Lisa Burns views the world through a wandering lens


Lisa Michele Burns is an Australian travel and underwater photography who publishes a guide to photographing the world at The Wandering Lens. Here she shares photography tips, techniques and writes guides listing the most photogenic locations and outdoor experiences.

Want to take better photos? Take a workshop with the wonderful Lisa Michele Burns from The Wandering Lens. Lisa Niver traveled with her in Europe on a Viking River Cruise and Burns creates incredible photos. Want to share one of your favorite photos? Enter the FIRST We Said Go Travel Photo Award!

1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)

When I was 15, I went to Japan and stayed with a host family to learn Japanese in Sapporo. The culture, language, cuisine and historic cities instantly made me want to see more of the world and it was from that trip that I became sure travel would be a huge part of my life.

2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?

Greenland or Antarctica, and I’d love to photograph icebergs from the water. I’m a little obsessed with capturing the world from the water and icebergs are such a fascinating subject with their deceiving size above water hiding a huge frozen beauty below. The fact these locations are a difficult to access makes it all the more thrilling and somewhere I really hope to photograph one day.

3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?

I went through a stage about two years ago where I was instantly afraid of flying, something I’ve always loved. I’m talking the crippling fear where you shake, cry and can’t logically see reason. It was set off by a horrible experience on a small plane in extreme turbulence but the only way to overcome it was to fly more. Stepping on the plane again no matter how scared I was went a long way towards overcoming my fear, and now after 50+ flights, I’m so much calmer about the experience and am starting to love flying all over again…which is lucky since my job revolves around it!

4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?

I’m not such a technology reliant traveler, I do use Google Maps regularly but apart from Instagram and Facebook that’s about it. Actually, I lie. When I’m photographing the aurora I have the ‘Aurora Forecast’ app open all night! It’s so helpful in letting you know your chances of seeing aurora, tells you the strength of the aurora in your area and what the percentage is of seeing the dancing green waves of magic. It’s basically a tool to let you know if it’s okay to sleep or if you’re going to be up all night taking photos!

5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?

That’s a tricky question because I find a lot of the special places are special because they don’t have crowds. Finding locations that you can enjoy on your own or in a small group is when the magic happens.

I recently visited the Bay of Uig on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland and was completely blown away by its rugged beauty. Like stepping back to a time when WIFI didn’t exist, phone signal was non-existent and there’s nothing but a beautiful coastline, sheep filled hills and white sandy beaches to explore.

6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?

To just go and see what happens. My parents told me this before I set off on my first solo trip at 18. At the airport I suddenly had doubts about flying from Australia all the way to Europe, and if it wasn’t for their little push to simply just go, I may never have boarded the flight. The ability to take things as they come and just see what happens is something I’ve learnt to develop as I continue my travels…all the good and bad rolls into one big adventure!

7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?

For me it’s the people you meet in unexpected places. Whether it’s sitting at the immigration center, on a plane, in the line for the bathroom…just having a chat is something I love when traveling. With phones in our hands almost constantly now the number of people who look up and smile is starting to drop, so when you do get to have that one little chat and insight into someone’s life it’s pretty special.

8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?

It’s the endless search for landscapes and cultures to photograph. I’ve never had my heart set on one specific place, I want to see it all and am so excited that I’ve got so much left to witness.

For the past two years, I’ve been based in France which has been such an amazing experience. There’s always something happening whether it’s the daily markets, the open squares filled with cafes or just lively locals talking in French, something I still love listening to and don’t think will ever get old.

9.)I travel because….

It’s an addiction. Really. There’s always somewhere new to photograph or places to revisit and capture in a new light or season.

Lastly, can you please recommend a resource for up-and-coming travel writers; this could be a course you know, a book, conference etc. 

I love reading James Durston’s website Travel Write Earn. As the previous editor for CNN Travel, he shares insights into the mind of an editor, how to pitch and does so with a tone that’s really entertaining. He’s also got a book ‘How to Be a Successful Travel Writer’ that is such a great resource to have!

Lisa Michele Burns is a photographer specializing in underwater and landscape travel photography, and is in constant search of amazing scenery to capture through her wandering lens.

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Lori Leroy

Lori Green LeRoy is a mom to two young boys, and currently indoctrinating them into the wonder and awe of exploring the world, so far 27 states and 11 countries. She writes travel pieces for several websites as well as her own blog:

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