Sami/Reindeer relationships. Getting to Lapland.

As part of my Marine and Natural History Photography degree I have to complete a self-determined project. I wanted to follow on from my successful Cairngorm trip and chase the Reindeer. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the Sami, the reindeer and the effect that climate change is having on the animals and the viability of this lifestyle. The results will be shown at an exhibition in July 2019, you are all invited to attend.

The Planning

The planning started over a year ago when I was researching for my sustainable tourism dissertation. I had found on Google a company called Responsible Travel , based in Brighton. I admired their approach and their policies and approach resonated with me. A common sense and obvious method of approaching tourism and respecting the locals while putting something back. I wanted to interview the mind behind the approach and emailed a couple of times without any joy. So, determined and with my 3rd year final project in mind I decided to travel the 70 miles and see if I would get the content I needed. The place was not easy to find, it has no shopfront but a buzzer to access the first floor. I pressed and was let in, met by Justin Francis at the office door and led into the boardroom. Justin was a founder of Responsible Travel and as I talked to him about his ethics and what they did, he became very passionate about the topic of sustainable travel. Interview completed I told him about my pending trip to the Cairngorm and the wildlife I was planning to capture. Then about a follow on project, one that had attention grabbing images of numbers of wildlife in one place, a larger scale project that defined me as a wildlife photographer.

The idea captured Justin and he started talking about Transhumance, the large scale moving of animals, driving them. This was just what I had in mind, we mulled over Mustangs and Buffalo but there was no planned movements in February/March. This led us to the Reindeer, I was already interested in the Sami culture and the hardships they had suffered over time and by successive governments. It also fitted into the environmental angle I had in mind. With my project agreed I chatted it through with Terrie and left her to progress. Responsible Travel is a matchmaking service who work with small independent agents, after a couple of days I received and email from Riitta Kiukas at Skafur-Tour with a suggested itinerary, after a few emails tweaking I had booked my February trip and a guide and this was only August!

Nearing departure I had to decide what to take photographically to achieve the best outcomes. This is the part I don’t like as its always a compromise. I decided on:

•             2 full frame bodies (One as backup) and my Olympus Tough for time-lapse in the snow.

•             I use battery grips to increase the framerate on the cameras, so I have large batteries, I took 6.

•             300mm f2.8 and a 1.4 tele converter to cover the distant and intimate shots.

•             17-35mm f2.8 and Lee filters to cover Landscapes and wide angled shots.

•             70-200mm f2.8 for the flexibility of portrait and closeups, in addition to intermediate telephoto shots.

•             50mm f1.8 as a travel lens and for darker light shots.

•             60mm f2.8 macro lens and a macro flash kit.

•             A speedlight and some reflectors.

•             Tripod with Ball head that fits into my suitcase.

•             Cleaning kit and blower.

•             Allen key for the tripod, in case.

These were selected to be able to fit them into my carry on rucksack and my small Pelecase. I didn’t want to take too much as I wanted to be able to carry my kit in a snow mobile.

My question to myself was will this be enough to capture what I need? While I would love to take my big lens, the weight is restricted and I couldn’t see the chance of using it, it also need to be on a gimble head and that would have meant another mono or tripod.


I like to plan and mull things over. Originally, I made this list 3 months before and mulled it over in my head, making change often and arriving at the list above. In the UK its an easy decision, fill the car with everything, you can’t do that when flying.

Kind Regards
Keith Jones

Write a comment