Just this past weekend while sipping coffee and soaking up the late-summer sun in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California, I met up with Karen Kefauver, an experienced adventure travel writer with a growing interest in new media. Karen, who I had connected with through my first post on Written Road, was heading off to Peru and Brazil for a few months, and was seeking advice on buying a camera.
“I don’t mind buying the right equipment,” she reiterated several times, “but I need to keep my stuff down to one bag.”
Karen’s initial itinerary read something like a death wish—whitewater rafting, mountain biking steep singletrack, tromping through the jungle—(everything one should be doing while traveling), and further complicated the situation of keeping things simple.
“Think small,” I first told her. “Buying a fairly high-end pocket digital camera would allow you to take clean video while capturing high-quality photographs. You won’t have to lug around a Digital SLR and video camera while trying to pull your butt up a steep climb,” I explained.
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When Karen mentioned she was heading into the rainforest, we started to discuss cameras that shoot well in low light. Double A batteries vs. rechargeable and moisture issues were next on the list, finished with price.
In the end we decided the Canon SD 850 IS was one of her best choices. I have used the camera for just over a year, and the images are stunning to say the least. Video from the camera has wound up in a variety of projects, and I even dropped the little guy going 20 mph while riding my bike. Minus the huge scratch on the LCD (the only proof it hit the pavement) the camera is in nearly perfect condition and still works like a charm.
But the biggest plus—and the central theme of our conversation—was that the camera makes it easy to keep things simple. Without having to fiddle with multiple lenses, batteries, chargers and memory cards, Karen could do what she was there to do: Experience, internalize, and capture.
As for the rest of our conversation here are a few travel writing gems from Karen: (paraphrasing of course)
• If you are starting out, think big, but write as much as you can.
• Find a niche you are passionate about and work towards producing the best writing possible.
• Take risks, even if they could spell disaster.
• Writing takes time and you can’t rush it.
• Network, network, network.
• Be willing to ask for help and then help others when you can.
• Remember to keep it simple.
To follow Karen’s adventure, check out her blog, and if you have a camera you love to use please let us know. I realize personal preference plays a huge part in selecting technology, and I would love to hear yours.
Oh yes, and as for KISS, I learned the acronym from a ten-year-old kid while filming a short movie for the whitewater rafting company I used to work for. Turns out the kid knew I had too many gadgets, and decided to let me know about it at lunch while excitedly throwing his lemonade all over the place. So much for respecting one’s elders.