Recently we received some stunning photos from a traveler that went on a recent departure of our Italy: the Quiet Pathways of Tuscany walking vacation. Naturally we want to share the pictures with you all, but we also wanted to step behind the lens and get to know Joshan Y., a first-time, solo traveler from Maryland who has an uncanny knack for capturing images that shed a new light on some of our favorite Tuscan locations.
1. What about active travel appeals to you and how did you find out about VBT?
I have been on 2 kinds of active travel tours: a photographer tour to Yellowstone, and this VBT walking tour in Tuscany. I like journeys that can give me a lot of time to enjoy and learn the local culture, food and people. I learned about VBT through one of my best friends who had taken the Provence walking tour previously with VBT. They knew me well enough to recommend the tour, knowing that I would love it.
2. What were some of your favorite aspects of taking a guided tour as a single traveler, yet within with a group, as opposed to simply traveling on your own?
I learned a lot of history and local culture from our wonderful tour guides. I am really bad with directions so the guided tour made my trip easier and allowed me to spend more time taking photos and keeping my eyes on landscapes instead of the map.
Usually, I prefer to travel on my own since I can make my travel plan flexible but VBT’s tour plan is very friendly and smart, and I like that we can stay in one hotel at least for 3 nights. The group I participated with is wonderful, I guess it’s because we all truly love historical things and the walking through beautiful locations.
3. We love your pictures from the Tuscan Walking tour. How did you become a photographer and have you had professional training?
I’ve never taken any photography lessons or seminars. It started from a simple point-and-shoot camera to taking my family’s pictures. One day, I just said to myself that I really want to make their portraits look more extravagant and professional, so I went ahead and purchased my first DSLR. I read a lot of photography magazines, observed how professionals adjust settings for their photos, and got to know the settings on my camera inside and out. The rest is just practice, practice and practice!
4. How do you choose your subjects and do you enjoy shooting landscapes or people more?
Feeling and emotions guide me to choose my subjects. I’m currently enjoying photographing anything that tells a story, be it an animal or a person. To capture a moment can say a silent thousand words.
5. Your pictures of local people seem to perfectly reflect daily life in that moment, without coming off as staged. Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers about your techniques for social documentary photography?
It’s mostly about instincts and the connectivity you have with your surroundings. When I feel a prospective moment to be caught coming, I click the shutter button over and over, until the perfect image is captured. It might be the love in the air between a couple, the sunset cooling the winds, the emptying streets of a tired city that all tell me it’s the moment to start clicking away. Perhaps it's my love for observation of people that really help my photos reflect people's daily lives.
6. Is there any specific locale or destination that you’ve wanted to photograph for a long time?
Tibet and Russia!
To see a full gallery of Joshan's photos from our Tuscany Walking vacation please click here.
We hope to see Joshan out on one of our active vacations again soon and can’t wait to see the pictures! To learn more about how you can walk Tuscany with VBT please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.
[caption id="attachment_11148" align="aligncenter" width="750"] The VBT Group that Joshan toured with in Tuscany. She is second from the right in the first row[/caption]