Travel

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

I am moving into the travel photography niche more and more. And also, into micro four thirds photography.

I need to come up with what will be my micro four thirds travel kit – this will be the photography gear that I use for my travel photography work. In this post I will explain what my travel photography kit is, and how and why I have selected that particular collection of kit. Travelling light in style sounds good to me!

Yes, I know – more gear talk! Apologies for that but I am in a state of transition at the moment.

Where does travel photography fit in with my commercial work then?

Well as you might know my main specialism is architectural photography. This is my core photography business. I also love travel. And landscape photography. Put this little lot together and what do you get?

Travel photography my style. Photographing buildings and their surrounding environments in nice places.

Travel photography is the natural progression of my photography work, and the only broadening from my core business. (I still turn down photography work that is not my specialism).

What is my specialism, and what gear have I been using?

I am an architectural photographer. Architectural photography is broadened out to include anything to do with photographing buildings.

I have been using full frame Canon DSLRs and L series lenses for well over a decade now. And still am.

OK so that is the background. So why the new gear?

This is why.

Last year we were on holiday on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes. I took my Canon 6D and 17-40 and 70-200mm lenses. And a tripod. And all the paraphernalia that accompanies this wonderful gear.

And do you know what? I could not be bothered getting my camera out of the boot. I was fed up with all that gear. And that was when I decided that I wanted a much smaller set up for travel photography.

I found myself using my iPhone pretty much all the time, except for the sunrise shoots that I did when I had all my gear.

In fact I did not take my Canon 6D out of the room safe for the first few days, and when I did I soon got fed up filling the safe with this lump of kit. Any day that we went out I would religiously get my gear out of the safe, put it in my bag and into the boot of the car. And when we got back I would have to go back to the room to put the stuff away.

I think I have been using the same gear for so long that I have bored myself!!

Basically I was bored with my gear

And that was the start of what has ended up being my journey into micro four thirds photography.

I have written a number of posts about this on my photography blog, including

How to choose your next camera – 31 features that I want

And

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

See I have been thinking about this for some time now!

And another thing

I want a camera in the glove box of my car. Something I can just grab any time I want to take a photo of something I see.

Is there anything else I want?

One small camera body and one lens. That is the core of my travel photography set up. Well I say travel photography, my day to day photography set up. For stuff I want to do.

And it has to be able to deliver professional quality imagery. If it does not then there is no point – I might as well just stick with my iPhone.

What about my commercial photography work?

That will stay with my Canon 6D for now. I will use my new camera on commercial jobs and compare the results, but the Canon gear stays – for now. I cannot risk compromising the quality of my commercial photography work.

Back to the micro four thirds travel kit – the point of this post.

To start with – which camera body?

My first foray into micro four thirds photography was buying an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2. Snappy name I know!

I am going to buy an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 soon which I like the look of very much.

But for now I am going to stick with the EM10. As I have bought it. But if I buy the EM5 before my next trip I will take that.

Here is the first photo I took with my Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark 2

Winter scene in Dorset

Winter scene in Dorset

That is not bad is it? By the way this image was created using Aurora HDR 2019.

And here is an architectural shoot where I trialled the camera with a Panasonic 7-14mm lens which I have returned due to excessive lens flare and purple noise. And no that is not the name of a Prince album!

The quality of the image is well as good as with the Canon! Here is one of the shots from that shoot.

Arnewood School Refurbishment

Arnewood School Refurbishment

Again, pretty impressive.

So that is the camera body sorted.

Lenses

14-42mm kit lens

The camera came with a kit lens, the Olympus 14-42mm lens. This is in effect 24-84mm lens on a full frame camera (micro four thirds sensors have a 2x crop factor).

The kit lens is OK but not to a high enough quality standard for me.

Panasonic 7-14mm lens

I tried the Panasonic 7-14mm lens and did not like it – massive lens flare problems and purple errors.

Olympus 7-14mm lens

Next for consideration was the Olympus 7-14mm lens, which I tried in Castle Cameras in Bournemouth. It was just too big. Too big for travel photography that is.

And it cost £929. So that lens is a no from me. For now. For travel photography.

Olympus 12-100mm lens

Next up on the line was the Olympus 12-100mm lens, which equates to a massive 24-200mm focal length in full frame terms.

I was advised that this lens was quite cumbersome on the EM10, and that a better option would be the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

Olympus 8mm lens

This is an interesting lens that I will consider for my architectural photography work, but not now.

So finally I get to the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

That is 24-80mm in full frame terms.

I bought one of these on EBay. Being a mainstream lens the price I got was really good for a lens in pretty much new condition.

Here it is.

FullSizeRender.jpg

My lens of choice then is the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

This lens is not as wide as I would like, but 24mm is pretty good. When I have used my Canon 6D on trips I have often paired it with the 24-105mm lens and never had a problem.

Sure is has less at the telephoto end of the scale but I sped much more time at the wide end of things so this should work nicely.

And being a Pro lens the image quality should be excellent.

That is the main lens done then. And this is the lens that will live on my camera most of the time.

Do I need another lens?

Of course I do. I am a bloke after all!

I am going to try the 12-40 Pro lens on commercial shoots and see if the quality of this combo is a match for my Canon gear. If it is I will go for the 7-14mm lens.

That leaves the other end of the scale.

Olympus do a really good, small and not that expensive telephoto zoom – the 40-150 F4-F5.6 telephoto lens.

This is not a Pro lens but is meant to give really good image quality.

I am bidding on EBay for one of these. Update – I got the lens for less that £100 and will get this in a few days.

And that will be that.

Two lenses and I am done

12-40 and 40-150mm, giving me in full frame currency 24-300mm. Sorted!

As I said the 12-40 will be on my EM10 all the time apart from when I need the telephoto length.

And the kit lens will stay in my office, only making an appearance when I need to be able to put my camera in my pocket, which I can with this tiny lens (see later for the update on this point).

Is the kit lens any good?

To be honest I do not know. I will give this lens a go and see how it compares to the 12-40mm Pro lens.

OK – lenses done – what am I going to put them in?

What is my ideal camera bag for travel photography?

Another decision to be made. I can either use the Think Tank Mirrorless Mover, my Peak Design Everyday Backpack or my Lowe Pro bag.

The merits of each as follows.

Think Tank Mirrorless Mover

It fits my micro four thirds kit nicely. I keep all this gear in this bag which I put in my car everyday.

This bag is the perfect size for the stuff I need most days. Apart from when I have my camera in the glovebox.

Hmmmm – lets not overthink this!

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

My Canon 6D and two lenses live in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This is fine for car-based photography. I even get my tripod in a side pocket on this bag, so that is me sorted for a good day out.

I do need space though for other stuff which I will come on to.

Lowe Pro bag

I had forgotten about this bag. The great thing about this bag is that the camera bit is on the back of the bag in the lower half, leaving the top as an empty space for non-photo stuff.

As well as what I put my gear in there is the question of hand luggage and what I need with me for a days travel photography shooting.

More on that later.

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is my travel bag of choice

For now, I am going to reconfigure the inside of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack to take my much size reduced micro four thirds photography gear.

One reason for this is that when I was working on my website Photos of Santorini I did not have room in this bag for other essentials, namely food, drinks and a coat.

OK – decision done. I can always change to another bag later.

And if I am not happy with any of these I have lots of other bags in the garage….

Lots of other bags.

Tripods for travel photography?

No, I am not taking a tripod. Whilst this does restrict me there are things that I can do to overcome this.

That was the start of my thought process, and then I changed my mind. I want a tripod for my new set up.

Yes – I want one! And that is the brutally honest truth – I want a new tripod for my new micro four thirds camera system. A new travel tripod.

I use a Manfrotto 055 and also a Manfrotto 190 Go tripod with a variety of tripod heads. I use these for my architectural photography.

One thing that has changed is that my new Olympus camera has horizontal and vertical indication on the LCD screen – my Canon 6D only has the horizontal level. This means that I can get away with a much smaller ball head which fits in with everything else I am trying to achieve.

That is one for me to look into further.

Or maybe I will be sensible and just get a new ball head. Or use one of the ball heads I have!

Platypod

I will still take my Playtpod, as it is dead handy and takes up very little space or weight. There are some really useful accessories for my Platypod in a neat pouch that will be part of my travel photography kit.

Ball head

I need a ball head for my Platypod.  Will a ball head from a new tripod fit the bill? I will have to think about that.

Manfrotto Pixi

I will include this in my kit as well. A dead handy lightweight piece of kit that I have used loads with my Canon 6D and lenses, so this will work a treat with the Olympus gear.

Accessories – other essential stuff

Cleaning solution

I use Eclipse Lens Cleaning Solution, and have no reason to change from this.

Pec Pads

These go hand in hand with the lens cleaning solution. Again no need to change – I have used these for years.

Hurricane blower

For blowing dust off the sensor and other stuff.

Passport colour checker

I have not used this that much, but am going to include this in my travel photography kit as I have it and should use it more.

Lastolite Grey card

This is a collapsible grey card. It is grey but not a card!

Batteries and charger

I have two spare batteries. I will get some more if needed – I have not used the camera enough yet to be fair so am not sure how much use I will get out of a battery.

Memory cards

I already have numerous SD cards – I will use the same ones in their dedicated case just as I do with my Canon 6D at the moment.

iPhone – wireless connectivity

Of course I will have this with me.

DJI Osmo Mobile

Not strictly speaking travel photography gear, but something that I have that I want to use more and more to enable me to produce better quality videos of the locations I am visiting.

And the other essential things

  • Food

  • Drinks

  • Coat, hat and gloves

Whilst I go to warmer places, they are not that warm first thing in the morning. I am talking about Santorini here, which in April 2 hours before sunrise was cold and blustery.

Stuff I buy from the airport.

Yes, I need space in my travel photography bag for the stuff that I will inevitably buy at the airport and on the plane.

There are the inevitable purchases at the airport, which I normally carry in a separate plastic carrier bag which I quite frankly hate doing. If I can manage to get all this stuff in my camera bag then that alone will make this all worthwhile.

Hand luggage

If I am going away anywhere on a plane I have two bags. One is checked into the hold, the other is my carry on luggage. That is my camera bag. This is why my bag of choice will be the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. With space for non-photography stuff.

Back to my glovebox

Once I have the EM5 this is what I am going to do. I am going to put the OM10 and 14-42 kit lens in my glove box and it will live there, leaving my EM5 and 12-40mm lens in my funky little bag.

Another thing sorted!

Conclusion

This is the conclusion that I have come to – this is my micro four thirds travel kit.

The whole point of moving to micro four thirds was to take less gear – I have to keep reminding myself of this fact.

So this is the kit for my next trip.

  • Olympus OM-D EM10/ EM5 Mk 2

  • Olympus 12-40mm lens

  • Olympus 40-150mm lens

  • Tripod and ball head

  • Peak Design Everyday Backpack

  • Battery charger and 2 spare batteries

  • 6 SD cards

  • Platypod

  • Manfrotto Pixi

  • Travel tripod and ball head

  • Cleaning stuff

  • Passport colour checker

  • Micro fibre cloth

  • DJI Osmo Mobile

And that is it. No more.

This leaves plenty of room for other stuff like food, drinks and clothing.

And Duty Free and other shopping!

One last thing

I have a gear page on my website where you can check out all the gear using my affiliate links - you can get to this page here.

One last last thing

Here is another photo taken with my Olympus OD-D EM10

Sunshine in the New Forest by Rick McEvoy

Sunshine in the New Forest by Rick McEvoy

Thanks for reading, please get in touch with any questions or comments.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photographer, blogger, website creator

My First Travel Photography Website – Photos of Santorini

My passions are travel and photography. Well it took me a while, but I eventually got there.

I am delighted to be able to announce that my first travel photography website is now complete – it is called Photos of Santorini. It was completed when I finally got around to buying a logo for this website, which is taken from one of my photos. In this post I will tell you all about this website and my plans for future travel photography websites.

Photos of Santorini by Rick mcEvoy

Photos of Santorini by Rick mcEvoy

But first a bit about me

I am Rick McEvoy. I am a professionally qualified photographer, having the qualification of the Associateship of the British Institute of Photography – ABIPP.

I am also a Chartered Construction Manager, with the designation MCIOB.

I have a lifetime of experience working in the construction industry. And I also have a lifetime of experience in photography, with more than a decade of that as a professional photographer.

What has this got to do with travel photography?

Well my wife and I love to travel. Travel is our thing. And I love photography.

Put the two together and travel photography should be, and indeed is my dream job! Sometimes these things are that simple and obvious.

Where have I travelled to?

There is quite a long list of countries that I have visited

  • Barbados

  • Canary Islands

  • Chile

  • Egypt

  • France

  • Greece

  • Italy

  • Maldives

  • Portugal

  • Scotland

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

And then there are the wonderful Greek Islands

  • Corfu

  • Cyprus

  • Kefalonia

  • Paxos

  • Rhodes

  • Santorini

  • Zakynthos

That is quite a few places.

Why travel photography websites?

I was treated by my wife to a birthday trip to remember. A trip to Santorini to take photos.

It was just the best, having unlimited time to take photos. I have never had this luxury before, and even better that it was on the stunning Greek Island of Santorini.

When we got home I immediately imported all the photos into Lightroom and started editing them. The problem was that I did not have a purpose for them – I did not know what I wanted to do with them.

I was editing the photos without a purpose, and without a purpose how do you choose which images to edit?

My architectural photography work

As well as doing my construction consultancy work I was busy carrying out architectural photography assignments.

That and trying to publish a daily photography blog.

I was lacking direction and to be brutally honest getting nowhere.

And then I had the idea – build my own website!

I can’t remember where the idea came from now as there was so much going on. But at some point last year I had the idea to make my own website just for my Photos of Santorini, and that is what I did.

Selling one of my photos for 53p on Adobe Stock was the final insult for the stock photography market, and after that I deleted all my stock photography accounts. I was not happy with that.

And where am I up to now with all of this?

My Photos of Santorini website is completed apart from one big thing – it’s appearance. I am waiting on a new theme being produced by someone I know which I am going to use for this and all my other websites.

What is Photos of Santorini about then?

It is about my photos of Santorini primarily – hence the name. It is about me being on this wonderful Greek Island and how I took each of 20 photos that I have written separate posts for.

These are some of the posts I have made

Where are the best photo spots on Santorini?

Where are the best places to see the sunrise in Santorini

Photo of the cable car in Fira from the path to Imerovigli

There is also a 2-part post which is titled Santorini photography tips. This is a long two-part post where I describe what I have learned on this photographic trip.

And there is also a gallery which I have imaginatively called My Big Fat Greek Photo Gallery.

Why Photos of Santorini

As I said I needed a purpose for my photos of Santorini, and that is pretty much where the name came from. And I know that there are lots of websites with photos of Santorini, and lots of places where you can view photos taken on Santorini.

But the one difference with my website is me. There is only one me, probably not a bad thing. And I have added my personality to my posts, and written about my experiences photographing Santorini.

The content mix is deliberate, with decent length posts about each of the 20 main photos, and the two long posts called Santorini Photography Tips.

As I said all I am waiting on now is a new theme, which should be available to me in a couple of months hopefully, and that will be that website done.

The content of my travel photography website

As well as 20 posts, each one about a single photo, there are pages about me, how to buy my photos and other good stuff.

What is the purpose of this travel photography website?

The purpose is this. This is a niche website deliberately constructed to do the following

  1. Attract enough web traffic to earn money.

  2. Make me a popular travel photography resource

  3. Assist with the development of my other websites

  4. Make my website a helpful resource for people who want to go to Santorini

  5. Make my website a helpful resource for people who want to learn about travel photography

  6. Make my website one of the most popular websites about Santorini

What other websites do I have?

Paxos Travel Guide, which is the website I am currently working on at the time of writing this.

Here is the logo, next to the Photos of Santorini logo.

Paxos Travel Guide

Paxos Travel Guide

Photos of Santorini - PNG (background transparency).png


Do you see the similarity – yes there is the beginnings of some kind of plan formulating here. Paxos Travel Guide is going to be a bigger website than my Santorini one, which I hope to have completed soon. I was aiming for the end of the month of February, but this is looking challenging now.

I have produced half of the initial 30 posts planned for this website – the only problem is that the last 10 posts are the big, in-depth posts, which will take longest to write.

What is Paxos Travel Guide about?

On this website I am sharing my experiences of Paxos, getting there, being there and getting home again. It is a very personalised website where the advice I am offering is all my own. I have not produced the content using Google searches – it is my own knowledge having been to Paxos twice.

Here are some example of the type of stuff that I have written

How do I get to Paxos?

Paxos FAQ

When is the best time to visit Paxos?

What websites are planned for the future?

Well that is something that I am already thinking about. The Paxos website model is the one I envisage going forward, and there is a natural next website shouting out to me to be created. It will be about the Greek Island of Rhodes, which we go to every year.

Once Paxos Travel Guide is done I am going to start work on this website - next time we go there I will have a list of places that I want to go to which will add to the content that I already have. And the website will exist. I might even work on the website when I am there!

And I have a few years’ worth of photos of many places on this wonderful Greek Island.

And after that?

Well that is where I will stop for a while. OK there is one more website that I fancy doing, called Photos of Barbados, or something like that. Based on that idea.

I want to publish the photos I took on Barbados somewhere – at the moment I have a page on my website with a selection of my photos of Barbados.

Ultimately, I want to produce lots of travel photography websites, but there is a limit to what I can do. I have to make a living after all, and if these websites just sit there on the internet without earning any money I have to stick with my paying architectural photography work. Not that this is a problem.

There is a lot of work in creating websites with excellent content.

But if my travel photography websites take then who knows where this might take me?

What camera do I use for my travel photography work?

This is another recent change that I am currently in the middle of. I have been using a Canon 6D for 4 years now. And I found on my last holiday that I was leaving my camera in the boot of the car more and more and taking photos with my iPhone.

As impressive as the iPhone camera is this is not a road I want to go down.

So, I have been looking around for something else.

And this is it.

Olympus OM D EM-10 04022019.PNG

The Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2.

It is a tiny piece of kit, and my intention was to use this for my travel photography. Last week I was on a shoot where I was photographing some newly refurbished science labs in a school. I took some photos using the Olympus camera after taking the initial shots with my Canon 6D.I thought I would give it a go and see if anyone can tell the difference.

I am going to do the same on the other architectural photography shoots I have booked in for this week.

I am quite excited to see how the photos compare.

I need a new lens

One slight problem is that on my Canon 6D I use a 17-40mm lens, and on my micro four thirds Olympus camera the lens is a 12-24mm lens, which equates to 24-48mm on full frame.

Enough of that – this is meant to be about travel photography websites!

The reason I mention this Olympus camera is because this will feature heavily in future travel photography websites. Once I am fully familiar with the camera, and to be fair happy with the images that it produces, this will be the only camera I will take on trips.

The Olympus will be my travel photography camera and will work in tandem with my iPhone.

What content am I capturing for my travel photography websites?

Lots of reference photos of locations, lots of videos and sunsets/ sunrises. Sunrises are my favourite things to photograph, which I have no had a go at yet with my new camera.

The idea is that I can provide a personal, visual guide to a location. I even have a rig set up in my car now so I can video driving – this will be going with me on all my foreign trips and enables me to produce something a bit different.

My writing

My travel photography websites are the perfect outlet for my travel photography work and my writing. I forgot to mention my writing.

I have been a writer for a few years now, starting with my own blog. I have also done freelance writing, including on the massively popular photography website Improve Photography.

Writing, photography and travel all come together in my travel photography websites.

Summary

Travel photography is my thing. It is what I love doing. And if you think about it travel photography is a natural extension of the discipline of architectural photography, which is very much my specialism.

Instead of photographing buildings in the UK I am photographing buildings and their surroundings in other countries!

I will write another post once Paxos Travel Guide is completed, and I will also provide an update on my other website Photos of Santorini. I am not expecting anything from this website for another two months yet – lets see that April brings. Hopefully favourable statistics before my next foreign trips!

Thanks for reading this post, and please get back to me with any questions you may have not only about my travel photography websites but anything at all photography related.

Rick McEvoy - Photos of Santorini

Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time

So, you want to photograph the sunrise? I don’t blame you - this is my favourite time of day to take photos, the start of a new day.

What sunrise photography settings do I use? Typically, I use F8 or F16 aperture, ISO 100 and the shutter speed the camera chooses using AV Mode on my Canon 6D. In this post I will tell you all about the camera settings I use which will help you take great sunrise photos easily every time. I will also tell you the actual camera settings I used to take the 5 sunrise photos included in this post.

What camera gear do I use?

I have been using a Canon 6D with Canon 17-40mm lens for most of my sunrise photography. The Canon 6D is a full-frame DSLR.

I will go through the settings one by one and then describe the settings I used for the 5 photos included in this post.

I will conclude with a brief word about processing sunrise photos using Lightroom.

Before I go on - I must explain this

In this post I am explaining the camera settings that I use to photograph sunrises. They work for me and allow me to concentrate on the sunrise itself and not fiddling with my camera at all. This is not a technical article, I am explaining my sure-fire way of getting great sunrise photos every time using tried and tested camera settings.

There are those who will not agree with my approach – that is absolutely fine – this is how I do it.

The basics of taking photographs – the exposure triangle.

First things first. Every time you take a photo there are three elements that have to be set to ensure a correct exposure.

These are

  • Aperture

  • Shutter

  • ISO

These settings apply to any camera.

The settings I use are as follows

Aperture

F8/ F16. F8 is the sweet spot on my Canon 17-40mm lens, and also my Canon 24-105mm lens. This is my starting aperture every time I go out to shoot.

When do I vary from this?

When I want to change the depth of field, i.e. how much of the photo is in focus. For sunrise photography I will typically choose F16 or F22. F16 is my aperture of choice if I want the maximum depth of field without getting lens-induced errors. If I am shooting straight into the sun and I want a starburst effect on the sun then I will go the minimum aperture of my Canon 17-40mm lens, which is F22.

So, the aperture is set for the composition

Shutter speed

I use the AV mode on my Canon 6D. AV stands for Aperture Value. In AV mode I select the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed for the correct exposure automatically.

Hold that thought for now – I will come back to this after the third element of the exposure triangle.

ISO

I use ISO100. This is the lowest native ISO on my Canon 6D. The lowest ISO produces the highest quality image with the lowest amount of noise.

I will sometimes go to ISO400 if the conditions require, which is normally if there are fast moving clouds or trees blowing around and I need faster shutter speeds.

I always use a tripod, so shutter speed is not a concern with regard to camera shake.

But I can change the ISO if I want to change the shutter speed.

Back to shutter speed

I sort of glossed over the shutter speed. As I always use a tripod I am not worried about camera shake. The only relevance here is if there is something moving in the scene, typically the sea, clouds or trees.

Now I like a bit of movement on my sea, so I don’t worry about this.

I have a range of tripods, normal Manfrotto tripods, a tiny Manfrotto Pixi and also a Platypod – basically a metal plate which I can fix my camera to and place it on the ground to get a great low viewpoint.

All the stuff above applies whichever camera you are using. Now for some stuff specific to the Canon 6D. When I say specific to the Canon 6D you can do many if not all of these things with other cameras, they are just called different things by different camera manufacturers.

I change the shutter speed by varying the ISO after I have chosen the aperture for the composition.

Summary of the basic exposure settings

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO all combine to make an exposure. I choose an aperture, then change the ISO if I need to change the shutter speed.

Metering

I use Evaluative Mode most of the time

Focus Mode

Most of the time I use AF Mode One shot

Back button focus

This is a custom function setting on the Canon 6D. Basically I focus using the AF-ON button on the back of the camera. This post is not an explanation of back-button focus - check out this excellent article on Digital Photography School to find out more.

I use a combination of Live View and the viewfinder to compose the image – it just depends.

And when it comes to focussing as a rule of thumb I focus one-third into the scene, using either Live View or the viewfinder.

Once I have focussed I can take as many photos as I like as exposure and image capture are separate from focussing.

Drive Mode

As I am auto-bracketing and using the 10 second-self timer that is sorted.

Self-timer - my secret weapon!

I use the 10-second self-timer built into my camera. I used to use a remote release, but much prefer doing this as it works a treat and means I have one less thing to carry, go wrong and get batteries for.

And using the self-timer means that all I need to do is press the shutter release button whenever I want to take a photo – I am not sat behind my camera peering through my viewfinder – I am normally sat on the floor next to it.

GPS

I always use the GPS on my Canon 6D. It drains the battery, but the locational information is invaluable to me as a travel photographer.

RAW

I only ever shoot in RAW, never in JPEG. RAW gives me the maximum data to work with in Lightroom.

White balance

As I shoot in RAW I can use Auto White Balance – I don’t need to worry about this till later. Am I being lazy? I would rather say smart – this gives me one less thing to worry about.

Auto Exposure bracketing

When I am photographing the sunrise, I use auto exposure bracketing, where I take three exposures.

The first exposure is the correct exposure – the one that the camera tells me is the correct exposure.

The second exposure is two stops under exposed (darker)

The third exposure is two stops over exposed (lighter)

As I am using AV mode the camera works this out for me by varying the shutter speed.

If the shutter speed for the correct exposure is 1/1000thsecond, the second shutter speed is two stops faster, (1/4000thsecond) letting less light in creating a darker image. The third exposure is two stops slower than the first exposure, (1/400thsecond) which is lighter.

This is what they look like in Lightroom.

Auto bracketing images viewed in Lightroom

Auto bracketing images viewed in Lightroom

I hope that makes sense?

Why do I take three photos?

I take three photos which I merge together in Lightroom later. This is called HDR photography. HDR is High Dynamic Range.

Basically, I get more of the lights and more of the darks than my Canon 6D can capture in a single image, which I can merge together in Lightroom.

My workflow and making life easy

My workflow has evolved over the years to make taking photos as easy as possible. With the settings I have described here and the techniques I use I am able to concentrate on what I am taking a photo of.

All I need to think about with the camera settings is

  • The aperture, which is normally F8 or F16

  • Where I focus

  • Everything else is set before I take a photo.

A word about HDR

HDR photography gets more information from a scene recorded by the camera. And there is another benefit – I don’t need to worry about the exposure of the image capture – I have so much built-in latitude this is no longer an issue?

Some purists might see this as being lazy – again I think this is a smart way to work, which helps me take better photos and enjoy myself much more than I would if I was fiddling around with camera settings.

And this is what I did for years until I thought about it all.

Remember that my workflow is an evolution of a lifetime of practising and learning about photography – a process that is an ongoing one – learning for me never ends!

And with that lets look at some sunrise photos that I have taken, and the settings that I used to get them.

Here are the five sunrise photos that I have taken along with the camera settings used. All five photos were taken with my Canon 6D and Canon 17-40mm, 24-105mm or 70-200mm lenses using the settings mentioned above. The only variables are the aperture, shutter and ISO which of course vary depending on the light in the scene I am photographing.

Santorini sunrise photo from the top of the caldera

I N Ayiou Mapkou church after sunrise with a spectacular view of the island of Santorini

I N Ayiou Mapkou church after sunrise with a spectacular view of the island of Santorini

This was after sunrise, but I included this photo to demonstrate the point I made about the use of the minimum aperture on my Canon 17-40mm lens – this is how I get the sun looking like this.

And using auto-bracketing I can shoot straight into the sun and not have a wildly incorrect exposure.

A word of caution here – be careful photographing straight into the sun!

Camera settings

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter Speed 1/500th second, 1/2000th second and 1/125th second

  • ISO 400

Why ISO 400? In this scene the clouds were moving very fast so didn’t want a shutter speed slower than 1/125th second.

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Camera settings

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter Speed 1.6 seconds, 0.4 seconds and 6 seconds

  • ISO 400

Yes – long exposures still work with auto-bracketing

Sunrise view of Navarone Bay looking towards the Acropolis of Rhodes

Sunrise in Rhodes - Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Rhodes - Travel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Camera settings

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter Speed 1/25th second, 1/100th second, 1/6th second

  • ISO 100

Sunrise at Cap Negret Spain

Stunning sunrise colours in Altea, Spain

Stunning sunrise colours in Altea, Spain

Camera settings

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter Speed 1/40th second, 1/160th second, 1/10th second

  • ISO 100

I used F8 as this photo was taken using my Canon 70-200mm lens!

Sunrise street scene in Altea Spain

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Camera settings

  • Aperture F9, F13 and F6.3

  • Shutter Speeds 1/160th second, 1/320th second, 1/80th second

  • ISO 400

Just to disprove a point this photo was taken with my camera in Programme Mode. This was a mistake. I had been shooting video and forgot to change back to AV Mode. But you can see how the camera has still managed to capture all of the scene!

A word on processing my sunrise photos

All the photos I take are added to a single catalogue in Lightroom.

On import I add an amount of processing to each and every image – this is stuff that I used to do manually to every image I was editing.

My images start off 30% processed when I start to look at them.

HDR Merge

Once I have chosen the images that I want to edit I do a form of batch processing. I carry out an HDR merge on the first set of three images, and if all the settings re ok I select the next batch of three images and us the Lightroom keyboard shortcut Shift Control H. This starts up the HDR merge process. I then move on to the next three, and on and on. I have had Lightroom do 30 HDR merges at once – I go off and do something else and leave Lightroom to it.

This gives me all the HDR dng files to work with, which is an excellent starting point.

I will write another post about editing sunrise photos in a future blog post.

What about sunsets?

Well to be honest I don’t have as many sunsets as I do sunrises. Sunrise is my time – I get up early on my own and get out there and photograph the dawning of a new day. I do not inflict this on anyway else, and that is just fine for all of us!

But sunsets are at a much more sociable time, so I have less of them!

Summary

I hope that you have found my photography blog post “Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time” interesting and of use.

If you have any questions please get in touch – I always reply to anyone who takes the time to get in touch with me.

And while I am on the subject of travel photography check out my other websites Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide.

Rick McEvoy - Travel Photographer, writer, blogger, all round nice chap

How I created my Top 11 Travel Photos of 2018 - Part 2

I know I said top 10 but I had a rethink – it is my blog after all!!!

What makes these my top 11 travel photos of 2019? Basically, they remind me the most of being there – they bring back that feeling and are the ones that make me wish I was back there right now, not sat here in cold grey England! Travel photography for me is all about making you want to be somewhere when you look at the photo.

So here is the second part of my post in which I describe how I created my Top 11 Travel Photos of 2018. This is images 6-11, all taken on the Greek Islands of Rhodes and Paxos. I posted these photos a couple of weeks ago, and here are the words behind the pictures.

Image number 6 of my Top 10 Travel Photos of 2018 – A person sat on a rock watching the sunrise in Rhodes.

Sunrise comtemplation on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Sunrise comtemplation on the Greek Island of Rhodes

I didn’t know this person was here. I had been up on the top of the hill happily photographing the sunrise thinking I was all alone up there. I have no doubt I was chuntering away and talking to myself throughout this process.

Having captured the photos that I wanted, and by now dying in the heat (ish) I was ready to climb back down to the car when I saw this person sat on top of the rocks. How long had they been there? I of course had no idea, but they must have been there since long before sunrise.

I took a quick photo and was off.

I had the awareness to change the aperture to F22 to get that starburst effect on the sun which is good, even when fading in the blistering early morning heat with nothing left to drink!

Now I know some people think that this (the star burst) is a cliché but that was what the sun looked like to me – a big bright shiny thing in the sky looking just like that.

This is three bracketed images processed using Aurora HDR 2019.

Camera settings

  • Canon 6D

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

  • Focal length 80mm

  • Manfrotto 055 tripod

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter speed (first image) 1/1000th second

  • ISO 100

 

Image number 7 – photo of the lights from boats in Lakka Harbour before sunrise

Boats moored overnight in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Boats moored overnight in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

I love this photo of the boats moored in the harbour in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos. Every morning I looked at the lights on the boats and thought that they would make a great shot, so this morning that is what I did. The conditions were dead calm which would be vital when taking the image.

I managed to get this photo taken before the sun had risen giving me two photo opportunities for once.

This photo is a single image, taken using my Canon 6D and Canon 24-105mm lens. I used my Manfrotto Pixi for this image capture – pretty impressive really – a 4 second log exposure with my Canon 6D and an L series lens on such a small tripod.

It was so dark I had to use an ISO of 1600 to get the shutter speed up to 4 seconds! And the reason the calm conditions were so important? On other mornings I witnessed the boats gently bobbing about in the water, so much so that they were actually blurred in the photos I took the first time.

This was the calmest day with the least amount of bobbing going on.

Camera settings

  • Canon 6D

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

  • Focal length 24mm

  • Manfrotto Pixi tripod

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter speed 4 seconds

  • ISO 1600

Processing of this image was done in Lightroom only, with very little needing to be done to this single image.

Yes – 4 seconds using the Manfrotto Pixi – quite remarkable for something so small, lightweight and economical. And hardly designed for work such as this.

 

8 – Picture of a table in striking morning light in the small town of Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tables at sunrise in Lakka

Tables at sunrise in Lakka

This is something a bit different for me. This is almost street photography! I was on my way back from my epic filming using my iPhone with a pile of rocks – check out the video here. I turned the corner at the back of the Akis Oyster Bar restaurant to be greeted with this scene – bright directional light casting a most excellent shadow of a table onto the paving.

I just stopped, took three photos of this scene and kept on walking to the other side of the harbour.

This is another set of three bracketed images - the reason I do this is get the maximum dynamic range I can from a scene.

These images were merged together and processed in Lightroom.

Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 24mm

"             Handheld

"             Aperture F8

"             Shutter speed (first image) 1/800th second

"             ISO 100 

9 - Sunrise picture of the boats moored in the harbour at Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Loving this shot – so many things that appeal to me in this scene.

Having scouted all the locations I wanted to photograph on Paxos, this was top of my list.

I walked around the harbour at Loggos and ascertained exactly where I needed to be to get this photo. I use a tool called The Photographers’ Ephemeris which is a great tool once you get your head around it.

I walk around until I find a view that I like, and then fire up the app to find out exactly where the sun will be rising or setting. It is quite remarkable how accurate and useful these tools are – how did we ever manage without them?

A bit of walking around is normally required to get the perfect location, which is where this photo was taken from.

Sometimes I will photograph the location on my phone, so I have a quick visual reference of the location. For this I did not need to do that as it was dead easy for me to remember.

The other thing that the app tells me is the time that the sun is rising, so I know exactly where I need to be and also when I need to be there.

I get to a sunrise location a good hour before sunrise as some of the magic happens before the sun rises and I would hate to miss that.

So, this was a very easy shoot – I was there as I said a good hour before sunrise, and stayed until an hour after.

Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 24mm

"             Manfrotto Pixi

"             Aperture F22

"             Shutter speed (first image) 1/10th second

"             ISO 100

 

10 - The number one attraction on Paxos - the magnificient Tripitos Arch

Tripitos Arch on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tripitos Arch on the Greek Island of Paxos

Now this really was a stunning location. Probably my favourite tourist location on Paxos. A magnificent natural arch called the Tripitos Arch.

And to be completely honest the first time I tried to find it I failed. I missed a critical turn on the path, one without a sign. In my defence. I was close, but after a while gave up and went back to the hotel.

I looked at guidance offered on Trip Advisor and recognised where I had gone wrong. I should have taken a right turn down a path. Problem was that it was not signposted, and I had no data signal there.

A very thoughtful Trip Advisor contributor had already realised this problem and photographed the key places and added them to a review of this magnificent natural structure.

So, second time I found it just fine – I will write a dedicated post all about the number one attraction on Paxos (in my opinion) on my website Paxos Travel Guide.

I won’t lie to you – it was a hot sweaty walk from the car but well worth it. And unusually for me I had actually got two bottles of water which were safely stowed in the side pockets of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack.

I photographed the arch, and the stunning views in all directions, but this is my favourite photo.

Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 24mm

"             Handheld

"             Aperture F8

"             Shutter speed (first image) 1/80th second

"             ISO 100

Processing of the image was done using Aurora HDR – believe it or not this was a super quick edit!

 

11 – The fantastically located Anemogiannis Monument, Gaios, Paxos

Anemogiannis Monument Gaios Paxos

Anemogiannis Monument Gaios Paxos

 OK – the last image in my set of my top 11 travel photos of 2019. This is one of my favourite monuments, and nothing to do with the Olympics or Marathons or anything like that. You will have to wait until I have completed the post on Paxos Travel Guide to find out more about the Anemogiannis Monument.

If you walk down the wonderful front of the capital town of Paxos, Gaios, you will eventually get to this monument. It is at the opposite end from the ferries that bring all the day-trippers in.

I had finished photographing the sunrise from the hills above Gaios and went into the town and a walk along the waterfront looking for things to photograph in that wonderful directional sunlight.

I grabbed a quick coffee and walked to this monument.

There was a bit of a problem. Other people. Even at 6.50am there were people around. A couple were sat at the base of the monument, who thankfully moved when they saw me with my camera obviously trying to get a photo from a certain view.

Then a chap wandered into the scene completely oblivious to me, even though he walked right in front of me.

He stood right in my way, then sat down to the left. I removed him in Photoshop – I had no option – he wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, when I drove away from Gaios he was gone, but that is the beauty of Photoshop when needed.

This is of course a very deliberate composition, with the sun sitting right on the top of the monument. I wanted the starburst effect, so used F22.

The difficulty with this shot was that I really could not see what I was looking at through the viewfinder, as the sun was so bright. I ended up using Live View to take this shot.

This is a single exposure image edited in Lightroom and then the chap removed using Photoshop.

 Camera settings

"             Canon 6D

"             Canon 24-105mm F4 L lens

"             Focal length 84mm

"             Handheld

"             Aperture F22

"             Shutter speed 1/4000th second

"             ISO 400

Not sure why I keep the ISO at 400 – 100 would have been fine. And had I been trying to bracket the exposure the second shot would have been at 1/16000th second – a bit beyond the capabilities of my Canon 6D!

My photography gear

As you will see I have not talked about much gear in these two posts. I travel light for my foreign trips, and only take the minimum gear, most of which will get used. There is no room for luxury items on my travel photography trips!

Everything has to fit in my Peak Design Everyday Backpack – if it doesn’t I don’t pack it.

You can see my full photography gear list on my photography gear page.

Summary

I hope that you have enjoyed reading a little bit about my Top 11 travel photos of 2019. I certainly enjoyed going through my travel photos and choosing 10, then 11 images to edit.

You can see more of my travel photography work on my travel photography portfolio page, and also on my new websites. Photos of Santorini is done and online to view, Paxos Travel Guide is very much work in progress.

And there will be other travel photography websites produced in 2019, as I ramp up my online presence.

Next week on my photography blog I am back to my core business of taking architectural photography images.

Rick McEvoy Photography – photographer, blogger, writer, website creator

How I created my Top 11 Travel Photos of 2018 - Part 2

Well this post is just the photos - how I created them will follow in a couple of weeks

Sunrise comtemplation on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Sunrise comtemplation on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Boats moored overnight in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Boats moored overnight in Lakka on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tables at sunrise in Lakka

Tables at sunrise in Lakka

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Sunrise in Loggos on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tripitos Arch on the Greek Island of Paxos

Tripitos Arch on the Greek Island of Paxos

Anemogiannis Monument Gaios Paxos

Anemogiannis Monument Gaios Paxos

Rick McEvoy Photography - Travel Photographer

How I created my Top 10 Travel Photos of 2018 - Part 1

I am a photographer and love taking photos. Unfortunately, I have not taken as many photos as I would have liked in 2018. Whilst this is frustrating this is the unfortunate reality of life as an actual photographer!

Still I have taken some photos, mainly on my travels, so which are my top 10 travel photos of 2018? In these two blog posts I will publish and write about 10 travel photography images that I really like. There is no science or commercial agenda behind this – these are just 10 travel photos that I have picked having gone through my Lightroom Catalogue for the year.

They are simply 10 photos that I have taken that I like the most on my travels in 2018.

How do I choose my top 10 travel photos of 2018?

Simple. In Lightroom I use the filter bar in the Library Module, and select the metadata attribute field.

Metadata Lightroom 21122018.PNG

All I need to do then is select 2018, and all the images from 2018 appear.

Once this is done I have all my 2018 photos in a grid.

There are two ways I select images from a set of images like this. I either use Pick flags (by hitting the letter P) or add them to a new collection (which is the designated target collection which I select using the mouse) called 2018 Top 10.

It depends really – these are just two ways of achieving the same thing.

I scroll through the images one by one and if I like the look of something I select it. Once I have gone through this process I have my first picks.

All I do now is go back through the images and remove the ones that I like less than others, and keep on going through this process until I am down to 10 images.

The images are published in this blog post in date order, starting with the oldest first.

They are from three foreign trips in 2018, to Altea, Rhodes and Paxos.

Image number 1 of my Top 10 Travel Photos of 2018 – Cap Negret Hotel in Altea at sunrise

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea, Spain at sunrise

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea, Spain at sunrise

I like photographing buildings, and love travelling, so I guess it is inevitable that I will photograph the hotel we are stopping in at sunrise!

And here it is!

Taken with my Canon 6D whilst everyone else is asleep, and processed using Aurora HDR 2019 with a bit of vertical correction done in Lightroom.

Camera settings

  • ISO – 100

  • Aperture – f8

  • Shutter speed – 4 seconds (first photo)

This is from a set of three bracketed images, taken with the help of my Manfrotto 190 Go tripod.

Image number 2 of my Top 10 Travel Photos of 2018 – the dome of the famous church Parroquia Nuestra Senora del Consuelo

Parroquia Nuestra Senora del Cons before sunrise

Parroquia Nuestra Senora del Cons before sunrise

I had to get the stunning church on top of the hill in the old town of Altea before sunrise.

This photo was taken with my Canon 6D and Canon 17-40mm lens using a focal length of 17mm.

Camera settings

  • ISO – 400

  • Aperture – f8

  • Shutter speed – 1/3rd second second (first photo)

This set of bracketed images were taken with the self timer and my Manfrotto 190 Go tripod and processed using Aurora HDR 2019.

Image number 3 of my Top 10 Travel Photos of 2018 – Sunrise street scene in Altea, Spain

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Sunrise in Altea by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

This was one of those mornings when I was desperately searching for the right scene. I had photographed the main churh on the hill, the wonderful Parroquia De Nuestra Señora Del Consuelo - see above.

Then I went looking for shots of the streets before sunrise. The streetlights however did not come on that morning at the same time that they did the morning before which completely scuppered my plans.

So I had to find something with some interesting light. I was in the old part of the Spanish town of Altea, at the top of the hill.

I went to the east facing part of the town searching for some directional morning sunlight, and came across this scene.

This is what I was after.

I composed the shot to get all the shadow from the grille to the window in the foreground, giving the directional light prominence.

I also wanted some sea in the background which I have got.

I actually discounted this photo on my first pass, but had a rethink. I often go back through a set of images after I have made my selection of 10 images – I think the narrowing down process gets my brain working in the right way.

I like this image, which is all about that lovely golden morning sunshine and the directional shadows.

This photo was taken with my Canon 6D and 17-40mm lens.

Camera settings were

  • ISO – 400

  • Aperture – f9

  • Shutter speed – 1/160th second (first photo)

This was one of a series of three bracketed images taken handheld.

Processing again was done using Lightroom for framing and verticals and then everything else was done in Aurora HDR 2019.

Image number 4 of my Top 10 Photos of 2018 – Sunrise at Navarone Bay, Rhodes, Greece.

The view at sunrise looking towards Lindos from Navarone Bay on the Greek Island of Rhodes

The view at sunrise looking towards Lindos from Navarone Bay on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Navarone bay is one of my favourite photo locations on the Greek Island of Rhodes. Lovely aquamarine blue waters during the day, but a lesser know sunrise location.

In this photo you can see the view across Navarone Bay looking towards Lindos and the mighty Acropolis of Rhodes on the top of the rock formation.

A stunning scene and one that I always enjoy all by myself. Well there might be the odd goat around to be fair!

I like this photo so much I wrote an article about it on Improve Photography.

Camera settings were

  • ISO – 100

  • Aperture – f16

  • Shutter speed – 1/50th second (first photo)

Taken using my Canon 6D with 24-105mm lens set at 24mm, all securely placed on my Manfrotto Go 190 tripod.

This image was processed in Lightroom alone.

Image number 5 of my Top 10 Photos of 2018 – Sunrise view the Acropolis of Rhodes and St Pauls Bay on the Greek Island of Rhodes

St Pauls Bay in Lindos at sunrise by travel photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

St Pauls Bay in Lindos at sunrise by travel photographer Rick McEvoy.jpg

When we go to Rhodes we stop in the lovely village of Lardos at our family favourite Cosmos Maris Hotel.

From Lardos it is a 10 minute drive down to the stunning town of Lindos, packed full of amazing scenes to photograph.

After photographing the sunrise there is still time to get more shots with the great morning light.

This is the view from the path down to the beach you can see in the foreground (there is another beach at the other end of St Paul’s Bay under the Acropolis).

I have never photographed this view before – I had been photographing the sunrise from the rocks way over to the right.

I knew this scene had potential, so having completed my sunrise shoot I walked over to this viewpoint.

This was a straightforward image capture, taken using my Canon 6D and Canon 24-105mm lens with a focal length of 24mm.

Camera settings were

  • ISO – 400

  • Aperture – f11

  • Shutter speed – 1/800th second (first photo)

Processing was done with initial corrections in Lightroom and further processing done using Aurora HDR 2019. This image processing is another image that I have processed in my trial using Aurora HDR 2019 for my travel and architectural photography.

That was the first 5 images in my Top 10 Photos of 2018 – I hope you enjoyed seeing them and reading about them.

Next Monday I will publish the last 5 images, 1 more photo taken in Rhodes and four images from the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos.

Rick McEvoy Photography - travel photographer