better travel photography•COM
Newsletter 42 - sent on the 29 July 2020
Looking towards the future!
Over the last thirty or so years of somewhat compulsive international travel, I have generally had a fairly cavalier attitude towards my own personal safety. Those who have travelled with me, or heard me talk about travel photography, know that I thrive on throwing myself into the middle of the action - in part to guarantee more exciting and engaged photographs, but also just for the thrill! This has seen me ducking explosions at the Taunaggi Balloon Festival in Myanmar, running with bulls at a number of festivals in France and Spain, riding motorbikes all over Asia and of course, feeding wild hyenas with my teeth! I have even (officially) broken out of East Germany over the Berlin wall and been bitten by a lion!*
Although I have emerged largely unscathed, I have come back battered and bruised at times, with the odd broken bone or cracked rib, and been ravaged by a number tropical diseases in my time.
Where I don't take risks though is with the health and safety of people who come on my trips, which is what is causing me so much consternation over future tours that are already organised, and those that we are planning for 2021.
Although the situation with Covid19 in the UK seems to be settling down, parts of Europe, and much of the rest of the world is either still experiencing a terrifying first wave of the disease, or appears to be slipping into a second wave. One of the advantages of partnering Intrepid Travel, who are sub-contracted to provide all of the land arrangements for my tours, is that they have excellent local contacts and also people far cleverer than me, who are helping me to decide if it is safe to travel to a country.
Consequently, for the first time since I started these newsletters, I am sending one out without advertising any tours! We do have a couple of departures scheduled towards the end of the year, but are currently looking at whether these should be postponed. We are looking towards the future though, and are planning a number of departures for 2021, as well as a range of UK based photography excursions and are giving you the chance to have your say about what tours we will run in the future. We are also giving you the chance to comment on a proposed change to our terms and conditions.
Have your say on our future
I'm trying to keep optimistic about the future of travel. Many millions of people around the world rely on the sort of grass-roots exchange of wealth, which is characterised by the style of travel that we enjoy on our tours. Whilst there are massive ecological and social issues attached to mass-market and cruise travel, small-group adventure travel is a vital cultural and economic exchange, and tool for development.
Consequently, we have a number of potential trips planned for 2021, and you can have your say on these by clicking on this link.
It is important to travel responsibly though, and a large part of this is to ensure that we don't endanger the people in the countries we travel in. Because of this, we are considering a new policy over vaccinations for Covid19. Once there is an approved vaccination for Covid19, then we are considering making it compulsory on future tours. This is to prevent someone on one of my tours infecting anyone who we encounter in less developed parts of the world, who might not have the same access to medical treatments that we have. If you have a medical exemption, which means that you can't be vaccinated, then you will, of course, be exempt from this restriction.
Everyone has the right to refuse to be vaccinated for Covid19, but then I believe that I have the right not to facilitate you risking the health of people in remote rural communities who don't have the medical advantages that we enjoy, or for that matter anyone on the tour who has a medical reason that means they can't be vaccinated themselves.
In truth, if you do believe that Covid19 is a conspiracy so that Bill Gates can force you to to be injected with a micro tracking chip, then we probably wouldn't get on very well anyway!
I should point out here that this is a Better Travel Photography policy, and nothing to do with Intrepid Travel, and so it will only apply to my tours. You can comment on this potential policy on the same link.
Mentoring at home
A number of people have taken me up on our discounted prices for virtual mentoring, but as the current UK lockdown restrictions are lifted, we are ending our 50% discount deal at the end of this week. After this time, the prices will revert to the previous amounts, but any hours bought before this Sunday can be used at any time in the future.
Whether you would like me to help you with composition, picture-editing and processing or any of your photographic problems, then please do check-out our mentoring pages and get in touch to avoid missing out on this fantastic deal! You can see more, and contact me on this link.
Camera clubs talks
I have recently been press-ganged into carrying out my first camera club Zoom presentation, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! The feedback was pretty good too, so I have decided to offer the talk on a wider basis. The subject for the presentations is The Spirit of Travel Photography, and encompasses how you can travel in a more engaged way to try to get better photographs, as well as how to make your pictures more meaningful.
Of those surveyed after the talk, 95% of those surveyed would like to see me invited back to do another talk, and 100% would recommend me to other clubs! Some of the positive comments can be found below:
Very much like to see Steve give a live presentation to the club. Best speaker we have had during Lockdown.
Very well-structured talk with excellent images and some useful advice. Steve kept up a good pace and kept my interest all evening.
Great speaker and presentation. Left me positively challenged to overcome my inhibitions about engaging with local culture and peoples.
A really entertaining evening with not just an extremely talented and enthusiastic photographer but also a good teacher. I would be delighted to see him return and would unreservedly recommend him to other clubs.
If you would like to put me forward to speak at your camera club, then please reply to this email for more details.
Better Travel Photography
If you have any questions at all about anything on this email or would just like to say hello, then please do get in touch. The simplest way is to reply to this email.
*BTW, I climbed over the Berlin Wall after it was opened but before reunification, so did effectively break out of East Germany instead of taking the required route through Checkpoint Charlie, and it was an adolescent, semi-friendly lion that bit me, and it was only playing!
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