Camper Van Camino
The last 25 years of photographing buildings and landscapes has taught me that being in the right place at the right time helps define the quality of a photograph.
My camper van gets me into places at times that I wouldn’t normally be able to access. I can now stay over on sites to monitor the local conditions and light levels throughout a full 24 hours.
I’m cut free of the bonds of ‘out of town’ accommodation and site access logistics.
Travelling in the van has been a revelation for me – it feels like a constant pilgrimage, and my photography has been impacted by the diversity of time and place.
“Travelling in the van has been a revelation for me – it feels like a constant pilgrimage, and my photography has been impacted by the diversity of time and place.”
Van ‘fit-out’ and interior views
Images courtesy of LeisureDrive
My Van is a VW Transporter 6.1. It was converted by a specialist company. At my request they made modifications to the van for secure storage of my equipment.
The van sleeps two, has a loo, a two hob burner, a 65 litre fridge and a thermostatic heater. It has an electrical hook up and wind-out awning. It has an inverter that charges the leisure battery during driving – so that I can keep “juiced-up” with electricity whilst stationary.
During the day I have a ‘lounge’ set up with access to a portable desk for post-production. With just a couple of clicks the seats fold down into a comfy bed.
Of course, having a camper has increased my roadside responsibilities – at the end of the evening, as well as making sure the headlights are switched off, I also check the fairy-lights.
“Of course, having a camper has increased my roadside responsibilities – at the end of the evening, as well as making sure the headlights are switched off, I also check the fairy-lights.”
Outdoor Pursuits. I work all year round in the van and I’ve slept in conditions nearing -10 degrees celsius. As soon as the spring arrives, I create an outdoor space by winding down the awning, putting out the table, breaking out the fairy-lights, and maybe – if the weather’s good enough – toasting a few marshmallows.
Good coffee is key. There’s nothing like hooking up after a long day’s driving and firing up the hob to heat a coffee pot full of freshly ground coffee. I carry the beans in a sealed tin and grind them down with a compact grinder stored at the back of the van.
All Spiced Up. I carry all the essential spices in magnetic tins. They fit perfectly at the side of the rear window next to the hob. I make sure I’ve got spices to make a good curry or a mediterranean pasta. I also make sure I carry lots of eggs to make a quick omelette on the go (especially during a twilight shot), or – if I’ve got more time – a frittata.
“I work all year round in the van and I’ve slept in conditions nearing -10 degrees celsius.”
St. Mary’s Llanfair Kilgeddin
Whilst working on photo commissions, I’m lucky enough to get permission to access private land – so I get to stay in some unique locations. St. Mary’s lies in the gorgeous countryside of Monmouthshire and has a remarkably atmospheric interior. I worked from sunset until sunrise capturing the church in every nuance of light.
I take a ‘chelfie’ at every church I photograph
“Whilst working on photo commissions, I’m lucky enough to get permission to access private land – so I get to stay in some unique locations.”
Stowe House, Buckinghamshire
I’ve been recording the conservation of this architectural masterpiece for almost seven years. Recently, I’ve been time-lapsing, filming and photographing the conservation of the Dining Room and Temple Room at Stowe – but, perhaps, my favourite room of all – is the Marble Saloon.
The Marble Saloon
My Guilty Secret.
I follow a whole host of youtubers who live and travel in vans. But there’s one channel that rises above the glitz. Bob Earnshaw’s channel focuses on his travels with his wife Jenny and dog Poppy in a motorhome. During a time when video production is getting ever slicker, with bells and whistles to boot – Bob’s approach is simply to record his windscreen travels and campsite walk arounds.
For me, this channel’s success isn’t based upon the subject matter – it’s about a mesmeric, mindful, and gorgeously mundane journey following two absolutely lovely, humble people as they converse about the simple things in life.
This channel is a counter-narrative, an antidote to the slick, shouty, showy click-bait world of other van life youtubers. I can’t get enough of it.