The Places I've Been…

Not too long ago, I read an article about using travel to improve your photography. People are always saying "buy this or buy that". It can be easy to get lost in the maddening cycle of debt as you purchase new equipment that will supposedly improve your photography.

Until it doesn't.

The idea is that new equipment doesn't really change your mindset. It doesn't give you new experiences or challenge your creativity. Yes, you might be able to get a closer shot from where your standing with a telephoto lens than with a macro lens, but what about using your feet to get closer? This isn't to say that your feet will solve all of your photography desires, but pushing yourself to go further with the equipment you already have will certainly help.

Sometimes, when we are in the same place for an extended period of time, we learn to see what we expect to see. A flower is just a flower. That building that was there two days ago? It's still there. And so you take a picture (or not) and move on. It's all haphazard with a "who cares?" attitude. You aren't taking the time to see anything in a new light.

Travel, on the other hand, forces you to see things differently. While people who live in the desert see sand (or perhaps an annoyance during dust storms), you, as a visitor, may see it as a majestic new landscape. The snow others are so used to in the north may not appear nearly as beautiful as it might to a visitor from the south who rarely sees it.

And thus, just like that, your vision of the world is changed. You have managed to capture something in a different way that perhaps someone who lives there has been blinded to. Yes, you are probably still going to go in debt (please don't!), but the money spent will be on memories rather than objects.

Of course, I also think that you can focus too much on capturing memories or moments and lose sight of actual events or things you are doing. There is definitely a balance between capturing the beauty of the world and still remaining a part of it.

Through my ongoing effort to become a better photographer, my husband has fully supported me by taking me to more than 22 cities in 5 countries within the past 4 years, sixteen of which we have visited in this past year alone!

Take a gander at my favorite images from the places we've been and consider: does travel improve your photographic vision and help you to become better? Do you think it's worth more than, for example, a new camera lens?

Trump Building: NYC, NY (July 2013)

Boston, MA (July 2013)

Montparnasse Tower: Paris, France (May 2014)

south Germany (May 2014)

Neuschwanstein Castle: Schwangau, Germany (May 2014)

Austria (May 2014)

Venice, Italy (May 2014)

Portovenere, Italy (May 2014)

Calanques National Park: Marseille, France (May 2014)

Bowens Island Restaurant: Charleston, SC (May 2016)

Biltmore Estates: Asheville, NC (November 2014)

Delta Queen Hotel: Chattanooga, TN (October 2013)

The Sundial at the Westin Hotel: Atlanta, GA (August 2013)

Sunset Coastal Grill: Port St. Joe, FL (May 2014)

Jacksonville Beach: Jacksonville, FL (May 2015)

Botany Bay Plantation: Edisto Island, SC (July 2015)

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom: Orlando, FL (November 2015)

Strasbourg, France (December 2015)

Stuttgart, Germany (December 2015)

Schwäbisch Hall, Germany (January 2016)

Prague Castle: Prague, Czech Republic (January 2016)

Dresden, Germany (January 2016)

Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz:
Schandau, Germany (January 2016)

Have you been to any of these places? Do you have a favorite place to visit and photograph? Do you think travel can really expand your mind and help you to improve your photography?

* This list and number of places been does not include Savannah or DC, neither of which I could find pictures of. :-/

*** Wanderful Wednesday hosts: Lauren of Lauren on LocationVan of Snow in TromsoIsabel of The Sunny Side of This  and Marcella of What a Wonderful World


  1. Oh my goodness, Mandy, such wonderful pictures you took!

    My Mom is a semi-professional photographer, and she would be able to tell you about equipment, but frankly, if anyone doesn't have the EYE for photography, the most expensive camera won't help them!

    So while I think your pics are AWESOME you should keep traveling. Just in case ;-)))

    1. I agree. I should definitely keep traveling. Just in case. :)

  2. PS: I just recently came across a monthly photo challenge. You should join us in June!

    1. Because of my weird summer hours, I already have most of June and July's blog posts planned out. Do you know what the challenge for June is? I might be able to multi-topic a post. Maybe…

  3. Those are some great images. What improved my photography was taking a photography class. Learning about composition changed my mindset about how to frame a photograph. I improved so much just from that.

    But travel... Seeing things in a different way is bound to help. And if you take lots of pictures rather than buying lots of souvenirs...

    1. I've taken classes, but I still struggle. My pictures are never what I want.

      I've quit buying souvenirs. They just take up space in the home and make it that much harder to clean. Pictures are much more memorable! Then you can say: "this is what it actually looked like when I was there!" and, aside from traveling, you'll have actually saved money. (Until you fill up your computer hard drive. But that's another story.)

  4. Very wise words - and gorgeous photos. I have a point and shoot camera plus my phone and am still proud of a lot of my snaps (though not all!) We loved visiting Austria and Germany as the towns are so pretty it's hard not to come home with some decent photos.

  5. great photos! I'm not a really good photographer and I could get newer equipment but I don't see the point in editing photos, for example if you've visited somewhere and it was raining, never mind, your photos show how the place looks like in the rain:) don't try to edit it to make it brighter or something: #travel tuesday

  6. I agree that photography doesn't have too much to do with equipment. Sure it's a factor, but it's so much more than that!! I really want to learn more and improve my photography but I find it hard to find the time... You have managed to capture some beautiful pictures during your travels. The one of the Biltmore Estates is absolutely stunning!! Thanks for linking up! :D

  7. Such beautiful words! I totally agree that travel makes you look at things so differently, compared to when you are loving somewhere. I try to not take my surroundings for granted as I am lucky to live in such a beautiful country (Chile).
    As for your photos, they are beyond stunning - well done to you!! Thanks for linking up with us :D

  8. Lovely photos! I agree, for me great photography is all about new perspectives, colours and contrasts. Some of that you can get with kit... most of it you can't.

  9. I love all your photos, definitely keep traveling and collecting more!
    I am working on mine and Learning to use my DSLR correctly.

    1. Learning to use a DSLR properly can be very time consuming and difficult. I still can't believe some of the images you said you've gotten on automatic! It has me thinking "what's wrong with my camera? what's wrong with my eyes?" ;) Your images are lovely already and I can't wait to see what you accomplish with your new DSLR! :)

  10. Your pictures are amazing and it's so true! You don't necessarily need the most expensive camera that's on the market. Quite the contrary, if you can take amazing pictures with a standard or cheap camera, that's when you really mastered the art of photography. It takes skill and creativity to take great pictures either way ;)


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