Interview : Andrew Peacock Lonely Planet photographer
How did you get started in travel/landscape photography?
I did six months of voluntary work in Nepal and India in 1996 and began to photograph seriously around that time on transparency film. Over the next few years while travelling, primarily on climbing trips, I built a reasonable collection of photos that I used as the basis for an initial submission to the stock library at Lonely Planet Images in early 2001. Happily LPI accepted me as a contributing photographer and that encouraged me to begin a more formal approach to travel photography.
How important is having the right equipment for the shot?
Pre visualizing what you want to shoot and putting in the effort to be in position at the right time and place to capture great light or an important moment is far more important in travel photography. Having said that, of course a Pro SLR Camera and Pro lenses will produce a better quality digital file and a tripod is often useful as are accessories like flashes but there are many great photos taken without tons of equipment. Keeping things simple can be useful at times.
What is an essential piece of gear every travel photographer should own? What’s the one piece you can’t do without?
An easily accessible camera bag that sits on your chest or hips so that you can get to your camera quickly. It needs to be available at all times. I use a Lowepro Top Loading Zoom AW with a chest harness. If you have to stop to get your camera out of a backpack you will miss good photo opportunities.
How much knowledge do you need of the location/country/customs you are shooting to get great shots?
The more you know about the location/country beforehand the better prepared you will be to ‘hit the ground running’ on arrival and head to the places you are most interested to photograph. Search the big stock agency websites by location to see what other photographers have been photographing in those places, this can give you ideas about what subjects are available and also what areas may be missing that need more coverage. Empathetic interaction with people in the country you are visiting is a very important part of travel photography and the more time you have available to spend getting to know locals the better your chance of creating great images. It’s far more interesting (and more difficult!) to end up with a series of images that tell a cohesive story about people or a location than to just fire off one or two shots here and there that might be technically good but don’t communicate a story.
Andrew is heading off to heed the call of the wild once more. See his latest photographic exploits: www.footloosefotography.com