Brian's Photo Blog — Article 179
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Yellowstone Photography By Snowmobile
Friday 19 October 2012   —   Category: Outings

A while back I was reading through my monthly edition of Outdoor Photographer magazine, when a short entry in the “Travel & Workshops” section caught my eye. It mentioned the opportunity to explore Yellowstone National Park on a five-day photography outing via snowmobile.

Oh, my goodness! WOW! That scenario sounded like a dream come true! I had no idea that such an opportunity existed! But after the first flush of excitement wore off, I started to think that such an outing would be too expensive and extravagant. So I simply shelved it as an unattainable dream, and went on to other things.

However, the idea kept coming back to mind. After a while I started to wonder if perhaps it might be somewhat extravagant, but not TOO extravagant. After all, I had never indulged in such an outing before, and I would very likely never do so again. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime event. In addition, I turned 50 earlier this year, and had done nothing special to celebrate this milestone. In this light, the dream began to appear more attainable!

Well-known nature photographers John and Barbara Gerlach personally lead the five-day tour, with a maximum of ten participants. On their Web site, I read all the details about the outing. The more I read, the more awesome it sounded!

After hemming and hawing for a couple of weeks, I finally came to the conclusion that I should just go for it. So I contacted the travel agency handling the arrangements and made my reservation for the February 10-16, 2013 tour. Hot dog! I can’t wait!!

After making my reservation, I was sent more information about how the tour will operate, and what to bring. One item recommendation which stood out to me was this: “We strongly suggest bringing at least two camera bodies in case one breaks.” Once I had pondered that for a few weeks, I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to have a second camera body, as a backup, and also as a second camera on certain types of shoots.

One reason many photographers don’t take Micro Four Thirds (µ4/3) cameras seriously is that most of these cameras do not have a viewfinder, but rely completely on the back LCD screen. I absolutely need to have a viewfinder in addition to the screen. That’s one of the reasons I chose the Olympus OM-D E-M5 over other Panasonic and Olympus models. So for me, any second camera body I might get definitely needs to have a viewfinder too.

Other than the E-M5, all of the other Olympus µ4/3 cameras are in their PEN series, none of which come with a built-in viewfinder — although you can add an optional viewfinder accessory, which does not interest me.

The only other manufacturer of µ4/3 cameras is Panasonic, which offers a large number of models, mostly without a built-in viewfinder, but there are a handful of models which do. I’m researching those to see if one of them might be a capable yet less-expensive backup for my beloved E-M5. I for sure don’t want to get another E-M5 as a backup — that would be overkill.

Well, getting a second camera body is only one of many preparations I need to make over the coming months. I will share more details as they unfold. From now until mid-February, I will be dreaming about five full days in snowy Yellowstone, travelling about 450 miles by snowmobile. Maybe some dreams can come true after all!
UPDATE: After much consideration, and for various reasons, I decided to cancel my reservation for this outing ... so I won’t be going to Yellowstone after all. I am disappointed, but in the end it’s for the best, so I’m at peace with my decision. For more details about the thoughts and circumstances that helped bring me to this change of direction, see my article Fed Up With Photography!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 179
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