Glyn Demmer is a great fan of the modern gadgets and smartphone applications that are making overland travel so much easier. But he isn’t quite ready to let go of his old film camera just yet…
I am a bit old fashioned. I still listen to vinyl records and I never jumped aboard the whole “digital revolution” when it came to photography. I have a Canon G10 camera, which I use for quick snaps, but I prefer to use an old Nikon FM 2 film camera when travelling. My fridge is full of film, some of which still needs to be taken to the lab for developing. And whenever I do develop a roll, it’s wonderful to revisit the experiences, sometimes of years earlier.
The fun starts when you scan and archive the pictures, and then start sharing them on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
I do not pretend to be a professional photographer, but I enjoy the ability to show people where I have been and share information about locations that are off the beaten track. Friends often ask me to keep the posts coming and some even think that all I do is travel because I continually add new pictures.
The apps available at the various stores even allow you to manipulate and take superb pictures with your smartphone. They also enable instant sharing and “fun” manipulation of the images by choosing camera types and matching them to lenses and flashes, or simply adding filters and adjusting the colours, before you share the pictures.
It’s amazing how many like-minded “happy snappers” are out there, and how many highly rated professionals share their work. What’s equally heartening is the love people have for SA, shown by the plethora of photographs shared by non-residents who visit and fall in love with the country.
A problem often faced by travellers is in being at the right place at the wrong time, often when the sun is high in the sky and the light isn’t great for photographs. But with a bit of planning and the help of your smartphone you can still get great pictures.
Golden Light is an app that uses your location to calculate the best light for early morning and late afternoon shots, and even provides you with the exact optimum time for those magic landscape pictures.
Another app that I often use is Light Meter – a wonderful device on your smartphone that measures available light and calculates your shutter speed and f-stop.
But no matter what type of camera you use, or where you are, it’s great fun to document the experience and share the pictures with friends. My son is all grown up now, but I am still finding pictures of 4×4 events and trips that we took when he was young. They make me realise that we did the right thing in taking him to the bush as often as possible. He grew up well in the wide open spaces of SA!
People can go overboard when it comes to technology, but your smartphone does have the capability of making life a bit easier, especially if you are a traveller.
Although they need a data connection, Google Earth and Google Maps are indispensable when you have left the Garmin at home. Weather apps such as AccuWeather and Weather SA help when you are planning a trip.
Overall, a smartphone is quickly becoming a must-have overland item.