Some of the stories of how we record parts of our Vagabonding journey in pictures.
Every picture tells a tale I have heard it said. In this blog I’ve picked a few pictures than mean something and added their background and story. This is not a catalogue of the most meaningful pictures or the best pictures, just some pictures we have with a story attached.
As we traverse this vast and spectacular land I often look out the window of the car while we are driving and see something amazing. I think about stopping to take a picture of this amazing thing we just saw but if I did that every time we’d only get 10 kilometres a day. As we drive past the amazing thing I recall the introduction to “Sahara”, a photography book by Basil Pao. Basil was the photographer on all Michael Palin’s televised journeys. The intro went along the lines of this, “while we are travelling every turn we take I see a perfect scene, a scene that I’d love to stop and set up my camera and capture. However the crew just keep on driving and I miss the picture and eventually I realise that me, taking that picture, is not the purpose of this journey.” So we drive on and commit another amazing scene to memory.
One of fun things I like to do as we travel is taking pictures, another is writing about our travels. These interests also help keep a record of where we have been and what we have done. Almost like keeping a journal.
As I write this bit we’ve been travelling 604 days. I carry a camera almost everywhere as we travel. I take a lot of pictures of our travels, Jenni takes pictures too, and in many different scenarios and circumstances.
I’ve come to understand Travel Photography isn’t one particular type of photography genre. It’s every type. Documentary, Candid, Street, Landscape, Sports, Concert, Portrait, Low Light, Astro Photography, Macro, it’s all of these and more. Maybe not wedding photography but who knows, it may happen.
We do not carry specialist photographic kit. I have a small entry level Olympus mirrorless camera with a cheap travel zoom lens and one other good lens I use for low light and concerts. Jenni and I have camera’s on our phones. Many of the shots in the blogs are from the phones.
What’s the Point?
Almost every great picture I see in magazines and on the internet has been meticulously planned, executed and manipulated. Sunrise pictures taken at the precise moment after waiting for 3 hours with a camera replete with graduated filters and using focus stacking techniques and 2 hours in Photoshop to make it look amazing. It took me a while to realise I cannot take these types of pictures on our travels but I can learn from them, I can make the best of what I can see with whatever camera I have with me at the time and take as good a picture as I can by using a little care and technique. I like to learn new skills, this trip is another opportunity do do that with photography.
When we travel, the purpose of the journey is not taking pictures, it is the journey itself. The picture taking opportunities are when we have time and are secondary. When we stop, when we go for a walk, wherever we happen to be at that time. The times we are out and about it is often not ideal photo taking weather. It is frequently too bright or too dark or raining or full of people or for any number of reasons, not a perfect environment for a perfect shot. But, we take the picture anyway. It’s for us, not for critical photographic analysis. This pic below, snapped out of the window means more to me than the technically better shots. Because it has a personal significance, its not just a picture.
So that’s the point. Do as good a job as you can, at the time you are present, with whatever camera you have with you at the time. They won’t always be amazing, they do not need to be, but they will be memories, and that’s the point of them.
Some pictures are technically quite difficult, well, for me that is. But the ones I found challenging that I like the most usually look like snaps taken on a phone. Like this one below. Sun low on the right, this side of the stone in deep shadow. Looks like phone pic probably. But again, don’t care. I remember the challenge and it came out ok.
What’s in my kit bag?
The camera I carry round the most is my entry level Olympus OM-D EM10 Mkii camera with a travel lens 14-150mm. I take 90% of my daytime pics with this set up and most of the blog pics.
I also have a 17mm f1.8 for astrophotography and a 14-42mm f2.8 for general walking around and landscapes but mostly for concerts as it’s great in low light. It really helped me nail this picture at Panama Festival last year.
I still carry my original big bulky travel camera set up the Nikon D7200 and it’s travel lens which is a 15-300mm. Bloody great camera. Should really trade it in but I love using it too much. Having said that it only comes out of the bag very rarely.
When I go through my pictures I find it hard to tell which one comes from which camera. Some I can tell because the Nikon has a dead pixel I can spot buts that all the difference I can see
I have a Manfrotto Tripod and a Gorillapod gadget tripod that clamps around anything for selfies etc. I rarely use them except for the astro.
As I said the Olympus and travel lens takes all all the standard pics I need. Not sure of the cost, probably $750 Australian dollars new for both. That’s about £400 Brexit currency or $500 US dollars