My Travel Photos On Instagram: Top 10 Landscape Snaps
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Like many travel bloggers, I got into blogging because of a love of words rather than pictures. Not that I don’t love photography, I just never considered myself to be a photographer in anything like the same way I consider myself to be a writer.
But as travel blogging has evolved, our websites, writing styles and the tone of our articles have all changed to meet the expectations of readers, which, over the 7 years I’ve been blogging, is pretty understandable.
But one thing that’s changed beyond all recognition within travel blogging in that time is its relationship to travel photography.
I’m not just talking about the type of travel photos we all tend to take, and the general standard of the photography we expect to see online (which has skyrocketed) but of course about the platforms to which we turn for our visual travel inspiration.
Most notably it’s the extent to which we prefer visual communication to verbal, in all aspects of modern life now, which really stands out to me.
• SILLY SELFIES • There’s a reason I don’t post a ton of selfies or those typical Instagram shots looking into the middle distance, often accompanied by a naff quote about life. This is that reason. Point a camera at me and I’m likely to look like I’m facing a firing squad – rather than enjoying a lovely day out (eg. at a lush French winery). I found about 10 variations of this picture and believe it or not this is the best one, despite the sausage-arm pose. (There’s one where I absent-mindedly leant one foot against the back wall giving the impression of having only one leg. Aces). But it’s ok because even though I don’t have the ‘perfect’ photo, I had a perfect day and that is what counts, am I right?
When I first started blogging in 2011 I was like any traveller: I had tons of holiday snaps where I looked happy and tanned, and maybe I took the occasional photo of a beautiful landscape, but more often than not me or someone I loved was in that picture too. Not posing with our backs to the camera and holding a pretty straw hat on our heads like most travel photos on Instagram these days, but looking natural and normal.
It was only when I started my blog – with the intention of sharing information and tips – that I realised I’d need more photos without me in them, to illustrate where I was talking about.
Many of the trips I took around the time I started blogging or just prior to it are documented on film rather than with digital photos (I know, seems crazy!) and while the first few camera phones I got seemed state of the art at the time, the pictures simply don’t stand up to modern photography standards.
• SALISBURY SAFARI • I’ve left Wiltshire behind after a wonderful weekend exploring the city of Salisbury – and bumping around the surrounding countryside on a 4×4 Land Rover safari. I usually feel like a bit of a tit taking ‘staring into the middle distance’ shots but the incredible scenery on Salisbury Plain meant I just couldn’t resist 🙊
Of course one of the key drivers for the change in our collective expectations when it comes to travel photography is Instagram. In fact Instagram is changing the way everyone travels, as well as the way we take photos, and that change is permanent and irreversible.
What started out as a way to capture and share instant, fun and cool moments in a less-than-perfect snapshot, has of course turned into the ultimate social platform for professional and semi-professional photographers.
Now the rest of us have had to raise our game to compete with incredible landscape shots taken with state of the art cameras and lenses, and of course drones – and processed with industry-standard post-production software.
And even though phone cameras have evolved to a point where you can achieve exceptional quality images, I still notice the difference when I post a picture taken with one of my ‘proper’ cameras in terms of the reaction I get online.
I use a Canon G11 – an old bridge camera that I keep going back to because I love how compact it is and I like the pictures it takes – and a Nikon D5100 which I use with the kit lens as well as a Sigma 70-300mm zoom lens which I really only for landscape and safari photos. I now also take a lot of pictures with my Google Pixel 2XL, and I’m really happy with the results.
• A LOAD OF BULL • I’m at the highest point in #Menorca – Monte #Toro – which means #bull #mountain. The legend behind this lookout point is pretty cool – back in the 13th century a light was seen shining at the top and the locals went to investigate and they had to employ a bull who used its horns to break the rock to reach the very top – where they found an effigy of The Virgin Mary with no explanation of how it could have got here. #mustseemenorca
That all adds up to quite a lot of photography kit to take on a trip, especially when you add in the chargers and filters, and the fact that you need to bring your laptop to process the images too – which is probably why serious travel bloggers travel with a professional camera case for all their important equipment ( though some professional bloggers travel permanently with carry-on luggage which always astounds me).
All of this leaves me in a strange position as a travel blogger – despite toting all this important kit about and taking incredibly high-res and luscious shots, a lot of the resulting images just end up as travel photos on Instagram and never reach my blog – so they’re being viewed in a tiny square on a phone screen anyway.
I’m sure I’m not the only travel blogger to notice that many of my best pictures aren’t on my blog at all. So I decided to pick a few of the highlights, travel photos I’m especially proud of or places I love – all of which were taken with a real camera – and share them with you here.
My Favourite 10 Travel Photos On Instagram
Vancouver’s Epic Skyline, Canada
• CANADA 🇨🇦 CELEBRATES • Canada Day is always special but this year Canada and Canadians all over the world are proudly celebrating 150 years of their great nation. I took this picture in 2013 from Vancouver’s Bloedel Conservatory not long after arriving – and it’s impossible to overstate how much Canada and Canadians have changed my life and my outlook on life since then. Even though I’m back in my home country a part of my heart will always be in Canada.
Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, The Philippines
• THE CHOCOLATE HILLS • I’ve just accidentally stumbled upon the ‘on this day’ feature on One Drive photos – 4 years ago today I was in The Philippines taking in one of the most memorable views of my life: Bohol’s Chocolate Hills – an amazing bumpy landscape which is so called because in winter these turn brown and resemble mounds of choccy.
Emilia Romagna’s Colourful Villages, Italy
• EMILIA ROMAGNA • It’s been 5 years since I visited the Emilia Romagna region of Italy as part of a ground breaking blogging project designed to showcase the beauty of this somewhat lesser known part of the country. Lots of travel writers have visited Bologna, Ferrara, Modena and the surrounding area since then and I’d say the secret is well and truly out – more tourists are choosing to holiday here instead of the big hitters like Tuscany, Rome and Venice (all gorgeous places in their own right of course!) and I’m beyond excited to be heading back to Bologna next week to explore all over again. Aperol spritz here I come 🍹🇮🇹😄
Yuma’s Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, Arizona
• TRAVEL DREAMS • Does anyone find themselves suddenly remembering trips from years previously? I woke up this morning dreaming about the gorgeous town of Yuma, Arizona – it was one of those weird dreams that feel very real and I was in a garden cafe surrounded by bright colours and birds with the sun warming the air. I don’t have many pictures of the garden cafe from my real life visit but I do have pics of the @visityumaaz annual hot air balloon festival…
Formentor Lookout Point, Menorca, Spain
Cape Town Beaches, As Seen From A Helicopter, South Africa
• IF YOU DON’T POST IT, IT NEVER HAPPENED • There’s been a lot of talk lately about how much social media has changed, and how Instagram and other social networks give us a false and strange sense that if we don’t share something online – or if we do and it doesn’t get enough likes – then it didn’t happen. I really try to resist this pressure but it’s pretty hard not to get sucked in. I’ve noticed that when I’m browsing old pictures from trips which pre-date Instagram I feel like they’ve somehow been wasted by languishing in a folder on my computer and not getting any applause out in the big wide online world. Does anyone else get this weird anxiety? The picture is from a helicopter ride I took in Cape Town – yet I remember that I actually enjoyed the experience so much more because I was 100% in the moment and not thinking about Instagramming it.
The Black Mountain After which Montenegro is Named
• TWO TOP HILLS • I just saw two of Montenegro’s top hills in one day – but in very different ways. This is the view from Lovcen – the 1749 metre ‘Black Mountain’ from which the country of Montenegro gets its name ⛰Later I visited @top_hill_budva – the country’s biggest and best dance club and partied with 5000 people in the open air until 5 am 🙌🏼 P.S. If you want to see which superstar DJ was headlining, see my story above ☝🏼
Northern Ireland’s Famous Tree Tunnels
• TREE TUNNELS • Anyone else find themselves going down the rabbit hole and getting hopelessly lost whenever they look through old travel photos? I’m working on a redesign of my website right now and have spent hours looking at photos from my travels to countless different countries, and it’s so hard to stay focused. What really surprised me is just how photogenic Ireland is in comparison to other locations. There are plenty of tree tunnels like this in the area of England where I now live too. You really don’t have to travel far for inspiration. 🌲
Provence’s Pretty Villages, France
Sunset on a Zambujeira Beach, Portugal
• FAVOURITE FINDS • This is Zambujeira Do Mar in Portugal’s sleepy Alentejo region – a part of the world that I instantly fell in love with because of its slow pace of life, vast beaches, stunning farmland and because the restaurants don’t serve single glasses of wine; you have to get a half-bottle, even at lunch.
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