For the week or so leading up to the trip, the light had been amazing every morning. We woke up to a bright, low golden sun hitting the conservatory each morning. I kept saying to Stephanie that we should try and capture it before it gets too cold in the mornings, after having a think and a look about on Google maps, we found a spot that was not too far away, looked over a body of water and would be suitable for some Wild Camping. We decided that it would be nice to film it for my quite new and yet still underused YouTube project, which I call Exploring Photography.

The idea was to set off late afternoon, ride over to the lake, camp over and capture the sunrise as it lit up the lake. I still had the Panasonic S1R and I wanted to get out shooting with it as much as possible, so taking the S1R out for a field review became the reason for the trip regarding the video.

We watched the weather, spotted a dry couple of days, loaded up the bike and set out to make our little overnight camping video, which you can see below. It’s a good 20min watch so maybe, watch at the end & for now, I will fill you in on some of the detail that didn’t make the video.

Setting up the tent was easy enough as I had been to the lake a few times before and knew where was going to be dry and where to avoid. Wild camping can be pretty fun but cold too around the start of winter. So, why would I want to camp over I hear you say, and it is a great question?

Riding at night is even colder than being tucked up in a warm sleeping blanket, that’s my theory. Waking up and travelling to a location in the middle of the night in the car is one thing, but doing that on a bike is a different prospect. I prefer to do my travelling during the day and do my sleeping at night. By camping over in the location, I can wake up ready to go, then ride off to the next location.
Temperature is not the only problem when travelling at night either. By travelling to a location during the day, I get to see the landscape and think about where I want to be when the sun does rise. Seeing where the sun sets I can see where it will rise and have my image pre-visualised in my head.

After setting up the tent, the next thing I always try and do is fire up the stove and get some coffee going.

Since I was out on this trip to make a video about the Panasonic, I thought that a few bits to the camera would be a good idea. Filming them in the day before I went to bed seemed like a good option, so I could wake up and just worry about trying to get a few good images in the morning. As always, before leaving the house, I made some notes about what I wanted to mention.

  • Rugged nature of the camera
  • How well it works with gloves
  • The USB charging
  • How good the 50mm is
  • Image stabilization
  • Image quality
  • Using the phone App
  • Focus Systems

Overall I have had the camera for about 8 weeks now and I am really starting to love it. It took a long time to bond with, mostly as I had been so ingrained and mentally trained towards Fujifilm cameras, but, I have to admit I really loved the Panasonic. It’s the most suitable, rugged all round and capable camera I have ever used, which is something I don’t say often.

After doing some stuff to the camera, I made my dinner. Cooking out in the wild is something that is just amazing.
I had picked up some chicken from a local farmers market in the morning, part cooked it at home, made a curry sauce before sealing it in a Tupperware. It was just the thing to warm me up before watching the sunset over the stunning Galway landscape. The wide-open space and fresh air seem to just make everything taste that little better. A great way to finish a wonderful day.

 It was about 3 am when things started to go wrong. Due to the bitter coldness, I had slept with my sleeping zipped right up to the neck. Pretty normal, I guess, but what was not normal was that I had somehow in the middle of the night got my hands into the sleeping bag, I have no idea how this happened. But as I woke up, I noted that I was about to have a cramp in my left leg. The pain that set in was quite amazing as I struggled to get my gloved hands out the sleeping bag, find the zip to the sleeping bag, undo the sleeping bag and only then be able to try and stretch my leg to work out the cramp that had now taken control of my entire leg, from toe to hip. I wanted to try and walk it off, but only having my bike boots, they were not easy to slip on or off. On top of all of this, it was bitter cold. By the time I had found my outer trousers, jacket and head torch, the pain in my leg was about gone and my alarm was about to ring, so, I just put the coffee on and went for a stroll about the lake. Fun morning so far.

As mentioned in the video, I had a specific idea of what I wanted to shoot. But, unlike every other morning this month. There was no low fog and a layer of thick cloud in the sky. After the rude and painful awaking, this was not ideal.

Nonetheless. I got the camera ready after getting the composition ready the night before and waited to see what happened.
Nothing happened, for a long time. In the end, the sun was fully up and the golden glow I had set out to capture was never going to show. But that’s life, on another day, the sun might have been perfect and everything would have worked out as planned.
In the end, I still got some great photos and my mum will get a nice photo of a boat and I am happy with that.

I guess the story is that sometimes, shoots work out as you expect and sometimes they don’t. That’s just the way it works. This time the clouds didn’t part and the fog didn’t show. That’s fine, that’s how photography works. You can not force an image.

If you want to know more about this trip or my thoughts about the awesome Panasonic S1R, check out the video below.

Even though I didn’t get the images I had planned out in my mind, we left with some pretty cool stuff, some awesome drone footage for other projects and had a fun time getting out and about. 

Here are some edits from the morning.

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