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Travel Photography Tip #3: Magic Hour

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take the perfect travel photos; all you need are some good techniques. The magic hour is an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, when the natural light is perfect for capturing your subject in all its glory.  

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You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take the perfect travel photos; all you need are some good techniques. A great picture doesn’t have to be perfect but it should be visually stimulating and pleasing to the eye. I’m no pro, but I do take high-quality photos and it’s because I follow my own guidelines. I can remember just a few years ago, I was completely an amateur and my photos looked like it. After some practice and a little research, I was able to pinpoint some important rules to taking great travel photos.

Today we will talk about when to take pictures, focusing on the time of day. Lighting is important to a photo because it allows all aspects to be clearly visible. The magic hour is terminology that every photographer, professional or amateur, should understand. The magic hour is an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, when the natural light is perfect for capturing your subject in all its glory.  

A good photographer will get up early or stay out late just to get the right shot and this includes the magic hour.  Photos not taken during these magic hours are often too bright or not illuminated enough, so it rewards the shutterbug for their efforts. Overcast skies resemble the lighting of the magic hour, so pray for cloudy skies; your photos will thank you.

EARLY

Waking up early can be very beneficial for capturing some amazing photos. If you are trying to take pictures in an already busy tourist area, getting up before the sun rises will help you beat the crowds. Nobody is clamoring to look at crowds of people in line to see an attraction, so beat the rush and get there early. You won’t be the only one with a camera early; it’s a common practice among professionals.   I can guarantee that your pictures will be better without hordes of people and your subjects will be clearer.

If you are searching for the magic hour, you had better find out when sunrise and sunset are. Knowing this will help you be in place when the magic hour strikes.

The weather will have a bearing on your pictures, so check the forecast to see if your early rising will be worth the trouble. The mornings are often more gloomy than evenings so be prepared for an overcast sky. Many will think that overcast skies are bad for photography, when in fact, it makes the magic hour last much longer.

By waking up early, you get an interesting view of things seldom seen by tourists. Most tourists travel on similar schedules, making attractions busy during popular times and photos less unique. I like to see how huge operations like farmers markets are set up; it lets you see how the locals live, which makes for excellent travel snapshots.

LATE

Staying out late to get the images you desire is a great technique for taking amazing travel pictures. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of cityscapes, with the downtown lights twinkling in the night sky. These are some of my favorites vignettes, showing just how bustling a city can be. I like to take these and compare to see which locals I visit have the most active nightlife.

Some cities, like Las Vegas, just look better at night. Vegas is a city that at night looks like one of the eight wonders of the world and during the day, it looks like one of the saddest, worn out cities imaginable. You want the vibrant color of the city lights with an almost black backdrop, so I advise you search for that magic hour. If it is too dark, the shadows can overtake the beauty of the photo and you may lose some contrast.

When shooting at night, I also recommend using a tripod, to help stabilize your camera. Many times, cameras at night will use a higher sensitivity lens, which takes longer to actually take the picture. This time taking the picture means you must keep the camera stable the entire time or it can easily be out of focus.

Remember to use these tips and you will be taking radical travel photos in no time.  The magic hour or Golden Hour is short-lived, so be prepared and take some amazing photos.

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Travel

Fly a Jetpack on Vacation

Ladies and gentleman, the future is now and it is amazing. We are living in a time when jetpacks and hoverboards are a reality and they are more accessible than ever.  I’m not talking about those cheesy little “hoverboards” that kids are riding nowadays, no I’m talking about the badass water powered jetpacks and flyboards. […]

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Ladies and gentleman, the future is now and it is amazing. We are living in a time when jetpacks and hoverboards are a reality and they are more accessible than ever.  I’m not talking about those cheesy little “hoverboards” that kids are riding nowadays, no I’m talking about the badass water powered jetpacks and flyboards.  The world has been fascinated with jetpacks ever since James Bond flew one in the movie Thunderball. Well, the time to just dream about them is over. I’m sure you all have seen these water jetpacks or flyboards and how insanely cool they are. The videos online are fantastic and make me so envious that I’m not soaring above a lake right now.

The first ever jetpack that was propelled by water was invented by Ray Li, in Ft. Lauderdale FL. In 2011, after many trial and errors, Li releases the first ever commercially available jetpack, the Jetlev R200. In 2012, Li’s competitor Zapata Racing releases the Flyboard, which is propelled by a standard jet ski.

Water Jetpack and Flyboard rentals are springing up all over the globe at vacation hotspots and major bodies of water. Whether you want to try and fly one of these bad boys or just be a spectator these extreme vehicles are revolutionizing aquatic sports.

The Jetpack and Flyboard uses a personal watercrafts’ motor to propel the rider up to 30 feet in the air or through the water at incredible speeds. They are touted as being safe for riders 16 and over, but some rental centers allow riders 14 and older.

 

The Jetpack actually rests on the rider’s back like a conventional backpack and has arm controls. The Flyboard however resembles oversized ski boots that are attached to each other via what looks like a fire hose. Of the two, riders say that the jetpack is easier to fly but the Flyboard gives you much more control to freestyle. Most brands of both have the same size restrictions; Riders should be between 5 feet and 6 feet 6 inches and between 100 and 350 pounds.

Don’t worry about safety; all of my recommendations have certified instructors to help you out the entire time.

Here are some great places to rent a water jetpack or Flyboard.  There are plenty of other rentals, these are recommendations from friends and colleagues.  Happy adventuring!

 

Naples, FL, USA

Captain CJ’s Jet Pack Adventures   

30 minute single flight is $169 USD during their winter sale.

They allow riders 14 and older and boast that they are the only providers in Florida that do so.

 

Farjado, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Vacation Helpers

Flyboard rental

30 minute single flight is $80 USD with video, $60 USD without

 

San Diego, CA and Las Vegas, NV, USA

Jetpack America    

30 minute single flight is $179 USD

 

Hilton Head, SC, USA

HHI Jetpack  

30 min single flight is $130 USD

 

East End, St. Croix, VI

Island Revel Luxury Sports   

30 minute single flight is $75 USD

These are just a few recommendations so hopefully this helps you check something off your bucket list. Once I saw these flying machines I knew I had to take flight. If you really want to do this, just book a flight to any of these destinations and take the first step.  Have fun out there, you never know when your ride ends, so enjoy every second of every day. 

 

 

 

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5 Trip Tips Every New Traveler Should Know

When I first set out on my maiden voyage, I was terrified and completely unprepared. If only I had a helpful blogger like well, myself, to guide me through the murky waters to the promise lands that awaits.  I wish someone gave me some helpful tips.   It is quite exhilarating to leave your home, […]

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When I first set out on my maiden voyage, I was terrified and completely unprepared. If only I had a helpful blogger like well, myself, to guide me through the murky waters to the promise lands that awaits.  I wish someone gave me some helpful tips.   It is quite exhilarating to leave your home, where you feel safe and are accustomed to your day-to-day life. This is why people travel, because it’s a life changing experience that you can only achieve by being adventurous. Life can become boring and humdrum but a little travel sprinkled into your life will no doubt jazz things up.

It’s time to spread your wings and see how much greener the grass is on the other side. Plan a trip, no matter how far, just do it. Book your ticket and the rest will fall into place, I promise. Once that flight, train or hot air balloon is booked, the trip will literally figure itself out. By reserving a ticket, you are making yourself book the rest of the trip. You will do research and find the perfect place to stay, things to see and adventures to go on.

Here are the five tips I wish someone told me before I went on my first backpacking trip across Europe. Hopefully they help you plan a fantastic and life changing journey.

Be Adventurous

Simple, take chances and don’t be afraid, because fear will ruin your adventurous side. If you don’t take a first step then you will never try anything new and that is what traveling is all about. Open yourself up to new things and broaden your horizon.   One thing to remember is that you are never alone when traveling, because there are thousands of people out there just like you and just knowing that may ease your fear.

Take your Time

Literally take time to smell the roses. Don’t rush through your trip because you want to see it all, you can never see everything. This will give you a great reason to return one day and see what you missed and revisit your favorite places. Go slow and truly take it in; you aren’t on vacation to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Take a stroll through a park or eat a leisurely lunch at a cute little café.

http://www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com/

Pack Light

For heaven’s sake, don’t go crazy and bring everything you own. Pack clothing that can be worn multiple times, leave your gadgets at home and make a pre packing list. I way over packed for my first European trip and I regretted it every day I put that heavy bag on my back. You will be with that bag more than you think, so pack smart. I advise you to get a smaller bag than you think you will need so you can’t possibly over pack.

Worldwide Phone

Either get a worldwide sim card for your phone or buy a cheap international burner phone; you’ll thank me later. Not having a phone makes you feel unsafe and naked, since we have become so dependant on our phones. Having this little lifeline to your world back home will help with homesickness and just day to day logistics.

Hide Your Money

LISTEN! Hide your dang money or someone will take it. Pick pocketing is serious business and in tourist destinations especially prevalent. Hide your wallet and purse when in public and also while in your hotel rooms. I even stash some cash in articles of clothing just in case, you never know. It’s better to be safe than sorry and no one wants to be penniless when you are so far from home.

Good luck fellow adventurer. May the wind always be at your back and the sun on your face.

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Save Major Bucks at the Ski Resort

Save Big on Your Snow Adventure Skiing and Snowboarding are generally regarded as somewhat expensive getaways, but they don’t have to be.   Whether you are planning a weekend trip or an epic adventure, winter excursions are complicated events. Don’t let the record snowfalls go to waste and get out there and live it up. Bundle […]

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Save Big on Your Snow Adventure

Skiing and Snowboarding are generally regarded as somewhat expensive getaways, but they don’t have to be.   Whether you are planning a weekend trip or an epic adventure, winter excursions are complicated events. Don’t let the record snowfalls go to waste and get out there and live it up. Bundle up with your loved ones or go on a solo adventure, either way, save big with these helpful tricks.

Fly economical airlines

Budget airlines are just as safe as their fancier counterparts but with less frill and smaller price tags.   The biggest advantage to these carriers is they get you to the same destinations but for a smaller fee. When planning a trip like this, every dollar counts and these airlines can save you more than chump change.   Book early for your best rates and if that’s not an option scour the web for last minute deals, they are out there, and you just have to find them.

Rent equipment off the mountain

This is a major way to save money and make your dollar stretch extra far. Every major ski resort rents skis and snowboards but they charge a pretty penny. Its supply and demand; you are on top of a mountain and the only option is the resorts’ rentals. That’s why your best bet is to find a rental shop that isn’t affiliated with any resort and is usually located a few miles from the mountain. These privately owned shops will save you major on rentals and usually have better quality boards and skis.

Demo your rental

Another quality option for the more advanced riders and skiers is to Demo your rental. When you demo a board or skis, you are basically taking them on a test ride. Many shops will allow you to use the board or skis for a day to see if you like them just make sure you are skilled enough to not damage them. If you do damage them the store may charge you for the damages. This is great if you want a brand new board or skis to ride.

Go early or late in season

The beginning and end of the season always have the cheaper lift tickets, so this is your best bet for a deal. Granted you need snow to ski or board so make sure the mountain has adequate snow pack and some lifts are open. I prefer spring skiing because the mountain usually has plenty of snowpack and you can go crazy and wear shorts because the temperature is so warm. Spring skiing can be slushy with the warm temps so buyer is warned.

Steer clear of school breaks

School vacations are when families vacation so the prices are highest and the mountains are packed. These are your peak times, and obviously the worst time to venture to the mountain. I cross off all holidays on my calendar and just know that these are not good times to travel. The ski resorts aren’t the only places that gauge during peak weeks. Airfare, hotels and even ski rental shops all hike up their prices and there is no real way around it.

Budget mountains

If you really want to save some major money, stay away from the big resorts. Usually within a few miles of a huge resort are smaller sister ski resorts.  These are sometimes affiliated with the larger resort but offer discounted lift tickets because they have less runs and fewer amenities. This is how you save big because lift tickets are expensive, ranging from $50-300 USD or more.

Hopefully these tips help you plan an excellent winter getaway that doesn’t break the bank. Bundle up because it’s cold out there.

 

 

 

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