Removing background crowds from photos

Taking photos in popular public locations is complicated by that very thing – popularity. There are a lot of other people there to walk into my shot, or stand right in front of my raised camera to take their selfie. Every year I look forward to the stunning Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Bondi, it is a photographer’s paradise, beautiful art in front of beautiful views. Plus forty thousand other people on the path at the same time as me. Many of them with children who will look great in front of, or on, every sculpture for a photo.

To make it look like I’m the only person there takes a lot of patience. I line up what I want and wait for 5, 10, 15 minutes for that split second break in the crowd. I look for vantage points, get low, get close, get high, get a long telephoto, crop in, wait, wait, wait. Or I incorporate them into the photo, if it adds to the composition.

So today I am celebrating the crowds, with these photos of what the Sculpture Walk really looks like, with all these marvellous people  getting out in the sun and enjoying the very same art as me.

#CTC13 Capture The Colour 2013

Five colours, five photos, that can’t be too difficult can it? Thanks to the talented Lani Cox, who kindly nominated me to participate in this devilish competition devised by Travel Supermarket, I’ve now discovered just how hard it is. The aim of this cool competition is to go through your travel photographs, (which most of us have far too many of), and pick five photographs in five colour categories: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and White.

Which is why I am now scrambling to get this up at about five minutes to deadline. Because searching for just the right photo can lead me off daydreaming for long periods of time. So lets just get on with it.

 Red – the monks of Mandalay

red - monks alms procession, mandalay, myanmar
red – monks alms procession, mandalay, myanmar


I am no stranger to a good monk photo, but normally the robes are various shades of saffron. In ancient Mandalay however the monks robes are generally a red wine colour. This photo was at an alms procession at a major monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar.

Yellow – enormous bunches of yellow flowers in the local markets of Mandalay

yellow - markets in Mandalay, Myanmar
yellow – markets in Mandalay, Myanmar

I really thought yellow was going to be my ‘hard’ colour. As it turned out, I was completely wrong, I found many more favourite yellow photos than any other colour. So many that I’ve included a little gallery of the runner-up’s at the bottom of this page. Keeping to the Mandalay theme here, these huge bunches of flowers were all destined for the receptions and dining rooms of the hotels in Mandalay.

 Green – the blue hole in Vanuatu

green - the blue hole, vanuatu
green – the blue hole, vanuatu

The blue hole on Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu is a glorious place to swim in deep clear blue waters. Except for the corner which is more shaded, and is all glorious greens in the water and the surrounding vegetation. It’s a beautiful spot to relax.

Blue – fins, togs and the sea

blue - at play on the Island of Rah, Vanuatu
blue – at play on the Island of Rah, Vanuatu

If you head to the very northern islands of Vanuatu, you can eventually find the tiny island of Rah. It’s warm blue waters, hospitable families and cheeky children will have you donning snorkel and fins to spend the day in the water as well.

White – girl in white in Mandalay, Myanmar

white - girl in white, mandalay, myanmar
white – girl in white, mandalay, myanmar

This young girl was a vision in white, including the complicated tanaka pattern on her cheeks. She was in the old teak palace grounds in Mandalay.


And some more yellow

I couldn’t narrow it down to only one yellow or green, so here’s a few more.

Now it’s my turn to nominate! And thanks again Lani for thinking of me. Unfortunately due to my very late attempt to get this finished, I doubt I have given my nominees any time left to enter the comp, but its such a fun post to do, I hope they will give it a go anyway!

Melissa at Mellovestravels
Laura at Little Travel Bee
Terri at Black Chick on Tour
Emily-Ann at The Grown Up Gap year
Mike and Linda at Moving Sushi

>>>> the rules:

To enter is simple, you write a post with your five best photos from these color categories: RED, BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW and WHITE. Be sure to nominate five other bloggers and tweet it with the hashtag #CTC13.

There will be a winner from each color category who will get: an 128GB iPad, a Fuji camera or £750 worth of Arc’teryx clothing and equipment (you choose). Then from the five winners, an overall winner will be chosen to win: £3,000 travel fund (worth about $4633 USD).

For the full contest rules go here.

To follow the entries watch the contest’s pinterest boards.

Or follow the Facebook page.


#fridayfaces – the jewels of jaisalmer

The beautifully bright jewel colours worn by the people of Jaisalmer, India, brighten up any day, through any amount of desert dust. 

Jaisalmer colour, India 1990
Jaisalmer colour, India 1990

Photos of the faces of people I come across in my travels take me right back to that time and place.

Is this the best travel photo gadget ever?

I found this by accident yesterday, I have no idea how long its been around, but I think it is the best gadget ever! “Big call” I hear you say. Yes it is.

gadget tripod
gadget tripod

How many times over the years have I ruined my low light photos by hand holding my camera and getting camera shake? Sure, I know I should carry a tripod, but a lot of the time it just seems too bulky, too much hassle.

And then I found this.

gadget tripod
gadget tripod

Its a bit like the head of a tripod, but designed to be screwed onto a bottle top or the top of a thin fence/wall/balcony. So just imagine, it’s sunset, I am kicking back with a beer, I wish I had a tripod, and voila – screw this gadget on, and the beer bottle becomes my tripod – or my water bottle, or rum bottle, or the top edge of the glass fence around the bar, or the chair back…… So now I can improvise a tripod where ever I am – how MacGyver!!

The instructions say it only takes around 500gms, so a compact camera, or a light DSLR. But I tested it with my camera and lense, a total of 1.2 kg, and as long as the beer bottle was full then it held it stable. It definitely needs a weighty, stable base for the bigger camera, but it can work – I think the size of the lense would be a bigger problem than the weight.

gadget tripod
gadget tripod

Mine was on sale for $4.99, down from $9.95 – a bargain. Its a very light construction, I don’t know how durable it will be, but at that price it doesn’t have to last long to be worth it. I think theres a great market for medium to heavy SLRs if they make a heavy, higher quality version too, at a higher price point – I’d buy it.