Our friend Berty Mandagie recently took one of his three ONAs, the Clifton backpack, to roam the coast of Washington with his wife and a few close friends. The Seattle-based photographer discovered his passion for photography after studying abroad in Prague and exploring the countries of Eastern Europe with a Canon point and shoot. Learn more about Berty and see some of his photos from the trip below:
ONA: How did you get into photography? Did you always want to be a photographer?
BM: My aunt bought me a simple Canon point and shoot just before I left for Czech Republic. I started documenting my trip, day by day, and I would take way too many photos. But I didn’t care, I loved documenting and taking photos that described the culture of Prague, Czech Republic. Ever since then, I haven’t really put down a camera. I didn’t know I wanted to be a photographer until I started using social media. Nowadays, we have easy access to share our work to the world and I feel like I’ve taken full advantage of social media such as Instagram, Facebook, 500px, and even Twitter. Now, I’ve been a full-time photographer for almost a year and could not have imagined doing life any other way.
ONA: Does your background, being born and raised in Indonesia, influence your photography style at all?
BM: I would have to say yes! Growing up in a country made up of tens of thousands of islands, have always inspired me to want to travel and understand the cultural differences of each island. My dad is a sailor so our whole family grew up sailing with him every month from one island to another ever since I was born. So the idea of adventure has always been in my blood and has helped me become a better photographer because I would always seek out my next adventure right away. My ultimate goal is to visit every country and try to understand their culture and document that with my camera. Ahhh that would be the DREAM.
ONA: Tell us about your adventure along the Washington Coast
BM: We’ve been to the Washington Coast so many times… it has easily become one of our favorite places to visit in the Pacific Northwest. My wife and I, and some of our closest friends were able to take the Clifton out early in the morning to the Washington Coast because we thought the weather was going to be perfect. Turns out, it was somewhat rainy but the sun showed up from time to time as we began to shoot. We went to Ruby Beach and played there pretty much the whole afternoon. And on the way back to Seattle we made a quick stop at Lake Crescent, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Olympic National Park. We didn’t get back to Seattle until 11pm and it was worth every second.
ONA: Is there anything that particularly stood out about your trip?
BM: We drove the Olympic Loop (the road that wraps around the whole Olympic National Park) and we thought it was going to be a long day of driving… but it honestly was not too bad. We were distracted by how beautiful this drive was. It was easily worth every minute spent on the road.
ONA: Is there a specific spot that you recommend people visit on the Washington Coast?
BM: There’s Ruby Beach, La Push (I recommend going to second beach), Rialto Beach, Hoh Rainforest and many more. And on the way you could stop at Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, etc. We’ve blogged about the Olympics before and you could see more of it over at our travel blog.
ONA: What are your top three tips for photographers who want to get the most out of a trip to Washington?
1.) Be prepared for any type of weather. It might say it’s sunny all day, but there’s always a chance that it’s going to rain, vice versa. So be prepared!
2.) Don’t be afraid of the rain. This is actually one of my favorite time to shoot in Washington… because of the richness of the color and the vibe, it’s very Northwest. Also, Washington is known for their fog, and there’s no better time to shoot the fog than after the rain had just stopped.
3.) Stop along the way. Going to your final destination is exciting, but don’t be afraid to stop along the way to take some photographs. It might take more time but it’s going to be more enjoyable. Trust me.
ONA: How do you decide which gear to take? What do you typically shoot with?
BM: I always like to travel light, so I always go with efficiency. I always bring my Canon with me and I shoot with a 24-70mm f2.8 and also I always have my iPhone with me to snap some quick moments. Honestly, I like to focus on the moments and not get carried away with what gear I have.
ONA: Where will you take your Clifton next?
BM: We are planning our trip for next year… our possible destination is China, Japan, Czech Republic, Austria, and Indonesia. We’re going to try to do all of them. So we’ll see, I guess you’ll just have to follow along!