Travel Insurance Direct (TID) Photographer and Brand Ambassador

When Travel Insurance Direct (TID) asked me if I could be a Brand Ambassador who provided photography advice to their online community & TID could share my travel photos in their social media marketing it seemed a natural fit.

I have purchased many TID travel insurance policies across the years for my trips around Australia and the World, including my recent big trip to Iceland during which my thumb accidentally got smashed and TID covered several hundred dollars of medical expenses.

The following is a Q&A article I answered for the TID blog.

Tell us a bit about yourself (Name, age, home town, profession)

My name is Neerav Bhatt. I was born in Kenya 32 years ago, lived in Canada for a few years and almost a year in the UK after finishing my first University degree. My home town is Sydney, Australia.

During the last year and a half I’ve been an IT Analyst and Photographer at the University of NSW Engineering faculty. Prior to that I’ve worked in many areas including being a Journalist, Travel Photographer, Political staffer, Research Librarian and Professional Blogger.

Neerav Bhatt - Rainbow at Dettifoss waterfall Vatnajökull National Park Northeast Iceland

How did you get started in photography?

I started learning about photography 15 years ago when film photography was still popular. Learning photography was very expensive back in those days as every 24/36 photos you had processed cost money to print. You couldn’t just try out lots of camera settings and delete bad photos immediately at no cost like you can on a digital camera.

What do you enjoy about photography?

There are many aspects of photography I enjoy but one of the main aspects is being able to capture a moment in a way that expresses strong emotions. A great example is the photo below where I’m standing at the edge of a plateau overlooking Samara Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

What kind of photography do you enjoy? (ie. landscapes, nature, urban etc).

Initially I concentrated on landscape and wildlife photography but over time I’ve also grown to enjoy taking photos of cities and people.

Where has your photography taken you around the world and what has been your favourite destination?

Neerav Bhatt - Green Northern Lights Aurora Borealis - viewed from Mývatn, North Iceland

I have travelled in over 20 countries and had many great experiences: from seeing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in Iceland to walking across Wolfe Creek Meteorite Impact Crater in the remote North of Western Australia. It would be unfair to choose a favourite from all these diverse places.

Wolfe Creek Impact Crater Panorama - Side View

What kind of camera do you use and why do you like it?

My main camera is a Canon 6D Digital SLR with these lenses : 24-70mm f/2.8L II, 70-300L and 40m pancake.

I chose the Canon 6D because it has the same top quality imaging sensor as the Canon 5D MkIII but is lighter and has built-in GPS for embedding location information in photos as well as built-in WiFi photo sharing to a phone/tablet for sharing special shots quickly on social media.

The 24-70mm f/2.8L II is my main lens because it’s reasonably wide but also remains fast f2.8 all the way through optically zooming to 70mm.

Vernal Falls with Rainbow, Yosemite National Park

My 70-300L zoom lens is amazingly compact for a long lens and lets me zoom in closer to wildlife and sporting events.
Currawong in flight - Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains

What are some tips for selecting a good camera?

The best camera is the one you have with you at the time. You don’t need a super expensive camera to take great photos and if all you have is a smartphone then do the best you can with that.

As mentioned above I have a serious digital SLR camera with quite expensive professional lenses.
However I also have another camera, a much cheaper pocketable Olympus TG-2 which I use in wet, dusty or otherwise hostile environments.

I took one of my favourite ever panoramic photos a few years ago using this camera in Monument Valley, Navajo Nation, USA. The panorama was created by taking lots of overlapping vertical photos and then stitching them together on my laptop using free Microsoft ICE software.

Sunset Panorama Monument Valley, Navajo Nation.

Where are some great locations in Australia to shoot/practise photography?

I have been to every state in Australia as well as NT and ACT. We are very lucky in Australia to have such diverse landscapes to visit, meet the locals and take photos.

From the Snowy Mountains in winter, the dust and baking heat of the Outback red centre to the cities around the edges of our huge Australian continent there are countless places to explore.

As Ernie Dingo famously said when promoting the NT “You’ll Never Never Know, if You Never Never Go”.

What are 3 tips for taking great travel photos?

Practice a lot, have patience and never think that you can’t learn anymore about photography. I’m always learning new tricks and improving my technique. Even if you get quite good at one kind of photography there will always be other areas to learn about.

Follow Neerav Bhatt on Flickr to see his latest photos and Twitter to read interesting articles he shares. Neerav’s 2015 travel plans include walking in the West Tasmania wilderness and exploring Japan by Shinkansen (bullet train).

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