I just returned from a cruise travelling from Sydney to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It was a break to get some shutter therapy and spend some quality time with my family. I only had my trusty Olympus OMD EM5 and two lenses with me, the M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and the 17mm F1.8. I always feel that I can exclusively shoot with just the 17mm F1.8 lens, but I always carry the 12-50mm lens in case of wet weather or need that little bit of zoom power that is usually required for travel photography. The setup performed impeccably in all sorts of light and weather conditions, nailing focus with precision and speed. However, of most value was my F-Stop Guru back pack which was great in all weather conditions including tropical rain to protect the gear. It enabled me to carry the family’s water bottles, 2 IPADS, child and wife essentials and my camera gear with room to spare. I will save that for another post.
So we started by travelling through fires on the central coast of NSW to board the Carnival Spirit in Sydney at Circular Quay. Although, the fires were hard work for the great fire fighters they left their mark in the skies above Sydney as we departed Circular Quay.
First stop Port Villa in Vanuatu, tropical rain was falling which made for a very adventurous taxi ride through the local streets to Ekasup Village. I could not miss photographing this place, so I put the water resistance of the EM5 and 12-50mm to the test. In rain and mud with some slips and slides the setup performed very well. You can be the judge of how the system performed in poor light and rain below.
On arrival to the village we were surrounded by Futunan Islanders protecting their land with spears in hand (a little blunt :)). They led us to a central area where we were met by the tribes chief and elders. There, we were welcomed into their beautiful village and their spears were put down and replaced with smiles, dancing and custom music.
The people are so passionate about the land and share their stories of their traditional ways. Here, you can forget the need for medicines as the islanders swear by their native herbs and plants for their dose of panadol and zinc and anything else you may require. They also shared how their food is caught, preserved, roasted or stewed. The beautiful thing here is that everything comes from the land.
This world can offer a beautiful balance and they found it many hundreds of years ago!
Onto Mystery Island and while others snorkelled in the pristine water, I chose to walk around the beautiful island weaving in out of the markets that were full of life and colour. They also provided shade in what was a very hot day.
Funny how time flies on a cruise. One day you are in one paradise and the next day you wake up in another. Isle of Pines has to be one of the most beautiful destinations in the Pacific. It is a relatively untouched paradise with breathtaking views.
St Maurice Bay Monument on the peninsula is a large stone monument of Jesus, with coral, rock designs and wildflowers around the base, and more of the wooden stake fences that surround the island.
Roads are lined with small trails shaded by banyan trees and columnar pines.
Following on from Isle of Pines we arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia’s cosmopolitan capital. I could have walked the streets capturing candid portraits but chose to sit back on a tcou tcou train to keep the kids at bay and see the sites from afar. I found that there was not much to show within this landscape having being spoilt in the islands. However, I am sure I will return to capture the cheerful multi cultural community that are sophisticated and uncomplicated, classy but casual.
I should not get carried away with all the shutter therapy as there was also a lot of fun on board the beautiful Carnival Spirit.
What is a cruise without the photographers awaiting with amazing back drops to take your picture? I am sure they were laughing at me with my so called toy.
I must end this post with what the trip was all about. Love!
It was great shooting with so many holiday makers going about with the big heavy SLR’s. My camera seemed more inconspicuous than even an IPAD that seems to to be very popular for the traveller. I am very, very happy with what the M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and the 17mm F1.8 can do on the EM5. Sure the 12-50mm is not the best or fastest however it can do general shooting rather well even in inclement conditions. Also, its macro capability is very good and so underestimated. I will share on another post.
Happy Travels. 🙂