Hello, my name is Eduardo Teixeira de Sousa and I’m a travel photographer born in 1968 in Porto, Portugal. I started developing an interest in photography as soon as I started travelling on my own.
When I left home for my first euro interrail at 16 I was trusted with a valued family asset, a 1976 manual-focus Olympus OM-2. In these formative years, photographing meant a specific budget for film and processing, so as a cash-strapped teen I tried my best to get every photo right. That meant a meaningful subject, decent enough composition, focus, exposure, timing – a world of difference from the casual shoot-and-forget approach one can use today.
Travel soon became a necessity – to places as diverse as the Tibetan temples in the high plateau; underwater reefs in the Galapagos Islands; down the Mississippi, the Zambezi or the Mekong rivers; in the depths of the Mara or simply to some quiet European alley. The camera was always the first item to enter my backpack. And yet, every time I pick it up in the morning I keep feeling a sense of wonder, excitement, and playfulness.
What started off as a side activity while travelling grew to be a parallel track to memory lane; then somewhere along the line it ended up being “the” reason to travel in itself – exploring our wide world, both the human and natural one in all its poetic glories, brutal miseries, or surprising oddities. As the whole spectrum of images and situations kept rolling in, I found myself having to adjust and to adapt to many subtypes of photography, mixing street, travel, nature, and people shots. I keep being pulled by color, dynamics, drama, humour or the odd quirky situation. I try to let my feelings flow free while clicking, trying my best to keep from interfering and to respect my subjects in every shot.
This means sticking with the lighter, more non-intrusive gear as much as possible, sacrificing quality for mobility, flexibility, and swiftness. Being a bit of a techno-obsessed, I also find it easier to focus my mind, eyes and soul when my hardware options are limited! It also means leaving home ready to deal with the incoming photo flow and to face the usual risks of travelling – carrying a backup disk, a compatible second camera body, some extra batteries and cards just in case.
Everything leaves home well packed together in a single major bag – these days, an exceptionally satisfying LowePro Pro Runner RL x450 AW II roller/backpack, which travels in-cabin with me (the backpack functionality being important by letting me take control when the going gets tough – picking it up when changing, say, from a boat to a chicken bus without someone tossing it around with the rest of the luggage).
Upon arrival, that bag stays put and out from it comes a smaller LowePro Nova All Weather Shoulder Bag. These ones are light but quite sturdy. I also like them for a number of reasons: they’re top loaders (something I find a necessity for hectic bag-in, bag-out city visits, or to help for a quick change of lenses in a dusty environment, for instance); they have a rain cover (this saved my camera last year when I had to walk for an hour under a drenching rain in Tikal, Guatemala); they can be safely clipped to my trousers belt; and last but not least, have some minor but very valuable pockets to store extra batteries and lose all sort of small papers.
My camera option has been the APS-C Sony A6000 since it came out in 2014, and I just love it. Its sensor can work wonders in dark temples or under a tropical canopy; it can output 10 shots per second if needed, a real important detail for wave, bird or some street shots; its depth of color is amazing. It’s a very light camera at 470g, its unobtrusive, and its batteries are decent enough – I usually deplete a couple per day. And it has a special requirement for me: a tilted screen, which allows me to keep an eye contact with someone, if I feel that’s the right thing to do. Plus, its relatively budget price means I can carry it along pretty much everywhere without being too worried about its value.
This I try to couple with a minimal lens setup, and that meant choosing a Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens as my staple one. It’s not a prime lens, it’s not particularly fast – but it’s there each and every time I need it, with very fast focus, and the camera’s sensor sensitivity manages to compensate for its slower speed. It’s soft in the corners, particularly after the 140-150mm, but I try to compensate for that by shooting a double or triple shot which I crop and stitch in Photoshop afterwards if I feel I need the sharpness.
After that, my only other need in the lens department is for an ultrawide, and I’ve found a good one in the Sony SEL 10-18mm f/4 OSS. This one neatly packs in the day bag without too much fuss, and at 225 grams it goes almost unnoticed.
A couple of memory cards (these are backed up every day to a Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A80 Shockproof/ Waterproof Portable External Hard Drive, Military Grade, just in case); some branded batteries (since having a serious problem with an unbranded one while in Kenya when an SD card with 3 days of photos got toasted); lens cleaning wipes and brush; a polarizer; a pen, some energy bar – and that’s it for the day bag.
The gear is complete with an optional mini and pocket friendly Manfrotto tripod, a Surface tablet for managing it all and keeping the research on while on the move, a backup, E-mount compatible Sony A5000 camera body, a Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro (which incidentally I used also for digitizing a large part of old film negatives – you can find lots of these posted in my 500px flow); an ultraportable Sony E 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens for street shots or to use for the odd hotel dinner photo; an Ex-Pro rain cover with lens protection; cables, chargers, multi-socket adaptors, and one or two 10,000 mAh chargers.
I keep a daily photo flow in 500px (www.500px.com/edtsousa), a photography-cum-social network site, which allows me to keep in touch with, and draw inspiration from, a number of wonderful peers, and from where I also do the occasional sell.
I hope you enjoy my shots as much as I loved to create them along the steps of making a photograph: seeing, shooting, processing, and sharing it!