What happens when you put your local portrait photographer in the jungles of South America?
You may have seen another of my blogs on being in South America as a photographer (Adventure Awaits) about one of my adventures into the Amazon jungle and river basin. But, just how do you get through one of these adventures and grab the stunning pictures you hope to take while there?
Well, in all honesty, I may have cheated a little in being prepared for this trip. I have had jungle experience while in Central America during my time in the military, so a lot of the similarities of this environment were not necessarily new to me. Knowing that the environment would be hot, wet, and muddy was really not new, so making sure I had the proper wardrobe was not to hard for me. Moisture-wicking shirts and fast drying socks and pants were going to be a must. but as I searched for a new set of boots, my sales person was a little taken aback. She asked what I was looking for and I explained that I was heading into the Rain Forest of South America for a while. She asked me, "So, you definitely want something waterproof?"
"No!" I exclaimed. "Waterproof may keep water out for a while, but once they get wet...it keeps water in!" I explained I wanted a boot that had good drainage ability knowing that I would be in water and mud and wanted to get water out as fast as it would get in and allow them to dry quicker with some type of air flow.
One of my next hurdles was travelling with my gear. I not only had to take all of my clothing and supplies (which would work quite well in my old military ruck sack), but I had to take thousands of dollars in sensitive camera gear, drones, batteries and remotes on the flight, in the vehicles through the jungle and on boats through the water! Since so much of the Amazon is thick and overgrown, travel down the rivers by boat is a necessity. And many times, the water is not some pretty little calm and peaceful waterway, but quite fast and turbulent. The main option I chose was waterproof, pressure variable (for flight), and compartmentalized case that would hold the vast majority of my camera bodies, lenses, batteries and drones.
The variable pressure relief valve would allow gradual changes in air pressure to enter and escape the case gradually to reduce impact on the sensitive sensors of the cameras. The water resistance of 100 meters for up to 60 minutes would allow ample time to rescue gear in the case of an incident with the boat or simply in water splashing onto stored gear. The rugged wheels and extendable/retractable handle would allow me to transport the case by pulling it behind me even over rough and tough terrain. And the low cost would allow me to fit it into an already tight budget.
So, after hours of flight to get to South America, we land in Georgetown, Guyana and start to wander the city while waiting for our other transportation setups to start. What better to do than to explore and document the wonderful colors of this fabulous country.
The diversity and beauty of this country goes unparalleled on most fronts. the vibrant colors of the buildings and clothing to the diversity of the animal life is just beyond compare. The people are so friendly and the sights are utterly amazing!
We left the city of Georgetown and made our way into the interior of the jungle. Rudimentary car and van travel over dirt and mud roads to boat docks. Boats over large rivers and smaller tributaries into the interior jungle closer and closer to the small villages of the Amerindian people who are the natives of this beautiful country. We were able to meet wonderful people and hear fascinating stories of their history, struggles and hopes for the future of their area and people. It was amazing to capture images of village elders and chiefs as they walked and talked with us and welcomed us with open arms into their villages. Some were a little skeptical, but most were eager to see why we were there what we were trying to accomplish.
The people, the colors, the landscape, the architecture, the heritage, the history, the future and the adventure are all beyond compare. So, yes...a Dayton photographer travelling into the jungles of South America and Amazon River Basin is a match made in heaven! If you ever get the chance to travel to a foreign land and take part in the discovery of wonders that many will never see...DO IT! Broaden your horizons and look beyond your own normal for adventure, history and once in a lifetime opportunities to expand who you are! Stay blessed!