Photography should always be a part of travel preparation.
At the risk of saying the bleeding obvious, ensuring that you return with good photographs greatly enhances the travel experience.
For example, we recently switched to what is broadly known as a ‘Wifi action camera’ and hope to take our travel photos to the next level.
We changed from traditional photography because fellow travellers told us that action cameras had dramatically improved their travel photos.
And, although we are still well and truly in the novice stage, the results certainly look promising.
For a start, ‘Wifi action cameras’ have an ultra-wide angle lens, which gives a totally different perspective – with far more surroundings in the frame.
The cameras are tiny, which allows them to conveniently and inconspicuously fit in a small bag or even a pocket.
Most give out a Wifi signal which can be linked to a smartphone or a remote control.
By watching the phone, you can view what the camera is seeing – and then take the photo by pressing the phone screen.
If you wish, the photo or video can then be uploaded immediately as email attachments -or to Instagram or other social media.
We chose a GoPro camera, but there are other similar products on the market.
Many of the Wifi action cameras are waterproof to a certain depth (minus the smartphone) for use while snorkeling and have adhesive mounts that allow them to be fitted to a head, chest, wrist or ankle strap.
This is the reason for the stunning photographs – taken from almost unbelievable angles -that have become synonymous with surfing, cycling, diving and action sports in general over recent years.
Now they are moving into the mainstream photography world, where their small size and flexibility is appealing to photographers of all ages – even grey nomads like us.
In our case, the camera is mainly attached to a more sedate handgrip that doubles as a tripod.
We don’t expect to be parachuting, ballooning, or riding bikes down a mountainside, but hope the technology and convenience of the camera will make it ideal for travel photos.
Keep watching and we’ll let you know how it works out.
One thing we have learned is that Wifi action cameras need regular charging, just like your phone.
And, because they can take multiple photos at lightning speed combined with high quality video, it’s also wise to purchase a 64 or 80 gigabyte micro SD card (or two)
Wifi action cameras also change your thoughts on photo composition.
For example, to get the best out of the wide-angle lens, you need to bring the camera closer and lower to the subject than normal. This gives the images a realistic and particularly striking appearance.
Watch for upcoming reviews of our camera and its effectiveness as a tool for older travellers.
Whether they’ve ever been to the opera or not, most people have marvelled at an opera house or two.
Throughout the world, opera houses are among the most gorgeous and significant buildings imaginable.
These are eight European masterpieces we’ve had the fortune to visit – and recommend:
Teatro Alla Scala (Milan, Italy)
Photo: courtesy: Flickr O2ma
Empress Maria Theresa of Austria founded Milan’s legendary opera house in 1778.
It is an awesome building, perfectly in keeping with Milan’s reputation for class, quality and refinement.
Palais Garnier (Paris, France)
Probably the most famous opera house in the world, in no small part because of its setting for the novel and musical, Phantom of the Opera, this opulent building was a key part of the Paris of the Grand Boulevards, designed under Emperor Napoleon III.
It is now used mainly for ballet. We have been fortunate to visit several times. Don’t miss this one if you are visiting beautiful Paris.
Royal Opera House (London, England)
Photo: courtesy Wikimedia Silktalk
An opera house has stood on the present location at Covent Garden since the early 18th century.
Designed in the English Baroque architectural style, the building’s façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858.
Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna, Austria)
Located in the centre of Vienna, this stately building was originally called the Court Opera.
In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Republic of Austria, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera.
Members of the world famous Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra. A tour of Wiener Staatsoper is a traditional highlight of a visit to Vienna.
Operaen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Copyright: Memorable Destination
Copenhagen Opera House is the national opera house of Denmark and among the most modern in the world.
It is said to have cost more than US$500 million and sits on the island of Holmen in central Copenhagen.
Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin, Germany)
Copyright: Memorable Destination
Located on the Unter den Linden boulevard in the Mitte district of Berlin, this opera house originally dates to 1741.
Destroyed by bombing in World War II, it reopened in baroque style in 1955.
Teatro La Fenice (Venice, Italy)
Photo: courtesy Wikimedia Remi Mathis
One of the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of opera, this striking building marks the site of Venetian theatres that date back to the 1730’s.
In the 19th century especially, La Fenice became the site of many famous operatic premieres. It is one of the best known buildings in the beautiful city of Venice.
Státní opera (Prague, Czech Republic)
Photo: courtesy Wikimedia AndreasPraefcke
Opened in 1888 as the New German Theatre, this building is now officially known as the Prague State Opera.
About 300 performances are staged here each year.
Other notable European opera houses that we haven’t visited include the Bolshoi in Moscow, Russia (shown below this paragraph); the Teatro Di San Carlo in Naples, Italy; the Opera Royal de Versailles in France; and the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest.