The first thing that many people pack in their holiday bag is a camera. It certainly was for me for many years as I went about recording happy times in exotic places. My wife remembers how, even on our honeymoon, I’d be up at the crack of dawn to snap photos in the best light.
But when I turned professional that changed. Holidays are a time to rest from work; to recharge batteries; think about the ‘big picture’, perhaps. And that, for me, means a break from photography. I’m happy to make do with just my camera phone or an old, small, light camera that the kids can muck about with on the beach.
There are exceptions, however, and a trip to Patagonia last November one of them. How could I not take at least one camera? And I was glad I did, if just for the three days I spent cycling near Piedra Parada in Chubut, Argentina. Mario Gadda, a friend who runs Tracción a Sangre cycle tours in Peninsula Valdés, had told me about the incredible desert scenery of the Chubut valley, exemplified by Piedra Parada, a 300m tall chunk of lava from an extinct volcano. The landscape reminded me of Arizona, but without the tourists.
For me, among a group of cyclists, it was also a chance to take some photos of people doing what they love, my favourite type of portrait photography.