Only about five percent of my images are shot on my medium format camera. It simply doesn’t have the speed I need for the majority of my work.

So, as you can imagine, I’m often questioning whether I even need to be carrying the extra weight of the camera, the lenses and a tripod – particularly when it comes to the big walks.

But then I shoot a landscape with it – like this waterfall in Victoria’s Indigo Shire (below) – and I recognise the value of those big 120 meg files. You may not see the quality in this optimised version but, I can assure you, the detail’s impressive …..which, sadly, leaves me little excuse not to lug it over hill and dale next time.

Woolshed Falls, Indigo Shire

Woolshed Falls, Indigo Shire

  • ACharlie - October 1, 2014 - 8:29 am

    Right that’s it.. more fitness walk and exercise to start getting used to carrying one of those babies… Not far to go perhaps… Love the pic David! ;-) Adjusting to slowest shutter speed really does capture that silky milky effect ;-)ReplyCancel

    • davidkirkland - October 1, 2014 - 8:52 am

      …as I recall, you have one of the best waterfalls in the South Pacific right next to your house. Time to take Rex for a walk…(or submit your long-overdue homework, he says)ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - October 1, 2014 - 7:46 pm

    Hey David,

    great to see you got to woolshed falls…..I feel so lucky to have this on my door step! Lovely to meet you the other day…Enjoy the rest of your stay here.ReplyCancel

    • davidkirkland - October 2, 2014 - 5:53 am

      Hi Brenda, Thanks for coming along to the shoot….and for the tip about the other waterfalls which, hopefully, I’ll shoot while I’m here.- dkReplyCancel

The Saudi’s have been back in touch about visa details so –  Insh’Allah –  I’ll be off to Riyadh again towards the end of the month to be one of the judges in their national photographic competition and shoot for their photo library.
In the meantime, I’ve just arrived in regional Victoria – The High Country, I’m told – on a five day shoot for the local government authority.
We’ll spend the next five days driving around shooting largely “inventory shots” and planning for the “big pictures” which I’ll come back for next month (sensible approach; the calibre of photography is likely to be much higher than if I was to madly run around and try and get everything done in one shoot).
Actually, I’m enjoying the contrast of being here. My recent commissions – mostly overseas – have been fun but its a pleasure to come back and play in my own “back yard.”  There’s something to be said for a man travelling the world in search of what he needs, only to return home to find it.

As I scratch this note into my moleskin, I’m sitting at Bridgeroad Brewers- a groovy, rustic boutique brewery in the centre of Beechwood. Yeast is quietly bubbling in the giant, chrome vats behind me, a crisp-based wood-fired pizza, covered with Shaw River Buffalo Mozzarella, oregano, tomato and basil, has just been placed on my table and I’ve gone for the staff-recommended Celtic Fresh Ale. There’s a lone female guitarist singing in the distance.

Nice part of the world methinks.

Shooting starts tomorrow.

  • Odette Nightsky (Kirkland) - September 29, 2014 - 8:03 am

    You should really consider being a food critic as a side job :-) Enjoy!ReplyCancel

Just send me 10 of your best photographs and a short summary of what you’re interested in learning and I’ll give you direct, personal tuition on how to improve your travel photographs.

The lesson will draw from the two decades of experience I’ve accumulated as a professional travel and tourism photographer and focus specifically on your work and how to capture better pictures or improve your prospects as a travel photographer.

It seems to me that photography workshops, instruction books, magazine articles and DVD’s can be a long – and sometimes expensive – road to learning how to improve your travel photographs. You can spend hours immersed in them and still not find something that speaks to the stage you are at as a photographer. Sometimes we all just need someone with an experienced eye to look at our work and suggest how we might do it differently or provide information about a specific technique we’re interested in.

That one bit of advice can change your trajectory completely.

So, while I’ve had a bit of time on this cruise shoot (previous post), I’ve come up with this formula which I believe will fast-track the learning curve of photographers who want to improve their travel shots.  Just send me 10 of your photos and an indication what you want to learn, then spend 20 minutes in a one-on-one telephone or Skype session with me, and I’m prepared to guarantee your photography will improve (provided, of course, you take my advice).

As part of the session, I’ll review what you’ve sent me and offer advice on what you might have done differently to improve the pictures. I’ll also suggest what you could be concentrating on to improve your photography, answer any questions you might have about a specific technique you’re interested in, and consider what you want to achieve with your photographs.

If I receive your parcel and I don’t think I have anything to offer, I’ll simply say so.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be one of two types of travel photographer – a traveller with a camera who wants to know how to improve their photography or a travel photographer who wants to learn specific techniques, has specific questions or is seeking to improve their prospects as a travel photographer. Either way, this one-on-one tuition is the most efficient way I can think of to pass on what I have learned and fast-track your ability to capture world-class travel photographs.

As I’m keen to ensure you value my advice (and we all tend to take instruction more seriously if we’re paying for it), the cost of the 20 minute session will be AUD$50 (paid into my Paypal account once we have agreed on when to have the chat as I’ll have to work it into my assignment schedule).

The instruction I’m offering is based on this simple, single premise: That you’re a lot more likely to learn how to improve your photography quickly from someone who’s making a living from it if the instruction is based on a knowledge of your work and your ability, coupled with an understanding of your priorities and needs as a photographer.

If you’re interested in this one-on-one session, send an e-mail to me at with the 10 photographs that best represent your work (72 dpi is fine) and a short summary of what you’re interested in learning about so we can look at a time that suits both of us to have a chat.


Shooting a restricted space (expansive as it may be) on the high seas comes with a unique range of challenges if you want a productive shoot.

Here’s a few tips which might be helpful to both professionals and enthusiasts heading off on a cruise:

– Quickly become familiar with the ship and orientate yourself to its best vantages and the right time of day to be shooting from them.
– Shoot your first sunny day as if it was the only one you’ll get (hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised).
– Study the itinerary. Know what’s happening at the destinations you’ll be visiting and consider the entertainment schedule for picture opportunities well in advance.
– Get a map that shows the islands/ports you’ll be visiting and consider where the ship will be anchoring and facing at what time of day in terms of lighting – particularly around sunrise and sunset.
– Do all you can to be the first person off the ship to wherever you’re visiting (though bare in mind, one of the prime shots you’ll need could well be captured from the ship’s upper decks later in the day). Know when the last tender is returning.
– Study the people flow on the ship and work out the best time to shoot the public spaces.
– If you’re a professional photographer shooting the cruise, establish that priority has been given to the assignment by the company’s marketing manager and that it has been conveyed to key people on board the ship who can assist you with logistics.
– Make direct contact with the captain and explain the assignment as that’s where the buck stops the moment you cast off if it isn’t going according to plan.
– Look to be allocated a go-to person on the ship to assist you throughout the cruise at short notice if need be with things like restricted access, tender transportation, talent and ground support.
– List the ship’s photographic features and map out a shooting schedule according to the time you’ll be at sea. Prioritise shooting its main features such as the pool deck, public spaces and the exterior etc).
– Explore the prospect of using crew as talent (hopefully, getting involved in the selection process).
– Prioritise your photography to just what you need from the shoot (in my case, some destination photographs and a page of pictures of the ship for the book I’m doing). Then have the sense to sit back and enjoy some of the perks of your profession.


Some of the photographs from the recent cruise onboard the Pacific Dawn

Above: Some of the photographs from the recent cruise onboard the Pacific Dawn


For previous posts on cruising, click the thumbnails below or for more tips on travel photography generally, click here

  • Odette Nightsky - September 22, 2014 - 9:45 am

    They must be stocked with the shoot. Very holiday happy pics. And good hints for those in training.ReplyCancel

    • davidkirkland - September 22, 2014 - 9:53 am

      ….”you are very welcome”. Good to catchup for lunch and a chat on my birthday.ReplyCancel

I remember some time ago taking a plumber to task when he turned up at my house to fix my washing machine and charged AUD$150 for five minutes work. He simply reached in and plucked out a 20c coin that was blocking the system before handing me his invoice on the way out.

As he mentioned though, he knew where to look. The fact was I wasn’t paying him for his time as much for his experience which quickly directed him to the problem and provided the expertise needed to fix it.

Travel photography at a professional level is no different. Over time, we have learned from our mistakes (hopefully) and honed our craft. It’s not a matter of running around like a chook without a head from sun up to sun down and appearing productive by taking a stack of mediocre photographs. It’s about drawing on your experience to place yourself in the right place, at the right time, in the most favourable circumstance to capture the best photographs of the destination you’re shooting.

And to deliver a high standard of photography – consistently.

……(Still, I can’t help thinking life would be a lot simpler sometimes if I was a plumber).