I hope Camera Stupid can become a place where people interested in all types of photography can gain useful tips or information. Maybe you’re planing a trip to the Maldives, or you’re an aspiring travel photographer, I hope you will find this post about travel photography in the Maldives helpful and interesting.
In May I had the amazing opportunity to provide photography and videography coverage for a company event in the Maldivian Islands. The Maldives are an island nation located in the Indian Ocean. It’s about as far away from where I live in Idaho as you can get. Interesting Fact: If the Maldives sound like a place you want to visit, you may want to do it sooner than later. Forecasts estimate that the islands may be submerged in as little as 50 years due to rising ocean levels. I feel extremely blessed to have been able to experience and photograph this amazing location.
Getting to the Maldives from the United States is an experience in itself. My flight itinerary looked like this: Idaho Falls > Salt Lake > Atlanta > Dubai > Malé. When you add up all the travel time including the 8 hour layover in Dubai, we ended up traveling for 24 hours straight to get to our destination.
On this trip I was packing a substantial amount of photography and video gear:
- One checked bag, a Pelican Storm Trak case containing light stands, tripod, Aquatech underwater housing, chargers, power cords, glidecam, and clothing.
- One cary on bag, the Think Tank Airport Antidote containing all of my lenses, camera body, wireless mic, YN-560 speedlights & umbrellas, laptop, iPad, and cleaning kit. This bag is deceptively small looking for how much it can carry. It fits under the seat in most airplanes so most of the time you can get away with it being your “personal item.”
- A second cary on, the Goprofessional Case containing my DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter, GoPro, spare phantom batteries, and other phantom accessories.
I was a bit nervous and curious how immigration control in Dubai would react to the quadcopter “drone.” Sure enough, after they x-rayed the Phantom case they pulled me aside and wanted to know what it was and what it was for. I calmly explained that it was a remote control helicopter. Of course the guard then wanted me to take it out of the case so he could get a better look. That is when he saw the GoPro camera attached to the undercarriage of the Phantom and I could almost hear the warning bells going off in his head. Because my “helicopter” had a camera attached to it I had just earned a trip to his supervisor’s office where I spent the next 10 min answering questions about my “drone.”
“Surely this is not the first Phantom Quadcopter they’ve had come through here…” I thought as I answered questions about how high and far it would go and what type of batteries it ran on. Maybe it was the jet lag, but I kept calm and eventually they decided I wasn’t a threat and let me continue on my way.
On the way to the Maldives our layover in Dubai was long enough that we got a hotel for the night before our final flight in the morning. Being a photographer, it was impossible to ignore the fact that we were in the same city as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We dropped the bags at the hotel and then grabbed a taxi and headed for the 2,722 feet tall building.
I grabbed a few mandatory shots of the building, but found it much more interesting to photograph some of the other tourists enjoying the fountain show at the base of the tower that had just started.
After some dinner at a nearby restaurant we got a taxi back to the hotel for the night.
The flight from Dubai to the Maldives is a relatively short four hours. As we approached, we got an amazing view of the atolls from the air.
Upon landing at the tiny Malé airport, and making it through passport control and customs, we found the Four Season’s waiting area and waited to board the yacht to the Four Season’s resort at Kuda Huraa. Four Seasons resorts are well known for their world class service and the staff that greeted us on the resort island was no exception. They really go out of their way to make their guests feel welcome and they work hard to surprise and delight visitors with little extra personalized touches.
The five days on the island went way too fast. We were busy with individual photo-shoots of each of the company members on the trip. We spent a good amount of time getting stunning aerial video from the Phantom. It took a little while, but I slowly increased my confidence with flying over the water. On one of the afternoons, some members of our group went out and rode an inflatable “banana” behind a boat. I estimate that I flew the Phantom nearly a mile out over the water to chase the boat and get footage of them getting knocked off the banana tube.
Other highlights of the trip included the Dolphin Cruise and Scuba diving. (See 5 tips for Underwater Photography)
Watch the highlight video here: