The Bride and I were on the Island of Harris — Scotland — near Luskentyre (Losgaintir). We’d been walking on the beach for an hour or so when we came upon a large net float that had washed up with the last tide. It took me fifteen or twenty minutes to set up and wait for the clouds to balance out the composition I had in mind. We were a good way from the surf so all we could hear were sea birds and the wind whistling around the dunes. Except for the sound of a bus way off to our right. Loaded with tourists.
I was preoccupied with the image I was making but my thoughts kept jumping to the tour bus. About the best the photographers on that bus could hope for when passing Luskentyre Beach was a window seat. They would probably be stopping at the restaurant/tourist trap we’d passed earlier. We, on the other hand, would soon break out the cheese, fruit, and bread we had purchased yesterday before checking into our B&B.
What a huge difference in travel styles! It’s prepackaged vs the do-it-yourself of independent travel. Here’s what I mean by independent travel: Picking where you want to go — and where you do not want to go. Determining how long you want to stay there. Arranging where you will stay. Eating when or where you want. And the biggie: The flexibility of being able to change your itinerary to accommodate the weather (or your desire to stay an extra day!).
In my opinion, independent travel is a must for the photographer who wants to make unique, out of the ordinary, non-postcard images. But independent travel isn’t for everybody. It involves doing research, it requires decision making, and it is time consuming. And there are some folks who, for personal reasons (maybe health), can’t do it.
This blog is mostly about photography but there will be occasional postings giving independent travel pointers we’ve learned through nineteen self made trips abroad.
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