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October 10, 2014

Why travel journalist Susan Wong loves her Lumia 1020

We first discovered Susan Wong as Lumia Instagramer of the Week. Now she’s back as our very first #LumiaExplorer.

Susan Wong

Back in August, Susan dazzled us with beautiful pics of African nature and mouthwatering food photos from around the world. Born in Canada and currently based in Nairobi, Kenya, she’s also an ideal person to kick off our new #LumiaExplorers series. A professional travel journalist who’s fallen in love with her Lumia 1020, she uses her brilliant camera smartphone to unravel the mysteries of the world for all of us. Fascinated by her work, we decided to ask Susan some more questions about her Lumia 1020 and global exploration. Here’s what we found out:

You come from a very culturally diverse background. How do you think this influenced your career choice and how does it manifest itself in the articles you write?

Thanks to my upbringing, I’ve learned to appreciate diversity and embrace cultural sensitivity and awareness from a young age – which has become a life passion and perhaps, even a lifelong pursuit. My desire for understanding people as unique individuals and learning from their distinctive experiences, beliefs and values has taught me to become more humble and mindful. Most importantly, it reminds me on a daily basis that there’s a story to be told and worth sharing in everyone and even in the most obscure and beautiful places on earth.

Which Lumia do you use for work and in what ways does it help you?

I love my yellow Lumia 1020! Its photography prowess is indisputable and as a photographer, sometimes I don’t even need to run to my dSLR. On a day-to-day basis, aside from photoshoots, the Lumia 1020 is able to capture moments in high-definition for both online and print. I especially enjoy using the manual settings, which gives me more control of my subjects and spaces I wish to capture. The intuitive design of the phone and camera make it easy for me to quickly answer emails and photograph without feeling constricted with challenging lighting conditions or fearing I’m overworking the device.

Susan Wong Kenya Lumia 1020

What do you most love about your Lumia in journalistic work and why?

OneNote helps me a lot with reminders to myself and to-do-lists, especially when I’m travelling. It’s also great for taking notes during interviews. LiveSight in HERE Maps helps me to discover a new city just by turning it on and scanning my surroundings with my phone, which is definitely quicker than pulling out a physical map or a guidebook – though I would still suggest to research before arriving in a destination. Finding a pharmacy, café, police station or hotel has never been easier!

What’s more, going to restaurants for an incognito review is quite hard with a bulky dSLR and 50mm lens, as you can imagine. But with the Lumia 1020’s lens, I can still capture the food with my shallow-depth-of-field style and most importantly, not expose myself to the staff and as a result receiving preferential treatment.

Susan Wong macaroons Lumia 1020
How do you see smartphones affecting the future of travel journalism?

Soon paperback guidebooks will only belong on decorative bookshelves. With the right smartphone, everything you need will be at your fingertips – perhaps not a fire starter or a Swiss Army knife, though. Deciding to travel to a destination in a heartbeat no longer requires research or too much advance planning since you can do all of that on the taxi ride to the airport on your smartphone. From checking-in to your flight, to researching your destination on travel apps, to banking, to reaching out, to social media for travel ideas to rating how the WiFi connection at your hotel is, to submitting your web copy, and to editing your photos – all of that can be done on the right smartphone. Minus all of that bulky gear one use to carry, travel journalism has never been such a liberating and exciting field to be in!

Finally, what apps do you think every travel journalist needs on her/his Lumia?

HERE Maps, Bing Translator, Brightest Flashlight, Compass and MSN Travel.

MSN Travel

A massive thanks to Susan for her tips and insights! She does make her profession sound very exciting, even more so when you see the gorgeous photos. If you have journalistic aspirations, why not drop a question to Susan in the comments below? Or perhaps you’ve also used your Lumia to create an article worth reading, in which case we’d love to hear about that, too. We hope to see many more Lumia-loving journalists to join our #LumiaExplorers in the near future!