If you asked people to describe what paradise would look like, the chances are that a lot of them would envision something just like Mauritius. Pristine white sand beaches, magnificent scenery and a laid back lifestyle; the small island nation simply has so much to offer. What’s more, with Mauritius being such a visually stunning place, there’s an abundance of excellent photography opportunities available when holidaying on this lush, green little island.
The two professionals who we’ve got in touch with are Lenise Calleja and Ken Thorne. Lenise is based in Zurrieq, Malta, and we first discovered her Mauritius Collection online several months ago, and have been eager to get in touch to ask her a few tips ever since. Ken has also compiled some astonishing photographs of Mauritius in his collection, and had some fascinating advice on how to get the best shots of the island. So, without further ado, here’s what these two photographers had to say.
What tips would you give to someone trying to capture the beauty of a Mauritian landscape?
Lenise Calleja: The heart of Mauritius offers some spectacular landscapes, and from the hills you can shoot the greenery and mountains with the clear blue waters as a backdrop. Being prepared is the best tip I can give to everyone wanting to get the best shots during a trip. Search the internet to get an idea of the best places to shoot and get inspired. Also, it’s easy to drive in Mauritius, so renting a car and self-drive is the best way to get around at your own pace.
Ken Thorne: My advice would be to get up high for a better perspective. Mauritius offers incredible landscape vistas that are easily accessible by car, or hikes for the more adventurous. Time your hikes with the best light, and take advantage of the contrasting green mountains on the surrounding blue ocean. Take your time composing your shot. That could mean using some trees in the foreground to give the photograph more depth, or taking a few steps in either direction to get the frame exactly how you want it.
Which places in Mauritius offer the best opportunities to take a great photograph?
Ken Thorne: Anywhere your heart takes you. Get off the beaten path and discover Mauritius for yourself. Whether it is the hustle of Port Louis, or the serenity of the Black River Gorges National Park, it’s very easy to rent a car and drive along the coast or into the soul of the island. Meet the locals and see what they recommend, as well as exploring the natural surroundings in Mauritius for yourself.
Lenise Calleja: Despite its small size, Mauritius offers a huge number of photographic opportunities. Getting from one place to another doesn’t take long, so exploring the entire island is easy. My favourite places are Belle Mare Plage, Grande Baie, Port Louis, Black River Gorges National Park, Flic en Flac and Le Morne. However my favourite moment was an unexpected stop I made during Ganesha celebrations, where I learned a lot about the Hindu religion that essential to Mauritian culture.
What is the best way to capture the crystal clear waters around Mauritius’ coastline?
Lenise Calleja: The location of your accommodation is of vital importance. It’s ideal to be somewhere where you can travel, as well as somewhere with access to a variety of coastal areas. It’s amazing to visit the west coast in the afternoon to capture the perfect light on the sand. As an extra tool to capture better photos of crystal clear waters, a polarizing filter to add to your lens is very handy.
Ken Thorne: I agree that a polarizing filter is a must to reduce glare and enhance the contrast of the sky and water. Photograph when the water is calm or when the waves breaking on the reef are large. Don’t forget your tripod for long exposures that blend the waves to give a soft, blurred effect. For more dramatic images, book a boat tour or grab a snorkel and a water housing for your camera.
What advice would you give people wanting to capture the vibrancy of Mauritius’ greenery?
Ken Thorne: It is easy to surround yourself in beautiful sugar cane fields when in Mauritius, which provide an interesting foreground or background, so travelling to Mauritius when the cane is high is a good idea. It’s best to explore the mountain ranges by foot or by car, and be sure to bring a wide angle lens for capturing magnificent views from the top of these mountain jungles.
Lenise Calleja: The southern part of the island – especially the Black River Gorges National Park – is the best place to experience the greenery of the island. The park has wonderful waterfalls and also the Chamarel Seven Coloured earth, a unique geological formation. When you’re there, it’s great to capture some shots of the endemic wildlife, or of the views from its peaks.
How would you recommend photographing a Mauritian Beach?
Lenise Calleja: Photographing beaches in Mauritius involves research beforehand, as for all destinations. I carry out a lot of research before I travel, knowing the times of sunrise and sunset, along with the direction a beach is facing is essential. Staying at a beachside resort really helps, as you can easily access the beach at the perfect time.
Ken Thorne: For me, it’s all about getting to know your surroundings. Take the time to enjoy a location and find the unique angles that capture its beauty. Think about what stands out, and what specifically captures your interest. Be observant and look for things that others miss. Simplify your composition to focus on one subject, and you’ll avoid distracting elements in your shot.
What is the best time of day to film in Mauritius?
Ken Thorne: I’d advise to shoot within the golden hours around sunrise and sunset, which provide very dramatic lighting. The colours surrounding the ocean during this time can be stunning and add greatly to the photograph. This often means waking up early to get the most unique shots, or hanging around the beach when most people have already gone.
Lenise Calleja: I agree that sunsets and sunrises are the best times, especially on beaches. When the sun descends in the ocean, the reddish hues in the sky and on the sands create a very unique atmosphere. Moreover, beaches are less crowded during these times (especially at sunrise) so your images won’t contain any distracting elements.
If you’re planning a holiday to Mauritius, keep these handy tips in mind, and you’ll be sure to take some photos to be proud of when heading out for yourself. These pictures will not only allow you to capture your wonderful holiday in all its glory, but they’ll also remind you of great memories for years to come, and might even inspire you to return to the island paradise again one day.
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