Plan Productive Wandering For Better Travel Photos

One way to take the pulse of a place and its people is to wander around. Look for places and times for your wandering that can maximize your photographic yield.

In a booming Chinese city, tall modern buildings and conventional urban street looks can dominate many scenes. Is there an “old town” section that may be more representative of traditional life in the area? Maybe there’ll be an opportunity to juxtapose old homes with new skyscrapers or busy construction sites? We found exactly those possibilities in Kashgar, China (population 4+ million).

If you stop at one of those touristy handicraft stores, is there an area out back where the handicrafts are produced? In northern Vietnam, we found such an area behind a massive pottery shop, with dusty workers and dozens of symmetric rows of shapely pots.

Rural villages are often most active in the morning and late in the day. Happily, that’s when the quality of light is typically best as well. As you wander, keep an eye out for inner courtyards with interesting activity; often, locals will graciously welcome you into them.

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