Cook Islands – Photo Tip

Experiment with reflections and backlighting outdoors

The award-winning Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki is one of the more than 20 guest accommodations on Aitutaki, which has been nicknamed "Honeymoon Island". The islanders here consider life on Rarotonga is too busy and materialistic.

Photo by Sergi Reboredo

Cook Islands – Photo Tip

Experiment with reflections and backlighting outdoors

The best light is always early in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is setting.

Sergi Reboredo
Sergi Reboredo Travel Photographer

In low light, a tripod will help you get a good shot at a low ISO. A polarizing filter helps to control glare on reflective surfaces or at least reduce its strength. A gradient filter will also stop the sky being over-exposed. If you do not have a filter, shoot at two different exposures and then combine them in post-production.

Purists may object, but it is the same technique as once used in the darkroom. As for the composition, nothing is better than using symmetry. Let the reflected portion occupy at least half of the photo, or even most of it.

For backlighting, the first thing to consider is if you want to leave the people or any other objects in the picture perfectly silhouetted in black against the sun with no detail. If so, you only need to take your exposure setting from the brightest part (don't look into the sun, obviously), or even underexpose a stop, to maximize contrast. If you want to save the shadows, use a fill-in flash.

As for the composition, nothing is better than using symmetry.

The Little Polynesian Resort on the southern side of Rarotonga is one of the many resorts seeing an...

The Little Polynesian Resort on the southern side of Rarotonga is one of the many resorts seeing an increase in visitors. Around half of the island's tourists still come from New Zealand but growing numbers are arriving from Australia and North America, while Europeans average about six per cent. Photo by Sergi Reboredo

Sergi Reboredo

Sergi Reboredo

Nikon D800

Aperture
ƒ/11
Exposure
1/800
ISO
400
Focal
35 mm

The Little Polynesian Resort on the southern side of Rarotonga is one of the many resorts seeing an increase in visitors. Around half of the island's tourists still come from New Zealand but growing numbers are arriving from Australia and North America, while Europeans average about six per cent.