It is one of the things I have never really liked about SLR cameras – they are big. Trying to blend into a scene in a place like Asia, when you are white like me and 6 feet 2 inches tall, isn’t the easiest thing to do. Even more so with a SLR camera hanging off your shoulder. And while I always dress down / more like the locals when I’m travelling (my wife can’t wait for me to get rid of some of my thread bare pants and long sleeve shirts – a staple for travel in Asia), having a big chunk of sophisticated looking camera gear hanging off your shoulder just screams ‘photographer’ or ‘tourist’.
When I’ve used point-and-shoot cameras, I have noticed that people tend to pay less attention to me. I’m sure this is because so many people these days have either a point-a-shoot or a camera phone.
Whatever the reason, I have been investigating smaller camera options for my upcoming multi-month trip to Asia next year. I need something smaller (Fuji X100 size or smaller), not only for the weight (this is a light weight trip gear wise), but also so I can blend in a little easier while on the ground.
The irony of course, is that before I became a photographer, all I wanted was a modern SLR. Now that I’ve spent a few years with such gear, all I want now is a smaller camera with the feature set of my SLR’s.
“Shortly after arriving in the Cook Islands, I went out for a surf at one of the local surf breaks. Sitting on my board surrounded by the cerulean coloured waters, I knew I had to get myself a water housing and get into water photography during my year long stay.
Water photography all begins with the type of photography you want to do. Generally speaking, water housings are divided into those that can be taken to depth (scuba diving) and those that can’t (surf photography). The difference centers around the way the housings are made, which also relates to the final cost of the housing.
As I was interested in surf photography, my choice was simple: I needed to buy what is called a splash water housing. Though it is one hundred percent water proof, the housing cannot be taken deeper than about 3 or 4-meters.
Deciding on which housing to buy and what lens/port combination to use, is not an easy thing when you can’t physically look at the housings or rent one out for the day. To help me with my decision, I started by looking at similar work produced by other photographers. In this case, Dave Collyer and Nick Hall. After a long phone conversation with Dave and an email exchange with Nick, I came to two decisions:
I would stick with my 12-24 mm Nikon f4 lens and forgo buying a fisheye lens (for now)
I would buy a dome without the focal lens adjustment (though these are available, the manufacturers themselves don’t really recommend them for surf photography).
Via PanAm, is one photographers journey from the tip of South America to the top of Alaska, over a 40-week period.
At first, it bugged me that I had to get the iPad app to view the extra stories, for the simple fact I don’t have an iPad. As a content provider myself though, I understand the rationale of trying to monetise some of the content from the photographers work (the app sells for $3.99 and has had 600 buyers to date).
Definitely worth a look and if you have an iPad, you have the option of accessing more great content.