A Blog About Stock Photography. John specializes in shooting stock photos including a mix of funny animal pictures with anthropomorphized pets (including dogs, cats, cows, elephants, monkeys and more), and concept stock photos for business and consumer communications. John's site includes interviews with photographers and leaders in the stock photo community as well as numerous articles on photography, digital imaging, and the stock photo business.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
A Trip To Yemen, Photos And Renewal
The Old City of Saana, capital of Yemen, at dusk. Yemen, Socotra And Ton Of Photos!
It has been two weeks since I returned from a trip to
Yemen…a photo tour led by Jeremy Woodhouse (a fellow Blend Images founder) and
his co-leader Luka Esenko.Why Yemen
you might wonder? The primary reason for going was to experience (and
photograph) the island of Socotra that lies off the coast of Yemen and has been
referred to as the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”. The trip was amazing, if
not a bit arduous (in a good way) and I got a ton of photos some of which will
become stock and most of which were really just shot for my own pleasure.
Learning About Photography
One of the most interesting aspects of the trip was how much
I learned about photography! I have been shooting professionally for thirty
plus years so one might think I didn’t have a lot left to learn…turns out I
do!Jeremy and Luka are both
high-energy enthusiastic photographers who are totally generous in sharing
their knowledge, ideas and techniques.
Old Saana And Photo Opportunities
I didn’t just learn about photography either. Probably the
biggest take away from the trip was how incredibly friendly the Yemeni people
are. I have been to forty countries and have never been to a friendlier one
than Yemen! Yemen isn’t just full of friendly people either. The old section of
Saana, with its intricately decorated buildings, is a beautiful place to
photograph.In the narrow streets
of the Old City, with buildings that date over a thousand years old, there is a
wealth of photo opportunities from young curious children to dignified elders.
We drank hot sweet tea from vendors in the markets, ate wonderful kebabs and Nan
from small restaurants and wandered through streets lined with small shops
selling everything from spices to Jambyias (the traditional dagger worn by
almost all Yemeni men).
In the Old City of Saana, Yemen, women wear Abayas, the traditional all-covering black garment, as they go about their lives in the ancient streets.
Travel And Profit
At any rate, I don’t mean for this post to be a travelogue
about Yemen and Socotra. Rather I would like to share how I intend to recoup my
travel expenses and make a little profit as well. As those of you familiar with
my work know, most of my stock photos are conceptual in nature and assembled
with the help of Photoshop. My reasons for undertaking this journey were
twofold: I felt I needed a little “adventure” and a break from my usual routine
and I felt I could get some good raw material for my composite work. Both
missions were accomplished!
As an interesting experiment I decided to travel light on
this trip. I carried a Nikon D800 with a 24-120 zoom lens. For back up I had a
Sony RX100 II. I also took my Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with a Right Stuff
head. That’s it. Not even a camera bag! As it turned out I was totally happy with my equipment
decision. Only twice did I regret
not having another lens. Once was when we happened on a flock of eagles hanging
out alongside the road (I wouldn’t have minded an nice 400mm) and another time
when shooting an ancient city atop a mountain ridge when a slightly wider lens
would have been handy. However I did get some eagles shots that I have already
turned into a couple of stock images and made the wide angle shot work as well.
My First Yemen Stock Photo...
As I mentioned, I plan to make a profit from the trip
through stock photography. But I am not really a travel photographer so my
emphasis is on capturing raw material for my composite work. As it happens, the
first image I made upon my return was made possible by photos I took of a burro
of all things!I have been trying
to get a donkey or burro shot at zoos for years, but have never had a clear shot
at a burro’s side before. So it
turns out that my first stock image from a trip to Yemen is this humorous look
Politicians on the edge of the cliff, a humorous political commentary stock photo made possible by a trip to Yemen!
Great Travel Shots
Of course, on a trip like this one you can’t help but get
some great travel shots so I will have some of those in my stock collection as
well. I haven’t yet finished my editing, but to see some of the kinds of images
that we had the opportunity to get check out Jeremy’sYemen images (what link should I use here?) and
Luka’s Esenko's Yemen imagery.
Renewal and Gravy!
Perhaps most importantly I came back from the trip fired up
and ready to go, renewed if you will. Getting out of my normal routine, especially on an exotic trip
to an unusual destination, always does that for me. The images I get, and the
raw materials I can capture, are all gravy after that!