When you’re traveling in your RV out on the open road, everyday is an adventure. Enjoying scenic views and trekking through the wild will become a regular thing. Make the most out of these experiences by learning some outdoor and travel photography techniques that will take you from zero to hero.
1. Avoid Shooting Through Windows
It can be tempting to just click the shutter button and capture the view from your vehicle’s window. But trust me on this: your shots won’t come out the same way you see them through the glass of your window. To be safe, just shoot from an open window or just step out of your RV to shoot outside.
2. But If You Must Shoot Through the Windows of Your RV…
- Use a polarizing filter that cuts out sun glare. Make sure to check your viewfinder carefully to see if you’ve gotten rid of as much glare as possible. If you use just a regular point and shoot or your smartphone camera, you can still achieve the same effect by holding a pair of polarizing sunglasses in front of your lens.
- Widen your aperture to blur out the reflections in your images. Although this trick won’t clear your photos of this imperfection, it can at least make your photos look presentable, as if you intentionally meant to include glare in your photos as part of your style.
3. Take That Picture, and Do It Fast
You may be able to drive back to a place you want to take a photo of, but the lighting and the action happening in that location might not remain the same. You don’t always get a chance to take the same shot twice, so learn to quickly decide whether a particular scene is snap-worthy. Learn how to frame your shot cleanly on your first attempt as well. It also pays to master proper timing.
Watch out for those precious moments that you’d want to document, like a herd of sheep walking along the road or a mommy and baby gorilla up on one of the trees on a cliffside. Always be prepared with your camera on hand.
4. Learn How to Work with Water
You can use a polarizing filter also for reducing reflections on images of bodies of water. Use it when the sun is at a 90-degree angle to the subject for maximum effect. You’ll know it is when the sun is either to your left or to your right. During this time, sunlight comes only from either side.
5. Switch Your Lens When the Temperature Changes
It’s normal to go from cold to hot weather and vice versa when traveling across states in your RV. When this happens, remember to change the lens of your camera to prevent condensation buildup.
6. Focus on the Lights When Shooting at Night
To best capture the lights, set your DSLR to ISO 400 and your white balance to automatic. If you want tail lights streaks in your photo like those in postcards of cityscapes, set your shutter speed to 30 seconds and use a tripod. Just make sure that the bright lights are not overexposed before you click the shutter button. If they are, you can adjust them with your camera’s exposure compensation control.
This trick works well when shooting campsites or cityscapes from across the lake or river.
7. Take Advantage of the Twilight
One of the benefits of RVing is that you can easily snap a picture of your destination as it glows in twilight without exerting much effort. You’re already there after all. You just have to go down your RV. You’ll even get ample time to set up your tripod and decide which elements you’ll include in your picture.
For best results, set your white balance on auto and set your camera’s self-timer to “hands-off” shooting mode.
8. Use the Right Lens When Taking Photos of Birds
If you pay enough attention, you’ll notice the many kinds of birds you’ll encounter along the road. A telephoto lens that allows you to get a sharp image and to zoom in as close to your subject as possible, is your best bet for photographing birds.
9. Always Ask For Permission Before Taking Pictures of People
Certain laws apply when shooting people, especially children, in some states and territories. And there are people who are protective of their privacy and personal space. So if you don’t want to get in trouble with the law or anyone, ask before you shoot.
Travel and outdoor photography takes a lot of practice and patience, but once you get the hang of it, taking good photos of your RV adventures will be as easy as 1-2- 3.
Joan Amelia Kissler (aka Jones) is a aspiring blogger and travel enthusiast. In 2014, she quit her job as a paralegal to pursue her dream of writing full-time. She loves sharing her thoughts and ideas through writing and is currently working towards starting her own travel blog. Apart from writing and traveling, Joan’s hobbies include reading mystery novels, hunting for vintage vinyl records, and watching obscure foreign language films.
Jones is currently in Southeast Asia and has fallen in love with Cambodia.