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Some Hints for Photographers

Montserrat has many beautiful and interesting (and sometimes both!) subjects for photographs. 

  • Best color is going to be in the morning and late afternoon, use a filter

Remember that the tropical sun is bright, so your best color is going to be in the morning and late afternoon; in the middle of the day things are going to be washed out.  If you have a camera that will accept filters, a polarizing filter on sunny days will help to bring out the blue of the water and the sky, and reduces reflected glare off the water.

  • Photographing the volcano--MVO is the best location

The top of the volcano is usually hidden in the clouds. If the humidity is low, and the mountain top is visible, you are very lucky. Take your photos because it probably won’t last.  The viewing deck at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory is a terrific place for photos of the volcano, and it’s only a ten or fifteen minute drive from Moonshadow.

  • Photographing from a boat--use care and take lens cleaner

If you are going for a boat tour, snorkeling, or other water-related activity, remember to put the strap of the camera over your neck or around your wrist.  It’s not unusual for people to drop cameras when the water is a little choppy or they get excited.  Also, a good idea to have a waterproof bag, in case of splashing or rain, and lens cleaner. You are bound to get salt spray on the lens and it will make your photos less sharp.

  • Photographing the coast line--watch out for the sun

If you are on a boat tour down the west side of the island toward Plymouth, you will probably be out in the morning because of the heat. Most of the coastline is cliff, and they make dramatic photo subjects because of the bands of different rock in the cliffs, the occasional goat, the periodic beaches, and so on. Because you are shooting into the sun, you get a lot of glare, even with the polarizer. Once the sun is higher in the sky (say 11 o’clock), the colors on the cliffs are better.  So the photos you miss on the way south because of the sun, you may capture on the way back north to Little Bay.

  • Pictures while hiking--bring a flash and waterproof bag

When hiking: in the rain forest, it’s dark. Bring the best flash you have, you will need it.  Again, have a waterproof bag to protect the camera.  This can just be a 1 gallon ziplock bag if your camera is small.

  • Finding great sites--use a guide

It’s easy to drive around the island on your own, but if you hire a guide for a tour, they will know where to take you for the best photos.  The cab drivers do a great driving tour.

You really should have a guide in you go on foot into the mountains, just for safety (that is, although the trails are marked, you don’t want to get lost. Plus, the guides are reasonably priced and are great at pointing things out.  The guides I know are Scriber and Map Pie. Scriber has a website; Map Pie works at the Montserrat National Trust gardens.)

  • From the air--use your camera while on the plane

From the air: A terrific place for photos is from the Fly Montserrat flight TO Antigua, at least on the noon flight. The best seat is the furthest back on the right side of the plane. You should have a couple of minutes of good view of the volcano right after takeoff, and eventually the whole island, as you are shooting behind you through a good window.

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