Long ago on a college campus in an old ROTC building where the freshman art students met, a professor challenged this freshman art student to go out and capture the details in a sketch. His directive was that we find a patch of turf, focus our view on a 6x6 inch area and draw what we saw. His objective was to make us more aware of the details in our surroundings, the little things often overlooked. It was a good lesson in many ways.
Today as I take camera in hand, I often think back to that lesson and look for subjects that show more detail in my pictures and of course still lend to the understanding of the place I'm visiting. For example bicycles were the preferred mode of transportation in Amsterdam and I snapped the picture here with flowers growing up through the wheels of one parked in a bike rack. A much prettier way to remember all the bikes.
Most cameras as well as smartphones and tablets will allow you to zoom in on the details you want to capture. It makes for some nice compositions. And if you don't get it right when you snap the picture, you have a second chance with your computer software to crop, enlarge, zoom, etc. Did I mention I love digital pictures?
The next time you have some free time on a trip try sitting in one spot a few minutes and look around you. Look for the details instead of the big picture. What story will your picture tell about the place you are visiting?
Before I leave the artsy part of this I have one more suggestion. When photographing people it is sometimes better to make the picture black and white. Black and white photography often tells a story more dramatically than color. Your eye goes to the story in the picture rather than the pretty colors. While cameras often allow that option when you snap the picture, I would suggest taking it in color and then playing with the black and white or even sepia color on your computer software.
Now go, capture, make something beautiful and tell the story. You can do it!