Lyzadie: You mentioned you were going on another adventure this Friday. A lot of people envy your job, well I know I do. How do you decide on where to go next? How do you prepare for your next adventure? Does the weather and or seasonality affect your decision on where to go?
Talman: A lot of my decision making comes back to instinct, adventure and wonder. Often I will look at a map and ask myself what’s there? I have this really insatiable desire to drive to the end of gravel roads, any road. Even if it is just to find a cul-de-sac and nothing of interest. I have even travelled half way down, and I got the feeling I am not going to find anything, but I still have to go to the end because if I don’t I know then I am going to come back again and do it anyway, so I may as well tick it off now and see what’s there just in case. That leads me to some really interesting places and there have been times when I have ran out of petrol (chuckles…) or it’s taken way longer than I expected. But that’s all part of the journey.
I guess when I am looking at locations I don’t really like to scout and do heaps of research online. I really love the feeling of experiencing a place for the first time. When I do that, what stands out about that location or place is so much more prominent and strong if I have never been there before or seen it. I am just wary that if I go somewhere and I have seen a photo of that location or read someone else’s blog or video about it, I will be influenced by how they experienced it and I want to avoid that at all cost.
In terms of preparation, I am always carrying multiple cameras with me – my operating camera, then a back up. I am up to two cameras and seven lenses, two drones and then multiple tripods, back up systems, laptops, portable batteries, power banks, etc. It’s heavy, so depending on where I am going, some of that gear will stay in the car. Recently, I did a trip to Great Barrier. I flew there. The allowance was 20kgs but I had 40kg so I got stung with a bill. I could not get rid of any of it. I am one of those people who loves to be prepared.
As to weather, I know a lot of people who spend hours pouring over weather maps and looking at the forecast, but in my experience, it’s never been one hundred per cent right. There have been times when I have looked at the weather and the weather forecast and decided not to go out and then missed some incredible light and then there’s been times when I have looked at it and said I better be out there and it’s been not at all what I was anticipating. So it got to the point where I have learnt I can’t change the weather and so if I am going to go, I am going to go regardless of the weather. It’s made life a lot more enjoyable.
One example is, I did the Routeburn earlier this year with some other photographer friends and we had a very wet few days. It was very interesting – some of them just chose not to take their cameras out because they could not see the full vista. They hiked through without stopping to smell the roses so to speak. One of my photographer friends and I thought “we’re here, this place is still phenomenal, let’s just enjoy it”. On the second day we ended up at the hut, two or three hours later than everyone else, just because we spent all this time stopping, taking photos and really enjoying it to the full. We had a blast so you can’t let the weather get in the way, especially in New Zealand when the weather is so unpredictable.