The Caribbean.  An Island.  Abundant Sunshine.  Beaches.  Crystal clear blue or turquoise waters.  Maybe a few umbrella cocktails.  This is Curaçao.

Do I love Curaçao?  I’ve been twice and each time I was on the island for a month.  I also explored every inch of the island.  Again, do I love Curaçao?  No.  I didn’t even love it the first time  I visited.  Why did I return a second time?  Good question.  

The only reason I can come up with for a second visit is the resort where I stayed was closed so the owner could go on holiday himself.  He agreed to let me stay so I literally had the resort to myself.   I arrived, he gave me the keys, he left the next day and I left the resort keys under a bush when I myself left a month later.

Will you find beaches and plenty of sunshine in Curaçao?  Of course you will tho’ I wouldn’t give any beach rave reviews.  The turtles are cool except the tourists who chase turtles aren’t so cool.  I saw that happen plenty of times.  

There are three beaches on the north side of the island that are off the beaten path.  Locals are really the only ones who are aware of these secluded beaches and they are not easily accessible.  You have to know where you’re going and be prepared for a lengthy and bumpy ride.  Once you’re there, you’ll basically have the small beaches to yourself.  If you want to go au natural, go for it.  I did and had a relaxing time and I did this more than once.

Otherwise, there isn’t much to Curaçao.  The capital city isn’t so exciting and you’ll find typical high priced tourist fare one after another.  A drive around the main road is nice for a relaxing day out.  Any good restaurants are few and far between.  The large refinery as a backdrop isn’t so tropical beautiful nor is it 

One would think Curaçao is one of my top go-to destinations but that’s only because you’ll find numerous blog posts about the island on this blog.  Let me just say – when you stay on an island for a total of two months, you know a lot about the island and can write a lot about it.

I’ll add this as well – when you go where the locals go, don’t expect a friendly reception.  I’m an unassuming kind of guy.  I’m quiet and reserved and more than respectful to anyone I meet.  I say this to say I’m not a loud obnoxious tourist.  Unfortunately, I was met with a lot of looks of disdain and downright rudeness.   Locals who work in the shops, hotels and restaurants will, of course, be kind to you.

Will I return to Curaçao again?  More than likely I will not.

Wherever you travel you’ll want to capture some fantastic travel photos.  Consider the following tips for your next adventure wherever it might be.

1. You should almost never use flash …
Natural lighting is more flattering for photos.

Not only does flash wash out skin tones, it also gives iPhone photos an artificial look.

Take advantage of good lighting.

While the iPhone flash can provide the light you need in a pinch,  it’s often too bright and leaves the background underexposed (i.e., too dark)

Quite frankly,I would only use a flash if there is practically no light … like in a power outage.

2.  never use digital zoom.
Instead of zooming in, get closer to your subject.

One of the biggest mistakes you could make while taking pictures with your iPhone is zooming in.

Basically, if you zoom in with your iPhone camera, you end up losing a lot of data … and wind up with a low-resolution photo.

Instead,  get closer to your subject,  Learn to zoom with your feet.

4. In low-light conditions, adjust the exposure on your iPhone camera before taking a picture.
Don’t rely on the iPhone’s autoexposure feature.

You can change the exposure level on your iPhone camera before taking a picture.  To take a good picture in bad lighting, start by tapping the brightest spot you see on your screen.

A small yellow box with a sun icon will pop up to mark your focal point and default exposure level.

To make your image brighter or darker, tap and swipe up or down without lifting your finger to increase or decrease exposure. You should see the sun icon move up or down with your finger.

In general, adjusting exposure gives you more control over your shot.
The exposure adjustment feature also comes in handy when taking pictures of high-contrast scenes, such as landscapes.
Adjusting exposure levels helps you get the perfect shot.

Adjust the exposure level  if you’ve got a scene with really bright areas and really dark areas that the iPhone’s autoexposure sensor may have a hard time balancing out.

5. Another easy way to balance exposure is to use the iPhone’s HDR feature.

The HDR feature on your iPhone automatically combines three pictures of the same scene — one slightly underexposed, one normally exposed, one slightly overexposed — into one optimized shot.

The HDR feature is handy in extreme lighting situations where the scene has deep shadows and bright, bright highlights.  Use HDR in the late afternoon and evening when the light gets a little low.

Then, tap “Auto” or “On.”  If you choose “Auto,” your iPhone camera will automatically analyze a scene and turn on HDR as needed.  If you choose “On,” your
iPhone camera will permanently shoot in HDR mode until you turn it off.
6. Take better photos by following the natural lines of objects in your shots.
Line up your shot with your subject matter.

Follow lines in your horizon.  Follow lines from buildings and structures.

7.  AN EASY WAY TO FOLLOW LINES IS TO TURN ON THE GRID LINES

Grid lines can help guide your shot.

Simply go to Settings > Photos & Camera on your iPhone and tap the toggle next to “Grid” to turn on grid lines.

When you open your iPhone camera app, you should see lines that split your screen into nine rectangles of equal size. To make sure your photos are straight, just line up objects in your shot with the lines in the grid.

These grid lines are “great” for iPhone compositions.

8. Use the iPhone’s autofocus feature to control the subject of your shot.
Use the AE/AF Lock to make sure your subject is always in focus.

When you tap on your iPhone screen to set your focal point, you also set your shot’s exposure level by default. Learning how to separate focus from exposure, however, lets you control the subject of your shot.

For example, if you’re taking a picture of your friend, and someone walks by in the background, your iPhone camera may automatically focus on that stranger.

To make sure your subject is always in focus, tap and hold on the screen to lock your camera’s focal point. You should see a yellow rectangle pop up on the screen that says AE/AF Lock.

9. Use Burst mode when taking selfies or portraits.
Get the perfect shot with the iPhone’s Burst mode.

An overlooked feature on the iPhone is Burst mode lets you take several pictures in rapid succession at once.

To take bursts, just tap and hold the capture button on your iPhone camera screen.  Burst mode is perfect for [capturing] fast moving and fast changing situations.

10. To keep your camera steady, use the volume button to take a picture instead of pressing your iPhone screen.
An easy way to avoid taking blurry pictures.

A steady hand is so important when taking pictures with your iPhone.

A simple and very effective way to avoid shaking your camera is to take a photo using your iPhone’s volume key. Instead of tapping the capture button on your iPhone screen, which can shake your camera, hold your phone horizontally with both hands and press either the volume up or volume down button.

11. Even better, try using the volume button on a pair of your headphones.
Put your Apple headphones to good use.

If you have wired Apple EarPods, press the volume up or down button on your headphones to snap a photo when your iPhone camera app is open, Darren Boyd recommends.

This may also work with other compatible headphones, although you should check before buying a pair for this purpose.

12. Or use your Apple Watch to take better selfies and group shots.
Make the most out of your Apple Watch

The default photo app on the Apple Watch is very handy when organizing selfies, group shots, and long exposures.

To use your Apple Watch to take better iPhone photos from afar, open the camera app on your iPhone.  Then, open the camera app on your Apple Watch.

This will turn your Apple Watch into a remote display that shows a live view of your iPhone camera. Finally, tap the shutter button, the timer button, or the burst button to take a picture, take a timed picture, or take a series of pictures in burst mode, respectively.

You can even tap your Apple Watch screen to focus your iPhone camera remotely.

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