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Our sister website is running an amazing competition with a truly staggering travel prize!

You could win a 15 day overland tour of Northern Thailand for 2 people. Worth over $2000. All thanks to our good friends are Intrepid Travel

All you need to do is join their newsletter and you’ll even get more chances to win amazing travel competitions every month.

Check out the full details here and GOOD LUCK!

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It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally released! My new book “Portraits of Asia” is a collection of my best and most compelling work from my recent journey around South East Asia. From the hillside villages and farms of Nothern Vietnam to the Orang Asli of Malaysia this book contains colourful, quirky and captivating photos I am very proud of.
You can order your copy online here and check out the first 15 pages of the book in the preview below.

Shy child As all of my blogs recently have been image centric I thought I’d take the time out to write a little more and update you on how things are going.

Firstly I can’t emphasise enough how right this adventure is to embark on. Already I’ve produced not only work I’m very proud of but work that has so much substance and meaning. My Photography has compelled my wife and I to push ourselves just that little bit further. Taking longer treks, more missions into the unknown and saying ‘yes’ to a lot more offers. It’s been well worth it as you’ve probably seen!

Sunset Palms Equipment wise I love my choice of camera and lenses all the more so and it’s been well worth dragging them everywhere with me. Trekking trough thick Thai jungle, teetering over rivers on bamboo bridges to hiking up into the hills of Vietnam with the temperature always above 30 degrees.

My Tamrac Adventure 9 bag was without doubt a fantastic purchase and I’ve been able to very comfortably carry all my gear where ever I’ve needed it.

The only casualty has been my speedlight flash. Knocked by a fellow trekker it broke off my camera leaving the hot shoe connector behind while rest fell to the rocky floor half way up a mountain. If vietnam taught me anything it’s that you can always get things fixed on the streets. Sure enough a guy Watch outthat rebuild mobile phones from the parts or dead phones had no problem fixing it with a steady hand and a healthy amount of super glue.

One steep learning curve has been handling the massive amount of work I’m producing on a near daily basis. With my trusty Macbook Pro with me I’ve been able to keep on top of it. Editing has been quick and dare I say fun while making sure my backup regime is strictly adhered to has been all important should the worst happen.

angkor wat Traveling for an extended period of time while simultaneously working has been both a challenge and something i can be very proud of. With over a month left before we settle in Sydney, Australia for a while there’s still a lot more to see and do. I’ll keep you all posted whenever i have Internet access.

As ever your thoughts and comments are very welcome. It would be great to hear from you while I’m ‘on the road’.

Many of my photos from my travel photography are now featured on travel blogs on a new travel community website called Travelwithamate.com

The website features advice and guest posts from ‘global nomads‘ about locations all over the world. I’m proud to be a part of the project and urge you to get involved too. They’re always looking for more travel photographers and writers to collaborate with.

Check them out and if you like them be sure to StumbleUpon them.

visit www.travelwithamate.com

It would be rude of me not to mention it’s my wife and I’s 2nd wedding anniversary today. May 10th.

2 years certainly have flown by since our wedding day in Hawaii. Worth noting we chose to get married on a west facing beach during sunset so that the photos would be amazing! They certainly were too.

Wedding anniversary

Wedding day Hawaii

Wedding day hawaii

Looking forward to many more anniversaries! it’s been 2 great years. I highly recommend marriage!

A book of the following “Big adventure” has been released entitled “Portraits of Asia”. You can preview the first 15 pages here and order your copy online today.

Check out our new travel blog site travelwithamate.com for lots more information on the “Big Adventure” below.

Find out more on our Facebook Fan Page too!

Airbus A380

Our plans for the “Big Adventure” are coming together and picking up pace.

For those of you that don’t know, my wife and I are planning to travel extensively through South-East Asia for around 3 months before moving to Sydney, Australia for a while. This is part of my drive to become a full time professional photographer and gives me a goal or deadline to work towards, you’d be surprised how motivational that is!

So here’s a rough itinerary, I’ll spare you the impressively in-depth version my wife has created. In 3 months travelling there’s hardly a day when we’re not booked to do something or travel somewhere!

Singapore F1 Grand PrixSeptember

20th – Fly from Heathrow, England to Changi, Singapore

27th – Watch the Singapore F1 Grand Prix with friends

October

Halong Bay, VietnamFly to Hanoi, Vietnam and spend a few days there as well as 3 days in Sa pa, treking & home stay and 3 days at Halong Bay.

Vist Hue City, Da nang and market town of Hoi An. Also the costal town of Nha Trang where there’s amazing beaches and sea corals.

On to Ho Chi Ming City, visit the famous Tay Ninh and Cu Chi tunnels. Cai Be on the Mekong Delta for a home stay.

Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia21st  – Boat and bus to Phnom Penh for a few days

Visit Kampot and Bokor Mountain National Park. Then to Battambang for a village home stay.

A boat to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat. Hopefully be there for sunset one day and revisit for sunrise the next day.

November

Chiang Mai, Thailand1st – Bus and train to Bangkok, Thailand

A few days in Bangkok before we go to Ayutthaya and then on to Chiang Mai visiting the sticky rice factory and do a bicycle tour.

On to Chiang Rai and possible home stay before a hill-tribe trek.

An overnight train back to Bangkok before heading on to Kanchanaburi. Visit the Bridge over the River Kwai.

December

kuala-lumpur-petronasOn to Ko Tao for a few days before hoping over to the islands of Phuket and Phi Phi for a week or two.

On to Krabi and Hat Yai before crossing the border into Malaysia

Visit Penang and Butterworth then train to Kuala Lumpur.

Train back to Singapore then fly on to Sydney, Australia around the 19th. Spend a couple of weeks enjoying Christmas while looking for a more permanent accommodation.

Flexible plans

Obviously these plans might change. That’s the wonderful thing about backpacking and traveling for extended periods of time. You can be flexible with your plans and get a chance to go off the beaten path. I’m really looking forward to the home stays and visiting a few sites and towns you wouldn’t normally go to. The flights are booked as are the Grand Prix tickets so it’ll be a fantastic start to the journey!

I will as ever be blogging throughout our travels and beyond. I’ll also be meeting up with locals from each country, doing photo shoots with local models and also meeting local photographers. Some of which I shall interview for blogs. The main point of our travels is to build up an extensive portfolio and hopefully do some networking with local photographic agencies and publications.

More progress reports on our plans as they are confirmed. If you have been to any of these countries please do leave a comment. I’d love to hear any recommendations on places to go, hidden gems, etc.

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To become a good photographer you should BE a photographer as much as possible. It’s a pretty simple premise. The more photos you compose, process and analyse the greater you will understand photography and improve upon your skills.

So.. it’s simple.. TAKE YOUR CAMERA EVERYWHERE! You never know when a good photo opportunity might appear or a good excuse to just experience photographing a new subject matter.

So, living up to my own good advice I took my camera with me to a recent night out with friends, playing Pool (or Billiards depending on where you are in the world).

Pot luck
Pot Luck – Matt Preston

This kind of environment is a great challenge. Not only for you but for your camera! The relatively low light conditions means you’ll be shooting at high ISO ranges, with the aperture wide open to get in as much light as possible. This of course has the side effect of drastically reducing the depth of field.

Good Advice?
Good Advice? – Matt Preston

Personally i love the low light conditions and narrow depth of field. It really adds to the nostalgic, smokey (until they banned smoking) night time feel.

Wide open

Most of the photos were shot at around 5000 ISO with the aperture between f1.8 and f3.5. You’ll often find a lot of your images are focussing on the wrong area. Mainly due to it being dark when you’re looking through the view-finder. Autofocus either doesn’t work at all or will focus on the wrong area of your composition, drawing your eye away from the area you wanted your shot to be about! If the focus is in the wrong place you lose that emphasis and the photo (usually) doesn’t work. So keep it on manual focus, you can always take a few shots at different focus settings to ensure one of them works out ok.

Deep in concentration
Deep in Concentration – Matt Preston

Motion Blur

Pool is a great game for capturing some action with motion blur. You’re not likely to have a tripod with you (and you might upset the landlord!) so expect to also capture some of your own motion in the process! Sometimes that doesn’t seem to matter. I personally love this shot as the motion of the players hand and cue along with the movement of the pool balls and myself seem to make the photo work quite well.

On the move
On the Move – Matt Preston

Helpful friends

One of the great things about taking your camera with you on a night out is that your friends know you. They feel relaxed around you and are more likely to smile when you point a camera at them rather than feel awkward and shy away. This really helps, without my friends it may have been a lot tougher to get such natural looking shots and some of them worked out really well like this one.

The best medicine
The Best Medicine – Matt Preston

Your photos don’t always have to be in colour either. Sometimes they work so much better in black and white, or in this case black and white with a slight purple tint. If you’re shooting in low light conditions with high ISOs you’re likely to end up with noise in your image, something that may annoy you in a colour photo but can really add to a black and white shot. Give it a try. You may just fall in love with a shot you would have otherwise deleted.

More is more!

Shoot lots and shoot often. Take your camera everywhere, try and capture “photos” rather than “snapshots”. Oh and be sure to give a copy to your friends! After all they just gave you another reason to shoot!

There are more photos from my pool night here.

As ever your thoughts and comments are welcome. Share your experiences, your advice, or let me know if you think there are ways to improve upon some of the shots I’ve taken.

I look forward to seeing some of your photos.

When I’m not blogging about photography on here you’ll most likely find me micro-blogging about it on Twitter.com!

Feel free to follow me and be sure to say Hi. I love meeting like minded people and discussing all aspects of photography. It’s also an easy way for you to find out when I’ve blogged!

My twitter is www.twitter.com/mycameraandi

I’ll be blogging about photographers and photography related twitterers in the near future so if you know of any that are worth following be sure to leave a comment.

Welcome to my new blog all about Photography. I’d better explain why really.

I’ve had a passion for photography for many years now. In recent years I’ve taken it to new levels with my trusty Canon DSLR. In recent months my quality of work and devotion to photography has increased, so much so I have decided to go full time professional.

With my wife by my side we plan to travel extensively. Live cheaply, document what we see, get off the beaten track, experience new cultures and hopefully begin a whole new career doing something I’ve always loved.

I’ll post my thoughts, findings, great links I’ve found, reviews of equipment, progress reports, tips on photographic techniques and anything else that I think you might find interesting. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. I promise to respond to as many as I can.

Why not start by checking out some of my work at www.flickr.com/photos/mattprestonphotography.

So here I am. This is me. This is my journey. I hope you enjoy it.

Matt