My Bad Travel Photo: Trying (and Failing) to Use the Light of a Concert to Get a Great Shot

My Bad Travel Photo: Trying (and Failing) to Use the Light of a Concert to Get a Great Shot

While entering what I think is an actual decent shot for the current Travel Photo Roulette I noticed the host had won the previous event with a photo similar to something I had tried myself. The difference is he succeeded and won a photography competition while my attempts are a pitiful failure.

A bad travel photo: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Here’s Dan’s winning pic taken at the Sea Music Festival in Busan, South Korea. The components of Dan’s photo share many similarities to mine – in my mind’s eye anyway; certainly not in the result – a shadowy figure in the foreground is lit by the background illumination of the concert while the cityscape on the periphery contrasts with the park setting to the fore.

I broke two cameras on our last trip before we reached Kuala Lumpur and judged from these snaps should not have bothered buying a third. When this kid wandered in the frame with a bubble gun I thought that will make a great picture but as you can see I was wrong.

A bad travel photo: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

To be fair the background buildings weren’t helping me as much as they did Dan. Out of shot to my right the buildings were straight out of an English village green – Merdeka Square, where I took these photographs, used to be a cricket pitch during the colonial period – while to my left was all this:

A bad travel photo: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

…with added tanks! Yes, tanks!

Tanks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The concert was put on by the Malaysian military. Here’s the band…

Army concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

…with spangley, yet modestly dressed, dancers.

Modestly dressed dancers in Medeka Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I deserve to be shot for these photographic travesties…

Woman with a big gun in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

…hang on though, this one’s not too bad.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is a great series! I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s a good idea, and these days I find it more fun to see fellow travelers photo fails instead of their best photos. I can relate, as I also have 1000’s of photos that are complete fails. Quick photo tip: For light shots like this one, try simply squatting down to get a lower perspective. It’s the best way to get the shadows to be blacker and the light to be in a better spot within the frame. The winning photo I took was actually only inches off the sand.

    1. Shane

      Hi Dan, thanks for the tip. I was sitting down when I took the shots but that was more out of lazyness than anything else. Looking again at your winning shot I can see how very close to the ground you must have been – much more so than I was.

      If you want to submit one of your fails to this series you would be most welcome – and make me feel better too.

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