Travel Photography in Edinburgh

ISO 200, 20mm, f/5.6, 1/80 sec

The Fringe festival is in full swing and the city was packed. Street entertainers were all over the place and it was a nice change from Edinburgh’s usual streetside entertainment, drunken tramps shouting obscenities at passers by, or pipe band rejects destroying the ears of the innocent…

I was there to shop but took a few hours out to get some practice at travel photography. I got some people shots like Frankenstein here, asking permission first. For me it’s still unnatural and uncomfortable to go around asking strangers for photos but that’s something I have to work on if I want to get good travel photos. It really puts your technical skills to the test, if things aren’t set up right to begin with, they will lose interest or patience if you’re spending ages fiddling around with dials and worse, not interacting as a result.

ISO 200, 20mm, f/14, 1/60 sec, flash

I was put to the test with performer Harvey Gross here but it taught me some valuable lessons. I’d picked the location and had the camera pre-set before I asked him for some photos. But I had to use fill flash and wasn’t getting the right balance with him and the background. I couldn’t just keep him there for ages whilst I took tons of photos with different exposures so chalked it up to experience. Another thing I learned with Harvey was that although it’s great to chat with your willing victim, it’s not so good to have a bunch of otherwise decent photos ruined because your subject is in mid-speech! Next time I’ll wait till a pause or make it clear when to pose. Any tips appreciated! I also didn’t pay enough attention to the background, I could have moved to get that couple out of the shot. So inconsiderate of them 😉

ISO 160, 45mm, f/11, 1/40 sec, tripod

I was there during golden hour and after trampsing through the city looking for good shots I appreciated the advice given in the travel photography books I’d read: do your research beforehand. A lot of my time was wasted just looking for stuff the golden light was hitting before it rapidly vanished. The Scott Monument here caught the light nicely. With some research beforehand I could have planned out a better place to photograph it from. A wrecking ball to take out Princes Street behind it would do the trick.

It’s a dilemma I’m going to face on my travels. By researching all the sights beforehand it takes the wonder away from seeing something new and finding things yourself. Hopefully I can reach a compromise.

ISO 160, 23mm, f/10, 1/13 sec, tripod

I also got plenty of opportunities to use my trusty tripod. It feels pretty weird setting it up on the pavement but again I need to get used to it! The shop above was quite dark and using the tripod let me capture it with a decent light, plus the movement of the people. I had to wait until a break in the traffic too. A bus going through it doesn’t really help much, trust me.

The day was a good experiment for my bag setup. After two hours of walking around with a shoulder bag containing camera stuff, tripod and laptop, I realised I will cripple myself if I  walk around all day with all the weight on one shoulder. I’ll have to take a backpack for my tripod trips with a sling bag for quick cam access. The two bag wonder, oh god.

So, a lot learned. Not long to go now! Here’s my bobby for you (only dirty Scots will get this joke…)

ISO 200, 20mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec

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