Thoughts From My Holiday

In August, I was lucky enough to take a month’s holiday. The destination was South Africa, where my father has always wanted to take us, and with family having recently emigrated, it was the perfect opportunity. As I’ve always said, videography is not just a business for me, but a passion. And so i did of course have to take some photos whilst away with my camera.


Choosing The Camera

So I’d just take my camera… well unfortunately it wasn’t going to be that simple. As you can imagine, we have a fairly large selection, and so choosing the best one for the job was going to be a challenge.

After much indecision I settled on a canon 70D.

At this point I should mention that there will be a few bits of jargon thrown around in this post. Hang in there, I will explain everything, and there’s a serious business point in my rambling here… somewhere…

Now truth be told, this wasn’t my first choice. The canon 70D is an excellent camera, but I’ve always preferred using my Canon 5D Mark III, the workhorse of today’s professional photographer. However Dan quite rightly pointed out to me that this would be needed on several projects whilst I was away. As such I was left with the 70D, a lovely camera, but probably not falling quite in the ‘professional’ category. Prosumer, is what I will affectionately refer to it as.

Glass (lens) wise, I faced a similar challenge, a lot of our nice expensive lenses would be needed by the team, and so i was left with two lenses.

Number 1, a Canon EFS 10mm -18mm, one of my first ever wide angle lenses, produces beautiful photos, but the optics are not particularly sharp. I remember it costing around £200 when I purchased it, and just to give you some context, our go to wide angle lens today is a Tamron 15mm-30mm, for which you’ll be lucky to get a few pennies change for out of £1k.

Number 2 was a telephoto lens, a Sigma 150mm- 600mm. Yet again, I would definitely rate this a prosumer lens, with an outstanding zoom range, but the optics are not quite as nice as the higher end stuff.

Now the point that I am getting too (at a snails pace I know) is that this gear is not professional kit. Early investments from when the company was starting up, and not stuff we would normally use on a pro shoot nowadays.


The Unveiling!

At this point I’d like to share a small selection of my photos from the holiday.

I’ve always had a soft spot for landscape photography, and whilst visiting Isandlwana, the site of the great British defeat in 1879, this particular frame caught my eye.

In particular, the way the memorial mimics the shape of the mountain seems to draw attention to the mountain itself. Combined with the low sky and a contrasty black and white finish, I think the overall feel is highly dramatic.

This photo of my brother looking over the Blyde River Canyon emphasises the immense scale of the landscape.

By showing him from an elevated and super wide angle, the surroundings dwarf the subject, creating a sense of awe for the scenery he stands in front of.

My third of four black and white photos, I’m concerned people may start thinking I’m obsessed. When we first found these giraffes I have to admit I was disappointed, as I couldn’t get a clear photo of them through the trees.

I decided to take the photo anyway, and when I got back to edit, I was glad I did. Despite our distance I feel close to the animal, seeing it’s shy personality as it hides away in the trees.

This photo is one of my favourites form the holiday. A particularly shy group of zebras began to walk off as we stopped the car. Fleetingly, one turned to look back.

Captured at the right moment, I love how this photo shows the Zebra’s curiosity. The use of black and white is, or at least supposed to be, mimicking the Zebras own colours. The grass in the foreground and background also gives a natural feel to the photo, making me feel as if I am almost there seeing that Zebra curiously gaze back at me.



My favourite photo form the whole trip though was this one, a photo of a cheetah that was staying in an animal hospital. This photo makes me feel a connection with the Cheetah. The clarity and proximity to it’s eye is in part what achieves this, but the framing of the nose, and the contours of the black fur around it, leading into the start of it’s many spots also help to emphasise the natural beauty of this magnificent creature.

So, in conclusion

As you can see, the results certainly aren’t appalling. And whilst there’s always room for improvement, I’m very happy (and that’s saying a lot, just ask one of our editors after I’ve been though a first draft video with them!). 

Here, ladies and gentleman, we have finally arrived at the much anticipated, point of this post. Good photos do not require a good camera, and good videos are not necessarily made so by good cameras. Sure these things help, but the reason a photo or video is good is because of what’s in front of the camera, and how you decide to capture it.

So this is a call to arms. Those of you who have great ideas for visuals for your business, but have been afraid for too long. Today, I call upon you, to take action. Pick up your cameras, and take those photos! After all, if you never try, whilst you won’t fail, you certainly won’t succeed.

Also, just a quick note whilst i’ve got you… If you’re looking for technical guidance on getting started with creating content using your phone, book onto one of our workshops by visiting Alternatively if you’ve got a camera that you’re looking for guidance on using, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to arrange a bespoke 1 to 1 training session.

Ally Adams

Ally Adams

Director, EpicTech Media

I take on the role of Production Supervisor at EpicTech Media, overseeing all of our projects from script to screen.

I try and ensure that every project i work on is rooted in two things, audience and story. A good video, in my view, connects the two.

Outside of work i'm a sucker for model railways and a good game of racketball!

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