The visual poetry - calavera no llora

World Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries

A great photo does not usually happen accidentally.  A great shot takes elaboration and experience; though today’s technology allows any amateur photographer to capture nice and sharp shoots.   Some people have that gift, they see a great picture, and conform to the surroundings to capture it.   Some people have the gift; others work on to get there.    A great shot has the following principles: angle, composition, time, and execution.  

I started to get interested in photography after family and friends began to give me positive feed back on my shots.  With that appreciation, I began to explore my skills further.  I began pushing my 2.1 MegaPixel camera to the limit.   With its limitation, I would constantly get frustrated.

I read more and more about the new technology coming forth back in the year 2000.   I would buy and read every photo magazine and book and learn all about photography, but I would get discouraged after realizing that every great photo in those magazines and books were taken using professional equipment, equipment I could not afford, or know how to use yet.  

I began saving money to get the latest camera, thinking that an expensive camera will give me great shots.   While saving for my 6 MegaPixel Canon Rebel, I was able to get a Sony CuberShot 4.1 MegaPixel with a CarlZeiss lens off Craiglist.   This camera had more feature and was heavier.   This was a point and shoot camera, but had enough features to get me entertained.    While saving for my Canon Rebel, I would keep busy, going out on photo-trekking trips around the San Francisco Bay Area.

  During these trips, I brushed on my skills; I began to use more and more the Tv and Av modes on the camera. 

The Tv (shutter value) is basically setting for the speed on subject.   And Av (aperture value) is the amount light allowed in to the picture.  I had gotten down the first to options on the camera’s dial.  

While in school, (art major) I learned about the importance of composition and ambiance (color, hues, tints) to narrate the work.   In art, every work tells or is open to a story based on perspective.    I went back to my camera and began to spend more and more time learning to adapt composition into every shot.

   You see, everything in front of us is composed for us, by nature, by humans, by life, but we go on in life missing great compositions.   Now, like surfing where you sit and wait for the right wave to ride, I patiently waited for composition, and soon I learned that composition can be even better when you find the right angle.  

The money I was saving for my rebel was spent on my South America trip to Machu Pichu. Why? I had realized that getting great pictures is not all about the equipment you have, it helps a lot, but composition speaks more than a $2K camera.   With the ability to enhance photographs using Photoshop and filters, expensive equipment can sometimes be obsolete-thought never replaced as you do need a decent picture to start with.  Capturing moments is what photography is about, a story, a beginning, and ending.


While traveling I met a fellow traveler from Argentina, she had published a few books and was on her way to Machu Pichu and Manu in Peru.  She showed me a few shots from her laptop---amazing pictures!  I asked her a few tips along the way. I asked her about what exactly she saw in her pictures… and she said: “to get them in memory”, “no one dies if they are remembered by pictures, weather mentally or on paper!”

After my return from my trip, I sat down and begin to read my notes and sketches from all my travels.  This is how I came up with the following list about getting great pictures and the most out of your next travel destination.  


  1. Learn about the weather on your destination and practice on similar conditions before getting there.
    Example: if you are going to a dessert, dry-flat place, or white sand beach, there is probably going to be a lot of glare.  So, you should max the range of your Av mode on your camera.
  2. Learn about the people.  Learn about any communal events and traditions.  Also, learn about the wildlife.
  3. Learn about or do a quick search on photos taken at your destination. What’s been done? When? And where.
  4. Once you get there, walk around and get the feeling of their life, the weather.  See when the sun rises and when it sets.   Learn the crow factor, sometimes tourist flood to popular sites leaving you with a shot filled with strangers.
  5. Keep notes.   What did you do on a particular shot that you like?

I am still learning and practicing; I enjoy this art and plan on doing this forever.

  Though I have to say that when traveling I try to enjoy my self while keeping an eye on my steps on the list.   So I don’t miss everything.

By the way I ended up getting a Canon 8.0MegaPixel camera with a 58-100mm lens and an 80-300mm zoon lens.  I am getting my 17-80mm lens soon along with more memory!  I still use the Sony camera as a smaller alternative.


Deannimal says:
Beautifully written. Your passion and appreciation for the art of photography really comes through.
Posted on: Feb 14, 2008
TYoungTX says:
Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!
Posted on: Feb 12, 2008
Bellarena says:
I agree with your comment "Capturing moments is what photography is about, a story, a beginning, and an ending." I love photography, and took a class back in college. I hope to someday invest a little more money on a decent camera that would help me develop my photographer's eye as well.
Posted on: Jan 06, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Sponsored Links