Mike's Bloggings

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Getting Rid of Pesky Tourists.

5

Dec / 2011

It can be very frustrating when you've gone to some fantastic destination to photograph a particular tourist attraction, only to find that numerous other tourists have had the same idea and are busy clambering all over YOUR location, ruining your shot.

However, it IS possible to get that shot of a travel location in splendid isolation, all you need is a tripod, a little time and Photoshop (natch). The pictures I've included here were taken at Ankor Wat in Cambodia. It's a World Heritage listed site comprising hundreds of acres of abandoned, ruined temples - some dating back over a thousand years. During that time they were devoured by the all-consuming jungle and only recently have been unearthed and partially cleared. It's simply a magical place that should be on every photographer's bucket list.

At the particular time I was there there were other tourists moving around the site to the extent that I never had any time alone without anybody in shot. So, I set the camera up on a tripod and took a number of exposures, the precise number is not important, but it needs to be enough so that the natural movement of all the individuals in shot left every square inch of the scene unobscured at least once in the sequence of shots. Back on the computer, I loaded all of the shots of a particular scene into separate layers in Photoshop. Then I just methodically masked out each of the individuals in the shots, ensuring that their removal uncovered a part of the background scene.

Voila! This picture of Ta Phrom temple looking as empty and abandoned as it was a hundred years ago. Obviously this is a faily simple example, requiring only 3 images. Depending on the number of tourists at a particular site you would need more images. Venice, the Eiffel Tower - forget it, there's simply too many people milling around 24/7

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  1. This looks like an effective technique - I can't wait to give it a try!

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