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I am not a professional photographer but I do have an "eye for good shots. Each trip we take, we make an album of the best prints, and we also select just a couple of the best of these to enlarge and hang on the walls of our office and in our home. Patients are always amazed at the prints they see, and invariably will ask about the 'special equipment' they think we must carry along on our trips.
This is not a book about photography, but so many people ask about cameras, we figure it is not something we should skip over. Like everything else in this book, we will tell you what we do, and what works for us.
First off, we don't carry a lot of gear. I admit I envy some of the tourists who have elaborate, expensive cameras and three or four lenses draped around their necks. Or are carrying expensive tripods allowing them to get set up for that 'special' shot. It really looks impressive. We don't have any such equipment because we can't. I have my hands on the handles of my wife's wheelchair, and any gear I have strapped around my neck is apt to bang her in the head! With some of the really great telephoto lenses, she'd get a concussion.
Many of the photos in this book were taken with a simple Olympus 35mm fixed lens camera. Its lens was so sharp, I could easily blow up most of the exposures and get great final prints. I now shoot with a Cannon G5 digital. It is full adjustable, but in a tight spot, I can also set it on automatic, and let the camera's computer do everything for me.
We resisted going digital for a long time, mostly because enlarging prints to the size we do, frequently 16x20 inches, often 20x24 inches, requires at least 5 megapixels, better 6 megapixels or more. At least that's what everyone told us. We later found this is bunk!
Pricing 5 megapixel cameras a few years ago was to risk death by sticker shock. Now, however, prices for cameras, like prices for computers, have dropped dramatically, and you can purchase cameras with hugh capacity for not a lot of money. Just don't drive yourself crazy over it. Five megapixels is plenty.
We know it is hard for you to accurately judge the quality of our photos from the tiny little photographs in this book, but trust us, they are really nice shots. Some of them have won awards, and we have been offered money for a good number of these prints.
Could I get better quality photos from a 6, 8, or Gazillion megapixel camera? I don't think so. In fact, the last shot in this book, of Nancy and me on a recent family vacation, was taken with my son's camera, a 3 megapixel point and soot camera, with no fancy anything. We enlarged that shot to 16x20 and it hangs in our bedroom. It is a great picture, and it proves you don't really need to spend a fortune on your camera. And unless you are semi-professional, I don't think you need anything more than 5 megapixels, if that much. Here are a few examples of extreme shots, included just to show the versatility of the Cannon G5:
This is the famous Opera House in the harbor at Sydney, Australia. Taken late at night, the Cannon G5 caught a dramatic scene
Another nighttime scene, this the finale of the Military Tattoo in Eeinburgh, Scotland.
I probably took 8 or 10 shots just before this final scene to set the exposure values correctly. With a digital, you just "delete" shots you don't want.
With overcast skies, this iceberg floating in Paradise Bay, Antarctica is a water shot also, but very different from the first pictures of Sydney:
And finally, a very difficult shot, directly into the sun of a chain of elephants crossing the river in Botswana's Choebe Park.
Disabled Travelers Guide: Cameras
the iceberg was shot with an Olympus 1A, 35mm fixed lens. All others shot with the Cannon G5 digital with zoom. Perhaps you can tell the difference. We can't.