Photo tourism is definitely not a thing of the past. If we all were to dig deep into our family photo album box, we would find our parents and grandparents starring in what look like Instagram filtered photography (what we now label vintage), in front of cool landmarks, posing. Back in the days it was as easy as standing there, smiling (or perhaps not), and a quick click. Weeks later, we would find out whether or not the photo came out well. Most of the time we were content with the outcome.
Nowadays, in an effort to get that perfect photo, we might find ourselves having arguments with our photographers to capture the best lighting or angle. In fact, we might end up taking about 150 versions of the same shot, only to come back home or to our hotel with wifi and unable to find that perfect Instagram capture. So, how was it then that those “vintage” shots captured the essence of the landmark and the subject so well with just one click.
Most of us might remember the days of photography film, where a 24 exposure film last us a whole weeks vacation. With our advanced technology, we now have the ability to not mess up, but we are still sometimes unsatisfied with what we expected to be the perfect shot.
Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional photographer, but have throughout the past year learned how to find the perfect lighting and angle.
With a good click and go camera (or iPhone), lighting and angle, I’ve documented a few photogenic landmarks that undoubtedly will make your photo a million times more attractive. This list is not extensive and does not really include the Eiffel Tower or Pisa, as one might expect. But, here are my top ones from the past year of travel where you are guaranteed your money shot:
5. Southern California Beaches ~ I loosely use these southern west coast beaches, because let’s be real, any body of water adds so much to a photo. But for some reason, stick a palm tree, blue skies and a volleyball net, and you have got your “California vibes” caption ready to go.
How to get there: If you fly into Los Angeles and you have a few hours of layover, right by the airport you have the photogenic beaches of Hermosa and Manhattan Beach (my favorites). With a little bit of time, also explore the tourist rich, Venice and Santa Monica Beach.
4. Maya or Railay Bay ~ Many can argue with me about which is their most favorite beach, and I won’t even counter that argument. Thailand beaches are beautiful and that’s all there is to it. But these two bays I got a chance to bath around in and spend a few good days were pretty both on sunny and cloudy days.
How to get to Railay Bay: Flying into Krabi would be the easiest way. You can immediately buy a bus ticket for 150 bahts (high season) as you exit out of the baggage area. If you are in a big group, just get a taxi for about 500-600 bahts to Ao Nang. Then you take a 10 minute long tail boat (about 100 bahts) to Railway Bay. You can also fly straight into Phuket for Maya Bay (closest). Or just take the daily ferry that goes to Phi Phi Island and you can find many tours that go to Maya Bay or just bargain with a long tail boat to take you there. Try to get to Maya Bay before the crowds. I had the opportunity to sleep on a boat with the Sleep Aboard Tour. They fed us and kept us entertained for most of the night. We even went snorkeling in the dark with plankton, which lit up the sea.
3. Bunker del Carmel ~ Of course, you need your money shot by the Sagrada Familia, but if you have a few extra days, make the trek up to the Bunker del Carmel for magnificent sunrise and sunset views. If you go early enough you might only find the occasional couple still making out from the night before or eager teens or bloggers (before 8:30am you will be uninterrupted).
How to get to the Bunker: It isn’t that easy to get to. If you are on a budget, you can take the metro to Alfons X on Line 4 (L4 – Yellow line) then either walk up that torturous hill or take a quick cab up. Most tourists stay in the example or Raval district and it will probably be around a 15 euro cab ride up from the center.
2. Posto 9 Sunset in Rio De Janeiro ~ Anywhere you take a picture in Rio is going to be great. In fact, you probably want to bring your arms out to a T and get your Christ the Redeemer shot. But Posto 9, around sunset, becomes heavenly. There are probably hundreds of Brazilians and tourists alike with the same idea: to enjoy caipirinhas, get a bit tipsy and take a few pics with strangers and friends.
How to get there: Posto 9, right off Rua Vinícius de Moraes, is on Ipanema Beach. Once you find yourself in Ipanema just look for these large signs.
- Norwegian Fjords ~ Whether you are going to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) or Magdalenefjord, these Norwegian wonders will not disappoint. If you are a little on the braver side, you might also be up for the million dollar shot. Be careful though not to fall. That won’t be pretty and a photo is worth a thousand words, but not your life.
How to get to Preikestolen – Flying into Stavanger is the best way to access this trail. With a beautiful drive into the Jørpeland area (about 90 minutes), you can stay in a nearby village. We rented a beautiful AirBnb cottage in Rogaland, Jørpeland.
BONUS: The Giza Pyramids / Sphinx
These two pictures were not from my travels this year, but I will have another blog post that goes into deeper detail about historical travel, which is a passion of mine as a previous History teacher.