Photographing in the Bahamas
"The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a country consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean; north of Cuba and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. Geographically, the Bahamas lie near to Cuba, which is part of the Greater Antilles, along with Hispaniola and Jamaica. The designation of "Bahamas" refers to the country and the geographic chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. The three West Indies/Caribbean island groupings are: The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles. As stated on the mandate/manifesto of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, The Bahamas territory encompasses 180,000 square miles of ocean space. From the Cay Sal Bank and Cay Lobos (just off of the coast of Cuba) in the west, to San Salvador, The Bahamas is much larger than is recorded in some sources." Wikipedia
Living in Florida has given me the opportunity to visit a close neighbors on several occasions. Each and every time I discover something new and come away ready to plan my next visit.
Bahamas rely heavily on the thousands of tourist hat visit every single day and its economy is heavily dependent on their dollars.
Tourists flock to this island paradise for its beautiful white sandy beaches, their great seafood , warm inviting climate and an abundance of gracious hosts. If you wanted to visit and take photographs you should not run out of suitable subjects for quite some time.
The first phase of your photo project should be to focus on the brightly colored building and locales and they are mostly painted in bright reds, yellows, blues and so on which are typical of many island nations and the Bahamas are no different.
You may have noticed by now that they are called the Bahamas and very simply put it is because this nation is made up of quite a few islands.
Once you arrive start by recording images of the bright locations and continue from there to record images of the people; remember to ask permission before you photograph people. Most Bahamians are used to having their images taken but asking first is good protocol.
Continue with the local bars, restaurants and food dishes. Do not miss opportunities to photographs the beach scene. The crystal clear water and the white sandy beaches should provide you with ample opportunities to bring your viewers the essence that this is an island paradise and the beaches will go a long way towards representing this.
Take note that there are a few casinos in the Bahamas and photographing the interiors may or may not be allowed. Ask first before photographing ,especially near any gaming tables or machines.
Not to miss is one of the few festivals that Bahamians have. They are colorful and fun to be in with plenty of colrfl peopl dressed in very tradional garbs. Most take place in the streets and loclas as well as toruist are free to mingle and interact.
One such festival is known as the "Junkanoo is a street parade with music which occurs in many towns across The Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26), New Year's Day and, more recently, in the summer on the island of Grand Bahama. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in Nassau, the capital. There are also Junkanoo parades in Miami in June and Key West in October, where the local black American populations have their roots in the Bahamas. This type of dancing is also performed in Jamaica on Independence day and other historical holidays." Wikipedia
Since most people visiting the Bahamas arrive via cruise ships including vistas of the ports and the cruise ships themselves alongside the disembarking guests complements the project.
Make sure to get wide angle views as well as closer versions of the ships as they are usually quite nice to look at.
Pay attention to officials. The Bahamian Police force has very attractive uniforms and a good disposition to go with them.
Ask for permission to photograph them as they most always will agree since being "welcome ambassadors" seems to be part of their duties.
If you happen to locate some street performers playing some steel drums by all means take their shots and include the overall atmosphere while doing so. Include scenes of people enjoying these unusual yet pleasing sounds.
Your collection of photographs are easily salable to travel publications and tourist boards. Don't limit the submission to the Bahamian tourist board, although they should be approached, there are many other boards that will welcome such a set of photographs since they can coordinate their efforts with their Bahamian counterparts. You can also use them in calendars and general photographic publications.
A good tip which I always advise is to include an article that complements the photography package. A good written accompaniment goes a long way for making your submission more palatable to editors and don't forget that you can use the written work along with the images in an e book.
- Bahamian Culture - Authentic Bahamas
The Islands of The Bahamas are alive with a uniquely Bahamian culture that culminates annually with the New Years and Boxing Day Junkanoo festivals.
So visit the Bahamas, take plenty of photographs and do not be afraid to take risk with your photographs. it is always a good idea to take a shot from various angles and with different perspectives to judge the results afterwards.
It is better to come out of the experience with more photographs than you need rather than to have too few.
Keep in mind that although you should approach your stay from a photographer's mindset, you are still in an island paradise, so take your camera with you everywhere but also remember to enjoy yourself too.
© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez
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