If you want to take quality photos in a foreign country then nothing quite beats being asked along by the country’s Ministry of Tourism. That was one of the lessons passed on by professional travel photographer Julian Elliott when he spoke at Ilkley Camera Club last Friday (Jan 6) about ‘Circumnavigating Uzbekistan’.
It was not all plain sailing as the planned itinerary often needed adjustment to suit the angle of the sun and how busy some of the sites were. But Julian got excellent access and the results were certainly spectacular. His equipment included several tilt/shift lenses which enabled him to correct converging verticals in camera. This problem arises when a camera is tilted upwards – something that happened frequently on Julian’s trip as he strove to capture the fine architecture. But Julian did point out that occasionally convergence can have a real benefit if you want the buildings to loom over the viewer to make the structures especially dominant.
As well as wonderful outdoor shots, Julian showed scenes from the wonderfully decorated Tashkent Metro and images of local craft workers producing their wares. A tip here was to keep listening to your human subjects as there may be a reason why they are hesitating to give you a good image. If you find out why they are shy (one girl had a missing tooth) you can often adapt to help them be more comfortable. Julian also stressed that a human element in an architectural image can often enhance the image, perhaps by giving scale or contributing to the mood of a place.
Julian’s advice to members who were inspired by his images was to visit Uzbekistan, do their research, bear in mind his tips, and enjoy a most welcoming country.