Stories of a travelling photographer

I’m an action and adventure photographer. In that line of work I try to get to interesting places to shoot athletes doing epic feats in their environment.

This involves a lot of travel and constantly looking for amazing new locations to shoot in. These locations will usually look best the first hour after sunrise or last hour before sunset. So my line of work lends itself to staying in remote places, waking up early and going to bed late after a long days shoot. You usually have a late night edit too as well. So when I’m on a job I don’t get too much sleep, which is a problem as sleep makes you function better, especially your creativity!

I’ve always had a van to use for shoots, they come in so handy to keep my kit in and keep it organised. But I also use my van as a mobile office to edit in, athletes use it to get changed in and of course to hide in when the weather turns bleak. But the main advantage of a van is being able to sleep in it, to be able to rock up at the location you want to shoot at and sleep there is so so handy.

It takes a load off your mind to be at the location and know you don’t need to travel, to have all your gear on you and to be able to keep popping your head out to check the weather and the light.

I love sleeping in a van, being outdoors just kind of refreshes me and clears my mind. I’ve had different set ups in vans, and 8ball campers have always helped me design a van that suits my current needs the best. I’ve had a full camper with a normal pop top, I’ve had a normal roofed camper with a bed in the back and until recently I had a combi day van where the seats in the back fold down and I had a shelf system in the back to then make the bed. (This set up is great as I have kids so I can have a normal van for transport of my kids, but also a van that’s great for my work.)

All of these different set ups have been great, well designed, served the purpose I’ve needed the set up for and have also stood some serious hammer.

I wanted 8Ball Campers to add a pop top to my current van, main reason is with my shelf bed set up I often had to move a load of kit round to free up space on the shelf before I could sleep there. Which was fine, but I’m sleeping in it more and more so having a pop top I can crawl up into after an edit seemed like a good idea.

The last pop top I had installed by 8Ball Campers was an Austops roof and was great so I went for another one. But since I’d had my last one installed they’d brought out the new deluxe bed. It’s a slatted system with springs. How much difference would it make to the comfort of the bed I thought?

Man this thing is a game changer, it is just so comfy. As I said above when I’m on jobs not getting much sleep, the quality of the sleep is so important. I go to sleep on this bed and don’t wake up till my alarm goes off, no sore shoulder from sleeping on a hard van bed. I’m away in Scotland for a week next week and I’m looking forward to the sleep I’m going have in this bed it’s that good!

I constantly think about how I’m going to do my next van, and chat ideas through with the crew at 8Ball, how I’d have the cupboards differently, or add a slide out table, just make tweaks to what suits how I use my van. But what I wouldn’t change though is the bed system, every van I get now I’ll have the Austops deluxe in it for sure.

Article and images provided by
Leo Francis Photography