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What’s Your $20,000 Daydream?

February 5, 2010

Hasselblad recently unveiled their spankin’ new, 40 megapixel medium format digital camera that retails for, are you ready for this – $19,995.  Yes, you read that right.  The Hasselblad H4D-40 costs $20,000.  Oh, but it does come with a viewfinder and an 80mm lens. 

I suspect that I’m a lot like the everyman.  I don’t have an extra $20,000 lying around.  But reading the press release did get me thinking.  No, it got me daydreaming.  What would I do if I had an extra $20,000 to blow on whatever the hell I wanted?

I would gather up my lowly Canon 5D MKII and all my lenses.  I would buy some extra memory cards, pack up my laptop and all my hiking gear and hop the first plane to Patagonia.  I would spend weeks trekking in Torres del Paine, making ridiculous photos of ridiculous mountains in ridiculous weather.  When I got tired of that, I’d head over to the Himalaya for a few weeks on the trans-Himalaya trail.  I’d eat Top Ramen and choke down yak butter tea so I could stretch that $20,000 as far as humanly possible.  I think I’d spend some time in Iceland.  And New Zealand.  And Alaska.  Maybe the Canadian Rockies.  I’d make thousands of stunning photos of far away places so that, when the $20,000 ran out, I could return home and write a book about the experience filled with all my photos.  And then I’d sell that book to make more money to travel to even more far away places.  And the cycle would repeat itself.

Now, I’m a married guy and a new Dad so we all know that even if I did have that kind of spare change sitting around I wouldn’t wander off to the far reaches of the world.  I love my wife and son way too much to be without them for such a long time.  But it was fun to escape reality for a few minutes and enjoy all those far off places visited in my daydream.

Now I ask: If you had an extra $20,000 dollars, what would you do?  Buy a new medium format digital camera?  Travel the world?  Donate it to me so I could take my family along on the adventure? 😉  What photographic dreams would you make a reality?  Be imaginative, have fun and enjoy the trip!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2010 8:45 am

    Interesting thoughts Bret. I suppose my list would kinda look similar… minus the wife and kid(s). I’d gear up first, add a 500mm f/4 and some other goodies to the list. The rest would go into travel. Norway, Patagonia, New Zealand, Japan and the US National Parks (which will have to “bite the dust” and bear with me this summer anyway. 20 grand or not.)…

    I don’t see any advantage of having a 40 megapixel camera over the 20+ megapixels we have already for the kind of photography we do and I doubt the extra money spent on the camera will easily flow back through selling uber large, blown up prints. There is just no market for a lot of, say, 6x9ft. prints and at some point quality for a “normal” sized print won’t make a difference.

    Never stop exploring!

  2. February 5, 2010 9:06 am

    I like this one Bret, let the imagination run wild!

    I would probably do something along the same lines as you would like to do but change it up slightly, I’d really want to be adventurous. All the places you have mentioned sound great and everybody loves them but they have been done plenty of times. Coming back with something unique and taking a shot at arousing the curiosity of other might send me off on an expedition to a place that wouldn’t come to anyone’s mind, lets throw in the possiblility that I and whoever goes with me might not comeback, that would make a little more exciting. Almost sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale but I’m sure every world reknown pro out there has stepped into shoes like this, with the thought, “God I hope I come back this time.” Iconic places are great but it’s too big of a world out there. A place where it would take days to hike to, what if a helicoptor could get a person there? That would take away some of the adventure part it. A place that would actually make me feel like I worked at getting there. Better yet if a helicoptor couldn’t get you there even better. The risk might be high that I might comeback empty handed but to me that would be money well spent. Who knows maybe I would have some money left over to do it again.

    I don’t know about top ramen but maybe peanut butter and jelly instead.

  3. February 5, 2010 9:37 am

    That’s a great question! I do like your idea for going to the Himalaya and to Patagonia because they have been on my list for quite some time (and I’m sure they will remain there for an even longer time). I’d also add that I want to go to Namibia, even though its getting more popular.

    Also, I’d want to visit Mongolia; my roommate and I in college had plans to go there after we graduated, but I went off and got married. He actually went. For a month. To the Gobi Desert. I’ve always been a little jealous of that trip and would love to go myself…

  4. February 5, 2010 11:14 am

    Hmmmmm…for sure about 1/4 of it would go to upgrade 1 lens and add one to my kit. After that I’m looking for the most opulent month long Bear viewing/Salmon fishing/Halibut fishing expedition that Alaska has to offer. Or maybe an African photo safari…Hmmmmm.

  5. February 5, 2010 12:58 pm

    These are all very cool ideas! I read “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down”, both books about riding dual-sport motorcycles super long distances through crazy places. I’ve got the motorcycle, so another idea would be to start in Alaska and ride all the way to the tip of South America documenting the entire trip through the lens of my camera.

    David: Never stop exploring, indeed. One of my favorite taglines!

    Steve: Yes, the off the beaten path places would be interesting, as well. So many of them to visit. Honestly, I’d love to trek through Afghanistan. Now is probably not the optimal time to do so but what a killer trip that would be.

    Greg: Mongolia would be amazing! I bet you’ll find yourself wandering around the Gobi Desert at some point in your life. Can’t wait to see the photos, either!

    Bill: It would be awesome to watch and photograph the grizzlies in Alaska. While there I’d have to do some backpacking in Denali and probably raft the Yukon, among other adventures.

    So many experiences to be had in this big ol’ world of ours!

  6. February 5, 2010 1:18 pm

    First I would finally upgrade from my Canon 50D to the 5D MkII. I love the idea of Patagonia and the Himalaya region. If there should be any money left after that, Africa (Kenya, Tanzania or Namibia). The list of places I would like to travel is quite long! Oh dream, dream, dream ….

    • February 6, 2010 11:55 pm

      Hey Beate, Africa is always a good choice. I’ve had a thing for Morocco since the 90’s but have never visited. I think it would be an outstanding place to visit. Not that Kenya, Tanzania or Namibia wouldn’t be amazing destinations too, though.

  7. Patty Reiser permalink
    February 6, 2010 5:23 pm

    I would update my Canon gear on the food chain I then I would take as many mentoring classes and workshops that $20,000 would get me over the next year.

  8. February 6, 2010 11:23 pm

    Overland from Istanbul to Almaty, Kazakhstan: Turkey, Georgia, the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, ferry across the Caspian to the Kazakh deserts, the Tien Shan, maybe on to Mongolia. Mongolia is indeed awesome; it’s like Montana 150 years ago. I went in 1995, and I’d go back in a second. Someday I’ll get a few of my old slides from that trip scanned.

    On the other hand, maybe I’d buy a really versatile raft set-up and spend a couple seasons running obscure, difficult to access western rivers.

    • February 6, 2010 11:54 pm

      You haven’t given this much thought before today have you, Jackson? Sounds like a KILLER trip! Please do scan a few of those old slides. I’d love to see them.

  9. February 23, 2010 5:57 pm

    With $20k I would pay off all my debts then upgrade from my Canon Sx10is to a canon DSLR then travel the world as along as the money held out taking photos.
    Its short and sweet but thats what I would do with $20k


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