10 Tips For Amazing Travel Photography

Hong Kong Skyline

I’m an amateur photographer who travels a great deal, giving me many great opportunities to have some fun with my favorite hobby. Photography and travel are two activities that were made for each other. Even non-photography inclined people feel compelled to take a camera along when going on a trip.

However, just because you find yourself with a camera in your hand, in an exotic or majestic location, does not guarantee that your photos will be equally stunning and fabulous. So I’ve compiled a list of ten tips to help you take better photographs while traveling.


1. Get up Early.

Thai Fishing BoatThe absolute best time to get amazing travel photos is quite often early in the morning. Why is this? There are many reasons, one of the big ones is the lighting. Quite simply put, the lighting in the early morning hours is more colorful and less harsh than the light in the middle of the day. A second reason to get up early is to capture the ‘true’ local culture. In even the most exploited of tourists traps, the early morning scene is quite often dramatically different than what you’d see the rest of the day. Most travelers tend to sleep in, so the early morning hours generally belong to the locals. So if you want to catch local culture, bathed in beautiful warm light, set your alarm and get out out early!

2. Talk to Locals.

Speaking of local cuture – taking time to talk to the ‘locals’ is one of the secrets to moving your travel photography from ordinary to extraordinary. Locals who know the area better than anyone can clue you into all kinds of info about sights and local activities that you’d never know about otherwise. In addition, being friendly with locals can get you the opportunity to take some great portraits and have some engaging stories to go along with them.

3. Before you go, check the internet for photos, after you are there, check out post cards for photo ideas.

Hong Kong TaxiThere is nothing wrong with getting a little inspiration for your photography by looking at what other photographers have done in the same location(s) you plan on visiting. The internet provides a great avenue for checking out a location before you go. A photo site like http://flickr.com is one of many great places to start. You can simply do a search for the place you are planning on traveling to and then check out the photos that other’s have taken. A bonus that web 2.0 sites like Flickr offer is that you can interact with the photographer(s) who’ve already photographed the location and ask for some advice. If you are already on the road, another great source of inspiration is the local gift shop. Check out the post cards and see which photos made it onto a post card and you’ll have a start on some ideas for interesting places to shoot.

4. Bring extra memory cards.

Don’t be caught in an amazing location with a full memory card and no more room for additional photos. With the price of memory cards at an all-time low, there really is no excuse for running out of room on your card. Before you take your trip, pick up an extra memory card or two. Having ample room on your memory cards will give you the freedom to shoot liberally without fear of running out of space and potentially missing a great shot that is just around the next corner.

5. Carry less stuff – try to blend in.

AloneOne of the biggest mistakes made by less seasoned travelers is that they carry far more ‘stuff’ than what they actually need. This is just as true for photographers. When going out to shoot some photos, don’t take ‘everything’ with you. Think through the location you will be photographing and think about what equipment you will likely need. Avoid carrying around gear you will never use. Not only will this allow you to be more mobile, it will also keep you from standing out too much while moving among locals. There are definitely advantages for not ‘sticking out’ when traveling, I’m sure you can think of a few without me mentioning them.

6. If you are only in a location for a short time, don’t try to photograph everything.

If your travels are brief and you only have a short time to photograph a location, don’t feel obligated to capture ‘every’ angle and vantage point. In my opinion, it’s far better to capture one or two vantage points well than it is to capture five or six vantage points poorly. Photography is a creative endeavor, if you remove the pressure to capture every angle and view of a location, you free yourself up to be more creative and your results will be much better.

7. Change up your perspective – don’t let all your shots be from 5 feet off the ground.

Milano CathedralIf you really want to make a dramatic improvement in your photography, you can do it by simply changing your perspective. Make a vow to not take any photos with the camera five and a half feet off the ground. There is nothing that can add more interest to your photos than bringing your camera down low to the ground or finding a tall vantage point to shoot from. In addition to ‘height’ changes, distance can also make a dramatic difference. It’s been said that the most effective and the most under-used photographer’s resource is his / her legs. Taking ten steps closer to your subject, and then taking 5 more, can dramatically alter the results of your photography. Getting closer is almost always a great thing to try when trying to step up your photography.

8. Adapt to the weather, don’t stop taking photos just because there is ‘bad’ weather.

Phi Phi Island - ThunderstormAt some point in your travels, you will likely encounter ‘inclimate’ weather. Don’t think this means that you should put your camera in your bag and wait for the sun to come back out before taking more photos. Dramatic weather can sometimes really help set the stage for amazing photographs. Some of my favorite photos were taken with thunderstorms looming over the ocean off the shore of Phi Phi Island in Thailand or heavy snow swirling around me while standing on the Great Wall of China. Another advantage to heading out when the weather gets ‘bad’ is that most of the tourists will run for cover and you’ll be able to get photos without dozens of other tourists cluttering up your shots.

9. Wear comfortable shoes.

When traveling, and taking photos, you will likely be doing more walking than you are accustomed to doing in your normal routine. This makes wearing comfortable shoes mandatory. If you’ve done your research, you’ve arrived at an amazing spot and the light is perfect, but your feet hurt and you can’t go on, your photography is going to suffer. A good pair of tennis shoes that have been broken in (not brand new) are probably going to be your best choice for footwear. You know your feet, make sure you take care of them.

10. Don’t be obnoxious.

Chinese SoldiersThis may seem obvious, but it’s amazing to me how many ‘obnoxious’ tourists I’ve encountered in my travels. Use some common sense, be considerate of others and of the site. Nobody likes the ‘obnoxious guy’ and if that is you, you can count out getting fun portraits of locals or getting useful tips from other photographers at the site. Being considerate will not only help improve your photos, it will help pave the way for those who come behind you to also have a positive experience in that same location.

I hope these tips help you out. If you have any more you can think of, or if you disagree with any of these tips, please let me know! I’m just an amateur myself and I’m still learning right along side of you.

The Inventor of Gatoraide Passed Away This Week

Dr. CadeDr. J. Robert Cade, who invented the sports drink Gatorade and launched a multibillion-dollar industry, died Tuesday of kidney failure. He was 80.

His death was announced by the University of Florida, where he and other researchers created Gatorade in 1965 to help the school’s football players replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost through sweat while playing in swamp-like heat.

“Today with his passing, the University of Florida lost a legend, lost one of its best friends and lost a creative genius,” said Dr. Edward Block, chairman of the department of medicine in the College of Medicine. “Losing any one of those is huge. When you lose all three in one person, it’s something you cannot recoup.”

Now sold in 80 countries in dozens of flavors, Gatorade was born thanks to a question from former Gators coach Dwayne Douglas, Cade said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press.

He asked, “Doctor, why don’t football players wee-wee after a game?”

“That question changed our lives,” Cade said.

Cade’s researchers determined a football player could lose as much as 18 pounds — 90 to 95 percent of it water — during the three hours it takes to play a game. Players sweated away sodium and chloride and lost plasma volume and blood volume.

Using their research — and about $43 in supplies — they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football. The first batch was not exactly a hit.

“It sort of tasted like toilet bowl cleaner,” said Dana Shires, one of the researchers.

“I guzzled it and I vomited,” Cade said.

The researchers added some sugar and some lemon juice to improve the taste. It was first tested on freshmen because coach Ray Graves didn’t want to hurt the varsity team. Eventually, however, the use of the sports beverage spread to the Gators, who enjoyed a winning record and were known as a “second-half team” by outlasting opponents.

After the Gators beat Georgia Tech 27-12 in the Orange Bowl in 1967, Tech coach Bobby Dodd told reporters his team lost because, “`We didn’t have Gatorade … that made the difference.”

Stokely-Van Camp obtained the licensing rights for Gatorade and began marketing it as the “beverage of champions.” PepsiCo Inc. now owns the brand, which has brought the university more than $150 million in royalties since 1973.

Cade said Stokely-Van Camp hated the name “Gatorade,” believing it was too parochial, but stuck with it after tests showed consumers liked the name.

The rest of the story.

Where's Webel…

The software I use to publish my blog () keeps track of all kinds of stats for me.  Sometimes complete strangers stumble upon my blog and one of the interesting things that my WordPress Stats tell me is what people typed into a search engine (ie. Google)  to find my blog.

Here are some examples from this past week;

florida football
why tebow should not win heisman
Tebow divide by zero
huge beards
redneck beer
grizzly adams
survivor china logo
batman film in Hong Kong
heisman vote
tim tebow “sunday school”
heisman vote online
mythbusters spiciest
worlds best beard competition
2008 heisman voting
steve spurrier faith church
Yueyang Mouse Invasion ’07
grizzly adams
Survivor China logo
webel blog
steven webel

(These are not quite as colorful as some of the ones my cousin Lance Webel comes up with, but then again, he has been blogging much longer than I.)

It’s a bird, It’s a plane … It’s Tim Tebow

Tebow had an amazing game against our rival, FSU on Saturday. I don’t think there is anything he could have done differently to show he deserves to win the Heisman this year. Now it’s up to the people who vote.

Here is alittle about the caliber of person Tebow is;

TebowIn high school, with his team holding a precarious 7-point lead in the state championship game, Tebow, an elite quarterback recruit, ran on the field and played nose tackle — nose tackle — without telling his coaches. The other team didn’t score again.

A devout Christian, he grew up on a farm in west Jacksonville, the youngest of five siblings. He spent his high school summers on family missions in the Philippines working alongside his father, Bob, an evangelist, to care for orphans — an experience Tim describes as life-changing. “You’d see people in Dad’s orphanage who had nothing, no material things at all, yet they were so happy to see you,” he says. “That’ll keep you humble.”


  • When Tim Tebow does a push-up, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the world down.
  • Superman’s only weakness is Kryptonite. Tim Tebow laughs at Superman for having a weakness.
  • Tim Tebow doesn’t throw interceptions. Receivers run wrong routes.
  • Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas.
  • You can lead a horse to water. Tim Tebow can make him drink.
  • When the bogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks the closet for Tim Tebow.
  • You don’t hit Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow hits you.
  • Tim Tebow ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.
  • If you Google search ‘Tim Tebow getting his butt kicked’ you will generate zero results. It just doesn’t happen.
  • Terry Tate looks over his shoulder in offices for Tim Teebow.
  • It takes Tim Tebow 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.
  • Life doesn’t give Tim Tebow lemons. Life asks him which fruit he wants.
  • Tim Tebow once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.
  • Tim Tebow sweats Gatorade.
  • Tim Tebow always knows the EXACT location of Carmen SanDiego.
  • Tim Tebow can divide by zero.
  • Tim Tebow won the Tour de France on a unicycle to prove to Lance Armstrong it wasn’t a big deal.
  • Tim Tebow can touch MC Hammer.
  • Tim Tebow doesn’t actually write books, the words assemble themselves out of fear.
  • Tim Tebow ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.
  • Tim Tebow has counted to infinity…. twice.
  • Tim Tebow has never lost or tied in a game of Tic Tac Toe.
  • When it rains in the Swamp, Tim Tebow doesn’t get wet. The rain gets Tim Tebow’d.
  • Tim Tebow’s tears cure cancer, too bad he never cries.
  • Tim Tebow’s chief export is Pain (followed closely by touchdowns.)
  • Tim Tebow doesn’t bowl strikes, he just knocks down one pin and the other nine faint.
  • Tim Tebow invented black. In fact, he invented the entire spectrum of visible light. Except pink. Tom Cruise invented pink.

Do you have a Tebowism to share?

The Heisman Vote on ESPN.com


Looks like ESPN has a page where fans can vote on their favorite for the Heisman award, and the player who receives the most  votes will get one Official vote.  Let the popularity contest begin…

Vote Here:   https://r.espn.go.com/espn/contests/theheismanvote/

My vote goes to Tim Tebow, hands down – and that’s not just because I’m a Gator!

Every season, thousands of arguments between friends occur on the subject of college football. Some quarrel about different teams, others take aim at certain coaching decisions. But no subject in the sport causes more of an uproar than the Heisman Trophy, given annually to the best player in college football. There are several different theories on who is most deserving of winning the Heisman, and since the award’s description itself doesn’t provide the exact criteria needed to win the statue, it is not always clear who should win.

Some say it should go to the best senior on a good team – kind of like a lifetime achievement award. If that were the case, then this year’s winner probably should be Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, who (before a knee injury) led the Ducks to a top ten ranking and accounted for 29 total touchdowns (running and throwing).

Another argument is that the best future pro prospect should win the award. Too many times, as with Jason White and Eric Crouch in recent memory, the award has gone to somebody who hasn’t gone on to success in the NFL, or even to any NFL career at all. This, in many people’s opinion, tarnishes the award’s value. In these people’s minds, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden – who has run for over 1,500 yards and is the number one player on Scouts Inc.’s 2008 Draft preview – should be the award winner.

A different theory says that statistics alone should decide the Heisman Trophy. Arguments could then be made for Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree – who has over 1,800 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches – or LSU defensive tackle Glen Dorsey, who has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks and running backs all season long with 55 tackles and six sacks.

But if the award goes to the best all-around player, regardless of position, age, draft hype or team record, then the only clear choice for the 2007 Heisman Trophy is University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.


In 1863, while America was embroiled in the midst of a civil war that threatened to tear the country apart, Abraham Lincoln wrote the proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” — October 3, 1863 – Thanksgiving Proclamation

Lincoln was a deeply devout and spiritual man. He believed in God, but his faith wasn’t cultural or philosophical. It was personal.  There was always something in the way Lincoln lived and delved into politics that gave evidence of him treating faith as a way life not a political agenda. But, Lincoln brilliantly knew how to achieve politically what his faith dictated spiritually.

Just read what Lincoln wrote about to whom we were to give thanks:

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they [‘gracious gifts from God’] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” — October 3, 1863 – Thanksgiving Proclamation

Lincoln’s last proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving would be April 11, 1865, four days before his assassination. But Lincoln had given this country a legacy of giving thanks to God.

There are those today that have created Thanksgiving in their own image – making the entire thing ego-centric / man-centered. However, we know from the facts of history that Thanksgiving has it’s roots in giving thanks to our Creator.  I will do my best this Thanksgiving to look beyond man and seek to give thanks to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior for all he’s given and done.


Nathaniel Stephen

Nate & Dad

Nate & Dad

Nate was born Monday morning around ten till 5 in the morning.



Later that day, we brought the girls up to the hospital to meet their little brother.

Grandma & Grandpa

Grandma and Grandpa had to get in on the action…

Grandma & Grandpa

Steve w/ Mom & Dad

I’m sure Erica will have a blog with many, many more photos over at http://webelfamily.com posted very soon, so keep an eye out for it!

2008 Beijing Olympic Emblem

2008 LogoEvery emblem of the Olympics tells a story. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games emblem “Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing” is filled with Beijing’s hospitality and hopes, and carries the city’s commitment to the world.

The seven themes that the 2008 Beijing Olympic emblem portrays are;








The emblem is supposed to “…attract more and more people from around the world to Beijing and China to join the great celebration with the Chinese people.”

I’m not sure that an emblem will accomplish this lofty goal, but it is a nice logo!

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-03/26/content_5897986.htm