If you like to travel, there’s no better way to go than with friends. At least one, anyway.
Travelling with a few friends can work too, but just a few, because who wants to spend each day debating the merits of going here or eating there or staying put. We all need to be able to get along, even when we’re hot or tired or frustrated. We need to have good manners…rules like no stepping in front of the other guy’s shot don’t need to be written down, they should be just good common sense. Shoot with your long lens first and then move in for the close-ups when you won’t interfere with what the others are shooting.
Sharing is a good thing: ideas, equipment, technology, perspectives, snacks, information…dish it out freely (but only on request). Nobody likes a know-it-all. And don’t be dissing others because their equipment or techniques are not the same as yours. Each to his own. Diversity is healthy.
There’s no need to treat each trip as a big competition. We can all get the “good” shots (although it’s okay to be particularly proud if your shot turns out a little better than everyone else’s). There’s no prize for the best photo. The only prize is the invitation to travel with the same good folks the next time.
My travelling friends can’t be wussies. No complaining allowed on our trips. Suck it up, baby, or stay home. We’re here for the adventure (and the photos) and no matter what happens, it’s all part of the grand experience. So what if your knee goes out and you have to buy crutches just to get on your camel? So what if the bathroom is covered with ants so thick that you have to spray the wall and then sweep them up. So what if you wake up covered in bed bug bites after a night in the best hotel in town? So what if you have bats in your bedroom? Or a scorpion in your shower? Or a tarantula in your shoe?
So what if your hotel has no power for three days. (That’s why they invented candles.) Oh, and no water either, so the toilets can’t be flushed. (That’s why they invented buckets.) So what if you’re peeing in the bushes and something bites you on the bum. Break out the lotion (again). You’re not dead.
We often travel long distances to experience exhilarating, unusual, once in a lifetime adventures. For us it’s all about getting great photos and nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to deter us from bringing home more winners, and swearing that we’re having a fantastic time while we’re at it.
So here’s to my travelling photo friends, past and present: Jana Kristin, Dick and Bert Wolf, Dennis and Jialin Cox, Maryanne and Bill Arnold. You’re a particularly good bunch of people who can smile and say cheese under some very strange circumstances. May the photo gods continue to illuminate your pixels as we prepare to venture forth once more, bucket list in hand.
I know I’ll be all the richer for your companionship.