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Not To Be Underestimated, The Cost Of Travel Photography

An amazing landscape just waiting to be explored with some of the best trekking possibilities worldwide. I knew that this was to be a favourite landscaping destination.

19

JANUARY, 2013

He who wants the best quality photographic results has to endure lugging a big rucksack or case around full of a that essential equipment. I do try to reduce the weight wherever possible but at the end of the day I just end up saving on my clothing. The cost of such DSLR equipment is also heavy, not to mention the travelling aspect, insurance, admission fees, food, accommodation plus the energy one spends once there.

Hi folks, it’s been a while since my last offering but time just flies & leaves little time for blogging in recent times. As you might have noticed, the diary from my America trip has been pretty much neglected. I hope to correct this at some stage this year but now I’m set for my next trip. This time I’m off to sunny Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in February to escape the German winter for a week.

The reason for the title of this article is to demonstrate the typical run of things before a trip materialises into reality. Just as I thought I had everything that one needs in the form of photographic equipment my thoughts for the new year were to spend more time on travelling & less, a lot less on equipment. Shortly after Christmas I decided it would make a change to fly somewhere in winter where it is warm. I decided on a week in Dubai. Why Dubai I hear you ask? Well, for a number of reasons, first of all I didn’t want to fly too far as it is only a short break lasting a week. Another reason is that Dubai is one of if not the most exciting city worldwide at present in terms of photographic possibilities. Dubai has an ultra modern skyline, many fascinating architectural highlights, a lot of luxury too but also cultural aspects that are very stimulating for the travel photographer.

There is a saying that the most difficult part of travelling is just going. This is only partly true, I think probably most of us want to travel but are too comfortable at home, playing games on the computer, sitting in front of the TV watching what others do, basically trying to escape the normal daily things & it is easier to go out to the disco or cinema or meet friends. I too am guilty of this at times but another drawback keeps one from not travelling….the expense. Although it isn’t so expensive to book a flight these days to somewhere exotic, this is just the first of a chain of expenses that most people don’t realize in advance. If you are like myself & travel independently to experience the many facets of a country in your face then there are added expenses of inland trips with planes, rental cars, buses & rail. Being a photographer you need to take the best equipment money can buy to document every event in the best possible quality. This can become a very expensive hobby as in my case.

I have just upgraded from the Nikon D700, a beautiful piece of kit to the D800 which in my opinion is a Landscape photographers dream come true. High resolution, high dynamic range, professional filming features & a super noise reduction that makes taking pictures in low light a pleasure. Add to this a set of professional Nikon lenses suited to FX cameras plus a second body, the trusty D700 & numerous accessories including batteries, carbon tripod, ball head, cable release, flash, CF cards, filters, pano head, etc, etc then you can imagine that not only is this hobby expensive but you also need to have a strong back to carry this stuff around.

After booking a trip you realize that you need this & that, things that you missed on your last trip, weight savers, efficiency improvements, things that you need specifically for certain trips & situations. Add to this as in my case with Dubai a flight over the city in a helicopter or light aircraft, plus entry costs to museums or attractions then it sums up to a hefty sum. Not that I’m complaining, on the contrary, you get what you pay for normally.

Last year I realized a dream in travelling around the South West of America three weeks long, a fantastic journey with many positive experiences meeting many interesting personalities along the way. Two days before flying home my laptop broke down in Las Vegas. Thank God I had backed up all files onto two external hard-drives, none the less a real bummer, something like this had never happened before.

This time around flying to Dubai I have a problem, no laptop, shit! CF cards are cheap but for the amount of data that I will be shooting with the D800 I would need to buy at least 10x32GB and that is still more expensive than a new Netbook. I would like to travel without a laptop, they are heavy & cumbersome, need a big AC adaptor, a mouse, plus the two external hard-drives. I decided that this time an external photo backup would be the answer, CF card from camera direct to the device backed up onto the device within minutes, thus saving buying extra CF cards. Of course such a device isn’t cheap but practical & weight saving, hopefully also reliable. There we have it, as soon as the trip has been booked extra expenses appear for equipment & this is something that will always happen I presume.

It sounds quite negative what I am describing here I know, I just want to point out that those who want to follow in my footsteps into the most interesting, exciting, fulfilling hobby that anyone can imagine, that this too has it’s hurdles. Travel photography sounds very romantic, everyday a new destination, new acquaintances, new experiences, super imagery & this is all true but hauling up to 8kg of camera equipment around with you all day & now & again drawbacks due to delayed flights, hidden costs, bad weather & failing equipment makes this almost like a freelance job without payment.

But who cares, the rewards are of greater value & you only live once, enjoy.

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