Capturing Tsitsikamma Forest the Smart Wei

Posted by Nidha Narrandes on 6 May 2019

Do you remember a time when travelling took meticulous planning? To-do lists, binoculars, camera equipment, long lenses, tripods, and padded camera bags to keep the equipment safe. And that’s even before you considered what to wear.

Technology has since turned travel on its head. Smart devices have revolutionised the way travellers interact with the world, and added a whole new dimension to the experience.

I do miss the thrill of waiting for photographs to be developed, hoping you managed to get at least a few great shots. I don’t miss leaving it to chance, and coming home with an empty reel of out-of-focus, irreplaceable memories.

During a recent shot left to the Eastern Cape, I swapped my camera equipment for the pocket-sized Huawei P30 Pro. Legend has it that this is no ordinary device. If the memes filling my timeline are anything to go by, this super-camera, with the 50x zoom function, was going to do it all, and look into the future.

The proof is, of course, in the pictures.

Day one of exploring the Eastern Cape kicks off in Port Elizabeth. It’s a day filled with sunshine. Natural lighting is your best friend on any photographic expedition. We follow the light to a place of beauty, the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve.

Testing out the SuperZoom feature is easy here. You can watch from afar as thrill-seekers willingly fling themselves off Bloukrans Bridge, while you have your feet planted on solid ground. Thanks to the SuperZoom lens, with a 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom and an unprecedented 50x digital zoom, even the farthest objects appear much closer. The screams sound a lot louder when you can zoom this close. Bungee jumping is not for the faint-hearted but it’s definitely an experience worth trying once in your life.

Bungee off Bloukrans Bridge if you’re brave enough.

A short drive down the road you can indulge in activities that don’t require signing your life away. River canoes, canopy tours and walking tours draw you closer to nature in an adventurous way.

We chose the lazy man’s hike, a Segway through the Tsitsikamma forest. Fynbos and eucalyptus scent the air as we whizz through trodden tracks in search of untamed forest. Autumn is the most magical time to capture nature. The landscape is striking in tones of yellow and clear flowing streams.

Zip through the forest on a Segway.

The Huawei P30 Pro has a revolutionary Leica Quad Camera setup, perfect for landscape shots. A 40MP main camera with a SuperSpectrum Sensor adds more light in those tricky shaded parts of the forest. A 20MP ultra-wide angle lens suits both horizontal and vertical pictures, so your only job is to decide your angles and let the camera do the work. No interchanging lenses, adding on extra flash or bending the light to make a frame work. It’s pretty effortless. The black and white mode detects the light from the dark and evens out the tone to create a well-balanced picture.

The Tsitsikamma forest in all her autumn beauty.

Even as certain areas grew darker in the afternoon sun, the camera self-adjusted and compensated for the extra light effortlessly. Selfie-mode has the same features. The Face Tree in the forest is mesmerizing, it is so easy to believe there is a person trapped in the trunk.

The face in the tree is surreal.

When darkness falls, we head to Tstsikamma Village Inn to check in for the evening. The lodge is situated within the Storm’s River Village so at night your surrounds are alive with the sounds of insects buzzing, birds chirping and trees rustling in the wind. Add to that a vibrant restaurant culture around the corner from the inn. A street filled with eateries and a brewery sits adjacent to the guesthouses and hotels, offering a fun night out.

Marilyn’s 60s Diner, dedicated to everything Marilyn Monroe, complete with neon lighting and an electric atmosphere, serves up classic American grub. From gourmet milkshakes to triple-patty burgers, sloppy joes and cheesy fries, the menu is packed with authentic 60s food. The allure, however, is the Cadillac and other vintage cars parked in the restaurant, along with memorabilia from the era when blonde hair and blue suede shoes ruled.

The clarity on night mode is impressive. This is Marilyn’s 60s Diner.

It serves as a perfect subject to play with the night mode on the smartphone. Night photography has always been a challenge. A flash never does justice to your pictures, and you often end up with a blurry, overexposed picture. I am surprised by the quality of the pictures on the Huawei P30 Pro, the Night Mode feature stabilises pictures with the help of AI Image Stabilization and Optical Image Stabilization. The result is a clear picture without pixelation, now this is a feature worth investing in the phone for.

After two days of using a smartphone to capture my trip, I can say, with confidence, it is the simpler way to go. I have the pictures to prove it. The hardest habit to break was reaching over to my camera backpack every time I wanted to snap a shot. My shoulders thank you, Huawei.

Even in low lighting, your captures are picture-perfect.

Other astounding features on the Huawei P30 Pro include:

– The 4,200 mAh battery can give users up to an entire day of intensive use and is complemented by the 40W Huawei SuperCharge which will give users approximately 70 percent in just 30 minutes
– The camera setup also includes the Huawei Time of Flight (ToF) camera that is designed to measure depth of field for beautiful portrait shots with blurred backgrounds and sharp foregrounds
– The phone also supports 15W Wireless Charging, and a unique Wireless Reverse Charge feature, allowing users to place their friend’s phones or other devices including earphones and wearables on the Huawei P30 Pro to instantly start charging it, provided it supports the Qi wireless charging standard
– Huawei announced that it has worked to optimise the Huawei P30 series camera for Snapchat, bringing more camera innovations to users, aiming for Snapchatters to soon be able to enjoy more experiences using the Huawei P30 camera
– It is Dual-View Video1 technology, which splits the screen in two and allows users to record a wide-angle shot and a close-up shot at the same time.

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