Travel Photo Thursday: Hands-Down Winners

Travel Photo Thursday: Hands-Down Winners

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Camera Held VerticallyOne of my travel writing colleagues, Terry Gardner, recently returned from a trip to Kenya and asked her Facebook friends to choose the best photo from three she had taken on that journey and an earlier one to Norway. The hands-down choice was one she shot of the hands of the crew of resting on the basket of a hot-air balloon in which she had flown above Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

In a Travel Photo Thursday post two weeks ago, I repeated advice I’ve often given about the importance of having people in your travel photos. And in other TPT posts, such as this one, I’ve pointed out that capturing small details of a scene is the best approach when getting “The Big Picture” isn’t possible.

But Terry’s photo of in Kenya illustrates another technique for shooting great photos: Include people, but only their hands doing something.

Delicate Work

Dresden Pastry WorkAfter traveling across Europe on four trips spanning a decade, I discovered which country serves up the best pastries.

Sorry Austria.

Sorry France.

Sorry England, you didn’t stand a chance.

Pastry Art Being Made, DresdenThe answer: Germany, hands-down. (A friend who, like me, had visited Munich, where he said that every 15-minutes he asked his wife “Isn’t there a pastry shop nearby? I’m starving!”)

This artisan baker in a Dresden pastry shop looked like he should have been working on a North Sea oil rig, not assembling delicate delights on a sheet pan. And while his “full-body” shot works fine, at the time I took it I could have zoomed in on his hands for a close-up, instead of cropping the original photo using Photoshop Elements as I did at a later date.

Mysterious Hands

Whose hands are those? And what are they doing?

Totem Pole, Sitka National Historical Park

Totem Pole 2 SNHPIt’s not possible to answer those questions by merely viewing this photo. But that’s the beauty of it.

The hands clearly aren’t flesh and blood and they appear to cross a scaly body. It’s not a person doing something with his hands. Or is it?

You could come back to this image time and time again, pondering where it was taken, and what it is.

Without context, you’d never solve this photographic puzzle.

But when you view the original photo from which the hands were cropped into a new image, a light bulb will come on over your head. “Totem pole! Must be Alaska!”

Lending a Hand

Not Easy Being Green

Sometimes the human hand does nothing more than serve as a stage on which another life form struts and frets.

This praying mantis decided to “Take 5!” on the hand of one of my hiking companions as we trekked through the Marin Headlands section of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco.

Although these insects can vary in length from about a half-inch to a half-foot, this three-incher was just the right size to “manually” pose for his portrait.

(Terry Gardner is a freelance travel writer whose stories have appeared in a number of publications. She regularly writes for the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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8 Replies to “Travel Photo Thursday: Hands-Down Winners”

  1. Wonderful tips and ideas, as always! You would expect smaller hands on someone working pastries and decorating…very deceiving! Now I am hungry 🙂

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