View Full Version : LF on Caribbean islands?
I am about to take a Caribbean cruise (not my idea of fun!) and wonder about taking my 6x9 view camera along. In addition to some sailing and snorkeling, I will have some time on St. Thomas, St. Johns, St. Maartens, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and San Juan, Puerto Rico for some scenic and architercture shooting. Will I have trouble using a tripod and taking my sweet time to do shots? Any governmental restrictions on using "professional" camera equipment?
I would be more concerned about whether the strict sailing schedule of a cruise ship would permit you to be where you want to be when the light is best for LF photography. My experience with cruises was that they sort of expected that your land activities would be between the hours of 10am and 4pm. During that period, the light in the tropics will be kind of harsh.
My wife and I are regular vacationers on St. Martin (the french half of St. Maarten). I always bring a 35 mm camera and a tripod, and I have made some wonderful pictures there, in both color and black and white. St. Maarten/St. Martin is a mountainous island, and a wonderful place for landscape photography.
No one has ever even commented on my tripod, but I don't photograph in the towns; perhaps it would attract more notice there.
The 35 mm black and white pictures I shot on our last trip were so good that my wife has been encouraging me to bring the view camera next time. My only reservation is that St. Martin is quite a breezy island, and my field camera, a Canham DLC, while an excellent and versatile camera, is a bit too flexible to work well in any significant amount of wind. On the other hand, the high light levels in the Caribbean help by permitting relatively fast shutter speeds (for large format).
I would strongly recommend that you bring the view camera, with, perhaps a 35 mm or digital camera as backup. I guarantee you that if you don't bring a camera you will spend the entire trip contemplating one magnificent scene after another and wishing you had one.
Actually, many of the images with the "tropical feeling" and deep turquoise waters can be made only
by mid-day. There are some nice spots in Virgin Islands National Park in St John, and I haven't
noticed bureaucratic problems in San Juan.
I live in Trinidad, just south of Barbados. There are no government restrictions on tripod use on any of the islands. I use an Arca Swiss system and have photographed in Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and in Trinidad with no problems. You have to be a little paranoid about theft (at gunpoint!) in the Caribbean nowadays. However, I have found that the bigger and weirder your camera, the less likely it is for you to be targeted. Have fun but be aware of your surroundings. Regards, Rory.
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