Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Most Beauti-Fall Attractions and Festivals

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The autumn doesn’t merely mean Halloween happenings; this time of year is also ripe for colorful festivals, from apples to oysters, German traditions to Maine lobster. Celebrate autumn’s onset with the changing of the leaves; here are Travel Smart Blog’s favorite fall attractions.

Royalty Free stockFall Foliage with a Side of Lobster 

Make a trip to Maine this month; October is the peak of New England’s leaf peeping season. Maine’s 4-day Harvest on the Harbor Festival later this month (October 23-26) lures more than 5,000 people up to Portland’s shores to enjoy a celebration of Maine’s finest locally sourced foods, top chefs and other Maine-made products such as beers and wines.

Art and Oysters in Cape Cod

As if anyone needs an excuse to go to Cape Cod, I’ll give you two! The 2-day Wellfleet OysterFest (October 19-20) celebrates town of Wellfleet’s famed shellfish traditions through shucking competitions, tastings and cooking demos. All through October, towns across the Cape are showcasing local art and culture with concerts, special exhibits at art galleries, museums, and theaters, art activities for children, and more at the 5th annual Fall for the Arts Festival which runs to November 2nd.

The Wine-ding Roads of New England

New England’s country roads beckon to city slickers throughout the year, but there’s no more magnificent time for a drive than autumn. Follow the Connecticut Wine Trail for a sampling of some of New England’s most delectable wines and take in some of the most beautiful countryside in the Northeast. Further north in Reading, Vermont, October is a great time to visit Jenne Farm – North America’s most photographed farm. The only sign indicating its presence is a tiny board on Route 106 advertising “maple syrup.” But you’ll know it when you see it! Photographs of the farm have appeared on posters, magazine covers, notecards, calendars, a Budweiser commercial and served as a setting in movies such as Forrest Gump and Funny Farm.

If covered bridges in bucolic settings are what you are after than look no further than the Vermont’s Bennington County for its dense concentration of picturesque covered bridges. Bennington County is located in the southwest corner of the state, and this driving tour will take you to five nearby covered bridges.

Oktoberfest in Georgia?

Skyline of Raleigh, NCYes! The Oktoberfest celebration in Helen, Georgia, one of the most festive fall events in the Southeast, and lasts through the end of October. Thousands of visitors each year visit Helen’s
large Festhalle to enjoy authentic German music and dancing, food and beer. Helen, Georgia, a charming Alpine-style town located in the North Georgia Mountains, is fun to visit in any
season but it’s especially beautiful with autumn leaves aglow in red and yellow.

The State Fair is Fall-fabulous in North Carolina

The North Carolina State Fair located in the city of Raleigh attracts more than 850,000 visitors and is one of the largest 10-day fairs in the nation. The fall festival, which runs from October 17th – 27th, features concerts from top headliners such as Scotty McCreery, Georgia Florida Line, and Joe Nichols, as well as free entertainment, exhibitions, and fun for all ages. What will they fry next?

Need more ideas for fun during your fall vacation? Next week check-in to some of the most popular ghost tours and haunted hotels.

Also, share your favorite, fantastic fall festivals for our readers in the comments below!










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Travel App of the Month: You’ve Got Mail… with Postagram!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013






When I was 11, I didn’t like it so much when I was away at summer camp and I received postcards from my parents in Hawaii and Paris. Maybe it was because at that time, I couldn’t return the favor to show them how awesome Rockbrook Camp for Girls really was. Now I think I realize how genius they really were. But I digress, back to Postcards.

One travel app takes us back before the digital age, breathing new life into the postcard, and making it more than possible to share your travels and favorite moments with friends and family in a way that brings back the excitement of getting real hand-delivered mail.

Postagram Postcards

For 99 cents a card, you can send a personalized photo postcard right from your iPhone, Instagram, Facebook, and Dropbox and your recipient receives it via postal service a few days later – no more wasting time trying to track down a post office and a stamp. Some companies, like Hyatt House, are even sponsoring postcards enabling FREE postcards for guests visiting their hotels. Very cool!

Check out Postagram and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 2.12.53 PM




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Travel App of the Month: Tracking Your Travel Photos with Trover

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013


trover1trover2A new website/app is making it easier for you to share and see the world with a super convenient way to document your travels in the moment!

Trover is photo site with a Pinterest-like design but with the goal of being the world’s photo atlas.

Within the app, photos are categorized by location, themes, and other options like “what’s new.”  And what’s nice is that not only are you able to share photos, but tips and insights for others who may find inspiration in your photo and travel to that very spot.

You can see my trover travel photos here:  My first photos are from my trip this week to San Antonio with my kiddos!


Check it out and share your thoughts on the app in the comments below!





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How to Take Better Photos on Vacation

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Man Photographing His GirlfriendSo the ol’ saying goes: “The best camera to have is the one that’s with you all the time.”  And with the prevalence of smart phones, we almost always have a camera in our purses and pockets.

It seems like the days of the endless photo albums are gone and we now post a few select photos to share with our social networks.  And lately, I find myself post-trip, post great experience, feeling like I don’t have any photos that truly capture how great the vacation actually was.

So I went digging to find the best tips, from actual photography experts, to help us all make our photos match the greatness of our memories.  Take this advice for photo taking prowess:

Basic Photo Taking Tips
Visual interest… Most of the people who view our photographs are friends and family, and they’ll be much more interested in the places you visit if you include people they know in your photos. So, look for other friendly faces taking photos and offer to snap their memories in return for taking a photo for you.

Shoot from different angles… Try zooming in, zooming out and shooting vertical, as well as horizontal. This will help you take different types of images. If you don’t pay attention, all of your photographs will be taken from your eye level. If you squat down, lie down or perhaps gain a perspective from above, you might end up with images that have a better sense of space.

Avoid Auto-Exposure You can control the amount of light in your shot with your iPhone (I didn’t even know that – and have already been taking better photos!) When shooting, tap the areas of light on your screen to help define contrast and exposure.  You can even lock the exposure by tapping and holding for a few seconds to keep your iPhone from automatically readjusting.

Minneapolis and Denver photographer and owner of Bloom Portaits, David Schmidt, had this advice for us photo novices:

Point and Shoots… “One of my biggest frustrations while I travel is always having to lug around my big camera bag so on less “touristy” days I just bring along my point and shoot camera. I shoot with the Canon Powershot G12 but if you like Nikons go with the Nikon 1 V1. These are easy to use and easy to print a quality 8×10.”

Couple Taking a Picture of ThemselvesFlashes… People walk around a lot during the day, which tends to have the harshest sun. While photographing people I would suggest always having your flash on to help “fill” in your image. This helps balance out shadows created by the harsh daytime sun.

Spares…. Don’t forget extra batteries and memory cards and I would always suggest taking something to back up your photos. A laptop or iPad will help make sure you leave your vacation with your photos with you. There is nothing worse than coming home from a vacation and something happening to your memory card or it getting lost in the shuffle of traveling.

Get more great insights from David at

New York photographer Dennis Kwan also provided some helpful tips:

High Quality… If you plan on printing and framing your pictures (which you should!) it’s great to invest in a decent SLR camera. Instagramming is fun for social media… but 20 years from now everyone’s going to wish they had actually captured their memories in much higher quality. If you’re spending the money to travel, it’s time to invest in a camera that will allow you to preserve your memories properly. You can buy professional-quality SLR kits at Costco these days for around $1000 or less.

Get there early, stay late… Beat the rush and visit places early in the morning when there aren’t hordes of goofy-looking tourists filling up your photos. Sunrise and sunset also provide much better natural light than harsh midday sun.

Use the Sun… Shoot with the sun behind your subjects. If you learn to use your camera to expose your images properly, having a back-lit subject will almost always look better than if sun is shining directly on it. MAKE SURE you are exposing correctly though (learn to use the manual settings on your camera, or to make auto-exposure work the way you want) otherwise your subject will appear totally dark.

1_59930362Overshoot! One of the advantages of digital photography is that you can take as many pictures as you want and try to get creative with different angles.

Learn more about Dennis and see his work at

Better Photo-Taking Apps
For $0.99, you can download TiltShift Generator by Art & Mobile to increase photo contrast and saturation.

With the FREE Adobe Photoshop Express, you can make so many fixes that your photos are destined to improve. I like that a copy of your original file is always saved, and you can undo and redo changes until you get just the look that you want.

Camera+ by tap tap tap let’s you “focus” on crisp photos and even has a burst-shooting mode that lets you shoot about five images per second.

Need a great spot for taking photos on your vacation? Look no further than your Picfari App. You can search for nearby places, or explore your vacation destination before you leave. There are tips, and the app will even tell you what camera settings to use to get the pictures you see in the app.



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