Travelling India in the summer heat with a Mamiya 7ii

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by george_deacon, May 24, 2016.

  1. Hi all,
    As the title suggests I am travelling India this summer for 1 month and although it is not the best time to go due to the heat and monsoon, it is the only time I have available.

    I am concerned that the high temperature may affect my Mamiya 7ii and film. Additionally, knowing I am likely to encounter some heavy rain is also a concern, are there protective equipment to deal with this?

    What tips do you have for travelling extremely hot countries with film?
  2. Ziploc bags.
  3. Are you going to be shooting images that would be going to stock sites and make you money?If this is a hobbyists venture, do please rethink.
    Which part of India you are travelling to? Already in May parts of the country has experienced the highest ever temperature for this year. Which means, it is only going to get hotter until September. Leave bulky equipment and go there with a mirrorless camera.
  4. Agree with Starvy. Forty degree (C) plus temperatures this year, in many parts of India. Unlikely to do your finely tuned electronic camera much good. Definitely a killer for film. Digital is the way. Travel light. Reduce your photo equipment to the basics. As Starvy wrote, a mirrorless and one or two lenses would be idea for that sort of travel.
    Going at a cooler (northern autumn, October-November) time would be better. Rethink and replan if at all possible.
    Take a lot of water and salt tablets. Wear a hat. Splurge on +50 sunscreen. Remember the Novel Coward 1950s song about mad dogs and the rest, and stay out of the sun at midday, shoot early or late, better light anyway. The English colonials lived on their gin and tonic, and you can and should enjoy the excellent Indian beer, Mandalay Pale Ale with ice (made from boiled water) and slices of lime or lemon can be a life saver.
    As well, if you are thinking of travel-hopping about with a bag full of gear and snap-snapping potential stock images as you go, you will do well to rethink and plan very carefully. Most would-be stock shooters end up with thousands of (usually digital) travel images, almost none of which are saleable. Ditto the usual people shots of small children smiling at the camera or old people flashing toothless grins. Steve McCurry did it a few decades ago (see his books), but even then it was becoming a tad, well, cliche. At least he did it well. Most of the others just copy him.
    All this said, if you must, then go and enjoy India. Wit'h the right mindset it's a unique experience. Good images are possible in India, but do your research carefully AND thoroughly. Google a lot for starters. Read the posts in the travel forums of this and other photo web sites. Look at stock agencies' web sites and carefully note their requirements and want lists. Travel images are often a no-no. Check Flickr. Your eyes will open wide at this last one.
    I say all the above with some experience. Since the 1990s I've done quite specialised photography for clients. I'm not about to give away my business secrets, but I can tell you that in all cases my work is contracted before I leave home. From a shipload of past experience I can also tell you two things.
    One, in my travels I meet many photographers with heaps of expensive gear who all say (and may even believe) they are new professionals (the camera manufacturers with their dubious marketing tactics have a lot to answer for in this area) and are shooting wonderful stuff for sale with obsolete film cameras or inadequate amateur quality DSLRs and cheap zoom lenses. Two, the fees I get for my images rarely even cover my travel expenses. I shoot with a careful eye to multiple usage and even then I often end the year offsetting my photo income and some of my travel expenses on tax from other income.
  5. >>Ditto the usual people shots of small children smiling at the camera or old people flashing toothless grins.

    When I lived in the UK in the 80s this was disparagingly called 'RPS style'. Backlit photo of happy grinning peasant, ideally missing a few teeth.
  6. The OP said absolutely nothing about shooting images for stock sales. He asked about precautions against the heat and rain.
  7. it


    This won't be for stock, the agencies don't even accept film scans any longer anyway. Stock images of India are a dime a dozen (well maybe $1) unless they are unique and model released. I have plenty of India stuff with Getty and it doesn't really sell.
    I was going to head to India in the next month or so, but this heatwave has made me rethink. I might try and go deeper into monsoon season. I would just use a bag with a waterproof feature. ThinkTank bags come with a cover that is very effective and light.
    Unless doing the mountains, it would be no fun in 45C+ temps everyday. My favorite time is Feb-March. Here are a few shots I did in 2014.
  8. No stock images, purely for travel and photography enjoyment.
    I was planning to visit Rajasthan however will now rethink.
  9. Perhaps a trip to Ladakh would be better!
  10. George would one of the waterproof and shockproof "tough" digital cameras suit your needs? There are several of them and have reviews like
    Ian, great pics especially the children.
  11. Randy, I'm pretty set on using medium format for this trip. I was originally planing to visit Ladakh before Rajasthan although with the above suggestions it does not seem common sense to be photographing in the heat.
  12. Unless the resolution and large negative of the Mamiya are essential, why not take a small P&S digital of reasonable sensor size and resolutiion instead, or even a Rollei 35 or Minox 35GT? The less expensive digital camera provides less risk, easier to protect and perhaps more time to see before shooting.
    If you carry your Mamiya and film you might think of staying where you have refrigeratior access in the night, keep you equipment and film in ziplock bags and carry always in a padded insulated lunch bag.
    Not an easy situation. I rarely make my best photographs when travelling, as I don't have enough time to really work on the photo other than capturing a record. Your experience may well be different but I decided a few years ago to forgo the hassle of film checking at airports and conservation on the journey for the few occasions when I preferred to work on a potentially fine image rather than just enjoy the cultural pleasure of being in a different location.
  13. david_henderson


    If you are photographing purely for pleasure , you have to have looked up the likely temperature and humidity you're likely to face? What experience do you have of those conditions? And how did you (never mind the camera) react. Did you get on OK? Was it fun? Do you think that you could bring the necessary focus and application to photography in those conditions? Some people are more resilient to those conditions than others. Or could you spend the entire trip lurching from one air conditioned hotel to another and essentially miss what you went for?
    I can recall being in Dubai for three days in a humid and uncomfortable 37 degrees. I photographed from dawn for a couple of hours after which it was just too much for me to bring any energy or commitment to the task and we spent nearly all the time in hotels and malls- and three days of that was quite enough even if it were as possible in Rajasthan. Meanwhile I have been in and photographed Rajasthan in Jan/Feb, in pleasant temperate conditions where I could walk around all day with no discomfort, and I really enjoyed it.
    I think your camera will be OK if you are, given ziplocs, an insulated bag for film and the odd hotel with a fridge/mini-bar . But if its supposed to be fun then go at a time of year consistent with that. If you must take holiday in summer then above all go somewhere where you can enjoy it.
  14. Where heat is concerned, medium format cameras and film are no different from other formats. May and June are the hottest months, with the monsoon arriving in north India at the end of June. Elementary precautions alone are needed: a light coloured, water-proof bag which should not be left in sunlight. It may be a good idea to refrigerate exposed film -- although today's film keeps pretty well. Heat has effects on humans also. Drinking water is essential.
  15. Are you Nuts
  16. Hmmm, I just saw this link. I am based out of India . Did you reach India or are you yet to reach there? Lots of people have been shooting film here, from a couple of decades and it may not be a problem.

    The humidity will be high in coastal places like Chennai (Madras), Bombay ( Mumbai) . The heat part depends on which time of day you go about, and the place. India is not hot all over.
    I have a facebook group called film photography India. There are people who shoot medium format film cameras here. You might probably need to wipe moisture off, if caught in rain. It might be bit difficult to get film. would suggest carrying film in handluggage.
    There are different themes for shooting - street photography, ancient temples - murals, sculptures , churches , mosques , nature . architecture - indian, indo-sarcenic , french, dutch , portuguese , spanish .

    feel free to ask more. you are welcome to join my facebook group too - open to all.

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