Travel Photographers

Curated by Stillmind 

August 3rd -2011-

Photo Tips from Nat Geo Travel


Posted by IT Blog August 1, 2011 
Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic

Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic

  • Have you always dreamed of becoming the next great National Geographic photographer, traveling on assignment to some of the world’s most exotic and exciting destinations? Well here’s your chance to learn from the pros and get one step closer to realizing your goal. Beginning in September, our popular photography seminar series returns. At these day-long events, hear from National Geographic Travelerphotographers as they share tips and advice about these topics: Using Light to Make Powerful Images; Putting the WOW in Your Nature and Outdoor Photography; A Passion for Travel: Photos That Tell the Story; and Becoming a Versatile Travel Photographer. Sign up today through August 7 using the coupon code EARLY10 to receive 10 percent off  your registration.

The first seminar doesn’t begin until September, so in the meantime we asked Travelerphotographer Ralph Lee Hopkins to give us a sneak peek into his fall lecture, Becoming a Versatile Travel Photographer. Here’s what Ralph had to say about mastering the art of travel photography:

Intelligent Travel: Your seminar is about becoming a versatile travel photographer by learning to shoot all the different elements of a travel story: portraits, architecture, festivals and celebrations, landscapes and cityscapes. Does having to capture all these different elements make shooting a travel story easier or harder? What element do you prefer to shoot?

Ralph Lee Hopkins: Shooting all the different elements of a story is what makes travel photography so much fun. Obviously, some subjects are more challenging to capture than others. I find photographing people, for example, to be the most difficult to do well. Photographing people requires finding approachable people in a pleasing situation in good light. That takes a lot of time and effort and being out at different times of day when people are out and about and things are happening. I’m most comfortable shooting landscapes and wildlife, but I also enjoy photographing festivals and celebrations with all the different photo opportunities.

What is your favorite piece of equipment or accessory that you’ll never be caught without while on assignment?

Interesting question, since I rely on my gear almost on a daily basis. I guess I would have to say my 24-105mm lens is the one piece of equipment I can’t live without (attached to a camera body of course). The 24-105 is the most versatile lens and my workhorse for photographing people, landscapes, and for aerial photography.



Ralph Lee Hopkins (NGS)


What’s the number one thing you want the audience to take away from your seminar?

The major point I want people to take away from the seminar is that, in the end, it doesn’t matter what camera you use, or how much equipment you carry. It’s all about knowing how to use your camera, knowing its strengths and limitations, and being there in the moment, at the right time and the right place, to get the shot. The actual practice of clicking the shutter is the easy part. It’s doing the research, getting to location, and taking the time to find good situations to make images.

Best piece of advice you’ve received as a travel photographer?

The best advice I ever got was from my good friend and colleague Bob Krist who says that, in photography, it’s not your batting average that counts, but whether you get the shot, so shoot to exhaustion and don’t be satisfied thinking that you nailed it. Keep working until the situation is over, or until exhaustion, whichever comes first.

If you could choose your next assignment for Traveler where would it be?

This is a difficult question, since there are still so many great places in the world to visit. Near the top of my list would be driving the Ring Road around Iceland in mid-summer, when the days are long and the sun barely sets, being so close to the Arctic Circle. This 830-mile adventure circumnavigating the island would be the ultimate road trip, and something that anyone could do (with time and money, that is). Iceland has great photographic variety, from rugged coastlines, expansive volcanic landscapes and hot springs, to interesting people and wildlife (puffins, puffins, puffins…).

For more information about Traveler‘s Fall Photo Seminars and to register, visit:

  1. August 2, 4:44 pm

    I love to travel, but I must admit one of the hardest parts about traveling is actually trying to capture it on camera. I’ve made that mistake in the past and a pricey trip didn’t come out with as many souvenir photos as I had hoped. This photo seminar is a good idea.


Cuba Part 1.

¡Vamos a guarachar!.

A while ago we made a request for 7 “lost” Muñequitos tracks that had never been released on CD.

We soon found 4 of them.

The last three have finally been found.

LP Siboney 420 “El guaguancó de Matanzas…Los Muñequitos” grabado en Santiago de Cuba, 1988, from which the following tracks were left off the “Rumba Caliente 88/77” CD:

Canto Para Ti (Guaguancó de Florencio Calle) (Earlier we uploaded a version of this one by Guaguancó Matancero.)
Ese Señor (Guaguancó de Gregorio Díaz). (This one was later recorded on the “Vacunao” CD.)
Mayeya (Guaguancó de Jesús Alfonso). (This is a version of the same song from “Rapsodia Rumbera.” The LP attributes it to Jesús Alfonso but with all due respect I am skeptical.)

As far as I can tell we have now posted all vinyl tracks recorded by Los Muñequitos (or Guaguancó Matancero), which have never been released on CD, with the possible exception of their recording of “Xiomara” which plays in the closing credits of Oscar Valdes’ “La Rumba” documentary. Also, our copy of “Ya están sonando los güiros” is incomplete.

(Big thanks to Mark Sanders at Fidel’s Eyeglasses for digitizing and cleaning up the sound files and cover scans.) Download here.


Sara Gómez article on rumba: Cuba Vol 3, No. 2 1964

We came across this article by Sara Gómez (1943-1974) in the December 1964 issue of “Cuba,” which seems to have been the Cuban equivalent of the USA’s “Life” magazine.

Sara Gómez is most known today for her films “…y tenemos sabor” and “De cierta manera.” I am not aware of any other articles she has written. The article also contains historic photographs of the old “Clave y Guaguancó” by Mário García Joya, “Mayito,” who also had a distinguished career in Cuban cinema and now lives in Los Angeles. Some of them we have seen before in a book by Olavo Alén Rodríguez, but others are new, such as this one of Agustín “el Bongocero” Gutiérrez:

Agustín Gutiérrez, c. 1964
Photo by “Mayito”

Sara Gómez would also include this group in her film “…y tenemos sabor.”

The text of the article takes a bit of an unusual form, with narrative information in small text alternating with quotations from Agustín Pina “Flor de Amor” in larger text.


Tibet : Monks at a monastery besieged by Chinese police are running out of food.

Tibet : Monks at a monastery besieged by Chinese police are running out of food | dossiertibet.

Tibet : Monks at a monastery besieged by Chinese police are running out of food

Tensions were running high on Monday at besieged Kirti monastery, where Chinese security forces are enforcing a lockdown in an attempt to get hundreds of monks to move out.The siege of the monastery, which is home to some 2,500 Tibetan monks, was sparked by the death of a monk last month in a self-immolation protest against Beijing’s rule.”If any of the monks leave, they will be detained and returned [to the monastery],” said a Tibetan resident of Ngaba, who asked to remain anonymous.”There were [some detained],” he added. “If any of those monks come out without an identity card, they get taken away.”

“They want to take those monks away somewhere and have them study, but their relatives don’t want them to go,” he said.

He said monks inside Kirti were still very short of food.

Strong police presence

A number of monks had left the monastery by disguising themselves as ethnic Han Chinese, though some were discovered and detained by local police, the Tibetan resident said.

“They are being taken to a local jail, where they check to see if they had anything [to do with the protests],” he said. “They lock them up for many days.”

A second Tibetan resident confirmed there was still a strong police presence around the town and monastery.

“Yes, [they are still surrounding it],” he said. “There are dozens of police on each street.”

Interrogation sessions

A Tibetan named Tsering living in exile in Dharamsala said nearly 800 government employees were involved in the campaign.

“The monks were forced stand alone in the middle of the group and subjected to grueling interrogation sessions,” he said.

Previous campaigns have required participants to denounce the Dalai Lama and pledge allegiance to China’s ruling Communist Party.

Exile Tibetans with links to Kirti said local officials had visited the monastery and warned monks that they could face closure or destruction of the monastery.

Monks are currently being confined to their dormitories after 8 p.m., with beatings for any found breaking the curfew, the paper said.

Around 300 local people had signed a petition vowing to protect the monks with their lives, with officials intervening to stop the signing process because of gathering crowds lining up to sign.

A great little gift from Saragoza. Hip-hop music!

Curated and recommend it by

Stillmind;  19th March, 2011

Check this little vid and pls. leave me your opinion at the comment box. Enjoyed it? I did.

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Notes from the front

Notes Going Overland from Iraq through Iran into Afghanistan

Posted by Stillmind on Jan. 15, 2011 via Daniel Britts
The one and only Sandra Romain (2001 cream-colored MZ 251 Kanuni) as she leaned, gutted by bandits, against the wall of the Afghan National Police compound in Charikar, Afghanistan about 50 Kilometers from her final resting place in Bagram. Photo by author.

Editor’s note: The following three vignettes are taken from Daniel C. Britt’s experience during the U.S. withdrawal from cities in Iraq, up through his overland zig-zag from Baghdad through Iran to Bagram, Afghanistan. He’s been traveling at ground level in the region since 2009, and was joined by videographer Max Hunter in 2010, the two of whom are chronicling the experience with a documentary film scheduled for independent release in 2013.

June 27, 2010, Grass fire on the outskirts of Ainkawa, Iraq

Smoke from the grass fire is in the space where the wall cradles the door.

It’s stinging my eyes. It’s burning a black line down the edge of the dry, craggy lot across from the apartment.

Trucks cross the lot with the long dust tails that belong to comets. The dust falls down and settles in the unfinished Kurdish houses. Most only have windows and a door on one side. They look like giant gray heads. The window side is the face. The taller, wider doorways are the mouths. Each has three or more eyes. Fat Bangladeshi day-workers and delivery men are lollygaggin’ in the eye sockets.

The heads look crazy or dumb, depending on the way the Bangledeshis lean.


I cut through the lot the last time Sandra Romain died on me, on my way back from Ainkawa with whiskey to pay our landlord with.

The bottle’s clanked together as I pushed her up the sides of all the ditches onto the dirt road. Her back tire had been patched on the side but it was alright otherwise. The front was bald and going flat. I hadn’t fixed any of her yet.

It was Grant’s and Teacher’s whiskey, a bottle of each. The Christians at the liquor store sold plastic bottles too but today those were light in color for whiskey, more like Listerine. And today, the kid behind the counter looked especially guilty.

I didn’t want to be too cheap with our landlord this time. Since the videographer and I moved in with our crumby microwaveable chicken steaks, ants have been forming clusters in the kitchen and the front room.

Sandra Romain had a leaky carburetor. I took the scenic route down the street covered in broken green glass. She died because the carburetor let out slowly all over my boots and the road. I didn’t see it coming and drove further than I should have because I liked the wind and the way the light swam on the shards.


Now it was only the sun and the hot rocks.

You heavy bitch.

Two miles to go.

The houses weren’t as freakish up close. Ivory knobs and green swinging gates explained everything.

Up close, most of the Bangladeshis weren’t lollygaggin’ at all. They were stirring tar in the heat and stomach-sick, leaning out of the eye sockets, vomiting down the cheeks. The fumes got them. Without a motorbike, there’s no such thing as wind here.


Smoke is all over the flat and the black line has grown to a hundred meters long.

The more my eyes water the funnier it gets.

Chickens run away from it.

Cinders dance in the window frame.

The smoke dips into my glass of water.

Burn the grass in a country plagued by dust?

Men, douse it in benzene. Light it at noon. Iraq isn’t hot enough at that time of day.

It’s been done like that for years, during shelling from Turkey and two decades of war with Iran and America.

To keep it up takes strength.

We don’t let trouble bother our routines. We don’t fix anything. We go to work and vomit every day.

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