Photography Tour

Photography Tour

Tour Savaii with professional photographer Scott Fowler

Explore Savaii by bike and learn more about portrait and landscape photography.

Description Cycling Beaches Comfort Adventure Culture
A photography tour of Savaii by bike and van. Fales, motels
Description
A photography tour of Savaii by bike and van.
Cycling
Beaches
Comfort
Fales, motels
Adventure
Culture

Trip Leader

This trip is organised and led by Scott Fowler with logistical assistance from us. It follows a very similar successful trip run by Scott in 2016.

Trip Outline

A bicycle and photography tour of the traditional Savaii and Manono Islands of Samoa.
Cycling offers great photographic opportunities of scenery, people and the culture. It is a great way to see how the people of Savaii live. We provide a back up bus to transport your gear from place to place and you and your bike if needed. An electric bike is also an option to help you up the hills.

There is so much to see that you will seldom ride any distance without stopping to take a photo or just to chat and maybe interact with the people especially the children. You will see the village activities, a large lava field and remarkable beaches, the pigs and chickens will make you smile. Even on riding days you will generally have the afternoons free to read, snorkel and explore or just enjoy a drink on the beach outside your fale or motel unit. We can spend the evenings sharing our images from the day.

This will be a small group of the brave and adventurous, the emphasis is on enjoying ourselves, making the most of the photo opportunities in a very relaxing environment. 
Follow this link for more images of Samoa. Samoa Gallery
On our return we will each choose 15 of our favourite photos and we will combine them to make a book of the trip, this is included in the price! 

Itinerary and booking

Scott has full details of the trip on his Itinerary page.

You can book directly with Scott, or contact either Scott or ourselves for more information.

Under a rainbow copy

Paopao are used every day for fishing


Exploring Traditional Samoa

A Photographic/Cycling Adventure

Samoa is located south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The Independent state of Samoa (these islands are approx. 100 miles west from American Samoa) consists of two main islands, Upolu and Savaii, with several smaller islands scattered around the coastlines.
With average fitness it’s easy to spend 10-14 days cycling the 125 miles around Savaii Island, stopping at will to photograph the place, the people, the buildings and the daily happenings that would be missed if travelling by car.

Flights from New Zealand land near Apia, on Upolu Island. Suitable bicycles and panniers can be hired a short distance from the airport and ferry terminal. Part of the adventure is the ferry trip from Upolu to Savaii. Whilst waiting for the ferry the distinctively colorful buses are coming and going, discharging passengers and embarking others. The wares the people carry are often large and unusual and despite appearances must have all somehow fitted on the bus! Hustle and bustle abounds. The ferry is full of fascinating people with a variety of interesting produce and then there are the views. It’s a 70-minute ferry ride across the Apolima strait to Savaii; the stunning coastal scenery goes by too quickly for an avid photographer.

The main road circumnavigates the Island of Savaii and might equate to a total of about 12 to 18 hours of actual cycling for an easy to moderate cyclist. Taking 14 days allows for plenty of rest days and they are easily filled up walking around the local village, cycling up side roads or to villages off the beaten track on photographic expeditions. There is plenty of time for swimming and/or snorkeling or to just relax with a drink and a book on the beach or by your Fale.

Accommodation is varied. Traditional Open Fales are a bit like camping but with a little more style, a mattress, clean sheets and mosquito nets are provided. These traditional fales are a big part of the cultural experience, but should you prefer more comfort there are air-conditioned motel style rooms available in most places.
Breakfast and dinner are included with the accommodation. Meals are interesting and usually prepared with traditional produce, recipes and cooking methods. The locally caught fish, free-range pork, locally grown taro, bananas and other fruits that are on the menu when available are delicious and always plentiful.
This was our second cycling trip to Savaii and safety and security were never found to be an issue. Cell phone and data access was always good around the Island and a local Samoan Sim card was easily acquired.

Often while cycling along, your senses will alert you to a potential image. Something heard or smelt, maybe smoke or children’s laughter. One is continually on the lookout for the unusual; maybe an old church, someone walking along the road carrying their wares to market or even a game of 'Kilikiti' - traditional Samoan cricket. The beautifully colored birds, the lava fields, and the interesting buildings will encourage you to get your camera out. There are pigs and piglets, chickens and chicks everywhere to bring out a smile and capture the interest.
A camera hanging around your neck makes for easy access and also helps with humidity control. Humidity can be an issue. Where possible it is best keep the camera temperature constant to alleviate this problem. Keeping your camera in the camera bag exacerbates this problem so when you take it out to capture an image, the lens can fog over. One disadvantage of travelling by car is the air conditioning. This makes condensation on the lens even worse… not to mention missing all the little things that you see, hear and smell when travelling by bike.

The people of Savaii, especially the children enjoy having their pictures taken so to make communication with the them easier it helps to learn a few local phrases - hello (malo), good morning/evening (talofa), please (fa’amolemole), thank you (fa’afetai), excuse me (tulou) goodbye (tofa). Also don’t forget that sign language (pointing etc) works a treat along with a friendly smile; it just takes a little practice.

The distance cycled between destinations ranges from 12.5 to 35 miles, mostly done in the morning before the heat of the day. Loose cotton clothing is best when cycling as it helps to allow the flow of air to keep you cool. The temperature in June/July ranges between about 70 - 90degrees F. This is a pleasant temperature for a relaxing swim when arriving at the destination. After lunch and days not cycling, there is plenty to do; exploring the local villages, kayaking the lagoons, snorkeling or just going for a walk and seeing what the local people are doing, with camera ready to shoot.
Sunday is the big day on the Island. The locals dress up in their Sunday best and the singing at the churches is a worthwhile experience. With a good shady tree to sit under at the right time outside the church and a bit of patience the words of a great photographer, Robert Doisneau will have a new meaning “Set the stage and the players will come”.

A stop at the local shop will likely bring the children out of their fales to come and see you, hence more photographic opportunities. Not to mention a welcome chance for a cold drink or ice cream.

A Sony Alpha 6000 mirrorless camera fitted with a 18mm to 200mm lens was used throughout and removes the need for lens changes. Shooting was done in Manual mode with the widest aperture generally F5.6. The ISO was set accordingly to allow an exposure speed that could be handheld to achieve a sharp image. Exposure was adjusted to center right of the histogram, capturing all the information possible in RAW format. A Mac pro 13inch laptop, loaded with Photoshop and Lightroom worked well. It is not too heavy or bulky for ease of transport. A portable hard drive for file storage and three 8GB and two 16GB SD cards were sufficient (just!) for two weeks.

Savaii Island is a photographer’s treasure, with an abundance of tradition and culture. It is an accessible location, modestly priced with accommodation costs that nearly always include breakfast and dinner. It is a very friendly environment with photogenic, strong and proud people. The cycling is fun and well worth the extra effort to get those WOW images. It is a place worth visiting a number of times to get the full benefit of the photographic opportunities.

Exploring Traditional Samoa

A Photographic/Cycling Adventure

Samoa is located south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The Independent state of Samoa (these islands are approx. 100 miles west from American Samoa) consists of two main islands, Upolu and Savaii, with several smaller islands scattered around the coastlines.
With average fitness it’s easy to spend 10-14 days cycling the 125 miles around Savaii Island, stopping at will to photograph the place, the people, the buildings and the daily happenings that would be missed if travelling by car.

Flights from New Zealand land near Apia, on Upolu Island. Suitable bicycles and panniers can be hired a short distance from the airport and ferry terminal. Part of the adventure is the ferry trip from Upolu to Savaii. Whilst waiting for the ferry the distinctively colorful buses are coming and going, discharging passengers and embarking others. The wares the people carry are often large and unusual and despite appearances must have all somehow fitted on the bus! Hustle and bustle abounds. The ferry is full of fascinating people with a variety of interesting produce and then there are the views. It’s a 70-minute ferry ride across the Apolima strait to Savaii; the stunning coastal scenery goes by too quickly for an avid photographer.

The main road circumnavigates the Island of Savaii and might equate to a total of about 12 to 18 hours of actual cycling for an easy to moderate cyclist. Taking 14 days allows for plenty of rest days and they are easily filled up walking around the local village, cycling up side roads or to villages off the beaten track on photographic expeditions. There is plenty of time for swimming and/or snorkeling or to just relax with a drink and a book on the beach or by your Fale.

Accommodation is varied. Traditional Open Fales are a bit like camping but with a little more style, a mattress, clean sheets and mosquito nets are provided. These traditional fales are a big part of the cultural experience, but should you prefer more comfort there are air-conditioned motel style rooms available in most places.
Breakfast and dinner are included with the accommodation. Meals are interesting and usually prepared with traditional produce, recipes and cooking methods. The locally caught fish, free-range pork, locally grown taro, bananas and other fruits that are on the menu when available are delicious and always plentiful.
This was our second cycling trip to Savaii and safety and security were never found to be an issue. Cell phone and data access was always good around the Island and a local Samoan Sim card was easily acquired.

Often while cycling along, your senses will alert you to a potential image. Something heard or smelt, maybe smoke or children’s laughter. One is continually on the lookout for the unusual; maybe an old church, someone walking along the road carrying their wares to market or even a game of 'Kilikiti' - traditional Samoan cricket. The beautifully colored birds, the lava fields, and the interesting buildings will encourage you to get your camera out. There are pigs and piglets, chickens and chicks everywhere to bring out a smile and capture the interest.
A camera hanging around your neck makes for easy access and also helps with humidity control. Humidity can be an issue. Where possible it is best keep the camera temperature constant to alleviate this problem. Keeping your camera in the camera bag exacerbates this problem so when you take it out to capture an image, the lens can fog over. One disadvantage of travelling by car is the air conditioning. This makes condensation on the lens even worse… not to mention missing all the little things that you see, hear and smell when travelling by bike.

The people of Savaii, especially the children enjoy having their pictures taken so to make communication with the them easier it helps to learn a few local phrases - hello (malo), good morning/evening (talofa), please (fa’amolemole), thank you (fa’afetai), excuse me (tulou) goodbye (tofa). Also don’t forget that sign language (pointing etc) works a treat along with a friendly smile; it just takes a little practice.

The distance cycled between destinations ranges from 12.5 to 35 miles, mostly done in the morning before the heat of the day. Loose cotton clothing is best when cycling as it helps to allow the flow of air to keep you cool. The temperature in June/July ranges between about 70 - 90degrees F. This is a pleasant temperature for a relaxing swim when arriving at the destination. After lunch and days not cycling, there is plenty to do; exploring the local villages, kayaking the lagoons, snorkeling or just going for a walk and seeing what the local people are doing, with camera ready to shoot.
Sunday is the big day on the Island. The locals dress up in their Sunday best and the singing at the churches is a worthwhile experience. With a good shady tree to sit under at the right time outside the church and a bit of patience the words of a great photographer, Robert Doisneau will have a new meaning “Set the stage and the players will come”.

A stop at the local shop will likely bring the children out of their fales to come and see you, hence more photographic opportunities. Not to mention a welcome chance for a cold drink or ice cream.

A Sony Alpha 6000 mirrorless camera fitted with a 18mm to 200mm lens was used throughout and removes the need for lens changes. Shooting was done in Manual mode with the widest aperture generally F5.6. The ISO was set accordingly to allow an exposure speed that could be handheld to achieve a sharp image. Exposure was adjusted to center right of the histogram, capturing all the information possible in RAW format. A Mac pro 13inch laptop, loaded with Photoshop and Lightroom worked well. It is not too heavy or bulky for ease of transport. A portable hard drive for file storage and three 8GB and two 16GB SD cards were sufficient (just!) for two weeks.

Savaii Island is a photographer’s treasure, with an abundance of tradition and culture. It is an accessible location, modestly priced with accommodation costs that nearly always include breakfast and dinner. It is a very friendly environment with photogenic, strong and proud people. The cycling is fun and well worth the extra effort to get those WOW images. It is a place worth visiting a number of times to get the full benefit of the photographic opportunities.

The beach at Manase - the new sea wall is under the king tide

Ferry to Savaii

Fales at Lano

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