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Travel stories

Pursuing a passion for photography on tour

Jun 02, 2017 by Jamie Gallerani

For traveler and photographer Carol, capturing frame-worthy photos in her travels is just as fulfilling as each journey itself. Whether she’s getting the shot at a cultural festival with the help of her expert Tour Director or chasing the sunset for the perfect lighting, here’s how she uses her free time to weave her passion for photography into every adventure.

couple standing on a bridge over a canal in venice italy Carol and her husband Greg in Venice, Italy. Copyright Carol Cornwell Photography. All rights reserved.

Does your Tour Director ever give you hints about where to get the best photos?

Yes! Tour Directors give suggestions and will help by arranging taxis and telling me how to return. One Tour Director suggested I shoot Rome at night, and helped Greg and I hire a taxi to take us to the key places in the city. We did the same thing in Prague and took a taxi to the Charles Bridge to shoot the sunrise when the crowds were down and the light was right.

Tour Directors have also taken me into local neighborhoods and to festivities they know about and shared their insider information. Exploring the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, visiting the town of Pienza in Tuscany, and attending a temple lighting ceremony in Kyoto, Japan were all suggestions from our Tour Directors.

boat floating in ocean with silhouette of mountain in background during sunset Italy. Copyright Carol Cornwell Photography. All rights reserved.

Do you choose tours based on how much free time you’ll have for photography?

I choose tours based on places that are visually interesting and culturally stimulating, but I always have enough free time; there’s a good balance between guided sightseeing and striking out on my own. Free time is everything to me! I am out some mornings shooting early before breakfast and in the evenings, too. If I want to walk around more on my own, I’ll skip the guided walking tour and immerse myself in shooting instead.

My favorite shots are often grab shots, which are spontaneous photos that I’ll snap while we’re walking around, or I might go back to something later. Our hotels have been in good locations, which allows me to wind my way down different streets to where I want to shoot.

Find 5 free time activities to do in Rome, Italy in our guide

pink buildings on cobblestone street in monterosso italy Monterosso, Italy. Copyright Carol Cornwell Photography. All rights reserved.

Which places come to mind when you think about beautiful lighting?

When I think about beautiful lighting, it’s usually soft morning light or dramatic evening light—when the light is warm and gold. It makes me think of the quietude of Lucerne or Paris in the morning, the dawdling light of Seville, Spain, and anywhere in Italy.

How does looking at things through your camera lens help you see them in a different way?

Photography allows me to remember all the details. I can pull them all together in an amazingly pleasing composition.

Have any tips for travelers who want to try their hand at taking a few snapshots on tour?

Move-in closer, place your subject off-center and fill your frame. Shoot details and when possible, shoot in the right light. It’s helpful to use a tripod in low light and a polarizer on sunny days.

blue and white marble bridge over a river in the plaza de espana in seville Seville, Spain. Copyright Carol Cornwell Photography. All rights reserved.

As an experienced traveler, what do you like about traveling on guided tours with Go Ahead?

I like the support system. The company handles the details and I can handle the fun stuff, like researching where I want to go during free time. I like stumbling off the plane upon arrival and being taken to our hotel; by noon I’ve been having breakfast while watching Montmartre come awake in Paris, sipping Italian beer and tasting parmesan cheese at a farmers’ market near Lake Como, having lunch in Campo de’ Fiori in Rome, or watching street performers in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. I like being able to jump right into it!

Plus, whether you’re dealing with a cancelled flight, lost passport, or medical emergency, Go Ahead is there to assist and handle the details. Greg and I enjoyed a nice meal and walk in Venice, Italy when our flight was cancelled due to a strike, and Go Ahead and our Tour Director handled all the rest!

tower bridge in london lit up with purple lights on a cloudy day London, England. Copyright Carol Cornwell Photography. All rights reserved.

What would you say to other travelers who feel a guided tour isn’t for them?

Guided tours give you more choices in your style of tour, not less. They make great use of a limited amount of time and are a good introduction to an area. We love Go Ahead because it give us peace of mind to know that we have someone who speaks the language with us and that all of the details are handled. When I’m standing in front of the Trevi Fountain, walking around Plaza de España, or sitting at a cafe in Krakow, I’m not thinking about how I got there—I’m thinking, I am here!

For me, it’s the difference between dreaming of wanting to go somewhere and actually doing it. Go Ahead makes it easy and stress-free to visit anywhere in the world. I commit each journey to memory by remembering it in my mind’s eye as I fall asleep.

cobblestone street in pienza italy

Pienza, Italy. Copyright Carol Cornwell Photography. All rights reserved.

Have you ever been on a trip to Europe? Learn more about our Europe tours to start planning your next trip.


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About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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