A Travel Image Brief by David Smith – Hoi An Fisherman


How I captured this image:

This marvelous old man sits in his canoe at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An Vietnam an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century . He patiently waits for tourists to walk along the bank of the village lake saying with with broken English words “pictures for a dollar”.

A Travel Image Brief from Interface Images

A Travel Image Brief from Interface Images

I gladly gave him a dollar took his photograph and then took the time to turn my camera around to show him his photo on the LCD screen. I must have been the first person in weeks to do that because his face lit up with a huge smile and chuckle. I needed his attention because my first photo was awful as he was looking into the sun with hot spots and blown out highlights on his face.

Most of the tourists that visited Hoi An that day were from a cruise ship, a 2-3 hour drive away, so most snapped his photo at noon with glaring mid day sun and contrasty haze then moved on not realizing how their bad photo can be corrected easily. Having his attention and after waiting for the crowd to disperse I waved my hand in a circular motion to get him to turn his canoe around so the sun was behind him while I pulled out my 70-200 mm lens and moved further back to zoom in and create a narrow depth of field.

To properly expose his shaded face and blow out highlights in the debris filled lake I guessed at a camera exposure value (EV) of +2.0 and spot focused in his eyes then recomposed. An alternative was to stay close and use flash to lighten up his face but I would lose much of his wonderful facial feature lines and old character. A quick glance at my LCD confirmed the dramatic effect I was looking for as I sensed a “once in a lifetime” type of photo op was upon me. As I teach digital and travel photography worldwide I decided to bracket more shots at +1 and 0.0 EV to demonstrate the benefit of taking the camera off automatic, over exposing using no flash and zooming in for a narrow depth of field.

Out of the 10,000 images in my Interface Image s online archives  this one is the most viewed image by far. This image is used frequently in my own photography and camera classes and workshops to demonstrate camera exposure value settings and is featured in my Online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips and Techniques Course .

Camera SettingsCanon 20D with Canon 70-200 IS L lens| Exposure 1/250sec @ f/8 | ISO 400 | Focal Length 200mm

Location: UNESCO World Heritage site at ancient Hoi An, Vietnam

Image Award: This image was award Image of the Day by Light and Composition Magazine on May 15, 2013.

Use this image: License or download Hoi An Fisherman from the  Interface Images World Photo Collection or order a fine art print Hoi An Fisherman by David Smith from the new World Faces Fine Art Gallery

Fun Travel Photography Tip – Group Photos of People You Meet


Group, portrait, teenage, Turkish, Muslim, girls, young, dressed. local, Amazon, smiling, happy, fun, 16 to 18 years, 18 to 20 years, youth, exuberant, excited, dancing, travel, tourism, local, culture, ethnic, portrait, costume, Photographers and Travel Writers, David, Anna Smith, Interface Images, demonstration, photo, Interface Images, Blog, www.interfaceimages.com. Sinop, Turkey, Amazon, Girls, Sinop, Turkey, 010 Group portrait of teenage Turkish girls dressed in local Amazon costume in a circle while looking down on the camera. Photographers and Travel Writers David and Anna Smith of Interface Images are in the top right hand corner of the image. A demonstration photo of David
Group portrait of teenage Turkish girls dressed in local Amazon costume in a circle while looking down on the camera. Photographers and Travel Writers David and Anna Smith of Interface Images are in the top right hand corner of the image. Location is Sinop, Turkey

Cool Photographer Tip – Dave’s ‘Smile Circle Group’

As a former Vancouver BC based wedding photographer, I created a fun and creative photo technique to capture the bridal party. It became my signature wedding image for all my weddings. I would lie on the dance floor with my camera pointed up, flash on and make sure all of the bridal party were positioned above me looking down and smiling while touching heads. Here are a few examples from my wedding shoots. :






Well I modified this technique to be used in our travel photography adventures so BOTH the photographer and the subjects can be in the shot. This works with BOTH Point and Shoot and SLR cameras and works indoors or outdoors. You can capture up to 10 people with this technique (depends on the camera lens and zoom out setting). Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Set the camera timer to about a 10 second duration. Look for the clock/timer symbol.
  2. Force the flash on to lighten up the faces with the typical strong back lighting from the sky or overhead lights. Look for the lightning bolt symbol or pull up the popup flash (or use an external dedicated strobe flash set at ETL/ATL).
  3. Set the cameras focus method to multiple point or face detection. If left on the default center spot focus setting the camera will not focus on the faces but on the sky or background
  4. Set the lens to the maximum wide angle possible to fit all people in the shot
  5. Remove the lens hood, if any, as the wide angle lens setting will cause a shadow in the lower half of the image created by the light of the popup flash hitting the lens hood
  6. Turn off image stabilization (don’t forget to turn it on afterwards!) to avoid blurring the image when the camera is stable on the ground
  7. Place the camera on the floor/ground pointing up.
  8. Ask your subjects to gather round the camera facing down so their heads form a ring of faces over the camera. Ask them to touch heads. This always invokes laughter and merriment.
  9. Press the shutter button, and if you want to be in the photo yourself, join the ring and encourage the group to smile, laugh, making funny faces, etc. Remember the timer is set to 8 or 10 seconds, don’t have people laugh/giggle until just before the shutter goes.

Notes: By placing the camera on the floor/ground you have an opportunity to get more people in the shot as it us further away from the subjects versus holding the camera while you lie down. 10 seconds later you will have created a memorable photograph. Take several shots to select a best one

Send us your best shots by email using this technique. The best ones will be featured in our next Images newsletter and ALL entries will awarded complimentary access  to both  David’s online Udemy Travel Photography courses

Travel Photography – Amazing Tips and Techniques or Easy Photography Tips for Cruise Ships and Ports


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