If you look at enough
Facebook albums of Paris or Rome or any major tourist destination, they all
start to blend together. The same shots of the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum,
the food, the skyline, maybe some wildlife; the same pictures over and over.
Some spray-paint is just
unattractive visual pollution, but when it's done well graffiti is a legitimate
art form. Street artists around the world use graffiti to convey political
messages, social commentary, and sometimes just to create beauty. They can add
a punch of color and edge to many street scenes. Photograph these temporary
masterpieces wherever you spot them for some extra street cred.
You will have plenty of
chances to photograph famous markets, but small local food shops, farmer's
markets and even regular supermarkets can make interesting picture subjects.
Poke around long enough and you are bound to stumble on an interesting culinary
or cultural find: live eels at the supermarket in China, fresh heirloom
tomatoes at a road side stand or an extensive selection of cheeses at a local
market in France.
Yes, some cemeteries are
already tourist attractions; Recoleta in Buenos Aires and Pere Lachaise in
Paris come to mind. However, even less famous cemeteries deserve a careful look
through the viewfinder. Oftentimes they are a terrific photography subject and
provide unique cultural insights. Mexican cemeteries for example are festively
colorful while Victorian-era British cemeteries are stuffed with elaborate
They aren't the most
glamorous foreign wildlife, but there is something about adorable local dogs
and cats that is irresistible. Whether they are scrappy street dogs or pampered
pets, canines can pose for powerful photographs. Cats don't really pose, but
they will often ignore you long enough to capture a great picture.
Old Town sections of cities are
an obvious place for taking pictures, but next time, instead of trying to
capture an entire building, focus on small details. Tightly framed colorful
windows, strange doorknockers or bright tiles roofs all make for interesting
Sometimes everyday objects,
like cars, can be an interesting way to capture the mood of a city. Think
abandoned metal skeletons in a California ghost town, colorful punchy
Volkswagens on the streets of Valparaiso or a sleek Ferrari cruising through
Often travelers strive to
find and capture the beautiful parts of the world, while ignoring the less
savory elements. However, this only tells half of the story. Whether it's a
house that's caving in, a row of broken windows or a cracked and weedy street,
pictures of urban decay can perfectly illustrate an otherwise intangible
Next time you head out with
your camera, keep an eye out for one or two of these subjects and let your
travel pictures tell a story that is about more than just the major tourist
What's your favorite offbeat
Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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