This is the book I put together after last summers British Exploring Society Expedition to Namibia on which I was photography leader. Each member of the expedition has a double spread in which they created a photo series based on their experience of five weeks of self-supported living in the desert including backpacking across the infamously hostile Skeleton Coast.
This post is written for British Exploring Society’s expedition to Namibia summer 2014 but will be of interest for anyone taking a camera into a desert for a prolonged period of time. For some examples of my desert photography see these posts from Western Desert, Egypt & Wadi Rum, Jordan
Most cameras and most lenses are
better than most photographers
If you have a camera you are happy with just bring it. You don’t need a fancy camera to take great pictures. Much more important are visual thinking and composition. Film, Lomo & disposable are all fine: just bring what you enjoy using.
If you want a Point & Shoot (type of camera shown above) you can’t go wrong with the offerings from Sony, Canon, Nikon or Panasonic. Look for manual control options if you want to get creative. £70-200.
If you want to freeze action and or have good low light performance you need a SLR or Micro Four Thirds Camera. A telephoto (long) lens helps you get closer to wildlife and the landscape. Suggested budget interchangeable lens cameras:
Recommended 2nd hand retailer (with six warranty) mpbphotographic.co.uk
A camera is no use unless its accessible when the light suddenly changes, or wildlife suddenly appears. Keeping the camera accessible is more important than the type of camera you carry. Think about how you get to the camera when wearing a backpack. For most of you a Point and Shoot camera with a pouch on your backpack shoulder strap is the best option.
If you place a camera on the ground in the desert, sand and dust will enter the lens mechanism and break it. Most desert expeditions have a number of breakages in the first few days when people ignore this advice. Always put the camera back in its case when you finish actively shooting with in.
Clean the camera regularly helps prevent dust working its way into the camera. Wrap the camera in zip-lock or sandwich bag, then place in its case during dust storms.
KEEPING IT RUNNING
Bring enough memory cards for a few hundred shots/ week more if you want to take video.
There are no charging facilities. Bring enough batteries. Get to know you camera but one or two per week should do.
A handful of 3rd party batteries are cheaper, easier and lighter than a solar charger.
If you want to try Solar look at Powermonkey Extreme amazon link but check eth voltage of your camera and if it can charge from usb or this won’t help you.
Any photography questions regarding desert photography/BES Namibia 2014 ask them below in the comments and I’ll answer them here so everybody can benefit.
A photographic journey through Wadi Rum, Jordan. More images here
If you enjoyed this have a look at Western Desert Journey, Egypt which was chosen as one of WordPress.com Editors’ Picks of the Year 2013
These photographs document a trekking and 4×4 journey through the Western Desert of Egypt. Starting at Bahariya Oasis we travelled through the Sahara Suda (Black Desert) and Sahara Beida (White Desert) ending up near Farafra. As a compliment to these images I produced a second, more abstract series of photographs entitled “Sahara Sands” from the same trip.
The journey was undertaken with desert explorer Sam McConnell who runs highly recommended adventure travel expeditions to the region in collaboration with Abou Anis of Sub Sinai, off-road driver Khaled, and the bedouin of Bahariya Oasis
Signed limited edition prints of this series are available at £195 each (60x40cm). To purchase please contact me. Larger sizes also available
Edit: I’m delighted that this post is featured in Freshly Pressed. Check out “Glimpses Of Iran” which was Freshly Pressed last year. Thanks for all your likes and comments and follow my Facebook Page to see my latest work
Edit 2! I’m even more chuffed this post has been featured in Editors’ Picks of the Year: The Best of WordPress.com in 2013 thanks guys!
Edit 3! If you enjoyed this have a look at Wadi Rum Journey which was the follow up to this project
Thabang and family outside their home in Ha Motenalapi in the Senqunyane valley, Lesotho. We were camped in tents nearby on an archaeological expedition and they invited us to sleep in this hut for three nights even though this meant the whole family slept in a smaller hut out of frame. They are wearing their Basotho tribal blankets. The door and window mouldings demonstrate Litema, the mural art of the Basotho. The hut floor and window mouldings are made from Daga, a mix of earth and dung. The high ammonia content of the dung acts as an antiseptic. The patterns engraved around the doorways may represent the surrounding furrowed fields.
A photostory of deforestation and Palm Oil plantations contrasted with the wildlife of Sabah and Brunei. Featuring Sepilok, Kinabalu National Park, Danum Valley, Kinabatangan River, Peradayan and Ulu Temburong.
Binding: Hardback, 146 pages
Format: 20 × 25 cm, Full page photographs in colour throughout