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photography

Interviews

Dame Traveler Behind the Lens Interview with Erika Hobart of Erika Explores

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what you do?
Hello! I’m a Japanese-American travel photographer and writer based in London. I had a fairly nomadic upbringing that inspired my love of adventure. And I worked in journalism for several years before deciding to turn my passion project, Erika Explores, into a creative business for all things related to travel.

This is a challenging time to be running such a business, but I have come to believe it is an opportunity to reflect on my experiences and practice gratitude. Travel is a privilege, and I hope when the time is right, we return to it with more love and respect than ever before.

As we begin our new #DTBehindTheLens series, we’re aiming to spotlight female travel photographers who are not only artists in their field but also showcase more than just a female figure in a photograph.

Why do you think it’s important for women photographers to be celebrated?
About four out of five working photojournalists are male — which means that a majority of the time, we are viewing the world through the lens of a man. It is crucial in photography (and all other forms of media!) that we are inclusive of and give voices to all genders, ethnicities, races, and sexual orientations.

What change would you like to see happen in the travel industry?
I want all of us — travelers and professionals in the travel industry — to embrace an approach that is adventurous, curious, and kind. To make well-informed choices about where to eat, shop, and sleep. To support locals and small businesses. To recognize and take a stand against tourism activities that exploit animals, people, and the world’s natural resources. Now that all but essential travel has stopped, it’s become evident what a luxury any travel otherwise really is. We all need to behave in a way that reflects that.

What is one of the most enthralling experiences you’ve had while photographing the world?
I remember sitting on a rooftop terrace in Marrakech last August, looking down at the bustling main square. The call to prayer sounded at sunset and the sky turned pink. Gas lanterns were turned on and smoke from the food stalls wafted through the air. It was absolute madness and made me feel intensely alive. I was photographing the scene below me, and had to put my camera down to take it all in. I just had this overcoming urge to stop what I was doing to thank the universe for its existence (and mine).

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?
Travel has taught me that the world is a fascinating place and I know very little about it. That is both humbling and thrilling. It motivates me to never stop learning, to always strive to become a better person. Travel reminds me that I am forever a student, and I must keep my mind and heart open. I hope that’s what we all get out of travel.

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a female travel photographer?
In all industries, particularly male-dominated ones, women who are assertive can be perceived as “difficult.” But it’s so important to advocate for yourself, to know your worth, and to be clear about how you expect to be treated.

What piece of advice would you give to new female travel photographers?
Get to know other female photographers — they are your community, not your competition. I love connecting with creative women and sharing experiences, as well as information and inspiration. Not only is there room for us all, but there is room for us to grow together and change the landscape of travel photography for future generations.

What is your editing process like? Any helpful tips for beginners?
Photography, like all forms of art, is subjective. I gravitate toward warm, earthy tones and images that possess a nostalgic feel. But there’s no right or wrong way to edit, it’s about finding an aesthetic that looks and feels right to you. So pay attention to what inspires you. Art, movies, music, quotes — any and everything. I think finding and developing one’s editing style comes from studying the things we are drawn to. Then we bring aspects of these things we love into our own creative work.

 What is it that you aim to photograph during your travel experiences?
I want to capture moments and scenes in a way that feels like something between documentary and dreamy. Because that’s what travel feels like to me — real, but surreal at the same time. This planet is truly spectacular. I hope my photographs reflect that and do justice to the sentiment in even a small way.

Europe Photography

A Photography Lover’s Guide to Zagreb, Croatia 

Have you ever visited a place that took you by surprise? We didn’t expect Zagreb to be so beautiful and photogenic, so we were totally blown away by the amazing photo spots we’ve discovered in Croatia’s capital city. Although Croatia is a very popular destination, most people opt to visit the Dalmatian coast instead of Zagreb. However, Zagreb is totally worth a visit, especially if you like photography. You might not find Instagrammable beaches or stunning waterfalls, but Zagreb offers so many attractions for history, culture and photography lovers. During our Zagreb weekend, we walked all over the old town and new town and put together this photo guide to highlight the best photo spots in Zagreb, Croatia. 

 Zagreb Cathedral  

There is no better place to start this photography guide than with a picture of Zagreb Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). The magnificent towers, golden statues and Neo-Gothic style are breathtaking. Don’t forget to have a look inside because the ornamented columns and interior of the church are quite impressive as well. 

St. Mark’s Church and Square 

St. Mark’s Church is another very famous landmark of Zagreb. This ancient church was renovated in Neo-Gothic style during the 19th century, and during that time, the unique and colorful roof tiles were added to the church. It’s definitely one of the best photo spots in Zagreb, and many times you’ll find here a beautiful bride posing against the backdrop of this unique church. 

Panoramic Viewpoint of Zagreb 

Just above Strossmayerovo šetalište (behind St Catherine’s Church), you’ll find a magnificent viewpoint that overlooks the whole area of Kaptol, where Zagreb market and the beautiful Zagreb cathedral are located. Admire the view, sit on one of the benches, add your own love lock to the fence and look for the famous mural, the Whale by Etien. 

Gradec Plateau and Strossmayer Promenade 

Just below the panoramic viewpoint, you’ll find a unique collection of street art. If you continue walking, you’ll get to the lovely Strossmayer Promenade. This is one of the most famous photo spots in Zagreb. Other than the decorated frames where you’ll be able to pose for an Instagram shot, there are also great viewpoints and artistic statues along the promenade.

Lotrščak Tower 

Lotrščak Tower is located in the middle of Strossmayer Promenade, and has an important historical significance. Every day at noona cannon is fired from its upper deck. You can either climb to the top of the tower to admire the view of Zagreb’s new town or just take a picture of the unique-looking tower from the promenade.  

Zagreb Green Horseshoe

After you’ve visited some of the best photo spots in Zagreb’s old town, it’s time to walk along Lenuci Horseshoe or Zagreb Green Horseshoe and photograph some of the beautiful parks, fountains and buildings along the way. Some of the photography spots worth mentioning are Park Zrinjevac, the Art Pavilion and Kralja Tomislav. 

The Croatian National Theatre 

One of the most impressive buildings along Zagreb Green Horseshoe is located in the Republic of Croatia Square. The theatre’s bright yellow color and Neo-Baroque style are remarkable, especially when photographed from a bit further away, so you also capture the groomed gardens around it.  

Antuna MihanovićaFrankopanska and Ilica Streets 

If you want to capture a photogenic picture of Zagreb’s trams against beautiful buildings, you’ll find many opportunities to take your shot while walking along these streets. 

Tkalčićeva Street 

Tkalčićeva Street is a great place to visit during the day or nighttime. This pedestrian street has numerous cafes, bars and artistic displays. It is always busy, day or night, and you can get great shots here every hour of the day.  

Zagreb 360° 

We don’t know about you, but we love drone shots. Although you are not allowed to fly a drone in Zagreb, the next best thing you can do is climb up to the Zagreb 360° viewing platform. This fabulous observation deck is located at Ilica 1a and from there you can get a bird’s eye view of Zagreb. After you get your money shot, you can order a drink and relax at the bar. 

There are many more sights and attractions to explore in Zagreb, but these ten spots were our favorite photography spots in the city. If you are planning a trip to Croatia, consider including a visit to the photogenic capital city in your itinerary! 

 

Interviews Photography

Meet Dame Traveler Behind the Lens: Nancy Lova

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Nancy Lova is a Travel Photographer with a love for color, culture and a thirst for gaining new knowledge about the various traditions each country has to offer.

Tell us about yourself! When did you start traveling?

Traveling has been an interest of mine since my late teens however the photography aspect came around much later when friends discovered I had somewhat of a talent and eye for it.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI’m still trying to establish myself within the industry and whilst I do, I work within Real Estate. I have sold to international clients from all over the world and often the ice-breaker or common ground we tend to have are either the countries we’ve both visited or the knowledge I have of the country they originated from.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI have a long way to go but I am proud to have taken the steps to do travel photography professionally and feel so blessed for the identity this has given me, all that I so far achieved and the like-minded photographers I met along the way.

As we begin our new #DTBehindTheLens series, we’re aiming to spotlight female travel photographers who are not only artists in their field but also showcase more than just a female figure in a photograph. Why do you think it’s important for women photographers to be celebrated?

Many still have the expectation to see females in front of the camera and be the subject of a pretty picture rather than taking control behind the camera. It also comes as a shock to some when they learn that a woman is a solo-traveler. “Aren’t you scared?”, “Isn’t it boring?”, “Why don’t you go with friends?” Are some of the questions I’m asked when I tell someone that I’m a travel photographer.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaTravel photography isn’t for the weak hearted whether you’re a man or woman. It takes a great deal of strength, courage and initiative to go beyond what is expected of you and push yourself to experience what traveling has in store, all for the love of photography.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaFor a woman photographer to break the norm and the judgements that come with, deserves celebration in itself as well as for the gorgeous content she produces.

What change would you like to see happen in the travel industry?

I would like to see more people truly embrace traveling, not just as a tourist but as a local and develop more of an understanding of people from different cultures, faiths and traditions.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova #DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaTraveling shouldn’t be treated as a check-list exercise to show off how many countries one has visited but as a way to be educated by the world.

What is one of the most enthralling experiences you’ve had while photographing the world?

One trip that I will forever be grateful for would be my visit to Udaipur, India. I went during an unhealthy and negative time in my life with an old partner therefore there was very little planning involved and hardly any knowledge of what to expect. Although I had my camera, my love for photography had pretty much taken a back seat in my life.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaFor years I heard of the spiritual power India can have over a person but never did I expect to experience this first hand.

At the time, my life had become a prime example of, “sorry, I was miles away” whereby my body would be present in settings but by mind was completely elsewhere.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaEach day in Udaipur felt therapeutic, through the warm energy from the people to the calming sounds I woke up to first thing in the morning. I stopped feeding into the toxic relationship I had with my partner and focused on myself, I focused on what I wanted to get out of my trip to India and chose to have my camera for company.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaBy the end of the trip I was leaving Udaipur with a new sense of clarity and peace which ultimately encouraged me to produce content that helped my photography to get back on track and acknowledged within the travel photography community.

And that relationship? I put an end to that during a flight back from New Delhi. India was my wakeup call.

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?

Travel has installed a humbling experience within. I have seen how some people live and the little they own but are richer in life than many others. This has opened my eyes to what is truly important and to value what is often taken for granted such as time and meaningful conversations even with those that you may never meet again.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaOne of the biggest lessons I reckon travel brings is patience, I find that a well traveled individual often is aware of which matters deserves a great deal of their time, attention and energy and which do not.

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a female travel photographer?

I try to not take in the negatives too much but there have been times where I haven’t been taken seriously and was viewed as just a girl with a nice camera that would take nice pictures.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaFree favors! From time to time I am asked to work on an assignment or shoot abroad and not get paid for it and instead be told that it would be good experience for me.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Some, men in particular, would assume my idea of traveling and photography is porn-star martinis by the poolside whilst trying to gain a great tan, capturing cute shots ( I mean who doesn’t love the sound of that ?) but are then surprised by my experiences and knowledge of the places I’ve traveled to.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI think one thing that is often a hard pill to swallow is when my dreams are downplayed by those that I tell. Some don’t believe in my goals or assume this is too difficult of a dream for me to achieve and I should just take up a different kind of photography like wedding or baby photography. The two are just as difficult to get into first of all and it hurts when a friend or family member who doesn’t have any experience in the industry, tells you to perhaps consider another option.

What piece of advice would you give to new female travel photographers?

Be strong, be fearless, be consistent. Treat travel photography as a job you’re passionate about rather than a holiday, even if you’re just starting out.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Let your camera be your best friend, take it everywhere you can and keep practicing – this was the best advice I was given by another photographer when I first started.

Be brave enough to visit new places solo and wait for no-one. Be ballsy, this is a tough industry behind the beautiful images you see online or in prints.

Lastly, enjoy what you do and be at peace when capturing content, the energy you have when traveling and using your camera is reflected in your work. If you’re in a rush and frustrated, then your work will look rushed. If your mind is clear and at ease then it is easier to capture the beauty of your environment or subject.

What is it that you aim to photograph during your travel experiences?

I aim to capture shots right in the moment, to make whoever may see my photos, feel as if they were right there with me.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaThe more color, the better, everyone has their own style in photography but I’m attracted to bright colors and sunlight.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI avoid typical tourist shots when I can, there’s nothing wrong with those but I find capturing well known places from different angles displays the eye of the photographer.

What is the best way to learn digital photography and editing? How did you learn?

Take your camera everywhere, play with it as much as possible. Reach out to other photographers and learn how they capture their shots. I love being inspired by others and putting my own spin on a new technique.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaRegarding editing, I downloaded various programs and spent evenings just playing around. The mistakes I made to pictures often enabled me to learn a new aspect or tool of the program.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaWhen editing, I like to come back to the image a little later before posting it on Instagram or submitting it somewhere or to someone. This is because in the moment you could either love or hate the finished edit and have a completely different reaction when you revisit it with fresh eyes.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Guides North America Travel Planning

7 Enchanting New England Photography Locations

New England in the autumn – is there anything more charming? As a Northeastern-er myself, I can honestly say that living here in the fall season is a dream. Grey, overcast days, a cozy sweater and warm cups of coffee before a drive through the orange and yellow trees. Yeah, it’s pretty much heaven. Today, I’m sharing 7 enchanting and unique New England photography locations you’ll be charmed by.

Salem, Massachusetts

If you love the folklore of the Salem Witch Trials, there’s no better place to explore in autumn than Salem! It’s notoriously spooky around Halloween – perfect for the Halloween-obsessed traveler.

Frankenstein Trestle, New Hampshire

The railroad that connects Maine to New Hampshire is a stunner. But, seeing it flanked by the orange hues of the fall leaves is a delight! The waving, rolling hills of New Hampshire are the perfect setting for a New England road trip.

Stowe, Vermont

Best known for its skiing, Stowe is a lesser-known, but just as quaint town in Vermont. You’ll find adorable, family-owned shops and restaurants, breweries and, of course, a rainbow of autumnal leaves. There’s nothing like a hike in Vermont during peak colors!

Bar Harbor, Maine

Acadia National Park is like the crown atop of New England. Camping by the water’s edge, especially during autumn is incredible. The wildlife, the daily hikes, the cool, fresh air? Nothing better!

Eaton, New Hampshire

Eaton is a very small town! But what it lacks in population, it makes up for in unrestrained beauty. Don’t miss “The Little White Church” (shown below) with its stunning lake and mountainside backdrop. Come during the morning to see the dense fog that lays atop the cool lake water.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket is just a short hop away from adorable Cape Cod (P.S. check out our guide to the island here!)… and you don’t want to miss it in the fall. The seaport town’s architecture is completely charming. You’ll want to spend hours exploring every nook and cranny – preferably with a scarf and a warm cup of coffee in hand.

Woodstock, New York

Home to the iconic music festival over 50 years ago, Woodstock is so much more than a hippy destination point! Woodstock in autumn is so special! It’s artsy vibe explodes with welcoming front porch pumpkins, lively fall events and hiking trails.


Have you visited New England during the fall? What were your favorite stops along the way?

Interviews Photography

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

If you’ve missed our big news, we’re changing our perspective! With our new series #DTBehindTheLens, we’re celebrating the women behind the lens of the camera, just as must as those in front of them. Today, we’re honored and excited to share Erin Sulliven Of Erin Outdoors in our first spotlight of this series!

Erin’s work is incredible and her photographic eye leaves us feeling captivated. Today, we’re discussing Erin’s point of view, her story and why she’d like the travel industry to truly start celebrating female travel photographers.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

Hi Erin! Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what you do? 

Hi! I am a travel photographer and blogger passionate about the outdoors, wildlife, and learning about cultures around the world.

Before working professionally as a photographer, I was a wilderness guide and adventure trip leader around the world. Leading trips was a rewarding job that allowed me to travel often, and I eventually started a blog to share my experiences.

Since then, I am so grateful to have built a community both online and in the real world of folks who are interested in travel, meaningful conversations, and exploring what lies outside their comfort zones.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

As we begin our new #DTBehindTheLens series, we’re aiming to spotlight female travel photographers who are not only artists in their field but also showcase more than just a female figure in a photograph. Why do you think it’s important for women photographers to be celebrated?

I think it’s important for any group that has historically not been in the majority to be celebrated. The group of people who have had the most access to photography (for a lot of reasons) is white dudes. Not a bad thing, just the facts.

Personally, as a kid I didn’t really know I could be a professional photographer because I didn’t see women doing what I wanted to do. I think female photographers should be celebrated, and not just women, but all groups who maybe did not have the access or privileges that other demographics had. So that’s women, but more specifically that’s women (and people) of color, gender nonconforming folks, people from marginalized communities, people who didn’t have a platform before due to the situation they were born into or how they identify.

I think it’s important to celebrate female photographers on social media because so often we just see women in front of the camera, as the subject–– and we all know that those images perform well. I still post those images from time to time! But… those images are often not the ones I am most proud of, to be honest.

By celebrating the work of a female photographer, we are celebrating more than her looks or whatever she is doing in the image. We are also celebrating her unique vision and creativity.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors


What change would you like to see happen in the travel industry?

I would like to believe that travel makes us more empathetic human beings. That it would help us listen to each other. That it would make us better communicators.

I want to see people getting out and traveling for good reasons that fuel their souls and inspires them to do well in the world. I’d like to see more conversations happening about culture and the “why” behind travel. I’d like to see stories that dig deeper. I’d like to see the perspectives of the locals amplified. I’d like to see more collaboration from unlikely partners, and more interdisciplinary work. I think we are stronger together.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors


Couldn’t agree more! What is one of the most enthralling experiences you’ve had while photographing the world?

One of my most memorable trips was a personal trip to Namibia with a friend and mentor of mine. It was a last-minute trip, and I didn’t have a particular client I was shooting for.

I was just driven to push myself in my work. Some of my favorite shots and experiences came from that trip. I arrived in the afternoon and immediately drove to the desert.

My first views were from a helicopter above Sossusvlei–– the biggest sand dunes in the world. It was totally stunning and surreal and gave me so much perspective and gratitude. That definitely makes the list.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors
#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?

Oooooof what a big question. I could write a book on this!

I became a trip leader/guide because I had always wanted to travel internationally, but never had the opportunity to. Working with teenagers over the years and facilitating group discussions and teambuilding activities taught me so much, and doing that in other places added even more depth to those learnings.

Travel has always taught me, and continues to teach me, that I don’t know much! I can only bring my experiences with me while being open to receive. Travel has also taught me that people are mostly good. As a kid, I learned to be cynical and skeptical of everyone.

My experiences traveling are constantly unraveling that programming. I am always so touched by the kindness of strangers. Overall, the world will teach you so much as long as you are open to it.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a female travel photographer?

Yeah, a few, BUT I do want to say that as a cis, white woman, I can’t pretend that things have been nearly as difficult as folks from other backgrounds. For me the gender discrimination I have experienced has been in a few ways, some are just annoying and others are more serious.

Early on, it was pretty common for male colleagues to start explaining to me how to use my gear. I still get that sometimes and find it kinda funny.

There have been circumstances when I’ve been offered less money than a male colleague for the same job. I know women in the industry who will email from a male alias so that people won’t try to take advantage of them simply because they are female. Sadly, I can also say I have dealt with sexual harassment in this industry, both online and in person. Some of it was really gross.

I hope women new to the industry will have to deal with this less and less as time goes on and more stories come to light. I am so grateful for those who came before me and those who continue to do badass work and pave the way. I am also grateful to all the men in the industry who have amplified the work of female photographers, and who try to do better. We see you!

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

What piece of advice would you give to new female travel photographers?

Do good work. The formula is quality + consistency + passion. Quality, because you have to be good. Know what is going on in the photo world, specifically the part of the industry you want to be in. Continually work on your craft. Shoot a lot. Practice even when you don’t feel like it. Consistency, because you need to do that good work consistently for a long time. This shows the world that you’re serious. It also shows you, yourself, that you are serious. And passion because honestly this stuff is HARD. It’s super hard, and you need a fire at your core that can withstand the challenging times. Creativity is hard, entrepreneurship is hard, travel is hard (even though Instagram will not show you that). But it’s also a tremendous, wild, beautiful ride. Have fun.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors


What is it that you aim to photograph during your travel experiences?

I aim to capture moments that are somehow compelling and contribute to the story of our world. I really enjoy shooting abstract landscapes, wildlife portraits, and images that share a part of someone’s culture. I think those areas are where my skill set is most effective. Hopefully that comes across.

#DTBehindTheLens: Erin Sullivan Of Erin Outdoors

Thank you so much for sharing your story and insight, Erin! Be sure to check out her incredible photographic work.

It’s time to elevate female photographers. Who’s work would you like for us to spotlight next?

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