Travelling to the Maldives has always been on my bucket list. The Maldives is an island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean that has over 1,000 islands in it. The islands are the ultimate topical experience in luxury with white sand beaches surrounded with warm, turquoise water and beautiful coral reef. Each island is unique and absolutely stunning in it’s own way, some are connected by sand bars, some are barren of vegetation, and some are so small you can walk around them just a few minutes.
One of the things the Maldives are known for are the over water villas. It’s such an awesome experience to wake up in the morning and walk out on your deck sitting right over the beautiful water. It really will spoil you as you walk down your private stairs and dip in to the warm water.
The islands have some interesting wildlife on them. I was surprised when I was walking through the coconut groves to see a large winged animal flying overhead. I remember thinking, “That’s a big bird… Why does it look like a bat?” Then I looked closer and it was a bat. You wouldn’t necessarily think that a tiny, dry island would have fruit bats living on them. It was super cool to constantly see these guys flying overhead from tree to tree.
Walk the shoreline and you can see an array of wildlife as well, ranging from sea turtles, several species of rays, and my favorite are the blacktip reef sharks that swim in the shallow sandbars.
Sitting along the equator line, the islands have some beautiful tropical storms that roll through creating some amazing ambiance for photographs. One of the my favorite color palettes are the bright sands next to the turquoise water and dark storm clouds overhead. I was lucky to get a couple great sunsets with these passing storm clouds.
I brought along my new 190go M-series carbon tripod from Manfrotto for the trip. I was really excited to get this tripod. I have been through a lot of tripods, but they always seem to lack something. They are either too large, too heavy, not heavy enough to be stable, etc. Well, the 190go met all my needs perfectly. With a folded length of 18.1″ (46cm), it fits perfectly into a small luggage bag, or like I do, just strapped to my carry on backpack. The 190go carbon fiber weighs just under 3 pounds (1.3kg) and has a load capacity of 15lbs (7kg) which is a great balance. It has enough weight to it in order to support a full frame camera and hefty lens while maintaining stability in windy conditions, but doesn’t add too much weight on your back or to carry around.
I spend a lot of time shooting on beaches so sand is always an issue for me. All my previous tripods have had flip lock legs and easily became jammed with sand until the locks wouldn’t close all the way. The 190go is the first tripod I have used with twist lock legs and so far it doesn’t seem to get sand in it as badly. I also notice that when it’s cold out, the twist lock legs are easier to lock with frozen fingers.
The Maldives have some great stargazing opportunities as well. There are no major cities to create light pollution so the nights can be very dark. The heat of the humid, tropical air subsides after the sun sets and the stars pop out one by one. It’s a really beautiful setting along the wooden walkways of the villas over the water. The 190go coupled with the Xpro ballhead made shooting at night a breeze. The ballhead’s smooth motion and locking helped framing the photo perfectly while sitting in the dark.
The week I spent on the Maldives really lived up to the expectations. They truly are some of the most beautiful islands in the world. If you want the most relaxing, serene tropical experience, I would highly suggest visiting the Maldives. Walking white sand beaches, passing tropical rain, warm water still as a pool, and friendly people.