Wow, you guys went all out on the bag contest! The judges were astounded at the depth and breadth and sheer number of tips (and not just a little annoyed with me… I told them there would be about 10 or 12 tops!).
We got a lot of Zen-like advice about enjoying ourselves, putting down the camera, being in the moment, etc. I think this is good advice, but, alas, our judges are working, traveling, journalist/photographer/cameraperson types, and by god, if they’ve got to work on the road, so do you, so that touchy-feely stuff didn’t go over too big.
And the judges also noted a lot of advice that told us what to do (capture the essence of the place, get people’s trust, e.g.) but not how to do it.
At least one entrant “tries to remember to pack his brain” on trips, prompting the judges to ask, “what happens when you forget to pack your brain?” and “what kind of a case do you pack a brain in, anyway?” An answer to that last query, according to the judges, would probably have been the instant winner.
Then, the judges got mad at me because they could only pick one winner and they wanted to give away at least 20 first places. I agree, and while I have only one bag to give away, I do have a few extra Spirit of Place 2010 calendars to send to a couple of runners up.
And so, the envelope please….
In light of the recent headlines in airline travel and the implications for carryon limits, the judges felt this tip from Rikk, was the overall winner:
“The only irreplaceable item other than your life is your images. The backup for your images should be carried on your person back home. This means in a pocket-not in a carry-on-not in your checked luggage. I put mine on a passport drive in plastic ziplock bag (with a dessicant pack)and carry it in the breast pocket of the camera vest I wear. If I am separated from my baggage for any reason, I still have my pictures. They are in a bag in case of a water landing (remember the landing on the Hudson River?)”
The judges especially loved the “belt and suspenders” approach of putting the drive in a plastic bag with dessicant in case of a water landing! They remarked that this level of paranoia preparedness is the key to success for any location photography or video undertaking.
They also liked the following two tips, and these posters will be getting a copy of the Spirit of Place 2010 calendar
“Put black tape (electrical or gaffers) over the name brand on your camera and camera bag. You call a lot less attention to yourself when people don’t see the “canon” or “nikon” logo, and your bag / camera is a lot less likely to get stolen.”
The judges are all great believers in making you and your gear look as anonymous and innocuous as possible. Brand pride and loyalty take a back seat to security concerns, according to the judges.
And finally, Larry wrote:
“Plan ahead and see what’s there before you go. Check Google Street view of the location you’re going to and the surrounding areas to see streets, landmarks, etc. You can then get a sense of where places are in relationship to sunrise/sunset. Also, check photo sites such as Flickr. You don’t want to copy somebody else’s photo, but you can find a lot of places that aren’t mentioned in guidebooks.”
The judges liked the use of the info cloud for location scouting and all three do this themselves, and with 5 billion photos and counting, you can find pictures of just about anything and everything on Flickr.
I’d like to thank everyone for entering and encourage you to read through the tips—-there’s a lot to be learned from this wealth of information. We’ll be back in the New Year, with some more “confessional” posts. (That’s a hint).