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Ideal to bring dSLR camera to Salvador da Bahia?

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I am an amateur photographer and would love to bring my dSLR camera, a relatively entry-level Olympus e-520. I am used to taking it with me when I travel internationally. When visiting more high crime areas, I do not bring it with me unless I am with a larger group of people I know. I'll be visiting favelas, but will most likely take my less expensive point and shoot camera for this. I never would travel alone in an area I'm unfamiliar with--so I won't be doing anything stupid/careless, etc.

I have heard that it is "dangerous" to take an expensive camera to Salvador. I hate the thought of missing out on some amazing photos. I'll be there for several weeks, so I'll at the very least have time to scope out what I'd like to photograph. Is it really so bad to take the camera? I will only have my camera out when I'm ready to photograph, otherwise it will be in my messenger bag and go unseen.

Also, I know it is a touristy area, so I'm sure there are plenty people that take pictures. How receptive are locals to being photographed? I love taking pictures of people and am willing to pay $R1-2 for photos. Any other suggestions from locals or those who have taken photos in Salvador are welcome!

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    What favelas? Salvador doesn't have favelas per se but you would be rather foolish to visit some of the poorest areas, without local contacts. If you are planning on making a photographic essay of Subúrbio, Periperi and Alagados or snapping the view from the top of Amaralina I'd think twice if I were you. I'd probably think twice about wandering around, with a camera around my neck in Uruguai and a goodly portion of the Cidade Baixa, if it comes to that.

    For the touristy parts of town, around the Pelourinho, the Mercado Modelo or Bonfim you should be fine with your SLR. Plenty of people snap the sunset over the bay from the farol or at Porto da Barra but you need to exercise a degree of caution in much of the rest of town. As it happens the only time I have had some try to mug me in town was over a digital camera ) locally made).

    Bottom line is when travelling take whatever you can afford to lose. Take your SLR and a compact digital too for convenience.

    Now hopefully that hasn't painted Salvador out as some fearful den of robbers, it isn't and few tourists come to any harm. Stick to the established tourist spots and you will be fine. You are well advised to heed local advice. Most of the tourists who do come to harm , seem to be doing something silly, like traversing the ladeiras.

    As for the idea of photographing locals, well it's simply good manners to ask first. Offering to pay one to two reais isn't a good idea. Most people are friendly enough and frankly most pople I know would find that quite offensive.

    If you have any detailed questions on the city, I'm quite happy to answer them.

    Enjoy your stay.

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    I read quite a nice tip yesterday that you might leave a cd of photos of the area at the tourist office.

    I'm thinking instead (or maybe as well) as it seems a lot of people there have Internet access (please correct me if I'm wrong on this!!!) to have some business cards printed with a link to the flickr set for the photos on them so the photographee can see them later. Maybe on one side have printed (in Portugese) "Would you mind if I took your photo?" and the link on the other, or something like that.

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