Speaker 7th March – Dawn White ‘Places & Pixels – Creative Travel Photography’


Dawn White who formally worked as a professional wedding and commercial photographer now runs classes at Forgan Art Centre and supports individuals on a one to one basis looking to develop their own skills. As a successful member of Dundee Photographic Society Dawn covers a wide gambit of styles, with a heavy leaning towards travel. She has spoken to St Andrews before on her journey to Mynamar to prepare images for her successful ARPS submission.

Dawn’s title for her talk arose from the notion of photographic journey ideas with a non- photographer. There is usually very little time and basic equipment. And you are never in the right place at the right time.

The evening was broken down into 5 actions which could be employed to enhance the fun of any photographer’s travels.

Panoramic Images

Look to create a stitched set of images, say 7 to 8, each overlapping by a third, shooting in portrait format. This can create a far more impressive view of the chosen subject, partly due to the larger image file which results from this technique. Dawn uses a coding system to organise her images to give her speedy access to those she intends to use. For example, all panoramic images will be coded red. Numerical codding can be utilised as well for various subject matter. Photoshop offers a tool under automate to seamlessly stich the images together. More work is required to correct perspective and content aware fill to cover areas where the image has no detail. This same technique can be used in the vertical format and is especially effective on internal scenes.

Secondly – Planet Panoramas

This technique delivers an interesting global effect of a subject. Certain scenes work better than others, and it is important to have an image to be placed in the centre of the finished photo as a creased area is the outcome of drawing together all the collective images. Once more a selection of photoshop tools provide the means to develop the planet panorama. Filter/distort/polar coordinates.

In The Round

Simply walk round a subject taking images. Again, not all subjects lend it self to this technique and there will be a element of trial and error. Once you have your selection, use photoshop to stack the images. Then experiment with layer masks to reveal areas within the image. The result can be representative of an impressionist feel. Different options within photoshop, like lens distort can create sharper edges. It is important to have a focal point to help align the layers.

In Camera Movement

Most photographers will have probably taken photos like this unintentionally! This is a great technique which takes no time at all and can provide some abstract and thought-provoking results. Using a shutter speed of around ½ second and aperture of f22 with a low ISO, pan the camera in the vertical or horizontal plain. Or different movements as you feel appropriate to deliver a varied result. A colour range within the context of the image works more impressively. The use of a telephoto lens to concentrate the subject matter is worth considering against a wide-angle lens.

Watercolour Action

This approach can not only be used for travel images, there is endless options to transform images across a diverse range of subjects. Each time the action is used it creates a different outcome. The action is available on line and can be loaded into photoshop. The steps have already been created within layers and once the action has been started it will manipulate the image for you. When it is complete, you can make personal adjustments, selecting layers to make changes you feel will enhance the end result. A set of brushes also must be downloaded which the build of layers and the watercolour, paint splash effect. When downloading the action, it is imperative to view a video on you tube as specific steps must be followed to ensure the action completes the selection.

Dawn is very passionate about the John Muir Trust for which her fee for her talk will be donated. During the presentation she showed a video of the work carried out by those tasked with maintaining the hill routes in the areas owned by the trust.

The talk was entertaining, full of humour, engaging, though provoking, informative and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the members.