…a pretentious ramble with interesting links
I was originally recommended to help work in Guyana by my friend Erin Malone, one of the two other students traveling with us. I’d never been out of the country (much less traveled much within the US) so I was eager to make something happen. Within a week we had a meeting with Eric Williams, the professor and seasoned traveler accompanying us on our trip, and everything was set in motion.
About a month out from our leaving, we met again and talked in more detail. Soon I learned some interesting facts about Guyana… it is home to the largest track of unspoiled rainforests in South America, some parts of which are basically inaccessible to humans. Accordingly, it is the most bio-diverse country in South America. If things go as planned, we’ll be taking multiple trips into the interior rain forest. On the downside, there are many issues within the country from ethnic tensions and very high crime rates. …It’s not the safest place for an unworldly suburban white guy.
I also learned that Erin and I would be staying in an apartment on the University of Guyana campus in Georgetown, the largest city, and capital of Guyana. While the area surrounding our apartment would be fairly safe, we are advised not to travel the city at night (no guarantees), and even during the day to stay in groups and be extremely vigilant. To top things off, our apartment is not air-conditioned. The average weather is sunny and 85 degrees with upwards of 90% humidity. (Humidity in this range creates conditions that feel up to 20 degrees warmer…) We will learn to deal with the heat, but without air conditioning, our apartment is ideal for extra roommates. We’ll be sleeping under bug-nets for the duration of the trip.
This trip is nothing glamorous, but I’m glad its something unique and ambitious. I’m planning to make the best of this experience - I’ve never traveled before and most of my expenses are covered by Ohio University, a grant from USAID, and the incredible generosity of Eric Williams.
and for those who are care…
I have been borrowing cameras from the university and friends for the past two years, but for this trip, I needed to find something dependable that could get some great stills. Given the rough conditions like the extreme humidity, I had to find a camera and lens system that would be up to the challenge. Who knows when I’ll be be able to travel again, especially to a place like Guyana.
After talking with some experienced friends, plus spending long hours online researching, it became clear that the Canon EOS 7D would be the best investment for the trip and years to come. The solid design of the body and its resistance to the elements was a key factor in the decision. The glass I decided on was the Canon 24-105mm f/4l. This would be the perfect walkaround lens to cover a wide range of subjects, and it also has great weather sealing. While at an f/4 it’s not the fastest, and does suffer slight distortions like any zoom lens, I think it’s the most versatile and dependable option available - and at a reasonable price for the amazing optical quality. I was lucky to come upon a refurbished body and used glass in mint condition. More recently I purchased a Canon 50mm f/1.8. I realized there’s a good chance I’ll need something a bit faster, and with a price tag as dirt cheap as this 50mm, it’s amazingly sharp at f/2.8. The auto focus is pretty rough though, and it doesn’t have manual override. Support for this setup is the Manfrotto 7322YB.
I am currently living in Athens, Ohio where I attend Ohio University’s School of Media Arts & Studies. I will be a Junior next year continuing work on my Bachelors degree. I’m nearing 21 years old and I’ll be celebrating my birthday during this trip. I am originally from Westerville, Ohio.
I am pursuing a Video Production degree focusing on camera department work and cinematography. I have been involved in many productions, from shorts to feature-length, working with many different cameras - 16mm film to the Red One. I started my freshman year as head of the Behind the Scenes department on the student feature film "Trailerpark".
This year I worked as 2nd Assistant Camera for the “Ohio Promise” commercials, a nationally televised advertising campaign for Ohio University airing later this year.
More recently I was the 2nd Assistant Camera for "Let It Be War", an independent short film shot in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky during the Spring of 2010.
Currently, I work as a videographer for the local PBS affiliate WOUB, taking on multiple projects with interstate travels. I’ve had many great experiences, interviewing people such as Commanding General Vincent Brooks of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am also shooting a documentary concerning the impact of Kaiser Aluminum on the small town of Ravenswood, WV.
When I arrive back in late August, I will immediately head to Pittsburgh to work as the 1st Assistant Camera on the short film "Arriving at Night" starring horror-junkie legend, Tom Atkins.