What is Capturing the Essence

Welcome to my course about Capturing the Essence of a place in images. It is not like other courses that you find online as it is structured around my personal travel photography philosophy. Thirty odd years ago, I started a professional photographic career as a press photographer. Over the years, I have travelled the world with my wife, Jane as a freelance photography and travel writing team. Over time, my style of photography has evolved into what I call Capturing the Essence. This course covers how I go about my craft and is packed with tips, challenges, techniques and examples.

Here is a bit about how this course will unfold. Firstly, it’s about creating a closer emotional connection between the subject and yourself the photographer.

On this camel trek in Rajasthan, India we developed a connection between the cameleers and the camels themselves. Its this sort of connection you want revealed in your photos

When deeply involved in the capturing the essence photographic journey you become more aware of your surroundings. You become more aware of your senses. Take this coastal sunset scene. The view is obviously visually beautiful. Vision is the sense most likely triggered when taking photos of scenery. But, it can also be argued that awakening all your senses when taking photos can enhance your experience on a deeper level and improve your photography. After taking the sunset view image, we clambered over rocks to the beach. We felt the wet sand between our toes, the gentle cooling breeze on our faces. We smelt and tasted the salty sea air. We listened to the squawking seagulls and crashing waves on rocks. We both felt inner peace and joy at being out in nature.

Just a bit more about Awakening the Senses. There is no better place to awaken the senses than a visit to a local food market. These plump juicy red tomatoes are smooth but firm to touch. You smell the ripeness. Just looking at them evokes a mouthwatering feeling that they will be tasty as heirloom tomatoes often are. A close-up image can awaken the senses almost as good as being there.

What we call Awakening the Senses is a vital part of the full travel and life experience and is such a big topic, that it has its own section later in the course.

Capturing the essence is all about creating a series of images that tell a story without the need for words. We were walking down a narrow street in a village in Western China looking for breakfast. We came across a tiny single room restaurant that was open for business. Entering, we noticed a small girl at a table eating pancakes illuminated by a stream of sunlight through the open door. I got the approval of her mother and only had time to take a couple shots before the girl wandered off. I have just described the story in words. I could have gone down the photojournalist route and taken a whole lot of images of the girl, the interior of the restaurant, her mother and outside shots. But I didn’t have time. That is the method I use in capturing the essence.

To Capture the Essence to create a story in pictures I use four steps. These steps are the basis of this whole course.

They are

Expanded Awareness or wide view

Connection or closer

Focus or super close up

And Mindfulness