featured image 10 Apr 2016

Photographing, storing and publishing in Guatemala

It’s decided, we’re off travelling for a few weeks! This time, my friend Philippe Cap (photographer) and I have decided to head off into the unknown. To a corner of the world that we know absolutely nothing about. Destination Central America, more precisely Guatemala, situated just below Mexico.

Our aim is to discover, in three weeks, the local customs, the magnificent landscapes and the historical wonders of the Maya.

And, as always before setting of on our travels, there is the famous question of what camera and computer equipment to take. Of course – I’m a blogger! I have to be equipped to take photos, publish them on the internet and store them.

Camera equipment:

A reflex camera (Canon 60D) and two lenses: Canon 50mm f1.4 and Sigma 10-20mm f3.5. The 50mm is ideal for portraits and for my “polaroids and hands” series.

1 - Traditional dress in Todos Santos - Canon 60D - Canon 50 f1.4 - ©Julien Grenet

Traditional dress in Todos Santos ©Julien Grenet

2 - Polaroids and Hands - Canon 60D - Canon 50 f1.4 - ©Julien Grenet

Polaroids and Hands ©Julien Grenet

And the Sigma wideangle lens enables me to photograph landscapes and monuments correctly.

3 - Lake Atitlán in the village of Panajachel - Canon 60D - Sigma 10-20 f3.5 - ©Julien Grenet

Lake Atitlán in the village of Panajachel ©Julien Grenet

One of the main Mayan pyramids in Tikal - Canon 60D - Sigma 10-20 f3.5 - ©Julien Grenet

One of the main Mayan pyramids in Tikal ©Julien Grenet

A compact camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100) for street photography. Not wishing to walk around all day with a reflex camera around my neck, my compact camera is my everyday companion. The latest generation of expert compact cameras are more than good enough in terms of performance. And, above all, the camera is much more discreet, giving a less “professional” air than the big body of a reflex.

Friendly atmosphere in Todos Santos - Panasonic Lumix DMC LX100 - ©Julien Grenet

Friendly atmosphere in Todos Santos ©Julien Grenet

Preparing tortillas for breakfast - ©Julien Grenet

Preparing tortillas for breakfast – ©Julien Grenet

And, of course, a vintage Polaroid! I love the vintage effect and the possibility of offering portraits, to really share what I do and not just take photos. There are other, modern snapshot cameras but, for me, they just don’t have the same appeal. I’m a purist! I took a Polaroid 670AF which works with Impossible 600 film.

Female portrait in Todos Santos - ©Julien Grenet

Female portrait in Todos Santos – ©Julien Grenet

Bernardino and Maria, loving couple and elders of the village of Tzunul - ©Julien Grenet

Bernardino and Maria, loving couple and elders of the village of Tzunul – ©Julien Grenet

Publishing on the internet:

A tablet (iPad) and a smartphone (iPhone). A tablet is much more practical for minimal image editing than the small screen of a smartphone .

The photos are transferred to the tablet either by wi-fi for the compact camera (Panasonic has developed an internal wi-fi image transfer application – Panasonic Image App on Android and iTunes) or by external card reader for the reflex camera.

I use Snapseed to apply some light editing to the photos before publishing them on the social networks, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (free on Android and iTunes).

The internet is fairly easy: all you have to do is buy a SIM card for your smartphone and share your connection with the tablet. 4G and 3G exist is most countries now; a 4GB SIM card costs you no more than €10 and should be enough to last you the whole trip. In the worst case scenario, there’s always the hotel wi-fi!

Storing the files:

The logical fear: losing your bag or having it stolen with all your photos inside.

Once again, I trust in technology to keep my work safe. I use a 2TB wi-fi hard disk (“My Passport Wireless” by Western Digital) to save my different memory cards.

All you have to do is activate the hard disk, insert the SD card containing the photos and launch the application on the tablet to copy the files. It’s fairly intuitive and well-designed. With this system, no computer needed!

I don’t delete the photos from the cards, so I have double copies of all the files: memory card and hard disk. I have several 64 GB SD cards in my bag, all numbered so I don’t get them mixed up.

Of course, the hard disk stays in my hotel room, protected in my suitcase, which is padlocked. Furthermore, I make copies every evening.

I also keep my polaroids safe (those I haven’t given away). I stick them in a folder which is kept with the hard disk; I fill it every day and keep it well-protected in a warm place.

The hard disk and folder only come out of my suitcase during flights, when the bag is in the baggage hold. They accompany me in my hand luggage, like the rest of my equipment.

A good bag to put everything in:

The advantage of the National Geographic RF 5350 is that it is designed for travellers that stay connected!

There is space for a mounted reflex camera and two small lenses (one lens and my compact, in my case) in the lower compartment; a medium-sized pocket at the back (perfect for your tablet) and enough space in the upper compartment for a Polaroid 600 and all my “crap” consisting of memory cards, batteries, Impossible film, travel guides, pocket dictionaries, boarding passes…

Everything was in place for when I needed it, with quick and easy access. Whether it was the Polaroid, the reflex camera or to change a lens, I never had any difficulty accessing my equipment.

And, seeing that I give minimum importance to style too, I must say that this bag is ideal and perfectly suited to the world of travelling!

Discovering Lake Atitlán - ©Philippe Cap

Discovering Lake Atitlán – ©Philippe Cap

The famous panorama of Tikal - ©Philippe Cap

The famous panorama of Tikal – ©Philippe Cap

Everything went amazingly well; I discovered a fantastic destination with a great variety of environments.

The colourful, traditional dress, the volcanoes (one active), Lake Atitlán and its breathtaking landscape, Tikal, where you feel a little bit Indiana Jones… There is everything you need for a great holiday – I loved it!


This day with me