A few days ago I met a photographer and we got to chatting. I was amazed to discover that, at the age of 50, this trip to New Zealand was his first time outside the USA. I was quite taken aback by this as you do not often meet people who have not travelled outside their homeland.
Times have changed and I would imagine that he is a bit of an unusual case: most people grow up having visited at least the country next door, even if they have not been further afield. The meeting prompted me to think about overseas photo tours.
If you are a keen photographer, travelling for your hobby makes a good deal of sense. There is nothing like a new place to refresh your creative vision and stoke up your enthusiasm again for taking photographs. An overseas photography holiday can be like a visit to a photography health spa – you will return full of that keen urge to record the world that grips us all at some points but has a habit of being subsumed by ‘life’.
A photography holiday will give you new challenges you have never experienced. I went to Canada in the middle of winter and did a week’s guided photo tour to shoot wildlife and scenery. The temperatures hit -43 Centigrade – which is about the same in Fahrenheit!
At this level of cold, life itself becomes a challenge, never mind the taking of images. Dressing appropriately is essential: I removed my glove to adjust the camera once during a shoot and I think I lasted about 1 minute before the pain was such that I had to put the glove back on in a hurry. Cameras slow down – autofocus becomes less snappy as the moving parts and lubricants in the lenses react to the cold. Batteries last less time.
I am pleased to report that my Nikon equipment came through entirely unscathed and I got some wonderful images. This was due almost entirely to the fact that I had booked the trip with an outstanding guide who made all the travel and accommodation arrangements, did all the driving and spotted all the wildlife I would have certainly missed.
His services were not cheap – we had to pay his day rate as well as his accommodation and food costs. Fuel and the use of his truck were part of the deal. However, it made travelling in a different country, in the middle of very harsh conditions, driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and so on all very possible. It was a boon to have someone with us who could explain the context and the scenery, answer any questions we had and generally help us get to know his country a bit as well as helping us cope with weather that was very different to that we are used to.
So why not try a New Zealand photography holiday yourself next time you are thinking about vacation time? A trip where everything is arranged for you and you can just concentrate on the amazing scenery and wildlife as your guide immerses you in his world.
Want to contact a professional photographer today to find out more about your New Zealand photography holiday? Travelling Light Photography createphoto tours of New Zealand for all photographers.. This article, Photography Vacations is available for free reprint.