Like so many Caribbean islands, Roatán is one of those places where retired millionaires, optimistic college dropouts, and struggling poets intertwine with the local population to create a culture that is at once endemically cosmopolitan, lazily industrious, and responsibly chaotic. The island's personality is built on a healthy Honduran foundation, but the influx of European, African, American, and Asian expats makes Roatán feel like a place out of time, caught somewhere between the ages of imperialism and information.
Several years ago, I read Chase Jarvis's book The Best Camera Is the One That's with You. His argument is that most people don't need fancy equipment to capture photos; they just need to use the camera they already carry with them everywhere in their pocket. When he wrote the book in 2010, his iPhone had a 2 megapixel camera. I upgraded to an iPhone SE prior to my trip to Morocco, and I have been incredibly happy with the images captured by its newer 12 megapixel camera. For Christmas this year, Mike bought me a set of clip-on smartphone lenses that allow me to take a wider variety of shots. They include a fish eye lens, a macro lens, a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a circular polarized lens designed for bright sun settings. My favorite of these is the macro lens, which allows me to shoot incredibly close details at high resolution. And they're so quick and easy to use!
Scuba diving is one of those things that must be practiced, not only for the purposes of keeping up one’s skills but also, legally, in order to limit the liability of dive operators. Most waiver forms ask if you have been diving in the past year. If you haven’t, dive companies typically require you to do a short practice dive so they can evaluate your skills and make sure you aren’t going to make a deadly mistake on their watch. It’s also a great excuse for guaranteeing one dive trip every year, minimum.
During my volunteer trip to Rabat, my new friend Paige and I had the opportunity to take a weekend excursion to Merzouga. It's a small town in the eastern part of Morocco, just 31 miles (50 km) from the border of Algeria. To get there, we took a 10-hour drive through the Middle Atlas Mountains, and the scenery was beautiful enough that I never opened the book I'd brought with me for the journey.
I make high demands on my camera equipment. Not only must it produce high quality video and still photos, but it must also be compact, lightweight, quick to set up, and able to attach to anything. For bonus points, it should also be waterproof. Because, scuba diving. The 360fly HD is just such a camera, waterproof qualities included.
I learned how to dive in 1984 from a salty Australian dive master named Murray Hill. There were several Aussies who lived on the Bouygues-Blount Joint Venture compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and they always talked about diving the Great Barrier Reef as a source of immense national pride. So, even though I was treated to some truly amazing diving in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea during those early years, I always placed diving the Great Barrier Reef at the pinnacle of my Adventure Travel list.
Angela and I do our best to travel with carryons only. There really is nothing more satisfying than getting off a plane, bypassing other travelers waiting at the luggage conveyors, and getting our passports stamped first in immigration. It's a small victory, but it pays off with great dividends when you're in competition for taxis, hotel rooms, or all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets in Tangier (more on that later). In our experience, traveling light and moving quickly is essential. But I'm unwilling to sacrifice high-quality video or photo footage for the sake of convenience; therefore, I have whittled my camera gear down to the essentials. This is what I pack for every trip.
With all apologies to our friends, both foreign and domestic, who advised us to spend some time in Belfast, we decided to secure our rental car and drive toward the northern coast as soon as we landed in Northern Ireland. We were short on time and long on ambition, hoping to see both the northern and the wild western coasts of Ireland before returning to Dublin and our flight home. But Ireland isn't a country that can be fully appreciated in a whirlwind tour. It is an ancient land, rich in history and slow in distillation. And, as with all fine whiskey, it needs to be sipped to be truly enjoyed.
On our first full day in Glasgow, Angela needed to catch up on some client work and decided to spend the morning enjoying her tea and the view from Bill and Ev's penthouse patio. Really not a bad way to make a living. As for myself, I was in the mood to explore the city on foot. So, armed with my Mavic Pro drone and a detailed route map provided by Bill over breakfast, I set out along the River Clyde toward the famed Glasgow Cathedral and its accompanying necropolis.
I have been traveling with a quadcopter drone and shooting aerial video for over three years now, capturing some excellent footage in remote locations. And while I've always been pleased with the results as my experience grew with the technology, I can’t help but think of all the amazing shots I missed simply because I did not yet have a DJI Mavic Pro.