IT’S BEEN A FRUSTRATING couple of years for those that love to travel as the world, through necessity of course, has had to shut down to contain Covid. While we’re not yet totally free from the pandemic things are slowly opening up again and, as our horizons start to broaden, we can once again think about heading off to somewhere new.

Over the past couple of years, meanwhile, the fact that it’s not been possible to move around freely has meant that many photographers have had to take a closer look at their own surroundings, and to try to explore familiar places with fresh eyes, perhaps in the way a visitor might if arriving in a location for the very first time.

Our Nikon expert this month knows all about this scenario, having had his ability to travel curtailed for longer than he cares  to remember. But rather than focus on the downside, Abdellah Ihadian instead decided to explore every nook and cranny of his home town of Copenhagen and, by spending hours walking around with his camera during many different times of the day, he was able to re-interpret his understanding of the place.

What we can take away from that is that it’s always possible to see a place with fresh eyes, whether we feel we know it inside out or we happen to be looking at it for the very first time. With restrictions lifting Abdellah fully intends to be on the road again this summer, but his time has not been wasted and the result of his endeavours is a far greater understanding of the place he calls home.

If you’ve been following this series, you’ll know the ground rules by now. We’re running Pro Academy in tandem with the excellent Nikon School and there are twelve challenges in total, with this being the final chance to earn one of those coveted e-certificates!

We’re inviting you to send across your best single shot from the assignment to our expert team at Professional Photo and, if you’ve met the required standard, we’ll send you back an e-certificate to prove the fact. Let us know that you’ve successfully completed the first six assignments and you’ll receive a further e-certificate to confirm that you really are an excellent all-round operator, and if you’re one of the heroes managing all twelve you’ll get another to celebrate that fact as well! It’s not a competition, there are no prizes to be won but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your skills have been recognised and it’s a chance to dip into some fresh genres.

How to Take Part

You don’t need to be a professional photographer or a Nikon user to take part in Pro Academy, and don’t feel shy about sending in the best shot you’ve been able to achieve, even if it’s perhaps not up to the high standards of the work you can see here. It’s all about learning and rest assured we will be making allowances for newbies! Enter your photo further on below by clicking on the green submission box.

Challenge number Twelve

THE WORLD IS A constantly fascinating place and those who are caught up in the joy of travel are constantly inspired by the embracing of fresh places and new cultures. Arriving in a location you’ve never visited before can be an exhilarating experience, as you open yourself up to what it has to offer and encounter new discoveries at every corner.

Travel can come in a multitude of different forms, ranging from a buzzing or historic city through to a glorious and iconic landscape, rugged and desolate mountain scenery, a remote village where time appears to have stood still or a journey through a country where different experiences are encountered at every single new place you stop at.

You can visit locations, such as the pyramids of Egypt, the Colosseum in Rome or the Empire State Building, that will be familiar to people the world over – which brings with it the challenge, of course, to find a new angle to explore – or you can chance upon a setting or a place that most people would never have encountered before, and you’ll have the opportunity to introduce your find to a fresh audience.

And then there’s the people. Travel is all about those you encounter and the very different lives they might be leading, and here again you can take great inspiration from what you find. So many angles to explore, so let’s see what you’ve got!


Technical Tips with Neil Freeman

ONE OF THE KEY THINGS to bear in mind when you’re travelling is to pack light, and Neil recommends a small but well-featured camera such as the Nikon Z 50 or Z fc, while a lens like the Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR will cover you for pretty much every eventuality.

“With a zoom range this long you’ll be able to shoot everything from landscapes through to close-ups and street photography,” he says, “while working with a camera that also comes with a good video facility will also cover you for such things as vlogs and Instagram films. You might also want to carry a small travel tripod with you for such things as timelapses or astro photography.”

Neil also recommends checking out sunrise and sunset times early on to make sure you’re prepared for opportunities and he’ll also usually carry out research before arriving to ensure that he’s fully clued up in terms of what there is to see and capture with his camera. It’s also a good idea to be aware of local customs and practices to make sure that you don’t inadvertently cause offence by photographing in places, such as sacred buildings, where it might not be allowed.

“In terms of street photography, I’ll generally be working with a longer lens and so wouldn’t normally ask permission before shooting pictures of people who aren’t going to be recognisable,” Neil says.
“However, if I’m working closer in and my subjects’ faces will be visible then it’s only good manners to ask permission before you start taking pictures.”

Travel Photograhy

Learn with the Nikon School

WITH MANY OF its courses now online, training via the Nikon School really is open to everyone, with a wide range of well-priced learning available to photographers at all levels and using any brand of equipment – although Nikon users will get particular value from the content. Head to the Nikon School website to take a look at what’s on offer and to see what you could sign up for, with everything from lighting technique through to running a digital darkroom, mastering as particular piece of Nikon gear, filmmaking and even one-to-one tuition all available, along with location courses and experience days in the UK and overseas.

Nikon School Newsletter

Nikon School Travel Adventures

Submit your photograph here.

Abdellah Ihadian Travel Specialist

Each month, we’ll feature a top professional from the genre we’re covering to get some idea about what they find so compelling about their chosen speciality.

BASED IN COPENHAGEN in Denmark, Abdellah Ihadian never intended to become a professional photographer, but gradually became immersed in the craft after acquiring a Nikon D90 from a friend of a friend around ten years ago.

“In the beginning I just photographed for fun and my own pleasure,” he recalls. “Then I realised how a camera can be an entry ticket to meet interesting people and to get access to places, spaces and experiences you normally wouldn’t be able to encounter. Slowly I got more and more inquiries for paid jobs, so a few years later I quit my day job and went all in on photography, and I’ve now had my freelance business for six years.”

For those, like Abdellah, that love to travel but who also care passionately about the environment, it can be a dilemma at times to square globetrotting with the carbon footprint that’s inevitably involved. However, pre-pandemic the problem was solved through a successful pitch to DSB (Danish State Railways) and a resulting commission to travel by train with a brief to produce content to make the Interrail experience cool again.

“I love travelling by train,” says Abdellah. “The slower and less stressful way of experiencing the world is so appealing to me, it’s the focus on the journey rather than the destination. I usually research and plan ahead when I go to places I’ve never visited before. I’ll start out on Instagram or YouTube, and find the inspiration and locations I want to visit. Then, nearer the time, I read up on the destination and go through upto-date online guides.

“However, over the years I’ve become more relaxed about the planning and the bucket lists of locations to visit. Now I’m enjoying more the random exploring and the chance to submerge myself in the local life and culture.”

Over the past two years when travel was impossible Abdellah turned his attention to the streets of Copenhagen, and it was a rich experience that yielded some great images. “I love Copenhagen,” he says, “and have spent many hours exploring different parts of the old city. There are the very charming and well-kept historic areas, some cool new architecture and an ever-changing harbour and seaside quarter.

“I like to take advantage of the seasons and the special light that we have here in Scandinavia. A place can have very different moods, depending on whether you photograph it on a warm hazy summer evening or on a cold bleak winter’s day. I often challenge myself to return to the same location and shoot it from a different angle or in a different light. Studying light is one of the most important and fundamental things you must do as a photographer. It will help you in so many ways on your journey.”

Camera Gear

Recently named a Nikon Creator, Abdellah is currently working with a Nikon Z 7II and 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom, and he’s loving the quality of the images and the video he can produce with this set-up.

“I usually shoot with prime lenses, such as my 35mm f/1.8, but at the moment I really enjoy the versatility and the creativity the Z 7II combination is offering me,” he says. “Besides this camera I’m still working with my trusty D750, which I’ve had with me through thick and thin for the past six years or so and, along with the 35mm, I work with a 50mm f/1.4. The brightness of this lens lets me shoot in low light during the long dark winter months we have here in Scandinavia. I also have a beautiful Nikon F3 with a 50mm f/1.8 lens for my film photography, and it’s such a lovely camera to be working with.”

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