September 28, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Vancouver, Car / Truck / Motorcycle
We've visited BC twice in the last four years. Fantastic. I don't want to share a particular experience, but just give a general tip. If you're a true shooter (photographers call themselves that), or you just like to take pictures, don't get caught short.
If you're an inlander, being on the coast will drive you crazy. Everyplace is a photo op, because there's so much coastline, and every piece of coastline offers the amazing mix of water, land, vegetation, elevation, blue sky.
First, get a decent camera no matter what level you are at. If you like landscapes, or even if you don't, you will find yourself shooting "miles-wide" images of scenery, so having a lens that goes down to 28mm, 24mm or less is great. You will likely not need much more than 120mm on the telephoto end. If you're 5 miles from something and think your 28-560 lens is the greatest thing, do yourself a favour and move closer --- it's so much better. Get more memory than you think you'll need, and unless you're crazy, don't skimp on the resolution. And above all DO NOT pretend that shooting with your phone is sufficient.
Batteries for the camera and flash if you have are critical. Don't run out while whale watching. Get a second battery if possible, and if you've been shooting all morning and then going on a whale watch, change to the second full battery beforehand unless you have an accurate battery level indicator (100 increments, not four).
And if you are running low on one media card, again, change that before you go somewhere where the environment is less than ideal. Don't expose the innards of your camera to the sea air, or worse, a splash.
If you can be happy with a water-resistant camera, get that if you're going out to sea, and make sure you have the wrist strap on your wrist, not waving loosely at the whale.
By they way, there are at least two ways to view whales. First are the "Zodiac-style" craft, that smash through the waves to find the whales. You wear a wet-suit. That can be an unfriendly environment. The second is a slower cruiser with a cabin with huge windows, as well as an outer deck. Much calmer and much friendlier to any piece of technology.
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