Rio Guadalmina - Spania
I was introduced to the place through some local friends and when I did my first trek I was devastated not having my camera. On the other hand it would not be easy to bring your camera along without getting it soaked in water. Several parts are in deep and dark waters with vertical limestone walls on both sides. You almost feel like inside a cave during parts of the trek, a few places you have to swim through small tunnels almost scraping the walls on both sides of your body. The half creepy feeling is not helped by the fact that you see snakes (Natrix Natrix) swimming by every now and then. By the way - I really hate snakes; in every sense, shape, size, and not matter if it is poisonous or not.
So, after my first trek through this place I was confident that I had to return with camera gear later. The question in mind was how to pull it off. After seeking guidance through forums, I got hold of my American friend Jon Golden who happened to know some National Geographic photographers who had recently trekked through jungle swamps. They said that the gear I looked for was actually waterproof bags made for kayaking - thanks a lot for helping out Jon!
So, 3 weeks after my initial trip I had taken two more trips getting to know the landscape better and plan my shots. I had gotten hold of the needed waterproof bags (thanks to Gadi Wolff for borrowing them to me), and I packed my Canon 5D MKII, a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, an ND filter which didn´t fit my 82mm cap size, shutter release, tripod and a wet suit - I was finally ready!
WHAT I LEARNED
It was really hard work.
One thing was carrying your stuff through water, but then when I approached a location I had to find a dry zone to unpack everything without spilling water. Then I set up, maybe waited a bit for the light to get better, took my shot only to start packing it all together. If you then do this continously for 8 hours in a stretch, threading the water, swimming etc - you get tired :) So, I hereby want to pay A LOT OF RESPECT to all nature photographers out there who has the patience and will to do this day after day after day, even weeks and months until they get their desired shot - that´s true dedication!