Archive for the 'most photographed places' Category

Sep 30 2009

hey! glen allison show us what you’ve got

World traveler and photographer Glen Allison is in Siem Reap complaining about a little rain. He calls it a typhoon. But typhoon – monsoon. What’s the difference. Rain is rain. As Ernst Haas says, “It’s all part of the effect.”

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Western causeway to Angkor Wat in a little rain

Sure you can write circles around me in that blog of yours with all of your poetry sounding words, but can you shoot?

You’ve been around the world what two times going on three now? I was juggling shooting with being social in a group in between diabetes talks, and did I complain about the rain?

When you’ve got something to show let us see what you’v got.

Mark Harmel

5 responses so far

Jul 01 2009

i love a parade

We have your stars and your stripes and a Holiday weekend to celebrate. Pull out those lawn chairs and cheer the band coming down your street…

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Flag bloused friends in Pacific Palisades, CA

…or show your patriotic spirit all the way down to the Pacific Ocean.

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Neighborhood celebration in Manhattan Beach, CA

I’m off to catch some fish…

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Real cowboys fish with their hat on

…and ride some horses near the Grand Tetons.

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Ranch horse stretching at the end of the day

Have a great Holiday weekend!

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Apr 16 2009

most photographed places-washington d.c.

I recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. to visit colleges and in-laws. I go there often enough, but I’m normally not in either a tourist or shooting mode and I end up squeezing in some shots in-between other activities. Even with those restrictions the freshness of the city allows me to see the Capitol in ways that haven’t been recorded before. As an example the mystery to me is why no one else has taken this photo already? All the way over from the Jefferson Memorial I spotted the flags surrounding the Washington Monument and I knew that I want a wide angle shot from the ground. To me that was the shot.

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Flags surrounding the Washington Monument

I had two reasons to visit the National Gallery of Art. One was to see the Robert Frank’s Americans exhibit. and the other was to see the East Wing designed by I.M. Pei. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet both artists and do a formal portrait of I. M. Pei when he was working with his sons on the new UCLA hospital.

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Lobby of the National Gallery of Art designed by I. M. Pei

Sometimes the surprise seeing a familiar landmark from a view that you have never seen before – and wondering why this view hasn’t shown up in a movie or TV show yet. On a Christmas visit years ago I was shocked to see a greenhouse so close to the Capitol Building. It is a great visual and could be used to talk about government transparency.

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Capital dome behind the greenhouse windows of United States Botanical Garden Conservatory

Much of the time I’m simply a tourist as well viewing the sights. I just have a bigger camera and a trained eye and and see to shoot above the crowd for a classic view of Abraham Lincoln.

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Lincoln Monument with classic window lighting

Washington D. C. is full of statute and domes, yet I had never seen this configuration until I took the shot.

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What every Capitol needs domes and statutes

One more time looking into the sun at the Washington Monument experimenting with the video capabilities of my new camera.

Click here for other examples of photos from other “most photographed places” – Moulin Rouge, Joshua Tree National Park, Angkor Wat, New York’s Central Park, Monument Valley,Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower.

Mark Harmel

One response so far

Mar 19 2009

when is cheating fair-1?

Some of my students recently were appalled that I would ever alter any part of a photo. They were beginning students and still very new to working with photos on a computer.

Normally I limit myself to cleaning up faces and removing power outlets from the background, but every now and then I allow myself to think more along the lines of a photo illustration.

A few years ago I was renting an apartment in Paris up the hill from the Moulin Rouge and I knew of a photo my travel photographer friend Glen Allison shot of the famed club through the art nouveau archway of the metro stop.

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The two elements of the final illustration

I didn’t quite know how to make it different. I was both frustrated that the lights on the archway were out in the evening, and didn’t like a big Coke billboard that was in the frame. Then I noticed that a famous painting in my tour book and that many of the artists selling their work on the street had moved some famous landmarks around to suit their compositions.

I decided that I could do the same – it just required me to move the metro stop. I wasn’t sure I had the compositing skills to do this, but I have friends that can.

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The final composition with everything in the right place

I shot the individual pieces and asked my friend Dennis Dunbar to use his Photoshop skills to help me execute my original vision. This was my first big step into more of a photo-illustration look. I still prefer to capture what is actually in front of the camera, but this experience opened me up to the idea of creating an illustration.

Mark Harmel

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Jun 30 2008

most photographed places – angkor wat

A quick one this time. The first day in Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore the ancient temple complex. There is not much time to see anything because most of the day was filled with flying in from Bangkok. The plan was a simple drive by to get an overview of the area. We were on the shoulder of the monsoon season and any idea of dong any exploring on foot was quickly damped by the sky opening to a massive downpour as we passed the western causeway section of Angkor Wat. The secret to this photo?

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Stay in the small travel bus and ask the driver to open the door and move the vehicle back and forth to get the view I wanted. When I retuned the next day in the sunlight it wasn’t the same. What we normally think of bad weather is a great time to take photos. In this case the rain softened the features of the temple giving a fog-like effect. I have used my car a number of times as a photo blind in the rain and snow before. Try it sometime. Keep yourself and your equipment dry and If you wish lie about your commitment to the great shot to impress your friends.For a different view of the temples explore John McDermott’s infrared black & white photos of the temples. That look defines many viewer’s experience of the Angkor Wat. He has a gallery in town with his photos as well as gracing the walls of the amazingly stylish Hotel de la Paix.  I think of my experience there as staying in a refined W Hotel in a third-world country.

2 responses so far

Jun 29 2008

most photographed places – monument valley

Monument Valley is possibly the most photographed and least visited places in the United States. It is known for its staring role in a number of John Ford westerns, endless TV commercials, old Marlboro ads and the Thelma and Louise movie. One of the problems is the remote location on the Arizona and Utah border and since it is a Navajo Tribal Park instead of part of the National Park Service it is even hard find on a road map. There is also the strange phenomenon that so many Americans don’t even consider traveling through the American Southwest. It is common to encounter more Japanese and European tourists traveling through this region than American travelers. Even with high gas prices, a road trip through this area is one of the best and least expensive vacations I can recommend.

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The other issue for photographers now is the air quality. We most often want to see photos of grand vistas with a crystal clear sky instead of the haze that is now more common. This either means trying to plan your visit to coincide with a rain storm or find a way to make the haze work for you as I did in this photo shooting directly into the sun.

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And moments later using the atmosphere to extend the rays of the setting sun.

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The above shots were taken while I was returning from an assignment in Durango, Colorado, but on another trip traveling with my family the question arose of whether I drag my family out to wander the dirt roads at sunset and sunrise as they pretend to tolerate my quest to find the perfect butte or am I’m being unfair to not take them causing them to miss one of the highlights of the trip. The question was resolved on the last trip with the family setting up camp while I was shooting the sunset and sleeping in as I set up this sunrise photo of an empty highway leading to the park.

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You can shoot outside the normal sunrise and sunset times. It just requires a different way to show off the scenery to make up for the harsh light.

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One response so far

Jun 28 2008

mpp – most photographed places – taj mahal

Most of us don’t have the luxury of the 30 day National Geographic  assignment or the big budget GE Healthcare commercial (“Beats”) that has time to scout and stage a cricket game across the river from the Taj Mahal.

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In my case I was traveling with a group of American Diabetes Association doctors and their families and had a sunset and a sunrise to do my shooting.

Shortly after entering an enterprising guide, seeing a professional looking camera attached himself to my hip and commenced to drag me to all of the cliche locations that he learned from the postcard vendors. Since time was short I allowed him to lead hoping that one of his prized spots could be close to a location that I could work with.

As we were walking I could hear the Islamic call to prayer wafting through the courtyard and I noticed a devoted man kneeling in prayer against a wall. I had read that the Taj was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, but it only then that it dawned on me that I was in a Muslim mosoleum. I had my idea!

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I turned my guide into a model asking him to kneel in profile in one of the side archways. The direction of the prayer was chosen by what looked good to the camera. I only hope that this was close to the proscribed directive of praying to Mecca.

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My friend returned the next morning and was quite confused to see me pointing my camera down into the reflecting pool instead of including it as a foreground element like he saw so many times. Perhaps this spot has been added to his selection of locations that he highlights to the next camera toting tourist.

No responses yet

Jun 28 2008

mpp – most photographed places – paris/eiffel tower

I both love the experience of visiting and enjoy the challenge of saying something new about one of the “Most Photographed Places” (MPP) on earth. There can be disagreement on what these places are (the Google photo sharing site Panoramio has their list), and I have been fortunate enough to visit many of them and I wanted to share my joys and frustrations with the experience of creating photos at a MPP.The frustration always begins with looking trough my view-finder and discovering that I simply remaking an uninspiring postcard. Not to knock the postcard – its job if to make the famous place familiar. Postcards are also great scouting tools. They can give you information about what is the “good side” of the landmark and even give you clues about where the sun will rise and set.

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The Eiffel Tower looks good from most any angle and I decided that I wanted to show the tower at dusk with the lights glowing. The light balance happens about 20 minutes after sunset with the correct balance lasting about one minute. This requires being in the right place in advance and shooting the entire range of light – from too light to too dark. It helps to have a digital camera to review the exposures, but I still want to capture an entire series and edit later.Originally I saw a similar photo on an airline poster that made me aware that there were these great lamp posts somewhere near the tower and research on a stock photo site identified that the lights were on the Pont Alexander III, a grand bridge over the Seine. The enemy of any traveling photographer is construction. Most often this means scaffolding surrounding historic towers, as was the case with Notre Dame Cathedral during my trip to Paris. This time I was in luck. The perfect location to shoot the lamp and tower was from the center of the bridge roadway which was conveniently surrounded by construction barriers.

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I decided to return the next night for a view closer to the tower and found the equivalent of the tripod marks on the Champ-de-Mars overlook of the reflecting pool leading to the tower that was in my DK guidebook. I knew I wanted something different and that I had to decide between the safe postcard quality location versus the risk of finding something new.

I chose to descend from the overlook, tried views from the reflecting pool and eventually spotted a carousel closer to the tower. After some test shots I decided that I needed to be on the carousel and paid the attendant for multiple rides while performing my best charades act indicated that I wanted to to take pictures from the ride.

There was again a brief window where the lights were in balance and moving horse was in the perfect location. Unfortunately the tower was in it’s sparkle light show mode instead of the more traditional illumination – one of the few example of bad French that I hope has gone out of style.

2 responses so far

Jun 13 2008

how to plan to take great travel photos on your next vacation

I will be teaching a new class on how to plan on being in the right place at the right time to get the great photos you want as your travel souvenirs at the Julia Dean Photo Workshop in Venice on Saturday July 12th.This is a class for other pros and serious amateurs that don’t have the opportunity to do the three month National Geographic assignment, but still want to come back with photos that are worthy for publication in the magazine. From taking my recent trips to South East Asia, London, Egypt, India, Paris and in the USA, I have learned how to use resources on the internet and from reading guidebooks to discover some of the most photogenic places even before I leave home. I will be sharing these tips and advice about how to carve out some shooting time for yourself while you are traveling with friends and family as well. For more writing on this you can read my Shooting Travel Stock feature.  20071030 lon 3613 how to plan to take great travel photos on your next vacation

A Yeomen Warder, or Beefeater leading a tour at the Tower of London

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