For anyone entering a photograph into a RPS competition, there is the prerequisite of it needing to fit into the criteria of having a sense of place. Travel shots typically tend to be of locations that are out of doors in which the local populations are engaged in some activity which helps to place the photograph in some sort of context.
The shot I consider to be (currently) my best travel shot was taken not outdoors, but in the main Shanghai Museum in July 2018. We had only just arrived in the city and were greeted by the tail end of the typhoon. Staying outdoors although possible wasn't pleasant. So, improvising our guide detoured to the gigantic Shanghai Museum complex in which, it felt, a significant proportion of the population had decided to shelter. It was packed. Full of wet bedraggled locals and a few tourist groups.
The place is massive. The central courtyard leads out to huge galleries in all directions on each of its floors. Outside the galleries, there were gatherings of people chatting away as they decided where they were going to go next.
There were few places which you could hear yourself think, and yet there was one corner that I noticed that was almost completely quiet. Here in amongst all the noise were a group of people quietly interacting with their phones, and oasis of calm in a maelstrom of sound.
I didn't have very long to capture what was an extraordinary moment. In the end I managed to take three very quick shots with my camera, before people became aware of my presence and the moment was gone.
Getting back home and reviewing the shots, it was only then that I realised just how extraordinary that moment and been. This was modern Chinese society in a microcosm. Everyone had smart phones, everyone was connected to each other, and yet they appeared totally oblivious to the people that were sitting literally beside them. Only two people were actually talking in hushed voices while the rest engaged in their modern communication.
Converting the shot to monochrome was the obvious thing to do. The lack of colour draws attention to the events of that moment, and though it's not a typical travel shot it neatly summarises what life was like, wet afternoon in China.
Most members of the Travel Group know Steve Day as the person who has brought new life to our Travel Image of the Month competition.
Steve has been a member of the travel group for the last two years, and serves as the group's competitions coordinator. Recently retired, he is working towards his ARPS.
Here he shares the background to his 'Modern Communications' and explains why he feels it is his best Travel image to date.
The settings for ‘Modern Communication’ were
1/30sec ISO 3200
on Canon 5D Mark IV
with Canon 24-105 F4 @24mm