Web Wandering
The World Of Travel

Waterline. Osterville, Massachusetts.
Photos © 1998, Paul E. Johnson, All Rights Reserved

Just in time for our travel issue we caught up with New Jersey photographer Paul Eric Johnson on his fall foliage journey through New England. Johnson, returning from Jefferson Notch on the flanks of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, was completing his yearly travel schedule and he was complaining. "There was some early cold this year, then rain," he says, "and the leaves turned too early. Every time the sun came out there were 30-40mph winds that blew everything down. It was a challenge, but I'm like a fisherman--you know, when there's no fish in one place, they go to the next spot. I pay attention to the weather patterns and I know instinctively when I have to move fast. Since things don't always happen in the places I expect them to, I think about another spot 10 miles away and jump into the truck--from there it's all dust and flying rocks." One such incident produced a shot of the ripples in a mudflat that Johnson caught at the last light, pushing the limits of his EOS-1 to catch the moment. It became a dynamite mailer.

Grange hall and shed, winter sunset. Starksboro, Vermont.

Last July Johnson decided to put his work on the web. A stock photographer with Tony Stone Images and the French agency, Liaison, he felt that the site would be a place to promote his print sales and refer people to his agencies. It would also become a substitute for a studio since location shooters need only a place of communication. "My web presence," Johnson says, "is a preparation for the future since before long the capability of being able to transfer your own work worldwide via the web is going to be a necessity."

Johnson's background in creating multi-image slide shows convinced him that keeping explanations and words to a minimum and making his site as cinematic as he could was the best way for him to go--"like a story, a journey," he says. The site (www.paulericjohnson.com) opens with a full screen image of Cape Cod Bay at sunset. The romantic view conveys the reverence in which Johnson holds the landscape. Click on the sunset image to get into the collection and shortly a revolving sun will move you easily through the series. Below each picture a brief text gives a sense of time and place to the photograph. In one poetic image Johnson compares a rusted fragment of a truck that he came across at a country crossroad to the tradition of photography he feels he has inherited--"there is presence; it is ephemeral and creates a deeper understanding of the subject."

ZAP photographer, Arnold Zann used silhouettes and reflections to make this dramatic study.

With the help of a designer friend, using Photoshop 5 and ImageReady which gave him animation options, Johnson prepared his images, optimizing them and adjusting factors like resolution, settings, loading time, and formats. PageMill was the actual program he used to construct the page. "Little by little I hope to make the site more like a game," he says. "I like the playfulness, the gamefulness, the web as entertainment. I can see it all happening and have already been approached by a site in England geared toward selling photography--a virtual gallery."

Traveling with a couple of experienced pros takes a lot of frustration out of travel shooting and location photographer Margo Pinkerton, a.k.a. "The Barefoot Contessa," and internationally recognized corporate photographer Arnie Zann have "paddled the waters, navigated the sea, hiked the mountains, and camped all over." Endowed with a giant share of fun and creativity, Pinkerton has run travel workshops and seminars from Bora Bora to Alaska (all without shoes, of course). When she and Zann decided to become "official" in the workshop arena, the web quite naturally became the prime vehicle for their advertising. So Pinkerton learned HTML and created enough animation to entice would-be travelers to out of the way locations for a firsthand view of travel photography.

Late winter/early spring produces lots of photo opportunities, to wit this image made late one New England afternoon.

Lester Crockett refers to himself as an amateur photographer. "Webster" defines amateur as "one having a marked and unusually informed taste or liking for something, a devotee." Sounds right to me...Via e-mail Crockett described how he travels with his cameras, enjoying the landscapes, seascapes, mountains, sailboats, wildlife like birds, ducks, and wild Assateague Island ponies, as well as the Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the skyline drive in Virginia, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He then thanked me for my interest in his work and invited me to come again.

Shoot Like A Pro
Now that you are revved up and raring to run with your camera, stop and treat yourself to a site that will make photographing a joy. Just click to: www.fodors.com/focus. "How to Take Travel Pictures Like a Pro." Author and photographer Jeff Wignall answers questions from choosing a camera and accessories to matching the proper lens to your subject. You don't have to guess how much film to bring or the ins and outs of processing abroad. Wignall covers it all, including polarizers, (which filter is best to darken your blue skies and increase color contrast and saturation,) researching your trip, how to plan a shooting itinerary, and the dos and donts of traveling with camera equipment. (Never check your photo gear or film--always carry it with you.) There is a section on creating a travel journal and marking your film canisters to ensure that your shooting locations and dates are organized when they come back. Tripods and a good camera case are other considerations as well as the importance of determining the kind of film to bring on a trip by deciding on what your final product is to be and the conditions you will likely be shooting at. The text is simple and understandable and for viewing there's a selection of classic shots--vacation, nature, the elements, and people, as well as hints for shooting from the air, covering parades and ceremonies, zoos and aquariums, cities, architecture, and gardens. Whatever your destination, this is a valuable and pleasurable site.