Since I was very young, I have always loved the concept of taking a photo. Being able to capture a moment in time just enthrals me. I will show my age now by saying that I remember taking my films into ‘Boots’ (a UK high street chain) or sending them off to TruPrint (a mail-order company) and waiting 2 weeks for them to be processed and sent back. Yes, I admit I was a child born into the pre-digital photography world. Thinking back now I have no idea how we dealt with it – we were literally photographing blind with no concept of how that image would come out.
When I travelled the world in 2007 (the digital age), I took a Sony Cybershot, and captured everything I could, while making sure I also experienced it. I downloaded the images to a separate hard drive for back up. Six months into my adventures I got sand in my camera and it couldn’t be salvaged, eight months into my adventures the hard drive I had captured the originals on decided to die! I was furious! Apart from the images I downloaded online, I had lost the best year of my life’s photos. I swore never to have that issue ever again! I invested in a Panasonic capture camera for the rest of my trip but it always felt a little lacking.
(Beijing – Taken with the Cyber shot)
(Milford Sound – Taken with the Panasonic)
Upon my return from travelling, I investigated the world of DSLR’s in more depth, having seen a few travellers with them while abroad. I researched and researched and after working for a photographic company, I took the plunge and bought a second hand Canon 350d. It was AMAZING! I got hooked and soon bought a number of additional lenses to add to my kit lens (55-250mm Canon, 18-55mm and even a wide angle 10-20mm sigma).
I travelled extensively with this camera, to Thailand, Tobago, Venezuela and Africa, I loved it. Not only was it robust but it captured an image better than any previous. I did however find that I took more care of this beast, as it was an investment and the longer I owned it the better the results came (no more sand issues for me!) Working with qualified Photo Technicians, I was complimented for my use of light, the contrast and the framing of my images. It hooked me even further, and the more I used the camera, the more I found that it was lacking in ability at night, at speed and in the extreme environments such as the cold, it simply wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to. I have to admit I also got a little jealous that everyone I met who was into photography had a newer version of my trusted 350d.
So when we booked our next around the world trip, I made the jump from the entry level to the more advanced body – the Canon 50d (an inexpensive alternative as the 60d had just been launched). This allowed me to use the lens set I already had but a more advanced range of ISO, focal depth and resolution.
My trusted 50d came with us to 4 continents and took incredibly sharp and colourful imagery, it was definitely the correct investment at that time. It captured the trip beautifully, and gave me such a buzz every time I removed it from my luggage. The only problem was the weight! Anyone who carried one of these cameras around the world can attest to the fact – they are not a light way of travelling. However the results in comparison to our Coolpix snap camera were certainly dramatic.
I stayed with my 50d for a number of years as was thrilled with the results, however as any photographer will attest to, we always want a bit more. Africa was the turning point whereby the images I could capture were good but without the true telescopic lens and the ultra-night features they could have been better. The rhino that was just that tad too far away, that bird that was coloured so dramatically and that landscape that was so huge it couldn’t all be captured. I was missing that real deep memory.
So, after saving for a long while and using every trick in the book I sold my 50d with four lenses and upgraded to a full frame Canon 6d, investing in a 50-500mm Sigma telescopic lens as well as a Professional 18-135mm L lens. The real decider was between the new 6d and the well-respected 5d mark 3. However the Mark 3 was 1.5 x more expensive, and I just couldn’t stretch that far – however much I wanted to. Unfortunately the L lens alone took the majority of my 50d and all lenses capital, and the 500mm lens was astronomically expensive.
We returned to Africa shortly afterwards and I felt fully prepared – the opportunity arose to capture a distance shot of Cheetahs that no one else could. I got it and the investment was completely worth it!