HIGH TECHING IN THE HIMALAYAS
The following is an article I wrote in March 2003 while I was trekking to the Mount Everest Base Camp. The tale will amuse and educate you about the use of digital camera equipment in the harsh conditions of cold and altitude on the mountain side. (Portions of this article and photographs were published in What Digital Camera Magazine, March 2004).
Can the latest hi technology survive in the Himalayas? That’s the question this tech-savvy pro-sumer photographer wanted to answer.
As a techie before there was a name for it, when digital cameras hit the market with the promise of high quality images without the expense of film, I was very excited. Unfortunately, the first digital cameras were fraught with problems. The combination of low resolution and image size, long shutter lags, and very little control over the camera led to photographs far below the quality produced by standard inexpensive 35mm film-based cameras.
Fortunately, technology improves rapidly and the majority of these faults have been corrected. With the introduction of SLR based digital cameras ranging from 3 to 14 mega pixels, debates raged whether digitally produced photographs rivaled film.
In September, I read a challenge on a photography newsgroup defying someone to take a digital photograph of the Grand Canyon that rivaled film. I accepted the challenge armed with my newly purchased Canon EOS-D60 and trekked to the heart of the canyon. Camping out in its center, I came home with some amazing shots that all but the purist would agree rivaled film.
The next challenge was a two week vacation in Thailand. With the economics of digital technology, I took as many pictures as I fancied (1900 in total.) When I returned home I printed about 125 of them at 14” x 9.33” (to preserve the aspect ratio), and a few at 18” x 12” to frame for the wall. Unless I mentioned it, no one would have suspected that the photographs were of digital origin.
So here’s the big test. How would all of this technology work far from a technology-based support system? My goal was to take professional looking photographs on my trek to Mount Everest.