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Travel photography Alex Soh shares tips and fave destinations for that perfect shot

SINGAPORE — You may have seen photographer Alex Soh’s pictures without even realising it.

SINGAPORE — You may have seen photographer Alex Soh’s pictures without even realising it.

His breathtaking images have been used as stock photos by Getty Images and have appeared on the covers of magazines, such as Christian publication, The Daily Bread.

But the Nikon Ambassador has also put his skills to good use by holding workshops, bringing photography enthusiasts on expeditions to different cities and organising charity efforts such as The Rice Project in Sri Lanka and The Philippines and Project Road in Cambodia.

“Over the years, I have been to many countries where I encountered the less fortunate. I was unable to forget what I saw and so I decided to do something about it,” he said. “It is always rewarding to find out how we have helped. When one Cambodian elder told me that the 2.7km road that we built not only helped the people but changed their lives as well, I was extremely touched and it made me want to do so much more.”

Despite traversing the globe from China to Chile, Soh has yet to experience a place that failed to inspire him — although he did say that there are times when he needs to put down his camera and just enjoy his surroundings.

Q: What do you do as a Nikon Ambassador?

A: I share my passion for photography with others. Nikon also creates online platforms and organises roadshows to enable photographers like us to share our passion, and supports me by providing professional gear whenever I am on a photography assignment.

Q: You’ve been capturing images of the world for 20 years. What do you think makes a great travel photo and what are some elements and qualities you need to be a travel photographer?

A: A great travel photo is one that tells a story — and you will not be able to bring back such stories unless you thoroughly experienced the place, culture and people. You definitely need to love travel and photography. You have to enjoy your journey and love meeting people from all walks of life. When you travel, go with a mission in mind; pay attention to detail, ask questions and capture the essence of lives and places. Over the years, I have trained myself to be versatile in all kinds of photo shoots - from photojournalism and street photography, to portraits of people and landscapes.

Q: What are some suggestions everyone can use to take better travel photos?

A: First, you need to ask yourself the reason behind taking these photos. In most cases, people want to share their travel experiences with friends and loved ones. A photographer once told me that she didn’t know what to capture while she was in Valparaso, Chile, because there were so many different things going on at once. To that, I told her to capture 20 images at that location — from the children chasing after birds, to the old man fishing, the boat coming towards the jetty and the man painting at the harbour — so that she could bring these experiences back home for her children. It’s all about letting others look through your lens.

Q: With the rise of Instagram, do you think travel photography is not special anymore?

A: We will never have enough storytelling pictures to share. Instagram may give others a glimpse of a place but we still need to experience it on our own, just like photography. Seeing a small picture on Instagram may not produce the same impact as seeing it on a bigger photo print, and viewing it from a bigger print doesn’t give you a chance to experience the present.

Q; Your pictures are used on the cover of The Daily Bread. Has there been a destination where you experienced a spiritual awakening?

A: That would be my one-month backpacking trip in China. It was a journey of self-discovery and I basically drew a line on the map across China, giving myself one month to travel from one end to the other. What I experienced during this journey was really amazing, and I was humbled by both the people I met along the way and the places I visited.

Q: What are your favourite destinations for a photoshoot?

A: This is a tough question because it’s difficult to compare each destination when each place has its own uniqueness.If I had to pick, I’d say Torres Del Paine in Chile with its majestic mountains and Hatton in Sri Lanka, where you can do some soul searching amidst the quiet and peaceful landscape, 1,200m above sea level and surrounded by beautiful tea plantations. I also particularly enjoyed driving through the coast of Portugal, walking in the desert of Arizona, United States and capturing the -15°C winter wonderland of Takayama, Japan.

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