Senior Photo Editor Dan Westergren oversees the photographic vision of Traveler magazine, but when he himself is taking the shots, it’s often hard for him to know what will work best. We asked Dan to offer up some blog-worthy tutorials, and are already making the most of his advice.
Sometimes the best photo is the easiest to take.
While working on a story called “Norway Hut to Hut”, I had been struggling all day, backpacking out of a steep valley to a mountain plateau in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park. The scenery was stunning and I had been busy following a family of fellow travelers up the trail. I was desperate to capture the perfect juxtaposition between the trail, the valley walls, and the river below. I would rush ahead, shoot photos, lag behind, take more pictures, then hike as fast as I could to catch up again. I was expending twice the energy of anyone else in order to capture on film this place and activity.
Finally, I arrived at the hut which was to be our home for the night. Exhausted, I collapsed in a chair, setting down my camera bag on the floor next to me. I was thinking about all the great photos that were sure to be the result of all the hard work I had done that day. Then, I looked up from my soft chair and saw this amazing scene. Since I was finished working for the day, it took me a moment to realize that here was the scene I needed to tell the story of this trip. I simply reached down without moving from my chair, grabbed a camera and took two or three frames. It was the easiest photo I had taken all week. When we laid out the pictures for the magazine, this photo was printed across two pages as the opener for the story.
National Geographic Traveler celebrates photography, and encourages you to let us see your own best shots. Check out our Photography Tips, attend a Photo Seminar, and add your photos to our ever-growing Flickr pool.
Photo: Dan Westergren; featured in the May/June 2004 issue of Traveler.