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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's the little things that get you

21This picture doesn't look particularly dangerous does it? Only the front of the pirogue there (the canoe). Where that big hole has been bitten out. That was done by a hippo! Lucky for my friend Andreus he wasn't in it at the time.

He's out in the middle of the river there trying to make sure he doesn't get sick. A few friends and I were on a day walk through the jungle in the heart of the Democratic Rebublic of Congo. The boy at the front there is the son of the chief of a village we were staying in. Chief Panga Panga his name was. What a great name!

Anyway we reached this river and Andreus had run out of water on a blisteringly hot day. We had purified water back at camp but hadn't brought any purifying tablets with us on this day walk. So he's out in the middle of the river filling his water bottle because that's where the water flows the fastest and is less likely to contain bugs!

Little things can often be the biggest cause for concern when you're travelling. In fact we were held up in Panga Panga's village for a few days because of one of the smallest of bugs - a mosquito. It had given our buddy Paddy a nasty case of malaria and he was lying on a camp bed under a net with a drip in his arm.

He made a full recovery but it goes to show you just how a little thing can turn your trip into a nightmare. Which doesn't have much to do with photography but has a hell of a lot to do with being a travel photographer. Anything that makes you ill take away your ability to take photos so it's best to prevent things as much as you can. Before I spent 9 months in Africa I felt like a pin cushion with all the jabs I had to get, and to this day I can't stand the taste of malaria medicine or Iodine tablets in water. But you do what you do to make sure you can get the pictures.

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