Do you have a difficult time to get inspiration for going on a phot walk or hike away in nature to take some pictures? Are you low on ideas of what to photograph? Do you have a GPS receiver suiteable for trekking/hiking (most car navigation systems are not, you want a smaller handheld device)?
Then this is an interesting hobby that you might want to check out! It’s called Geocaching and I will explain a little about what it is.
Basically geocaching is a treasure hunt. What happens here is that someone hides a ”treasure” for you to find. There is usually not anything valuable in it, it is just the location actually that’s the whole point of it. These treasures are referred to as geocaches and when they are hidden they are also published with GPS coordinates on this homepage.
Hunters go to the home page and find some caches nearby where they live – or where they wish to go hunting, then they download the coordinates, descriptions and perhaps also the hints – called ”spoilers” (they may spoil the fun of searching). Equipped with a GPS receiver, the coordinates, a pen they set out to try to locate the cache.
I had the great fortune to go to Iceland in my line of work and on top of it being able to negotiate a stay over the weekend thus cutting the cost for the flight in half and being able to do some sight-seeing in this fabulous country.
We set off by bus and went to many interesting places – but one of my absolute favourites were the hot spring area with the geysirs. It was fantastic! Even in the chilly Icelandic winter (the cold is not so bad, being Swedish I expected even colder weather but the Atlantic moderates the temperature) with not a dry cold but a rather humid damp cutting through bone and marrow coldness that was unexpected and hard to describe.
Anyway, coming to the Geysir fields was a real experience. The geysir ”Strokkur” erupted every 8-12 minutes or so and I waited in the biting wind, bare hands with red knuckles holding my camera tight looking for the sign of eruption.
Just before it blows the water rises and looks like it is about to overflow, then it settles back again and just seconds after there is a rather strange gurgling-splashing noise as the whole thing blows water and steam about 30 meters (100 ft) straight into the air. It’s spectacular, and if you really want to shoot some interesting phenomenon I think Iceland would be lovely.
There are of course many other interesting places in Iceland as well certainly, more about them in coming posts.
Here some pictures of Strokkur:
Shooting these photos was not too difficult, I used a ”point and shoot” camera called The E8700 one of Nikons finest PaS and although it is not an SLR it takes some rather nice pictures. It was the camera I used before getting the D70. I actually stepped down in megapixels but the quality of a proper SLR is worth it.
I was using the camera in serial-take mode taking about 5 photos per second. Not all photos were used and I had to get pictures from about three eruptions before I had all the pictures I wanted. It did take some experimenting. The whole thing, from when it starts to look like it is time to blow to the eruption has finished takes around 5-10 seconds. Make sure you can maintain the high speed shooting for all this time.
In some cameras this means you have to reduce the image size or quality, for example in RAW+JPEG mode I can only shoot up to 4 consecutive images before the camera lose speed. If I select BASIC JPEG as format then I can shoot a hundre pictures easily and not hit the restrictions in the camera. Sacrificing quality for speed is sometimes necessary.
More modern cameras such as the Nikon D300 can do much better than this. Even up to 8 pictures a second with the battery grip and pack! That would be excellent to use.