Meet French Canadian photographer Dominique Granger. As a former kitesurfing instructor and athlete, her world is ruled by work and adventures in the outdoors, and the Cat® S41 and Cat® S61 have been her latest travel companions.
You have recently been involved in an exciting project in the jungle of Ecuador. How was the idea born?
Last year, during an all-women survival introduction weekend in the Alps, I met French herpetologist Damien Lecouvey, and that’s when this project started to come to life. When he mentioned the trip he was planning to take to Ecuador, I knew I wanted to be part of it. We eventually agreed that I’d join the team as a photographer.
When I found out about the conditions I would face daily, I knew I needed to prepare not only mentally and physically, but also in terms of equipment. That’s when Cat phones came into the game. To me, it sounded like the perfect environment to put such rugged phones to the test – and it sure was.
What exactly was the environment like and what did the challenge consist of?
The trip took place in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. Reaching it wasn’t easy: an eight-hour drive from Quito to a town named Coca was followed by two hours on a dirt road, and an hour and a half on a motor pirogue down the Tiputini river to the edge of the Park, where our base camp was.
For five days and four nights, we lived in the jungle, and the goal was to eat what we could gather, fish or hunt. We had quite tough treks ahead of us since we didn’t stay in one place only. This added immensely to the challenge: walking off the beaten path, in humid conditions and on hilly terrain was incredibly tiring.
What were the main challenges you came across during the expedition?
It really pushed my limits through fatigue, hunger, pain, and discomfort. On day two, I thought I wouldn’t make it, that I wasn’t strong enough, that I would have to quit. But I realised that sometimes one needs a bit of a breakdown to get to the bottom of things and push back up to the surface. That night, I fell asleep thinking I wouldn’t be able to continue the next day. Eventually, I just decided to keep going, and this made me much stronger for the rest of the trip.
Which features of the Cat phones were particularly helpful out there?
The fact that the phone is shock, water, dust and dirt proof is a massive plus. Even when it is pouring down with rain, you can still take the phone out and use it as usual.
For the Cat S41, the most awesome feature is definitely the battery share. Filming a lot with a GoPro, it is great to be able to replenish the battery just by plugging it straight into the phone.
One of the main issues outdoors, especially when working outside all day, is the likelihood of dropping your phone and breaking it, but also falling into water, dirt or mud. In this particular environment, the humidity is an additional factor to take into account. Not all electronics can handle such high levels of humidity.
But you didn’t just go to the jungle…
That’s right. Before heading to the jungle, I spent three weeks shooting with the local surfers of Montañita and the girls from the Salty Souls Experience, a surf, yoga and empowerment retreat. I began working with them when they first started the retreats three years ago. Being a surf lover myself, I was happy to join them again. I met some amazing women from all over the world; everyone had something to bring to the table.
Here, keeping any other phone salt and sand-free would have been an impossible mission. No problem for the Cat S41 and Cat S61.
Learn more about Dominique on her website, and keep up with more of her adventures over on Instagram.