Tuesday, January 26, 2016

An Unofficial Guide to Photographing Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas (Part 2): Improving Your Tropical Vacation Photographs

A few days ago, our home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania was covered in about two feet of snow, so I will think back to last month when our family was relishing another vacation in the Bahamas.  Two years ago I posted a lengthy blog article: An Unofficial Guide to Photographing Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas: Improving Your Tropical Vacation Photographs. Since then, my family has had a two more relaxing and fun-filled trips to Atlantis.  While the majority of our vacation is usually spent enjoying time together, I always allow some time for photography (usually in the early morning, before the rest of the gang is awake).  Here are some additional thoughts (illustrated with many new images) regarding subjects and places to photograph in Atlantis, fun things to try, and ways improve your images.

1)  There is great light before dawn and after sunset.  We all love images with the beautiful light of sunrises and sunsets. Often the early morning (i.e. about 45 to 15 minutes before sunrise) and late evening (i.e. the "blue" light, about 15 to 45 minutes after sunset) provides wonderful photographic opportunities.  There are several smartphone apps (e.g. "Exsate Golden Hour") which provide extremely useful information regarding lighting conditions in your location (i.e. times of "golden hour" and "blue hour", when and where the moon and sun will rise, etc.).

Winding Palm Tree after sunset.
Cove Beach, near cabanas.
Clouds after sunset (taken with 500 mm telephoto).
2)  Try long exposures.  Atlantis has loads of water, and much of it is moving.  One way to create a beautiful and interesting image to take a multiple second exposure.  For this to work, your camera should not shake at all, so it should be on a solid tripod.  Its best to use an external cable (shutter) release, as the process of pushing the shutter button moves the camera, which would result in a blurry image.  When you get it right, you can smooth out waves or motion in the water to create a silky, ethereal quality.

Jetty and ocean before sunrise.
15 second exposure with variable ND filter.
View of Marina from back of Royal Towers at dusk.
10 second exposure with variable ND filter.
3)  Work a scene.  If you find a situation that you like, explore it, move around, and experiment with your composition. Photographer Ernst Haas said "The most important lens you have is your legs."  Below, the first two images show a bridge and the Royal Towers. I experimented by taking the first photo with the bridge on my right, while the next image was taken on the bridge.  The second set of photographs were taken before dawn from our balcony in The Cove. I played with my composition by emphasizing the sky in the first one, and the land in the second.

Bridge and Royal Towers 1
(Take with Bridge to the Right).
Bridge and Royal Towers 2
(Taken on the Bridge).
Early Morning 1
(Taken from Balcony in The Cove).
Early Morning 2
(Taken from Balcony in The Cove).
4)  Experiment with reflections.  As I had mentioned in the prior Atlantis blog post, a reflection can be incorporated into a landscape photograph to mirror something else in the image. In the first image below, the Royal Towers are reflected in Paradise Lagoon (taken just after sunrise near the Lagoon Bar and Grill).  For the  next image, I photographed a small section of the Royal Towers reflection with a fast shutter speed to create an abstract image. The third photograph below (taken with my android cell phone), shows reflections in a water lily pond at The Cove.  The setting reminded me of a Claude Monet impressionist painting.

5)  Keep your eyes open, experiment and have fun!  Between wildlife, artistry, architecture, and the beautiful setting, there are endless photographic opportunities in Atlantis.  Even if you've photographed something before, try it again in different light or from a new perspective.
Heron at The Cove.
Detail of Mural on Ceiling of theLagoon Bar and Grill.
Sunrise from The Cove.