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The Last Notes

Travel photography dilemma: The ethics of paying for portraits

Travel photography dilemma: The ethics of paying for portraits

For more discussion on the ethics of travel photography, check out the Travel Photography program, curriculum, and community at MatadorU.1. Paying a “model” to pose for youIf you’re in a well-touristed area, there may well be folks dressed up in traditional garb specifically to pose for tourists. If you’re a tourist, maybe that’s fine.

Travel photography tip: When to use Shutter Priority and why

Travel photography tip: When to use Shutter Priority and why

For pros and beginners alike, Shutter Priority can be a very good place to be on your camera. Stay tuned for more travel photography tips, or, in the meantime, visit MatadorU.A COMMON PIT STOP on the road to shooting in Manual is Tv (Canon) or S (Nikon), a semi-manual mode that allows you to control the shutter speed; it then selects the appropriate aperture (and ISO if you want it to) to get a correctly exposed image.

Beyond the Wall: Walking into a Game of Thrones set in Iceland

Beyond the Wall: Walking into a Game of Thrones set in Iceland

Lindsey and I are driving at a speed of 120km/hour, along Route 1 — Iceland’s “Ring Road,” a single paved road that wraps around this chilly island. We’re driving about 30km over the allotted speed limit. Oops. But it’s all in pursuit of an important mission:Today, we are hiking on the glacier where Game of Thrones is filmed.

Journalist Adam Skolnick on travel writing and human rights in Myanmar

Journalist Adam Skolnick on travel writing and human rights in Myanmar

I met Adam Skolnick in 2006 on a speedboat in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand.WE WERE BOTH WRITING about the Moken Sea Gypsies, a romanticized group of seafaring people who struggled with all that arrived from outside: Cheetos, AIDS, packaged ramen, Coke, prejudice, obesity.Adam has authored or coauthored 16 Lonely Planet guidebooks, and he recently published a piece on the Free Burma Rangers — The Jesus-Kissed, War-Fringed, Love-Swirled Rangers — in Outside Magazine.

How to deal with out of control comments on your blog

How to deal with out of control comments on your blog

Over the past few weeks we’ve had some unprecedented levels of dink-behavior in the form of people attempting to leave threatening or slanderous or hateful comments. Here are some thoughts on how to deal with this problem.BLOGS ARE REALLY just points of entry for conversations. Even the simplest post can lead to comments that build on one another and go in unexpected directions.

How to time travel in a tipi

How to time travel in a tipi

After lightning struck and burned down Mark Warren’s house, he set up a tipi and undertook a kind of journey back through time. His new memoir, Two Winters in a Tipi, shows how you can go back to the land for weeks or years.After being accepted to medical school, Mark Warren chose instead to follow his calling – nature – and has been studying and teaching “primitive” skills and earthlore for four decades.

Interview with Steve Duncan, Urban Explorer

Interview with Steve Duncan, Urban Explorer

All photos courtesy of Steve Duncan. All rights reserved.Olivia Dwyer speaks with Duncan about why he likes to climb around in sewers and what advice he has for prospective urban explorers. Editor’s note: Make sure to check out Photo Essay: Exploring Sewers, Utility Tunnels, and Catacombs Around the World, published yesterday at Trips.

Q&A with Wikipedia programmer Brandon Harris

Q&A with Wikipedia programmer Brandon Harris

Jason Wire talks to Brandon Harris, one of Wikipedia’s most recognizable figures, about the company’s mission, philosophy, and the road ahead.It wasn’t until I encountered Brandon Harris that I really understood Wikipedia.You may think it’s a fact catalog. Or that it’s a beneficial byproduct of a bunch of dudes in their basement writing articles as a coping mechanism for loneliness.

5 secrets to taking better travel portraits

5 secrets to taking better travel portraits

Cody Forest Doucette has found that to tell strong travel stories through photographs requires a balance of four basic elements: people, place, action, and detail.FIRST AND FOREMOST ARE THE PEOPLE. Travel is defined by many of us through the characters we meet along the way. Second is place. Foreign landscapes, flora and fauna, modes of transportation, famous or unique landmarks, buildings and sculptures — basically, anything that makes a place different from “home.

Travel photography tip: Exposure locking + metering modes

Travel photography tip: Exposure locking + metering modes

This article complements lessons from the MatadorU Travel Photography program.Here’s a common problem for beginners: You’re shooting away, but your image is coming out way too dark, or way overexposed. You keep fiddling with settings and doing the best you can to compensate, but end up feeling disappointed with the final result.

5 films that make your April Fool’s Day pranks look stupid

5 films that make your April Fool’s Day pranks look stupid

Every year, on April 1st, the American public gathers for a day of revelry and rapscallionism. Bros pull other bros’ saggy Dickies down in front of cute, giggling girls. Children lie facedown in the tub and pretend to be dead when their parents walk into the bathroom. The internet becomes filled with the hoax deaths of notable celebrities and faux news stories about upcoming movies.

Interview with filmmaker Charles Lanceplaine

Interview with filmmaker Charles Lanceplaine

Charles Lanceplaine talks to Matador staff writer Eric Warren about China’s growing skateboard culture and the biggest skate park on Earth.CHARLES LANCEPLAINE’S newest film, Ordos, shows skateboarders ripping up the streets and parks of an almost vacant Chinese city, putting into perspective the massive urban developments the government has built in the name of progress.

Preserving the polaroid: An interview with Scott Hammond

Preserving the polaroid: An interview with Scott Hammond

I recently came across an excellent photography website called “The Lovely Road.”The portoflio features an array of polaroid photographs, minimalistic and provocatively complex at the same time, providing a window on America’s backroads. Intrigued, I spoke with the photographer Scott Hammond about his unique style and motivation for capturing these moments in time.

12 quotes from the love story of our time

12 quotes from the love story of our time

THERE WAS A CERTAIN HESITANCY going into the theatre to watch Occupy Love. My partner and I had just seen Chasing Ice — a disturbing documentary that graphically showed the effects of climate change via disappearing glaciers — the previous week. We weren’t exactly in the mood to get depressed again. But here we were about to watch a film whose context was a failing economy and an impending environmental and ecological disaster.

10 tips for buying a camera tripod

10 tips for buying a camera tripod

Learn how to be a travel journalist — check out the curricula at MatadorU today.ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT investments you can make when buying accessories for a camera is a sturdy tripod.Here are the top 10 things you’ll want to know before investing in one:CostEveryone wants to get the best deal they can but, a cheap tripod will not enhance your photography.

140 countries ranked on openness to foreigners

140 countries ranked on openness to foreigners

The World Economic Forum released The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013, providing research on how global communities can expand this part of their financial infrastructure. It sampled 140 countries.An interesting aspect of the study, which was graphically depicted by the Washington Post’s World Views blog, is what places were more or less “welcoming” towards foreign visitors.

A writer is a writer is a writer: Q & A with Dinty Moore

A writer is a writer is a writer: Q & A with Dinty Moore

Join a growing community of thousands of travel journalists and develop your skills in travel writing, photography, and film with a course at MatadorU.Dinty W. Moore is the coordinating editor for the anthology Best Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton), and edits the internet journal Brevity. A National Endowment of the Arts fellowship recipient and author of several books, including the memoir Between Panic and Desire and The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction, Dinty teaches writing at Ohio University and guest teaches nonfiction seminars around the US and Europe.

Introducing the MatadorU travel filmmaking program

Introducing the MatadorU travel filmmaking program

MatadorU launches a dynamic program for travelers and aspiring travel filmmakers.SOME PRETTY BIG STOKE right now at Matador: behind the scenes over the last year we’ve been planning and producing the third curriculum of Matador’s education community, MatadorU. The MatadorU travel filmmaking program is now live.

How to move from travel blogging to travel journalism

How to move from travel blogging to travel journalism

Join a growing community of thousands of travel journalists and develop your skills in travel writing, photography, and film with a course at MatadorU.LET ME PREFACE this by repeating something I’ve said elsewhere: I don’t look at writing within a context of value judgments. Travel journalism isn’t “better” than travel blogging: To me there is no writing that’s good or bad, better or worse; everything is simply a reflection of motivations, experience, and influences.

Behind the scenes: A white boy’s initiation at a Japanese izakaya

Behind the scenes: A white boy’s initiation at a Japanese izakaya

When the man seated next to me ordered that I take off my shirt, it wasn’t clear what direction the evening was taking.I’d dropped into the izakaya for a drink after work, and until that moment things had been subdued in a typical murmuring Japanese way. The place was called Kaze to Matsu, meaning “Wind and Pines,” a title with the characteristic poetry of most Japanese pub (izakaya) names.