Our friend, photographer Younes Bounhar, is a member of the CanvasPop Pro Community. As an avid traveller, Younes shares his tips on how to capture the essence of your surroundings no matter where you are in the world.
Time and resources being often limiting factors, there is a tendency when planning trips to want to visit as many places as humanly (or sometimes not humanly) possible. Given that many will be visiting a place for the first and only time, it is easy to find yourself with an itinerary that is more packed than Ali Baba’s cavern, with hardly a minute to spare.
For sure, many destinations offer a wealth of “can’t miss” icons that you just want to cross off your bucket-list. Only with this approach you may end up missing the very essence of travel. You get so caught up in this “race” to collect souvenirs and memories that you forget to have memories in the first place.
For me the only way to figure out what to shoot and by that I mean shoot something meaningful, is to truly go out there and experience the place. Take the time to live it and breathe it. You’ve got to get a feel for its rhythm, its pace, its people and their habits. Let yourself get immersed in the atmosphere and take it all in.
As odd as it may sound, try to visit as if you lived there as opposed to as a tourist. That means getting off the beaten path and off the tourist track. Eat where the locals do, when they do, hang out where they do. It may not be by the Louvre or the Eiffel tower, but it might just get you the unique shot you are looking for.
One of the approaches I take is to simply let myself wander around aimlessly. Follow a street and see where it takes me without regards to the final destination. You can hop on the first bus that comes by or get off at the first metro station and just go from there.
Another approach is to simply sit down at a neighbourhood café and watch life go by. For one, you will find it very relaxing and soothing, but most importantly, it will give you a glimpse of life as you haven’t seen it before, and may be get that all important connection with a local that will get you that once in a lifetime shot!
Younes Bounhar eats, sleeps and breathes photography. His photos have been featured in several magazines in Canada and abroad including Canadian Geographic, PhotoLife, PhotoSolutions and Photography Monthly. Follow him on Twitter.