In this month's Industry Interview we are pleased to chat with Richard I'Anson, freelance travel photographer, and author of ten Lonely Planet books including the recent India: Essential Encounters and four editions of Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography.
You have been passionate about travel photography for over 25 years; how did you come to work with Lonely Planet?
After two overseas trips totalling nearly three years and lots of travelling in Australia, I had built a fairly comprehensive collection of images covering most of Asia and Australia. At that point, I went knocking on doors. The timing with Lonely Planet was just right as they had recently made a decision to start using images from sources other than their authors and I had the kind of images they were after.
Where can we find your work?
Apart from in my own books, website and Facebook page of course, my photographs are licensed around the world for use in books, magazines, newspapers, websites, travel brochures, posters, postcards. A couple of the most notable uses, which also demonstrate the diverse sizes and places the images can end up, were as Australia Post stamps and on a massive tarpaulin protecting the contents of a 53 foot truck trailer.
What has been the most challenging photograph or assignment for you and how did you overcome it?
I think it would have to be an assignment in Antarctica. The main challenge being the total lack of sleep due to the long days, as the sun was setting around midnight and rising around 2:30am (and not getting dark in between) – consequently, I just didn’t go to bed for four days straight. But the real challenge came because napping during the day was also out of the question, as there was so much to photograph from the ship and during the two shore landings each day, that I couldn’t imagine missing any of it by falling asleep.
Describe your case contents for a standard photography trip.
I take the same gear on most trips with the aim of giving me the flexibility I need to capture the wide range of subjects I cover while being easily manageable and accessible, so that I can shoot quickly and efficiently. So, I take two Canon DSLR bodies (5D MkIII and 5D MkII), two Canon lenses (24-70mm and 70-200mm), a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera with 18mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses, and a Gitzo G1228 carbon fibre tripod, plus a laptop and two 750 GB portable hard disks. The only variation to this kit is when wildlife photography is a key component of the trip, and then I’ll take a Canon 300mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter.
We have many promising photographers on Travellerspoint – any words of wisdom?
Learn the technical stuff (ISO, shutter speed, aperture, exposure) and your camera’s controls so that the mechanics of taking a photograph become second nature. You’ll then be able to concentrate on, and enjoy, the creative side of picture taking seeking out interesting subjects and great light and you’ll have a much better chance of capturing those fleeting moments and expressions that make unique images.
Considering all the travel you have done, is there a destination still on your wish list?
Of course! Lots of them! I always have a rolling ‘top 5’ destinations that I want to get to. At the moment it’s Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval, Alaska, Iran, Uganda to see the gorillas, and Madagascar. The list will need updating soon, though, as I’m heading to Madagascar in December and to Rio for the carnival next year.
Win an autographed copy of Richard's book Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography in the Travellerspoint Best of 2012 Photo Competition.
Check out our other posts in the Industry Interview series: