from inside a building: the amazing atrium inside the Jin Mao Tower.

8.  Remember to Explore All Perspectives

Sometimes you’ll get a more interesting shot by getting down low, getting up high and shooting directly down or shooting straight up. (And consider tip 8a as ‘monochrome can be your friend when the weather is overcast’ …)

9.  Think of the Distance Between You and Your Subject

Sometimes with a portrait shot, you’ll want to show the person in their surroundings. This is particularly effective when you want to show what someone does, like showing an artist with their canvas. But often times, portraits have the greatest impact when you get really close, filling the frame with the person. Getting in close will also blur the background, something usually not possible with the small sensors used in cameraphones.

10.  Foregrounds and Backgrounds Are Important

A photo is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional scene. A sense of depth can be lost when looking at a photo, so including something in the foreground can be a good way to restore that 3D feel.

11.  Wake Up Early or Stay Up Late

Ok, I’ll admit that pretty much the only time I take this advice myself is accidentally due to jet-lag!  But if you want to take a photo of a popular tourist attraction, getting there before the crowds can definitely help.  Staying late is always my option as so many people disappear from the streets after the sun goes down.  If you choose late, remember the rules for low light photography.

 

This is Qatar.  Visiting Qatar can be an otherworldly experience solely because the culture is so vastly different than what we know and accept in the Western World.  I grew up in a Muslim country so I’m keenly aware of the way I should dress, behave and what is culturally acceptable.  To visit a country like Qatar and think we can be fully American or British without a problem is a problem.  My best advice to you is if you visit a country like Qatar or U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia, be aware.

That said, Qatar is an incredibly mysterious and fabulous country to visit.  I usually only have a brief stopover in Doha, but I once stayed ten days to get a good and genuine feel for Qatar.

The architecture in Qatar is modern, stylish and sexy.  I almost feel like I’m at Disneyland whenever I’m in the Doha’s business district.  The city is unreal.  The wealth on display is incredible to look at even though the wealth is unattainable for people like you and me.

Everything new is old again.  We always hear the opposite.  In Qatar historical places that were old were torn down and rebuilt to look old.   Souq Waqif is a great example of what I’ve just said.  Al Zubarah Fort in the middle of the desolate desert is another good example.  These are not bad elements about Qatar, but I do find them curious in an amusing sort of way.

One of the highlights for me in Qatar is Katara Cultural Village.  It houses an incredible amphiteatre made of limestone that is out of this world  beautiful.  There is a music learning centre, a centre for photography, painting,  and anything else artistic you could think of in one area.  Every major and minor city in the world should have something like Katara Cultural Village.  Imagine the burst of creativity throughout the world if this were true.

Additionally, the Museum of Islamic Art is one of the most incredible museums I’ve visited anywhere in the world.  The building itself is a work of art.  The art inside the beautiful structure is impeccable.

Dune bashing is one of the top activities in Qatar.  The dunes are near the Inland Sea.  What was most incredible for me was to see the light beige fine sand dunes meet the cobalt coloured water.  The landscape was truly stunning.  Bashing into the sand dunes with a 4×4 was great fun as well.  It’s a wonder my hand came loose from the car door’s arm rest.  It was a wee bit harrowing and the driver was intent on showing off as he tore into the dunes.  He showed off so much he cracked the radiator and we were left stranded in the desert until another 4×4 came along.  I chalked it up to another fun travel experience I’ll not soon forget.

Do I recommend an extended visit to Qatar?  Yes, absolutely.  The video in this blog shows you some of the highlights you can expect during your visit.

6 iPhone Photography Tips to Create Striking Photos with Minimal Gear

The phrase isn’t just an advertising gimmick — more people take photos with an iPhone or smartphone than a camera from any other brand. The iPhone is one of the most used cameras not because it can outperform a DSLR, but because with smartphones, anyone can take a photograph. But just because a three-year-old could take a photo with an iPhone doesn’t mean your photos should sit on the same level as a child’s crayon drawing. Use these six iPhone photography tips to create great photos with the camera you already have in your pocket.

::  Know your iPhone’s strengths and weaknesses  ::

Every camera has strengths and weaknesses — understanding what your gear can do and what it can’t is essential. The iPhone is a good camera because you can take it anywhere, easily. With iPhoneography, you’re more likely to have a camera ready when you’re in the right place at the right time for an amazing image. The lens captures a nice wide view. iPhone users love the simple interface and editing without a computer. Smartphone companies also work to make up for what the devices can’t do with software, like HDR, and, for dual lens smartphones, artificial background blur.

Like any smartphone though, the iPhone doesn’t offer the same level of control as a DSLR. The lens is fixed, which means there’s no optical zoom or aperture setting. The smaller sensor means the iPhone isn’t ideal for giant prints and you can’t get the same bokeh as in professional photos. Heavy use of the iPhone camera can also drain the battery quickly.

Understanding the camera you already have is the first step to taking better photos. Along with knowing those general pros and cons, make sure you’re familiar with what your particular camera model can do. Apple introduced dual lenses with the iPhone 7 Plus, which gives the plus models several photo-related advantages. The iPhone X, for example, has an excellent portrait mode and can even generate artificial lighting effects. Older models like the iPhone 5S may not have all the features as the newer Apple models.

::  Tap to focus, drag to brighten  ::

One of the perks of the iPhone is that big touchscreen. But the touchscreen also leaves some features hidden because there’s no actual label for them on the screen. You can adjust both the focus and the exposure (how light or dark the image is) by tapping on the screen.

First, tap the object or person that you want to focus on. Once the camera focuses, you’ll see a yellow box on that spot with a yellow sun next to it. To adjust the exposure, tap on that sun and drag your finger up to brighten the image or down to darken it.

::  HDR is your friend  ::

HDR is an effect built into your phone that does instantly what it would take a few minutes with a DSLR and editing software. HDR, or high dynamic range, essentially captures a wider range of light than a single photo. That means the lightest parts won’t be so white and the darkest parts won’t be so dark. Use HDR anytime you are photographing a high contrast scene, which is pretty much any shot where you include a sky or window. Turn it off for action shots, though — it’s a mode best for still life and landscape. The process actually merges multiple photos together, so the mode doesn’t work well for moving subjects. The HDR effect is easy to turn on and off by tapping the HDR icon at the top of the camera app.

::  Force a flash in crappy light  ::

The flash on a smartphone is often better left off because of the harsh shadows that tiny light creates. But there is a good reason to turn that flash on and it’s in a scenario where most don’t realize a flash is actually helpful: extreme bright light. If you’re outside in the sunshine and you’re taking a photo of someone and the sun is making dark shadows under their eyes, turn the flash on. (Auto will only fire if the scene looks dark). The flash will fill in the shadows, and since you’re already in a bright light anyway, it will hardly look like you used a flash at all.

::  Use advanced photography apps for striking results  ::

One of the biggest perks to smartphone photography is software. If you’re using only the native camera app, you’re not taking advantage of one of the iPhone’s biggest advantages. Download an app with advanced camera options to find more features than what’s in Apple’s basic app. Often, these apps are the same ones that you can use to edit your photos. Some of the best options include Adobe Lightroom CC, VSCO, Pro Cam and Moment Pro.

Inside an advanced camera app, turn on the option called RAW or DNG. (The feature is available with iOS 10 or later and models since the iPhone 6S). This is a file that carries more information than the usual JPEG. That means you have much more flexibility when you edit the photo than if you leave that option off. The downside is that you will have to do some post-processing to the images, and they’ll also take up more space on your iPhone. Be sure to look around the app for other specialty modes — for example, the Lightroom mobile app has an option to photograph long exposures. HDR modes are also often part of these apps.

Advanced camera apps will also allow you to have the most control over the settings. With some reading up and practice on exposure settings, you can adjust the shutter speed and ISO yourself to create intentional blur, eliminate blur, or create the mood you want by intentionally shooting a darker or lighter image.

::  Expand your iPhone photography with lenses and lights  ::

iPhone photography doesn’t mean you have to shoot with just an iPhone. The smartphone’s popularity means there’s no shortage of accessories to help you capture the shot. Lenses will create more flexibility than the camera can offer alone. A telephoto lens will get up close and also create more of that softer background that’s difficult for smartphones to capture. But you can also go even wider with an ultra-wide angle lens. A macro lens allows for great close-ups, often even closer than you can get with a DSLR because of that smaller sensor.

An iPhone photography light can also step up the quality of your images by allowing you to control the light in the scene. Mini tripods can also be helpful for taking a selfie without that telltale arm extended, or trying out that long exposure mode available on some apps.

The iPhone camera has been everything from the launching point of a full-blown photography career to a memory keeper for those everyday moments. By integrating a few photo tips, you can get the most from the camera you already own — and maybe enter the annual iPhone photography awards. Remember, the best iphone photography isn’t about gear, but about what you’re able to capture with it.

Cartagena Colombia has become a popular North American tourist destination in recent years.  If you want to learn a bit more about travel to this Caribbean city, you’ve come to the right place.  This is Cartagena.

The historical center is the main tourist attraction in Cartagena and it’s divided up into easy to navigate sections.  Throughout the centre you’ll find inviting gardens with overgrown trees for you to escape the harsh humid and hot climate.  Take a seat on any number of benches and simply watch the locals rush by in their every day lives.

You’ll also find various museums such as the eye opening Inquisition Museum, a modern art museum and even a museum for chocolate lovers.  There is no shortage of places for you to learn a bit more about this brilliant city on the Caribbean Sea.  Fancy a few colorful photos?  Cartagena will delight you with vibrant colors that are sure to make you travel photos pop with beautiful energy.

As with any tourist destination you’ll find plenty of nice restaurants mixed with a bit of run of the mill eateries.  Shops line the streets of this historic area which is also a Unesco World Heritage Site.

As the city hugs the coastline of the Caribbean Sea, you’re sure to find any number of beaches.  Rent a chair or a cabana for the day and enjoy the sea and surf.  There is plenty of sunshine in Cartagena for you to enjoy on any given day.

The short video shows what you can expect to find during your visit to Cartagena.  Each image in the slideshow was captured solely with my iPhone.  For iPhone travel photography tips, skip down below.

1.  WORKING WITH COMPOSITION

The composition is also a crucial ingredient to great iPhone photography. Here are a couple examples where the rules worked very well.

There is a great tool on the iPhone and it is the grid feature. These lines exemplify the Rule of Thirds. They divide your composition into horizontal and vertical lines.

You can place a subject along any line. Or where the lines intersect (visual hotspots).

2.  USING AVAILABLE LIGHT

Mastering all the settings of iPhone photography is certainly necessary to creating great photography. But you can’t forget the creative side as well.

Great lighting and composition are just as important in telling the story you wish to tell.

Outdoor natural light is defined by:  Quality, Quantity, Direction, and Color.

The quality of light often includes how soft or hard the light is. Quantity relates to brightness. Lots of light is usually bright while darker conditions have less available light.

Direction defines the angle the light is coming from and Color is just that: the colour of the light.

3.  HOW TO CREATE HDR ON YOUR IPHONE

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. On IOS devices, the camera takes three exposures: light, dark, and normal.
Then it blends them together to create an image with more detail throughout the highlights and shadows.
This is a very valuable feature. Use it when photographing high contrast scenes with dark shadows and bright highlights.

4.  USE ‘VIEW ON MAP’

Have you ever captured a photo and later wondered where you took the photograph?
It has happened to me many times over the years, but the iPhone has a feature called View on Map. It is quite simple to use.

Open your camera roll and find the photo you are wondering about. Once the photo is open, slide up from the bottom and the map shows up with the location.

5.  USING THE FLASH

Adding Flash to your subject can be very useful in some situations. The iPhone flash is not very powerful, so its usefulness is limited to a few feet. In bright sun, the flash does not do so well but in the shade, it can be a different story.

6.  ADJUSTING THE EXPOSURE

The iPhone’s metering is for the most part automatic.
Average scenes with average lighting may expose correctly. But there may be times where the iPhone falls short.
Fortunately, adjusting exposure is quite easy.

This full tonal range image is easy to meter and expose.

Wherever you tap on the screen to set focus, you also are choosing that spot to meter exposure.  Start by tapping on the screen where you will see the Sun symbol next to the yellow box.

The sun symbol is the slider to adjust exposure so slide the symbol up or down to lighten or darken.

7.  CROP YOUR IMAGES

Sometimes you might capture an image and later discover something in your photo you want to crop out.

To use the Crop feature, choose the photo from the camera roll and open it, then select Edit.  At the bottom next to Cancel, is the crop tool.

Click that and then you can drag the sides or corners anywhere you wish on the photo.
And if your horizon is tilted, use two fingers to rotate and straighten. Or drag on the dial right below the picture.

8.  WORK WITH DIFFERENT SHOOTING MODES

Depending on the Apple iPhone model (whether it’s an iPhone 5S, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, etc.), there are several modes you can choose from. These include:
Time-Lapse and Slo-Mo for videos

Video
Photo (4×3 Ratio)
Square (2×2)
Pano (for panoramas)
The latest models also have a Portrait Mode.

While capturing still photos, the 4×3 Photo mode is a perfect ratio for many scenes.

Square mode is also very useful when you have a subject that fills the frame.

The Panorama feature can be a lot of fun and is very easy to use. Select the Pano mode, touch the shutter button, and then move the camera from left to right.  It works best if you have a tripod to keep the camera level. If you don’t have one, try your best to keep the camera level while panning left to right.

9.  HOW TO SET THE FOCUS

Most of the time, the focus will be sharp throughout an average scene due to the iPhone’s tiny sensor.
This is for when you want something specific to be sharp such as a close-up. Using the set focus feature will ensure that your main subject is sharp.

Touch the screen and place the yellow square in the area you want to be in focus.

By placing the subject closer to the camera and making it in focus, the depth of field appears shallow.
This throws the background more out of focus for a nice effect.

10. TRY THE SELF TIMER

Use the self-timer feature to capture a different style of selfies or any scene for that matter. The timer can be set for 3 or 10 seconds. Which time you choose depends on you.

3 seconds is not a lot of time but can be useful when you want to take a picture without touching the camera.
The 10-second feature is better if you want enough time to press the shutter and then get in front of the camera.

11. USE A SELFIE STICK TO BROADEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE

To some degree, the smartphone gets a lot of credit for the Selfie craze we see today. No longer do we need to ask a stranger to take our picture in front of an amazing background.

What’s great about a selfie stick is that you are no longer limited to the length of your arm.

These can be very handy not only for selfies.  If the stick has legs, you can use it like a tripod.
This is especially helpful in low light conditions. That’s when camera movement might cause blur.

12. EASY ACCESS TO YOUR NATIVE IPHONE CAMERA

You never know when you might stumble on something that requires a rapid response to capture the shot.
But every time you have to unlock the phone before selecting the camera app.

Head over to your phone’s settings and make sure you can quickly swipe the screen and the camera opens up ready to go.