Being a black traveler means that most times, people are staring at you. Some people might hate that, and on occasion, so do I. However, there are times where it has allowed me to capture some amazing photographs. My name is Afiya and I’m a professional people watcher.
Every time I return home from a trip, the first thing I do after taking a hot shower is upload the photos from my camera to my laptop. I usually return with over 1,000 pictures and at least two hours of video but I started noticing an interesting trend: the subject of most of my pictures were people. Whenever I’m planning my itinerary, I always aim to discover all aspects of what makes the country I’m visiting unique; food, eco-tourism, architecture, fashion etc. But I always add a park or a nice street cafe to the list so that I can take time out to de-stress from the hustle and bustle and of course people watch.
People watching isn’t about being nosey. It’s simply allowing yourself to be engulfed in the energy of the people and capturing it if you can. It is observing the group of Buddhist monks in Thailand chatting as they cross the street, or watching a young Thai boy sit between his parents on a motorbike whizzing through traffic. It can even be watching a group of mature Indian women sit and chat with each other or a young Japanese couple indulge in each other in a photo booth in Tokyo. But the most interesting thing to notice is how they notice you. I sometimes snap without even looking at my camera or in the direction it’s facing. Since I’m working with a point and shoot camera, I’m very unassuming. It’s always interesting to see the pictures that I’ve taken because I’m always surprised to notice that most times my subject is looking at me. Smiles, expressions of confusion, curiosity and disgust, are usually the expressions that I see in the photos that I’ve taken.
People are beautiful creatures. We express ourselves freely without even knowing. Our body language and facial expressions can express a plethora of emotions. Our culture shines through us in how we greet others, celebrate, mourn and go about our daily activities. On your next trip, take some time to sit down and people watch. Take in the noise, the emotion, and facial expressions. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about a location by means of its people in just a few minutes.
Words do no justice when sharing the experiences you have when traveling. For those caught up in wanderlust, you know exactly what I mean. Your pictures will tell a story, and I promise, it doesn't take professional skills. For those new to the DSLR world, I will share some simple concepts that helped me take the pictures I wanted (or at least understand what all that lingo meant on my camera).
I’m a proud owner of a Nikon (though I’m starting to favor Canon) and purchasing this camera was one of the best investments I'd made for my travels. Understand how to use the few functions below and you won't have any problems! It is easy to use the "automatic" function, but once in a while, switch it to "manual" and get a little creative.
Light is your best friend. It will make or break a picture. If you look into your lens and twist side to side, you will see the hole become wide and then small. This is what is known to be your aperture. The aperture is the amount of light that is let into your camera for you to take a picture. The wider the opening, the more light allowed into your lens. This is what helps brighten your pictures. The smaller the hole becomes, the less light you will capture. This is measured by the f that you see on your camera. The smaller the number (f1.2) the bigger your hole gets; allowing in more natural light. The bigger your number (f7.4) the less light you get. Easy?
I have always had a passion for design.
I have flat-out refused my mother’s help dressing me for as long as I can remember. I was literally still a baby when I started picking my own clothes. I have been fanatical about shoes since I was three-ish.
As a kid I drew all the time, and I thought I would be some kind artist when I grew up.