Colors Of The Kuna; Unique Travel Portraits Await Visitors To Panama Page 2

When I travel, I like to get up close and personal with my subjects, but I also like to take what I call environmental portraits, that is, pictures that show my subjects in their surroundings. These are two of my environmental portraits from my trip to Kuna Yala. For both pictures I used my Canon 17-40mm lens set about 20mm and at f/8. Those settings let me get both the subject and the background (the environment) in sharp focus. As you can see, both subjects are positioned off-center. That's because I followed the old photo adage about composition: Dead center is deadly. By placing the subject off-center, our eyes wander around the frame, which makes the picture more interesting for us to view.

As an aside, when using wide angle lenses and wide angle settings on zoom lenses on a digital SLR, take extra care to avoid lens flare--because digital SLRs are more susceptible to lens flare than film cameras (but newer SLR lenses are designed to reduce lens flare).

In the beginning of this column I mentioned that on some islands life has not changed in a lifetime. Well, on others, it's changing rapidly, On San Blas, one of the more populated and modern islands, children go to school dressed in uniforms and learn to read and write Spanish. If you go to Kuna Yala and visit San Blas, you can't miss the school, which is situated right on the beach. You'll find the kids friendly and eager to be photographed. If you don't speak Spanish (or Kuna), you'll need a guide/interpreter to help you communicate with the kids--this will help big time. I was fortunate to have my son, Marco (left), act as my interpreter. Here he is asking one of the students to look off into the distance for one of my photos.

Globetrotter columnist with his favorite subject in Kuna Yala. (Photo by Marco Sammon, who was trusted holding his dad's rather pricey 11.1-megapixel digital SLR while standing in the sand!)

Rick Sammon has just finished working on this 25th book, "Rick Sammon's Guide to Travel and Nature Photography." It features more than 600 of his pictures from around the world--and tons of digital photography tips. See for details.