Tips for Photographing Urban Landscapes & Architecture

Exploring an urban setting is enticing.  So much is occurring as movement, color, smell, taste in the air and flavor on the table.  There are millions of sites to indulge the eyes upon, whether you’re creeping down an alley to a reserved local restaurant or venturing across a sweeping bridge to view the waterways of floating traffic, its languid chorus and panoramic views.  Without doubt, taking in a new village, town, city or metropolis with camera in hand is one of the most creative experiences upon the traveler’s road.  But within these possibilities, you don’t want to get overwhelmed.  You want to enjoy it, capture the city-life, feel it’s hustling pulse and bustling vibration, and present its’ personalities to your audience.

On my first trip to India, it took me 45 minutes to ground myself on the hostel rooftop before I felt comfortable entering the New Delhi chaos.  This is the most important rule in any new city.  Get grounded.  Find your bearings.  Take a few long deep breaths before leaping into the crowds of a foreign culture, especially in a massive population.  Activate and calm your senses.  You’ll need them not only for photography, but for your basic survival.  Realize the earth is beneath you, and then jump into the fray.

When photographing a city for the first time, everything looks new and enthralling.  Get warmed up and start snapping.  Approach the city streets with intrigue and view each subject as a creation of civilization.  Men and women built it with their hands.  This rudimentary understanding will give a whole new perspective to architecture.  It has personality.  It has angles, unique to its design.  It has caricatures within its face.  Find them by stopping and observing.  Take your time before walking around, circumnavigating the towering building while exploring with the eyes and lens.  Squat down, crane your neck and view it from various angles.  Then stand tall.  Find the highest vantage point.  Every change in your personal viewpoint will present a new element within the building or cityscape.  It is a structure of artistic design.  See it with as many eyes (or perspectives) as possible and don’t forget to explore all of its features, from the historical districts and monuments, to those mundane alleys with debris, dumpsters and unexpected surprises.

From the gallant, most gawdy form of spires and gargoyles to the elementary adobe huts of a nomadic tribe, architecture is an expression of a civilization’s art history, whether practical or conjectural.  However, the thrill will eventually wear off.  Here is where your skills are put to the test.  Go to the same building or viewpoint, but witness your subject during a different time of day when the light will effect mood, reflection and personality.  Lit up at night in the quiet of darkness or active under the bright sun of rush hour, your subject will always give you something new, rain or shine.  A good practice is getting out and walking your own hometown.  Do this as much as possible and rewire your vision to see the new in what has been called “the old”.  Step back and see your main street from afar and then creep in to find the most intimate details of cracks in the paint.

The key to capturing the essence of any city is within your mind.  See the beauty surrounding you.  Everyday is a new chance to wake up and live as if it were your first and your last.  Carry your camera as you explore.  Squat.  Stand tall.  Lay down on the ground.  And climb high for more vantage points.  Be that insect and be that bird.  And most importantly, have fun, enjoy, keep your feet moving and be safe.  Cities have hidden jewels to inspire as well as the darker characters to cause fear.  As a photographer, writer or traveler, you need to have your head on your shoulders and both feet on the ground.

Cameron Karsten Photography offers professional imagery. With a unique eye for composition and lighting, Cameron draws excellence into any industry, specialized to help make your business, family and event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Whether requiring the finesse of a skilled photographer, updating old image archives for your website or looking to spark your new product with eye-catching advertisement, utilize Cameron Karsten Photography to professionalize your life, business, product or marketing material.  For more imagery, please visit the following link:

Risking 7 Lifestyles: How To Save For Travel

The modern world blows, sometimes nice and hard.  As a traveler, you must step back and take a look: technology amidst mansions, cars, oils, gases, rising costs of amenities and those heavy monthly bills.  Then right beside us there’s poverty, famine, disease, war and constant power struggle.  To top it off, all of this costs money, and lots of it.

Contrary to civilization is travel, real travel where the backpacker leaves all wastelands behind to discover new culture, ways of living and knowledge to experience.  Thus the traveler gains wisdom.

But in this society, traveling wisdom comes with a cost.  It’s no longer free like the age of Basho, wandering with rucksack along trails from shed to shed, over mountain ranges and across rivers.  No.  Border guards prevent this.  Visas, rules and modern transportation make this virtually impossible.  But why let them stop you?

Tired of the hustle and bustle, out of money with mounting wanderlust, how do you obtain enough monetary resources to make this happen?  Here are a seven opportunities to help hit the road.

First, add up those monthly expenses.  What are your bills?  An average person is going to have the following dues:

•    Rent
•    Food + laundry
•    Cellphone
•    Internet
•    Transportation + gas
•    Insurance
•    Play

The above are the basics of the modern world enabling you to live, work, connect and remain mobile.  Depending on your lifestyle you can have monthly bills ranging from the low-end frugality of $1300 to a high-end butterfly of $4000+.  But as a traveler, you have to rearrange these priorities, including your values.

Once you have a total, let’s take apart the list and see what can be cutback for the next adventure.

1.    Foremost is rent.  Rent is a bitch.  In the developing world it’s tough to find a studio apartment for less than $600.  So what do you do?  Housesitting is key.  You live for free; in fact you get paid to sleep in others’ homes, taking care of daily routines with cats, dogs, iguanas, maybe a ferocious chimpanzee, and possibly more.  Rent is now gone.  And with those spaces between jobs there is couch surfing with friends, crashing with a family member, or visiting a long-lost lover.

2.    Food and laundry is almost inescapable.  You need to eat and most often food costs money.  However, if you’re housesitting, make sure you get the go-ahead to indulge the pantry, but go light on the booze.  Otherwise, dumpster diving is free and many times generates pirate’s booty.  Clothes?  Wear what you have.


3.    Cellphones are despised in my world.  Chuck them towards the depths of the growling sea and give text messaging the Bird.  Yet it’s hard to live without, but fortunately cheaper then landlines if you forgo cable television.  Find a cheap plan and stay under your minutes.

4.    Internet.  Cut it.  Ever heard of the library?  Head there with a laptop for free wifi and surround yourself with travel books.  And that housesitting gig?  Ask for their router’s password and connect.

5.    Transportation is an easy one.  Sell your car and buy a bicycle.  Check your public bus lines and light rail schedules.  You’ll save money and eliminate stress and gas.  Help yourself.  Help the environment.

6.    Insurance might be difficult, especially with rising plans and an indecisive government that simply wants more control.  Solution?  Get fit by riding that bike and cancel car insurance.  Wear a helmet and eat healthy.  You’ll suddenly discover $300/month for medical insurance is wasteful.  Be your own doctor with something called preventative healthcare.

7.    We all need to play.  Going out with friends.  Dancing at live music venues.  Movies, events, museums and recreation are keys to balance in life.  But what is more valuable: spending $100/night with friends resulting with head in strange porcelain tub or $3/night for a bungalow on the edge of Thailand’s Andaman Sea?  This is a personal choice based on personal experience.

To travel in today’s world, you must reorganize priorities by taking a step back to observe your monthly expenses.  What will it take to buy that next plane ticket?  You decide.  And if you really want it, whatever lifestyle that may be, it’s possible.  Travelers know that if there’s a will there’s a way.  The most expensive purchase will be that plane ticket to get you started, whether it’s a roundtrip itinerary or the elusive one-way journey casting away those monthly dues.


10 Online Magazines That Survived (& will continue to survive) the Writer’s Market

It is often daunting to think of presenting your personality to an audience, whether in the form of art such as painting, drawing or sculpting, down to the very basics of speaking a hand-written speech to a rabble of family, friends and strangers.  You express.  You divulge in a passion.  But are you ready to share?

As a writer, you are an artist with words.  They are your tools like a paintbrush is to a painter.  And language is your color palette; a vast choice of styles, techniques and individuality.  Once the order is composed, the structure aligned and your voice vibrant with character, it’s time to reveal your creation and share.

But how?  What’s next is the submission process to expose your artistic skill as a writer to audiences that will gain a new perspective and understanding, and hopefully appreciate your abilities.  Below is a list of publications that cater to the adventurous, the culture dwelling, and the storyteller of the senses—lived by travelers, composed by travelers and read by travelers.  These peoples are your friends, and they’re hear to assist you in your passion.

Action 1 (Mandagho-Peace)

Travel Explorations
Want to expose the fearful? is an online magazine devoted to shedding grassroots light where there is media darkness, revealing a culture from behind the iron curtain by true explorers.  Real travel.  Real adventure.  Real investigation by undercurrent people.  No mainstream bullshit here.
Editor(s): Geir Moen & Stein Morten Lund
Submissions: Compose an article about your adventure, an exploration—a journey into the heart of “darkness”.  Spice it with your soul at 1,000-1,500 words and email the symphonic words to

Inside Out Magazine

By backpackers and the independent wayfarers, this bimonthly publication is for those who prefer the new versus the old.  Instead of consuming, collecting and rotting within the four walls of daily routine, sell your shit, hit the road with a new lifestyle on your back and begin exploring the cultures of this planet.  Ready to share?
Editor(s): Helene Goupil
Submissions: Briefs, tips and facts; destinations to languages, health to the traveler’s life—pull your words into a structured alignment for the budgeteer and send it off to  Upon publication you’ll receive $10-$20 for your expenses.

Go World Travel Magazine

“Honest, down-to-earth descriptive writing” is the focus of this magazine.  Prizing intelligent composition, wants more than the How to get there and the What to do.  They want the picture of a back alley in Fez painted in twilight mood and a spice market within Kashmir to tickle your nose and water your eyes—all with words.
Editor(s): Mim Swartz, Rachel Barbara & Sheri L. Thompson
Submissions: Travel within the last two years is good for description, so recall your memory or sculpt a new journey within a 500-1200 word article.  Check your facts before shipping it to  Include article location in the e-mail subject line with your pasted manuscript, word count, brief author biography and whether images are available.  $35-$50 upon publication.

The Cultured Traveler
Whether freelance or tour host/travel agency, works around a monthly editorial calendar with theme-based publications searching for stories about the unexpected, the bizarre and the eclectic.  Not only anecdotes, but facts, tips and resources are necessary for the all-around traveler’s account.
Editor(s): Patrick Totty
Submissions: With the regal elegance of an opera performance, conduct your language into a 1,000-3,000 word count and invest in the guidelines.  Specifics here, so follow the formats on the submissions page and prepare for edits, rewrites and a $25 sum after publication.

Travel Outward
Looking for a story of the senses portraying a unique destination combined with history, culture, people and your own melodic adventure? is a place for your craft to evolve, develop and be shared via publication, focusing on that preferred destination.  This is not a place to divulge romantic sojourns in the arms of the jet stream’s cherubs, but a community narrowed down to intelligence and knowledge.
Editor(s): Laurence Constable & Harman Stinson
Submissions: Features from 1,500-2,500 words should be attached to an email to Travel Outward as a Word doc. that includes a brief bio with “Submission” in the subject line.

Devotion 3 (Statues-of-Chinta)

EscapeArtist Travel Magazine
Not for the faint hearted, seeks the daring, the challenging, those who live, travel and express on the edge…possibly the cusp of insanity.  But the publication is not out to offend, simply to present intelligent writing about culture with history, purpose and flares of risqué.
Editor(s): n/a
Submissions: An article between 1,500-3,000 words flavored with the ribald and the daring that highlights a cultural expedition through the heart of the unknown.  Should be completed and either faxed or sent via email.  Check the Article Submission page for specifics.

Welcome to the worldwide writer’s circle of fellow explorers.  Set up as an online magazine, wants whatever you got, as long as it reads well, structured with a unique perspective and offers an angle that is possibly more esoteric than your standard publication.
Editor(s): Jack Barker
Submissions:  Travel away, then write away.  If your article is interesting, unique, lively, filled with senses and intelligently composed at an approximate word count of 2,000 send ‘err off in an email with accompanying photographs to

InTheFray Magazine
At, writers are provided with a plethora of categories from reporting international news to travel narratives and today’s evolving art world.  This publication seeks everything that is cleverly written and allows readers to be a part of a progressive evolution.  Race, gender, activism, sexuality and ecological impacts are center stage.
Editor(s): Vivian Wagner, Annette Marie Hyder, Anja Tranovich, Matthew Heller, Liz Yuan & Naomi Ishiguro
Submissions: Check out the various sections featured in the publication, format your article to its specifics and submit your finalized piece including full name, email address and phone number to the designated editor of your selected category.  Pay ranges between $20-$75.

Get Lost Magazine
Seeking travel, adventure, natural history and lifestyle writing, is an award-winner with stories ranging from the basic facts and tips to the more daring adventure of description and risk.  Who eats acorns?  One man does, and he chose to write about it, discovering flavors akin to billy goat semen.  Not sure about either of those tastes.
Editor(s): Leslie Strom
Submissions:  Articles should be under 1,000 words and fall into the distinguished character of “top-notch”.  Paste article into the body of an email with accompanying photographs formatted as .jpeg or .gif and send to  Don’t expect payment upon publication.

In The Know Traveler
You wanna be In The Know.  Readers wanna be In The Know.  So get In The Know and write to inspire.’s number one priority is to inspire travel with acceptance and appreciation.  Readers of this online magazine want to learn about the world’s diverse cultures and those funky destinations, not in investigative reporting, but in the skillfully written articles about your traveling.
Editor(s): n/a
Submission: Correct grammar and punctuation, somewhere between 400-600 words, and send it on in with photographs to  Time to get published, but before you receive a whopping $10, be prepared to edit to the editors liking.  Then you’re In The Know.

Pain 1 (Thoughts-of-Another-Home)

Advice?  Keep traveling.  Keep writing.  Keep photographing.  Keep doing whatever you’re doing as long as you’re happy and respecting those around you.  You’ll be in the know no matter who publishes you.  Such is the traveler’s life.