Have you ever gone back and actually LOOKED at the photos you took from the first time you went traveling?
Well I just did, and it’s a horrifying eye-opening educating experience seeing the photos I took during my Balkan’s trip in 2005.
In September of 2005, I packed 75 rolls of film (black and white, slide, 400 speed, 800 speed), a Canon Elan 7 EOS with a 28-80 and a 70-200 lens, and headed to the Balkans for 5 weeks, alone. This was not only my first trip out of the country, it was my first time doing travel photography.
And is it obvious how first time this was.
Personally, at the time I was all,
“I’m better than National Geographic bit*#es!”
And now I’m all,
“What the hell was I thinking?”
I still have all the negatives and slides from this trip, and many of them were copied by an expensive a professional the only non-CVS camera company in the area onto CD’s for me. (The prints had dust, scratches, bad exposure, you name it. Luckily the actual slides and negatives don’t.).
But, even if these were the greatest printed photos of all time, the composition is similar to a drunk 2 year olds (sorry 2 year olds).
So, in my great knack for exposing my utterly embarrassing greatest-achieving moments, and to show everyone just starting that YOU DO IMPROVE, these are some of the worst most brilliant photographs from my very first time doing travel photography of ….
What the hell was I thinking? I have no idea. I would love to say that I was probably just testing the film here, but seeing some of my other horrific outstanding photographs, I probably had a reason for this. There’s some people, and some street poles, and a totally washed out sky. Obviously I was trying to get something without actually approaching people. I think I will call this photo “Stalker in Zagreb, Croatia”. No idea what I am thinking here.
And here is a random dude with a backpack in Zagreb. Another from my Stalker series. I was probably trying to get a photo of the fountain, from across the street, on the other side of the trash and light post. Why I thought this was good is beyond me. But don’t worry, I have a bunch of awesome Fountain photos in the next My First Travel Photos post (oh god, I have so much awesome I need multiple posts)
Here is a couple of a guy making bread at something like 5:30am on Otok Vis (Vis Island, off the coast of Split, Croatia). I remember following the smell of bread and happened upon this man, who let me photograph him making bread. So I thought it a great idea, to not actually photograph the bread, but stand back 20 paces and photograph his back and a very insane asylum looking room, missing all the ambiance and actual activity of his amazing bread kneading skills. Good job me.
This one was from inside the Blue Grotto off Biševo (another island an hour or so west of Vis in the central Croatian coast). I had an idea, to get the vivid blue of the water against the blackened silhouette of the boat captain. I failed at the idea. Maybe if I had, I don’t know, zoomed in to fill the photo with the electric blue water, instead of 70% black nothing, this would have looked better.
This photo I actually still find kind of cute. I have one of him blowing his nose too (no idea why). I promise, on the actual negative, the colors don’t look so washed out and low contrast (thanks awesome printing company). I could have taken a way better shot if I had moved to the side and got closer so you could see more of the birds and the man’s face.
Oh hey look…a bunch of heads. A bunch of back of heads. I’m not sure what the subject was here? I’m in Mostar at the famous bridge. Was I shooting the archway? The tattered flag? The random backs of heads? I rock.
This is actually just an argument against using your camera flash as a flashlight, when wandering a secret tunnel, while trying to find a sneaky and free underground way, into the castle in Belgrade, Serbia. (PS. It dead ends. We had to pay.) In doing so, you will waste film accidentally taking a bunch of photos of your friends’ bums.
But sometimes you think you are taking awesome photos of the secret tunnel, under the Sarajevo airport, that was used to smuggle goods in and out during the siege. In reality, you are still just taking a bunch of photos of your friends’ bums.
This one may have been cool, if you could actually see what this guy was showing us, or I hadn’t used the horrible on camera flash. Or if anything interesting at all were going on. Perhaps I was trying to be artsy. Perhaps I failed miserably.
Guys rebuilding the train lines in Sarajevo. This would have nicer if I hadn’t cut off the guy’s head, or actually caught the workers welding and not just setting up. Sparks and fire always make photos better.
Ahhhhh, yes. A beautiful cityscape and the side of someone’s torso. If in doubt, add torso.
The ubiquitous “Gazing Upon Something Breathtaking” photo. Too bad you have absolutely no idea what that ‘breathtaking something’ is.
People walking over a brick bridge. There is so much going on my brain can’t decide what awesomeness to focus on. Yes. That’s it. Or, there is actually nothing going on. Maybe I should have added a torso?…
So, yes, this is one example of my utterly brilliant, embarrassing, first-time ever travel photos. I can’t believe I’m actually showing these.
If you love laughing at learning from this, wait for the rest. We have Fountains. Buildings, and Landscapes coming up for your enjoyment.
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.