Posts: 6
Registered: ‎06-04-2014

Travel Photography

What? No posts in the Travel section yet? Unthinkable! So, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mark Roberts and I've been a photographer using Pentax gear since... well, a long time. Measured in decades. I currently teach photography and digital design-related courses in a college just outside Boston, MA. I'm also the editor of an annual photo book put out my members of the Pentax-Discuss Mail List ( It's in the latter capacity that the folks at Ricoh asked my to throw my two cents in here on the Ricoh Community Forum. I've chosen the Travel section as my main area of interest because it's the kind of photography I enjopy most. Travel photography may be the most challenging genre of photography of all. Well, next to wartime combat photography and shooting studio portraits of toddlers. What makes it difficult is precisely what makes it so appealing to me. I love the challenges, the constraints of time, weather and circumstances. I'm going to start a series of posts in which I'll going to share some of my experiences and ideas about travel photography (as well as a few photos). If you can't learn from my techniques I hope you'll at least be able to learn from my mistakes... In his book Bay Area Wild (ISBN 9781578050109), Galen Rowell showed the astonishing beauty of the area around San Francisco in some pretty amazing photographs. Galen Rowell had a lot of things going for him. He had remarkable talent, sharp mind and keen eye and excellent technical abilities. But he also had another key advantage for this project: He lived in the San Francisco Bay area. This meant he could go out shooting often. Revisit the same locations at different times of year and different times of day (at any time of day he felt like) and in different weather conditions. In short, he could stack the deck in his own favor when it came to being in the right place at the right time to get a great photograph – simply because he was in the area so often. This is precisely the advantage we give up in travel photography (and which Galen Rowell himself gave up for the bulk of his work). When we travel we're often visiting places that we won't ever see again. And we almost always face restrictions of when we can be at a specific location and for how long. Stonehenge? We'll be there on Tuesday around 9:00 a.m. And we'll have an hour and fifteen minutes before we have to set off towards our next destination. And don't be surprised if it's raining when we get there. You can count on everything going right for travel photography precisely ZERO percent of the time. When the real world fails to fully cooperate with your photographic plans you have two options: Pack up the camera gear... or think on your feet, imagine, adapt and create. My posts will be for everyone who chooses the second option. More to come...
Mark Roberts
Editor, PDML Photo Annual (
Pentax geek at large (
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎12-02-2014

Re: Travel Photography

"Galen Rowell had . . . had another key advantage . . . : He lived in the San Francisco Bay area. This meant he could go out shooting often."


That's a good point.  I often lament living in Washington DC.  If monuments are your thing, great.  If wide open spaces are more to your liking, it's not so good.  Galen Rowell did much of his early work in his own back yard, and places like Yosemite being a 3-hour drive from home were highly instrumental to his early success.  I grant that getting to New York City or Europe is easier from the East Coast than from the West Coast, but the American West and the Pacific Rim are another matter.  The lesson of course is to play to the strengths of your location, or else move (not so easy).  The other option is to have a little get up and go (and a day job that pays).  I'm making my second trip to Yellowstone in the span of three months because I did not complete the collection of shots I wanted on the first trip. 


BTW, I'm a longstanding Pentaxian, having owned many Pentax cameras bodies and lenses.  Currently shooting a K-3 with a K-30 as backup.  Latest lens acquisition is the DA*300mm (and a HD TC1.4 to go with it).yellowstone pronghorn