7 Months, 19 Countries, 5 Continents, 1 Camera
By David Szwarczewski
Dear Steve and Brandon,
Please consider my article for your site, having been an onlooker and admirer for quite some time I would finally like to enter my own contribution.
I am a long-term follower of your fantastic site, and I’m personally grateful for your excellent reviews as I chose my existing camera system almost solely on the basis of your review. At the time the camera was not yet available in my country and so I preordered it without ever having the opportunity of handling it.
I took an interest in photography in my early teens and have since explored a wide variety of photographic genres. As a keen traveller I would say documentary would be my favourite style of photography, perhaps compounded in the belief that this is a particularly difficult art to master. If an image isn’t captured perfectly that fleeting moment of aesthetic perfection may be lost forever.
Having recently graduated from University together with my girlfriend, I was fortunate enough to embark on a Round the World trip for 7 months last year. This was something that in one form or another I had been dreaming of for at least 10 years. Our trip was in a way quite extensive, considering the vast number of countries and areas visited in the relatively short space of time. Although in many ways we barely scratched the surface of what there is to see in each of the places we visited.
When setting out on the trip I had three things I desired to return home with: my passport, photos and health (not necessarily in order of priority). Consequently, all of my images were shot as JPEG’s. I wanted to be able to upload them to a cloud storage service (done via a smartphone connected to a card reader), the smaller file sizes allowed faster uploading when WiFi was available and I didn’t have the time or facilities to edit RAW files anyway. In fact, none of my images has been edited in any way, including cropping. This is partly because I like to think of myself as somewhat of a purist, preferring to get the image right directly through the lens; but this is also equally attributable to the slow and arthritic nature of my very aged laptop no longer being able to cope with editing software.
My weapon of choice was the OMD (EM-5) with Panasonic 20mm, Olympus 12-50mm and Panasonic 100-300mm. The relatively low pixel count was a big draw for me, as was the great IQ, good JPEG processor, small size and weather sealing. The 12-50 was chosen due to its versatility, weather sealing (useful for rainforest etc.) and macro mode. The 20 stayed on the body 99% of the time and is a great compact fast aperture prime and the 100-300 was essential for shooting wildlife. I also carried a pair of Swarovski CL Compact 10×30 binoculars (I adore them).
I hope you enjoy the images, thanks for looking.
Little India, Singapore
Taman Negara rainforest, Malaysia
Ko Tao, Thailand
Venice Beach, LA
My very cold girlfriend in the kitchen of a local family we stayed with in Peru (below freezing in the kitchen due to the altitude, 3600m above sea level)
The Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru
Lama with Machu Picchu in the background
Colca Canyon, Peru
Lago Verde, near to the Uyuni Salt flats in Bolivia
Uyuni Salt flats, Bolivia
Running down Dune 45 in Namibia (my girlfriend took the pic, I’m the one in the middle)
Elephant sick of having to look at tourists, Zambia
Female Leopard, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania