6 Fun Ways to See Melbourne and Sydney for Free (seriously!)

As the saying goes, “The best things in life are free”. Forget the gourmet restaurants and high-end designer labels in Melbourne and Sydney. There are many fun ways of exploring both cities without burning a hole in your pocket.

Here are the top six things that you can do without spending a cent:


MELBOURNE

 

  1. Visit Melbourne’s hidden laneways and city landmarks via the City Circle Tram, a free tram service that lets you hop on and off around central Melbourne.  Explore the city at a more laidback pace while admiring the city’s historic architecture and skyline from the comfort of a tram seat. There is also a Free Tram Zone in the city covering the main city centre!
    Melbourne Tram
  1. Hosier Lane is a must-visit for art lovers and fans of street culture! A short five-minute walk from Flinders Street Station, this hidden laneway has developed a reputation for having some of the most expressive and politically charged street-art masterpieces in the city. For a closer look at the inside world of graffiti, join a free tour of Hosier Lane. If you are lucky, you may even catch graffiti artists in action, transforming alley walls and sidewalks into street art masterpieces right before your eyes!
    Movida Next Door Hosier Lane CREDIT VISIT VICTORIA
    Movida Next Door Hosier Lane. Credit: Visit Victoria
  1. Step into one of the world’s greatest libraries and a cultural landmark of Melbourne, the State Library of Victoria! Located in the heart of the city, this magnificent 19th century building is framed by a majestic domed ceiling and houses over two million books, hundreds of thousands of pictures, newspapers, maps and manuscripts, and masses of audio, video and digital material. Don’t miss the two free permanent exhibitions; free guided tours of this historic building are also available.
    State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. Credit: Tourism Australia
    State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. Credit: Tourism Australia

Check out our 3Nights Scenic Melbourne from only SGD635 per person Plus Quote ” BLOG30″ to Receive FREE Grab Credit worth SGD25 when you book any of our Australia packages! *Terms apply
Itinerary highlights: Full Day Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula Tour! Click here for MORE DETAILS!


SYDNEY

 

  1. For fresh air and scenery, set off on the Bondi to Coogee Walk, which offers spectacular coastal views. Stretch your legs on the free coastal walk, past a stunning array of beaches, parks, cliffs and rock pools. It takes between one to two hours to complete at a leisurely pace.Make your way up a set of steep stairs to Marks Park, near the start of the walk, and be entranced by rare Aboriginal rock carvings. As one of the walk’s highest points, the park is also a prime whale-watching spot during the migration season between May and November.Rest assured that there are rest stops with great views as well as cafes and restaurants along the way, offering trekkers opportunities for a well-earned break.
    Bondi Coastal Walk, Sydney. Credit: James Horan and Destination NSW
    Bondi Coastal Walk, Sydney. Credit: James Horan and Destination NSW
  1. If you prefer flora to coastlines, visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, which offers an escape from Sydney’s CBD area! Enjoy free guided walks unless the weather is too hot (35 degrees and above), and explore a diverse range of flora and fauna. Easily accessible, the nearest train station is Martin Place but the gardens are also just a short stroll away from St James and Circular Quay train stations. If you have time to spare, treat yourself to pretty views of the harbour as you while away the afternoon on the garden’s sprawling lawns.
View from Royal Botanic Garden. Credit: Jetabout Holidays
View from Royal Botanic Garden. Credit: Jetabout Holidays
  1. Cap off your day with spectacular views from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is under a ten-minute walk from Circular Quay. Get snap happy as you walk along the eastern side of the bridge; the western side is reserved for cyclists. As the steel arches tower over you, look out and be mesmerised by breath-taking views of the harbour, Opera House and surrounding bays.
    Sydney Harbour Bridge. Credit Jetabout Holidays
    Sydney Harbour Bridge. Credit Jetabout Holidays

Check out our NEW 3Nights Sydney Famiy Fun from only SGD690 per person Plus Quote ” BLOG30″ to Receive FREE Grab Credit worth SGD25 when you book any of our Australia packages! *Terms apply
Book by 31Oct’17 & RECEIVE FREE Magical Manly & Beyond or Bondi Beach & Sydney Sights Tour PLUS Entry to National Maritime Museum Tickets! Click here for MORE DETAILS!

5 Surprising Things To Do In Melbourne

Australia’s capital of culture brings many surprises for travellers on the hunt for exciting city-based experiences

Ranked as the world’s most liveable city for the sixth year running, Melbourne has all the elements of a must-visit urban destination: a buzzing culture-rich core, a love for coffee and celebration, hip precincts, and lush parkland topped off with breathtaking nature.

Here are five experiences that showcase the city at its best and most distinctive

Things To Do in Melbourne:

  1. Eat Your Way to the Top

Melbourne is a haven for any seasoned Singaporean foodie. At one of the city’s many cafes, pair creative brunch fare with coffee micro-roasted to perfection. For a spin on café culture, pop by Seven Seeds in Carlton for its university vibe, recycled timber interior and top-notch cappuccino.

The world’s best pizza is not in Italy, it’s at 400 Gradi on Lygon Street in Brunswick. Affable Aussie owner Johnny Di Francesco’s wood-fired Margherita is a must-try, having bested global contenders to win the 2014 World Pizza Championships in Italy.

For a spectacular view in an unusual setting, pay a visit to Easeys in Collingwood. Tuck into a cheesy burger as you perch on a rooftop in one of three train carriages. Try your best not to spill the tomato sauce!

  1. Off the Beaten Truck

Food truck parks are an iconic part of Melbourne’s food scene. These food truck gatherings often occupy both an indoor and outdoor area, which makes for a lovely dining-under-the-stars experience — particularly in the summer.

food-truck-melbourne

PHOTO: Food Truck, Melbourne CREDIT VISIT VICTORIA

Indulge in top-notch grub from over 40 street food vendors at Hank Marvin Market, which opens every Saturday at St Kilda East. This park transforms into a hub of fresh produce, food trucks and street food stalls serving everything from pizzas to wood-fired bagels.

Just 20 minutes north of the city is Welcome to Thornbury, Melbourne’s first permanent food truck stop. With up to 43 trucks onsite and a host of craft beers and cocktail jugs for sharing, this park is the perfect eating spot for travellers who are new to the food truck scene. The 4,000-square metre venue features a 200-seater bar, where you can knock back some grilled bites and beer.

  1. Heed the Call of Collingwood

Popular with locals, this neighbourhood is home to a monthly farmers’ market showcasing local goodies produced within a 160-kilometre radius. Grab a punnet of fresh berries, set out for nearby Yarra Bend Park and hop on a rowboat for the chance to see native grey-headed flying foxes in action.

smith-street-collingword

PHOTO: Smith Street, Collingwood CREDIT VISIT VICTORIA

Those itching to bring home a piece of Melbourne can hit the stores along Smith Street on Collingwood for unique collectibles. These stores typically specialise in handcrafted trinkets and jewellery with unusual features, like laminated flowers, pencils and recycled vinyl records.

  1. Turn Up the Swag Factor

Standing next to the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral on Swanston Street, Nicholas Building is an understated 1920s Art Deco landmark hiding some of Melbourne’s finest artisanal gems. Here you can admire contemporary art in galleries housed on different floors of the building.

st-paul-cathedral-swanston-street

PHOTO: St Paul’s Cathedral, Swanston Street, Melbourne CREDIT VISIT VICTORIA

Creative souls can try their hand at woodblock printing, patchwork quilting or other craft workshops conducted by various shops within the building. For more collectibles, head to the nearby suburb of East Brunswick for the Lost & Found Market, an emporium stocking a mind-boggling array of retro and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

  1. Groove to the Outdoor Beat

Music is one of Melbourne’s biggest pastimes, and festivals are its lifeblood. Ever been to St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Singapore? This indie music fest started in Melbourne! Experience the festival at its home ground every January for an explosion of music and culture. Don’t forget to slap on some sunscreen to shield your skin against the hot Australian sun.

Check out our 6D4N Scenic Melbourne from only SGD525 per person Plus receive FREE NIGHTS for selected travel dates!
Highlights of this trip include a day tour to Great Ocean Road and also a day tour to Mornington Peninsula. You will also have a free day to explore the amazing Melbourne city with your beloved ones. Book NOW!

Melbourne Packages

4 travel tips for Pokémon trainer

Are you in the middle of planning a holiday trip, but don’t want to miss out on your Pokémon adventure? We know what will help – a handy guide to maximize your adventure abroad and who knows – for the die-hard Pokémon aficionados such as Nick Johnson, this may even determine where you’ll travel to “catch ‘em all” and adds a unique flare to your holiday experience.

 

1. Discover new attractions through Pokéstops

Have you noticed people gathering around train stations or well-known landmarks? Pokestops are usually portals at locations that are significant landmarks, mostly cultural or artistic things. You know these sources are trustable because Niantic will only approve these places from submissions

 

one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People are gathering together thanks to gyms and lures set by store owners. And while doing so, they’ve happened to come across great places to eat or explore. A number of places are designated as “Poke stops”, where players can restock on items like pokéballs and Pokémon eggs. Whichever type of Pokemon trainer you are, you will find yourself lured into attractions for different purpose, whether you may have just caught a Pokemon character or simply chanced upon a favourable place

 

2. Snap pictures of Pokémon at iconic landmarks

Although some believe that taking photographs while sightseeing might make you remember less, I realized the importance of staying present and not rush through life from past holiday trips. Photographing while on a holiday actually allows you to notice the object and strike some thoughts about it with proper discretion.

 

pikachu2

You will find yourself in awe at how extraordinary pictures can get when travelers pose picture of these critters on social accounts. Spice up your experience when you’re visiting iconic landmarks such as Sydney harbour famous for modern expressionist design and perhaps Colosseum in Rome, one of the “seven wonders of the world”. From monuments to national animals, snap a picture and pose with kangaroos while battling with a Pokemon in Australia

 

Holiday experience is never the same ever since Pokémon Go takes the world by storm. Whether or not this phenomenon will last through years, you can look back and know that you catch em in many parts of the world. Next time you aim for perfect shot on your travels, capture or pose away with your Pokémon

 

3. Catch some of the rarest regional Pokémon

The rarest kinds are Tauros, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime and Farfetch’d that are region-locked among all 151 of Pokemon. So, keep a look out you’re travelling to any of these countries so you can catch one of these rare Pokemons

 

pikachu3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tauros (see above) is known to be a persistent Pokémon that targets an enemy and furiously charges forward until something was hit. You can find him in a barren area of land such as deserts, sand dunes, and beaches. A perfect opportunity for Pokemon hunting when you’re planning to visit the Niagara Falls and Mount Rushmore in North America. > Last spotted in North America

 

pikachu4

Much like Tauros, Kangaskhan that needed no introduction is also said to be region specific. This Pokémon name stands short for two words -“kangaroo” with Genghis Khan (infamous real-life ancient Mongol warlord). With its unique scenery, wildlife, white-sand beaches, Australia is always rated as a place to explore. So, at any point when you stop at city or parks, fish out your phone to battle em out. You might end up catching Kangaskhan on your way to Kangaroo Island during your road trip. > Last spotted in Australia / New Zealand

 

pikachu5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Mime (see above), a unique humanoid Pokémon acting as a mime where you can catch this interesting Pokémon while fulfilling your dream holiday in Europe. Your best bet is you’ll find your luck anywhere within Europe including city centres like London > Last spotted in Europe & UK

 

farfetch

Last but not least, you have Farfetch’d that is a rare duck-like Pokémon wielding a plant stalk, hence the name ‘Far Fetched’. As this Pokémon has ability to fly, you’ll have better luck catching it in places such as city centres and park > Last spotted in Japan / South Korea

 

4. Bond with friendly local community overseas

A lot has been talked about of Pokemon GO but the most interesting part about this game is the social aspect – it’s bringing people together in a way PC games simply never do. Pokemon Go has achieved the impossible by creating an viral gaming community. It is appealing to mostly everyone and not being selectively only because this game is appreciated by people from all walks of life.

The experience is positive and supportive that allows you to share a common goal / interest with others between young kids, senior citizens, parents, teens, middle-aged adults, and everything in-between from all around the world. And, perhaps best of all, the game never really puts you in direct competition with anyone else.

Although you can fight for control of gyms from other Pokemon trainers, you never are fighting them directly – even so, your victory or loss is only for a short period of time until the gyms change team by the next hour. There is no real hurt feeling when there is a loss. This means when you can always find yourself in good vibes throughout your quest while travelling. Whenever you feel stuck, you can get to know culturally and linguistically diverse peoples around you to learn together as a Pokemon community

There are already events being formed around Pokemon GO you can go to as you see neighborhoods everywhere are being filled with trainers who are inadvertently being made to socialize with others in nature. Pokemon Go Walk in Sydney has recently made headline when 2,000 trainers showed up in Opera House at same time for same mission together!

 

Catch ’em all wherever you are!

 

Indeed, this game is praised to promote physical exercise and bring people together. You’ve even heard of introverts and stay-at-home families going out more because of the fun and passion they have with the game. Pokémon Go suddenly makes outdoor travelling more appealing than most people’s comfort zone at home, like how USS lured trainers with admission discounts

Charge forward, fellow trainers – Travel and catch ’em all, nothing is more meaningful than your experience that you bring home!

 


For travel itineraries (and maybe a Kangaskhan?), visit http://www.jetabout.com.sg

10 Tips Every Travel photographer Must Know

#1 

IMG_0610_Snapseed
Research where you are visiting

It’s always recommended that you research the place you will be visiting. Basic information like the venue orientation (facing east or west, etc) will let you plan ahead to shoot sunrise or sunset pictures. Some knowledge of the local culture or festivals will present you with unique photographic opportunities. The more informed you are, the more story your pictures will tell.

#2

IMG_0745_Snapseed

 Travel Light

For a more enjoyable photography experience, don’t bring your entire house with you. Ideally one wide angle zoom lenses (e.g 24-105mm)  and one telephoto lenses (70-300mm) will suffice. And a macro lenses if you are intending to shoot close-ups. Packing light is especially important if you are planning on a hiking or trekking trip. For the “perfectionist” who just can’t bear to leave any lenses behind, then a backpack will be a comfortable option as it mitigate the weight of camera gear. And remember to pack that carbon fiber tripod with you.

#3

IMG_0662a

Make use of the golden hours

The magical golden hour – one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset (depends, of course, on where you are on the globe) is a photographer’s best friend. Discipline yourself to wake up early to get that gorgeous photo opportunities, while all the other tourists are still sound asleep. Or shoot a little later while others are tucking into dinner. You will be amply rewarded.

#4

IMG_0567_Snapseed

 

Talk to the locals

Learn to greet the locals in their language to endear yourself to the them and break the ice. Establish eye contact, smile and you will be surprised at how much more you will be reciprocated.  Of course, should the photo subject be less than receptive, move along, there are always other opportunities. Be “like water, my friend”.

#5

JiuFen_Snapseed

 

Think out of the box

Try different shooting technique. Sharp pictures, blurred background and nicely framed composition are great. But once you have shot the “safe” pictures, get out of your comfort zone and inject “discomfort” into your routine. Use slow speed (and 2nd curtain flash sync) and move as you shoot. Sometimes the unexpected results are the most interesting. Digital photography is a great medium for experimentation. Every mistake brings you closer to your next better picture.

#6

IMG_0060_Snapseed

 

Take notes

Some cameras have geo-tagging function, providing useful info where the pictures were taken. But what about your feel of the locale, the interesting bits of information, people’s name, name and prices of food, etc. Never discount that time and sensory overload of the many new things and places. This will diminish your ability to memorize details. A little booklet with pen (or pencil) is still ideal for this endeavour. I tried keying bits of info into my smartphone notepad in the past but I find it cumbersome having to open up and navigate the files.  So now I feel that “mechanical and manual” are still the best. It’s a personal choice although it’s a good habit to always keep those meaningful notes in whatever situation that might arise.

#7

IMG_0907_Snapseed

 

Go with the flow

It’s always my personal philosophy that in order to convey beauty in a picture, you need to feel and see that beauty first. Similarly, to express the mood and feel of the moment, you need to go with the flow, savour what is going on and be part of it. Only then can that picture gains its true flavour.

#8

IMG_0890_Snapseed

 

Feel the place

Visual simulation is just one of many aspect of photography. Be adventurous, check out the local food (something most of us have not problem doing it), experience local music, the whiff of market and even its less glamorous side.  This will help you plug into the psyche and taste of the environment better. And with it, you feel that pulse and heart beat.

#9

IMG_0413_Snapseed

 

Take your time

If you have some luxury of time,  make a conscious choice to commute by slower traditional boats rather than modern speed boat, such as going by train or bus rather than airplane. It allows you to experience a wider view of the country, interact closer with the locals and even saves you more than a pretty penny. Making you a more “bona fide’ traveller in the process.

#10

20160120_135543_001a_Snapseed_Snapseed

Be inspired

Observe the work of other photographers whom you admired, and draw inspiration from them. My personal idol is Steve McCurry and Cory Richards, the latter whom I had the privilege to meet and spoke with when he was in Singapore sometime back. Depending on what level of  skill set and level you aspire to be, being humble and acknowledging the works of others are positive traits in the learning journey. Never underestimate the power of inspiration, visit art galleries, attend relevant photography seminars, join similar interest support groups and keep up to date on the trends around you. Oh, and one final tip – Keep Travelling !

Author : Jensen Chua, CanonEOSWorld, Council Member. iStock/Getty Images contributing artist. Pictures used are copyrighted and all rights reserved.

Shooting Star Trails photography

Photographing shooting star trails during your vacation in picturesque places can be a rewarding experience, helping you squeeze the most value out of images from your holiday trip.  In densely built cities with heavy light pollution, this genre of photography can be very challenging (although not impossible, as you read on).

So when the opportunity arises to shoot star trails, you need to know the techniques. An important tip to note is that your camera batteries must be adequately charged, you have sufficient memory cards and you brought along your standby spare batteries (especially if you own a ‘high-drain’ camera).

Star Trails 0016a_Snapseed

Easy steps to shooting star trails

1. Download Google Sky Map app or other similar astronomy apps on your phone or tablet. This application is free to use and very handy in orientation in accordance of the celestial bodies especially when you look up at the vast expanses of night skies…

2. Find a really dark place away from bright lights (street lights, building lights, etc). I recommend that you look for somewhere ideally near the seaside or mountain resorts. Even better, you could find a subject of interest (example a lighthouse or solitary tree, etc) for your shooting later, if there is any in sight.

3. For best result, you have to look for pitch dark places with cloudless night where there isn’t any moonlit in sight (you could standby a torch with red/green filter to avoid ‘blinding’ your eyes, although you may need to adjust to the environment in such low light level). If you happen to see thick cloud covering the sky, there is no point shooting as your chance of success will be limited.

4. Set up a firm tripod, change your camera settings to manual mode & manual focus (ideal lens for this shoot is between 24mm and 35mm) . If your tripod central column has a hook for carrying ballast, you should weigh it down (e.g with a camera bag) for extra stability.

5. Make sure you switch off your camera image stabilization or vibration reduction function.  Otherwise your camera will end up continuously tracking, resulting in fuzzy shots.

6. Turn off long exposure noise reduction to maintain details of your shot

7. Enable mirror lock-up to improve sharpness of your pictures (if this feature is available in your camera).

8. Attach cable release to your camera, so you can snap shots away from your camera (or activate camera intervalometer, if available) .

9. Configure your ISO between 800-3200. Set lens aperture at maximum or 1 stop from max (for e.g, if your lens is an F2.8, shoot at F3.5)

  • Set AWB to tungsten (Reason for this is to minimize warming of the night skies as cooler hue looks more natural to the human eyes than a warm brownish night skies).
  • Set shutter speed at 30s.
  • Aim your camera at the North Star (Polaris), you can locate this by tracing the “cup” edge of the Big Dipper. Refer to above image as a reference. When you see a stable bright star, there’s your point of reference. To make sure your shot is properly focus, set the focus ring at the infinity marking, look through your viewfinder and perform fine-tuning until it’s absolutely sharp (you can try to verify this with some test shots) before proceeding.

10. Shoot…. Set drive mode to continuous and lock the cable release. Work on a few test shots to confirm your exposure is correct before shooting. Anything between 70-120 frames at 30s each will be ideal.

Once when you have returned home and in good time, process your shots via StarStax software after doing batch editing with your preferred editing software. You might like check out Tony Northrup video for how-to guidance.

StarStaX_Star Trails 0001-Star Trails 0079_gap_filling
Star Trails at Xueshan (Snow Mountain) , Wuling Farm. Taichung, Taiwan. This picture is a composite of 79 frames shot at 30sec each.

 

Star trail.jpg_Snapseed
Yuni resort , Hiokkaido. Canon 70D, EF11-24mm , 30s, F5.6, ISO800. Composite of 15 frames at 30sec each.

Have fun shooting star trails.  Put it on your “must-do” list and aim for the skies on your next vacation.

Author : Jensen Chua, CanonEOSWorld, Council Member. iStock/Getty Images contributing artist. Pictures used are copyrighted and all rights reserved.

5 reasons to pack a tripod for your vacation

A tripod is one of the most useful accessories you can pack in your luggage. What an irony as most of us dislike the thought of bringing our tripod for vacations. I can understand that we think of tripods as cumbersome and takes up too much space.

But I hope to illustrate in this article five scenarios where tripods are absolutely necessary in your quest to shoot the ideal picture and hopefully, for readers to rediscover and start using the humble tripod again.

Continue reading “5 reasons to pack a tripod for your vacation”

8 tips for better travel photography

Very often, we marvel at beautifully taken travel pictures and wonder how did the photographer took those shots. Was it photoshopped ? Was the situation “arranged” ? “So lucky !”

..While many of us on guided group tour may find it challenging to achieve “art gallery” style vacation pictures, rest assured given some basic discipline to observe, getting great pictures during holidays need not be elusive.

Tip #1: Bring your camera everywhere.

IMG_9801
Canon G12, 1/60, F2.8, ISO2500.

..and be ready. As the saying goes…”the best camera is the one with you”. Your camera, however high-end, will be redundant if left in your hotel safe box. You can leave your passport in the safe, but not your camera. You should know your personal comfort zone and buy the camera that fulfils the features you need.

Personally, my choice is the DSLR for the best versatility and picture quality. As I have been using DSLR for years, I am already tuned to the weight of carrying around 6-7 kgs of gears and would feel “inadequate” if I just carry a pocket camera around.

Tip #2: Know your camera well    

…at least the basic and most frequently used functions. Some camera manufacturers like Canon, gives free camera orientation training workshop when you purchased their products. Such fruitful sharing session with in-house instructors lets you acquaint with your camera functions faster and realise the potential of your camera.

Too busy to attend those workshops? You could check out camera review websites like DPreviews for a better understanding.For readers who are not sure the co-relation between ISO, shutter speed and aperture.. you might to check this useful simulator site.

Tip #3: Be Observant

IMG_4721
Canon G12, 1/1250 , F2.8, ISO800.

Be observant of the surrounding… see the foreground, background, lighting which changes with the time of day. I always believe to convey beauty, you need to feel and see the beauty first. Composing the picture should also take note of the “rules of thirds”.

Avoid positioning your subject in the centre… like this picture I shot in Halong Bay. The placement of the boat to the right implies the direction and journey ahead…. positioning the boat to the centre or left would have undermined the feel and message of the shot.

Tip #4: Make your pictures “move”

IMG_0497_Snapseed
Canon 70D, 1/25, F13, ISO100.

One of the ways to convey realism is to allow motion blur –  speeding motorists, the “frantic” marching of office workers as they walked into subway, moving trains, etc are ideal subjects. Selecting a shutter speed bias mode (TV) or Manual mode (M) is the ideal way to achieve this. Brace yourself against a wall to avoid camera shake, support your arms on railings, keep the camera closed to your body and shoot at 1/25 sec or slower to get a sense of motion.

The trick to this technique – called Panning, is to pivot on your hip as you lock on and follow the subject as you press the shutter release. Some camera models have build in neutral density (ND) filter to reduce shutter speeds in bright daylight.

Faster subjects like speeding F1 sports car require faster shutter speed between 1/100 -1/250 for better subject sharpness. Combine this with lowest ISO possible for the best result. For longer exposures, a tripod with panning head would be recommended.

Tip #5: Have Patience

Canon G12, 1/1250, F2.8, ISO160.
Canon G12, 1/1250, F2.8, ISO160.

Patience can result between getting a nondescript or great picture – you’ll need observe the changing environment e.g – for that boat to come into your line of sight or for the ideal person to stroll past a certain spot, etc. Pre-focus on the spot that you envisioned in your mind…. get ready … be ready….you have that one chance.

In this picture of a boat I shot on the Neva river, in St.Petersburg, Russia. I had observed the river activities. I liked the feeling of strength evoked by the bridge named Peter the Great. But it was a Saturday morning and very little activity on the river.

I spotted a boat in the distance, prepared myself, cam ready, waiting….then the boat came…. snap! I had just one chance…

Tip #6: Go low…

Canon G12, 1/500, F2.8, ISO320.
Canon G12, 1/500, F2.8, ISO320.

Get a different angle. A great angle would be for you to go low. You can see the usual scene gaining a sense of depth and freshness. But do not do it where ladies are wearing short skirts though, as you may get into unnecessary trouble.

In this picture of a temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, the reflection of the temple on the puddle formed from just ended drizzle gave me the opportunity to shoot reflection…I hold my camera just inches from the puddle, taking care to shoot the temple at slightly brighter exposure to compensate for the bright skies.

In the post edit, I desaturated the colour to make it black & white for a more dramatic feel. You can easily use your picture manager for this desaturation but my favourite free picture edit software Picasa, can be downloaded with loads of functions.

Tip #7: “Humanize” your pictures

Canon G12, 1/500, F3.2, ISO1600
Canon G12, 1/500, F3.2, ISO1600

If possible,  feature local people. Folks doing their daily business, walking their pets, playing with their children,…or just being themselves. Select a choice spot, observe and be ready.  Situations are dynamic and ever changing…something will surely emerge and unfold for you to capture in that fleeting moment.

This human element invariably spices up your images. In this picture of a restaurant staff in Seoul, I had to position near her pretending I am reading the menu, till she comfortable with my presence. When she too busy to bother with me, I simply snap the picture with settings all preset, for that natural look.

Tip #8: Get Closer

Canon G12, 1/320, F4, ISO320.
Canon G12, 1/320, F4, ISO320.

Robert Capa, a famous photographer once famously said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Taken literally, the closer you get to your subject, the more detail and interest you can capture. That’s when your optical zoom in your camera comes into play. Notice I mentioned “optical” zoom. Optical zoom refer to the zooming via the optics of the camera while “digital” zoom is essentially in-camera processed image.

In nutshell, optic zoom gives much better picture quality than digital zoom. In this picture of a Russian  lady police cadet in Moscow, Russia, taken their Victory Parade (National Day to us)… I had to zoom in to frame her up close for a better angle as she was some 10m away and I could not go move closer without someone usurping over my prime spot.

Last Words…

So, there you have it… 8 tips that I wished would help in some ways to help readers to achieve better travel pixel memories. And of course, here 1 last tip…enjoy your trip. It shows in your pictures…. Bon voyage !

Author : Jensen Chua, CanonEOSWorld, Council Member. iStock/Getty Images contributing artist. Pictures used are copyrighted and all rights reserved.

Cruise through your vacation – Top recommendations

Royal Carribean - Legend of the seas

Love waking up to the sound of the sea and the clear blue ocean all around you? Instead of a beach vacation, up the ante with pleasurable cruise trips.

The most appealing part of a cruise holiday is that you get to travel to various destinations and countries without ever having to worry about transportation or packing and unpacking many times over! Plus, there is always a good reason to choose a cruise regardless of the season.

We know deciding on a cruise trip is a personal decision, so here are 3 reasons why you should be planning a cruise vacation!

1. Different experience aboard

What could be better experience than bringing some exotic destinations right to your doorstep? Even if you’ve been to your favourite destination many times over, a cruise holiday offers a totally different experience on board!

Video of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, affectionately known by customers as, QM2®, offers an experience that basks in the heritage of its fleet.

Looking for a cruise ship built for everything from adventure to tranquility? Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas® offers 15 decks, 10 pools & whirlpools and 17 bars, clubs and lounges aboard!

Costa-wellness
Inside view – Costa Cruise, Source

Costa Cruises’ Costa Victoria boasts an unmistakable style that marries traditional nautical style with essential design – you’ll definitely enjoy being here! Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess offers balcony staterooms from which to view the exotic destinations of the world. The ocean liner has many popular onboard venues, such as The Sanctuary® (a serene haven just for adults!).

What they have in common are the opportunity to create unique experiences aboard each of their various cruise ships. Every liner is a different experience that will enthrall you with their amenities, entertainment and view from the deck.

2. Plenty of activities and entertainment

Cruising works best for family and group reunions such as celebrations and weddings, where everyone gets to enjoy all various activities. The best cruises always have their passengers in mind and they try to cater to all of our needs, having burden taken off from the passenger who would otherwise have to host the entire group. From WIFI connection to huge, delicious buffet spreads and amazing entertainment, every cruise tries to outdo itself to provide its passengers with the perfect holiday experience that’ll make you want to return again!

Costa Victoria offers a variety of activities from Italian language classes to cooking classes to duty free boutiques and “aah la carte” body treatments. They also have the Costa Kids Programme to ensure you and your family can enjoy all the fun of cruising Italian style. Morning, afternoon and evening events are scheduled to entertain children from 3 (out of nappies) to 17 years old. Whether it’s an ice cream social or a karaoke contest, Costa knows how to keep kids busy, and everyone very happy!

Video of Quantum of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas offers one-of-a-kind features like an ice-skating rink, the Royal Promenade and a rock-climbing wall. Quantum of the Seas® is the newest ship in the fleet equipped with high-technology and offers a simulated sky-diving experience at sea! You won’t be able to experience these on your usual trip!

Cunard
Image of Cunard cruise – Source

Cunard’s cruise liners has in store an array of entertainment and educational activities including a state of the art 3D Cinema, a planetarium, a casino, a superb spa and life-enriching workshops on board its luxury cruises. Take a Cunard voyage and you’ll enjoy the renowned elegance, spacious luxury and excellent service that have attracted discerning travelers.

Video of Princess Cruise

Princess Cruises has everything for children from art projects, games, the latest movies, pizza parties, talent shows, and science activities. For the adults, the world’s first Japanese bath at sea is available on Diamond Princess. There’s no better way for the Princess to celebrate 50 years of inspiring travel and sharing the wonders of the world through making its passengers smiling!

3. Food, shopping, and Lady Luck

Great food, shopping sprees and a little luck at the casino are probably the hooks to every cruise stay. Beyond the enjoyable luxury and exciting activities, there’s always that little thrill in shopping or the slot machine or even the eye-catching buffet spread that’ll make our hearts jump. It’s all about enjoying ourselves when we’re on a holiday, and these are surely enjoyable!

Royal Carribean - Legend of the seas
Image of Legend of the Seas – Source

Legend of the Seas® can take your curiosity just about anywhere. When the sun goes down, enjoy fine dining, Broadway-style shows, the Casino Royale® and bars and lounges that never have a cover. Liven up your nights on Voyager of the Seas® at the Royal Promenade, with parades, dancing, and duty-free shopping deals.

Video of Costa Victoria

Costa Victoria’s chic and original environments are filled with prestigious furnishings and works of art, making this ship a refined and stylish work of art. Shopping on board for souvenirs or clothes you fancy is also a special experience – the items will remind you of the cruise experience you had when you wear them in future!

If you’re in the holiday mood and ready for some casual fun at the casino, most of them accept cash, although some do accept member cards with stored value. Check with the specific cruise when you’re there, it’s an interesting atmosphere having Lady Luck on your side at sea than on land!

Cruise holidays have gained momentum over the years and are now safer, enjoyable with various entertainment and amenities, and often lined with tantalizing (and almost never-ending) meals from buffets or scrumptious courses! With a wide range of destinations and cruise vacation packages to suit your preferences, it’s time to pack those bags and enjoy a memorable cruise experience! All aboard!

Get in touch with us, let us help you put together your perfect cruise experience and share our advise on your specific needs.

Featured image source
Jetabout Holidays is a leading travel agency under the Holiday Tours Group. With over 30 years in the travel industry, Jetabout Holidays reputation as a top agent has garnered awards within the industry. Voted as the #1 Travel Agency for New Zealand and Australia (under Qantas Holidays) by Weekender Travellers Choice 2014 and 2015, you are assured of a hassle-free, personalized vacation.
Jetabout Holidays is 75% owned by Qantas Airways and is the highly-regarded travel specialist for Australia and New Zealand tours. Call us at 6734 1818 or email us at e_retail@jetabout.com.sg for your holiday plans!