What’s Shutter Speed Got to Do With It? How to Take Better Photos.

Want to take better photos? The key is practice, practice, practice. And, if you get the chance to practice in the company of a pro, do it! Taking a photo tour with a legit photographer gives you the chance to ask all kinds of dumb questions and to correct one or two things that will immediately improve your shots.

Photo tips for beginners include choosing the right subject, like this red, rusty tractor.

Wandering around the Donaldson Farm, I kept waiting for the big tractors to talk to me as if I was in a Disney cartoon. Photo: The Open Suitcase LLC

Getting the chance to bum around with a professional photographer with an all access pass is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. And you don’t have to have tons of equipment or years of experience to have a great time and to learn to take better photos. I self-identify as a beginner-intermediate when it comes to using my DSLR camera, meaning I still have to think really, really hard about whether the aperture needs to be big or small to get a crisply focused background. Continue reading

Lonely Planet Book Review: “You Only Live Once”

Looking for a great gift for someone who needs a little inspiration? Or maybe that someone is you. “You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us” is a new publication from Lonely Planet. It’s not a traditional travel guide. Instead, through a series of photographs, brief essays, and infographics, it introduces readers to a world of enriching experiences. It should come with a warning because you’ll want to walk out your front door and never look back.


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The book features stunning photographs of people, places, and things to stimulate your wanderlust. Photo: You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us. © Lonely Planet 2016

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Make Me Love Brooklyn? Go On. I Dare You

mural of two sisters in the Bushwick CollectiveBushwick? Bushwick? My inability to identify Brooklyn nabes marks me as hopelessly unhip. And I prefer to stay that way. I’ve tried to know and love this outer borough but we can’t quite seem to connect. Continue reading

Where to Stay in Zimbabwe: The Victoria Falls Safari Club

victoria-falls-safariDetouring north to visit Victoria Falls was a non-negotiable element on my recent South Africa trip. Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) is the world’s largest waterfall, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, and a UNESCO Heritage site. To go halfway across the world and NOT visit would be something I’d regret forever. The problem was – how do I get there and where do I stay? Continue reading

Tips from a Pro: How to Take Great Travel Photos

Photographer-Avery-MeyersI fully intend to take dancing lessons before the first of my kids gets married. It’s one of my self-improvement goals. I have others, including “learn how to host an excellent dinner party” and “master intermediate plumbing” – I consider myself an advanced beginner, having repaired many running toilets.

Also on my list was the goal to improve my photography skills but it soared to number one with a bullet when I booked a bucket list trip to South Africa. Taking photos with my iPhone and compact camera would be fine, but I want better than fine for this trip. So I went looking for a professional photographer who would be willing to share some tips and techniques.
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