Now the world has opened up to travel again and we are able to enjoy those long-awaited adventures, we’re inviting you to share your cherished memories in the form of your favourite photos from your own trips in our annual Travel Photo Competition.
We’ve created four categories to focus your creativity, and renowned travel photographer and Canon Ambassador Lucia Griggi will be judging your entries. We’ll pick the best image from each category every month, and at the end of the year all the monthly winners will be judged to find the winning photo for the year.
Driven by a love of surfing and a long-held dream to see the world, Canon Ambassador Lucia Griggi began her photography journey chasing perilous waves. Although the last wild places of our polar regions satisfy her desire for adventure today, water has always been a theme in the British-Italian travel and wildlife photographer's work.
"The ocean links every country and has so many different faces," says Lucia. "You never know how a wave will be when shooting it or what sort of wildlife you'll see on the ocean or underneath it. It keeps me intrigued and I love being in the water."
Born in Jersey in the Channel Islands, self-taught photographer Lucia comes from a family of artists and split her time between England and Italy while growing up. "Photography came to me because of my love of travel and surfing," she says. "Travelling was great but you become transient. I wanted to give myself a purpose and that was to start documenting my travels."
After gaining a degree, Lucia moved to Cornwall. From there, she travelled around New Zealand on her own, armed with her dad's film camera. She bought a car, which she lived in for three months. This adventurous existence would become a permanent way of life.
"Photography is an extension of who I am," says Lucia, whose skills also include aerial photography, a niche that has seen her shoot ice shelves, glaciers and braided rivers from the air. "It is the way I express myself. I don't know what I'd do without it.”
"I love the adventure – hanging out of helicopters or swimming underwater with huge waves above my head," she continues. "I get a rush from that, but I can also get that feeling when I'm sitting still for hours waiting for wildlife."
With appearances in more than a dozen books and exhibitions from New York to London, Lucia's talent has led her to work with the BBC, Warner Brothers, Disney, Patagonia, Red Bull, Rip Curl and Billabong. She won an award in the 2012 National Geographic Traveller awards with her underwater image of a surfer in Fiji, and in 2015 she progressed into filmmaking, directing movie trailers for Hollywood films such as Mad Max, alongside UK documentaries.
Expeditions to remote and often hostile locations such as Antarctica, Alaska, the Galápagos Islands, the Russian Far East and Siberia have seen Lucia explore the luxury travel sector through moving images and stills. Capturing cultures and wildlife unique to these destinations has become the core of her business and she now works full time in the travel industry.
"Wildlife is a layer of travel," Lucia says, "The whole world is becoming more aware of conservation and environmental issues and I feel an obligation to contribute to that. Not everyone has the luxury of seeing the world and it means a lot to be able to help raise awareness about where you can see these beautiful creatures – under the water or from above."
What's your photography philosophy?
"Photography is the only constant in my life. It brings me back to me.”
What keeps your passion for photography alive?
”Travelling to remote, wild destinations that are the last frontiers. We're running out of time. These places are altering rapidly. It's an ever-changing environment. There is a race to get there and experience them before irreversible change happens.”
What are the key components of a powerful image for you?
"Light is everything. Timing is impeccable, as is framing and composition. It's about making your subject feel comfortable, whether that's wildlife or people. Getting it right first time in the camera using manual settings is also important, and really understanding the camera.”
One thing I know…
"It takes a lifetime to become a photographer. It takes a lifetime to master anything. I think experience is everything. I look forward to learning more and carrying on that journey.”
See more of Lucia’s work at www.luciagriggi.com
Tips from a professional
A National Geographic Traveller 2012 award winner, Lucia Griggi is an expedition, wildlife and travel photographer who can help show you how to elevate your own photography.
1. Look and You Shall Find
Take your time to explore the area, and seek out the most interesting geographical features. Such as the dramatic rock formations found in many locations throughout Australia. Although a simple subject, the fascinating shape of the land best captures its beautiful and ethereal character.
2. Lucia means ‘light’, follow the light.
Lucia means ‘light’, and I always consider the light. Think about where it will and won’t fall in order to create your image. Find places where the light will embellish your chosen subject or landscape. If you can, try playing around with the same subject at different times of the day.
3. Attention to Detail
Use fine details to convey emotion. When I’m shooting pictures of mountains, glaciers and icebergs, I think about the emotion I’d like my photo to convey.
Does the subject evoke feelings of eeriness? Isolation? Joy? Or something else? Once you have determined this, pick a focal point – maybe a distorted tree with a distinctive formation or an unusual texture in a landscape? Frame the photo around this point.
4. The Shape of Water
Try to use the water as a compositional element. One of the most fascinating features of remote places like the Maldives is the interplay between the water and the land. Feature the ocean as a line in your composition, whether as a horizontal, linear or dominant shape in your photo. The contrast of moving water against the still landscape will draw the eye across the frame.
5. Use a Tripod
A tripod is an essential part of your gear, especially when shooting with the long lenses at slow shutter speeds. A tripod will reduce shake, enabling you to capture high-resolution images. Compact lightweight tripods are available, meaning you can carry them with ease.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice before you go. As a minimum, it’s important to grasp the basic setting of your camera before setting off on any expedition. This will enable you to spend more time shooting in the field and less time altering your camera’s setting as the light fades and those special moments pass you by. Take the time to learn how best to focus your camera quickly, so you can retain full concentration and get the best shots possible.
7. Be Your Own (Photo) Editor
Spend time editing your photos. Editing will bring your memories to life. With slight adjustments and colour enhancements, you can bring out untapped detail in your images. It needn’t be an in-depth process; it can involve minor tweaks. It’s almost certain that the best landscape photographs you’ve ever seen have been edited in one way or another!