Exploring the south of France by a camper van with my dog and the LUMIX GX800

Hi! My name is Maria Vanonen and I am a Lifestyle photographer from Finland. On my last trip I travelled through the south of France with my dog Yoda. For that journey I needed a high quality and small camera. Thanks to the LUMIX GX800 I was able to have both. In this story I would like to show you my favorite pictures and give you some helpful tips for your next photo shooting.

Let’s start with this one:


This photo is all about aesthetics. I wanted to frame this typical French village window front with colorful window frames and flowers. The pocket size LUMIX GX800 has a 16 MFT MOS Sensor and delivers great images just like any other bigger camera. The only difference is that you can enjoy exploring the village without carrying a chunk of metal with you.

The south of France has so many nice villages and uncountable beautiful spots. That was one of the reasons I decided to trip through the region with a camper van so that I won’t miss any scenery.

While driving through the breathtaking alpine landscape I wanted to capture the “vibe” we had and thanks to 4K selfie I was able to catch the excitement Yoda and I both had.  And who isn’t taking a mirror selfie on a road trip right? The LUMIX GX800 is so perfectly light and easy to use that it’s so effortless to capture every moment.



We had been driving the whole day to the shores and man were we happy to finally get there just in time for the sunset.


The camper van against the sunlit mountains was just a lovely and colorful imagery. I was very happy to catch the shot right in time. Thanks to the Panasonic LEICA DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 I was able to capture this sharp image with the great colors and contrast the scenery offered.

It is really amazing arriving at the final destination for the day and seeing this breathtaking landscape.  A perfect place for a photo shooting at sunset.


This area wasn’t the easiest to access as we had to walk a steep and rocky path through the bushes to get there but once we did, the view of the mountains was all worth it. Carrying heavy equipment here wouldn’t be much fun and that is why I was excited to only take the tiny LUMIX GX800 along with me and two lenses to choose from.

We watched the sun go down in the France alps before we started hiking back to the camper to get ready for the night.


High five after a good boulder session. I used 4K Photo for action shots like this to get the exact moment I want.

I wanted to end this beautiful day with a last image. Low light, a moving dog and me being close to the edge of the cliff weren’t the easiest circumstances for a good shoot. However, the LUMIX GX800 was able to capture a sharp quality photo of that situation. Here is the result:


The next day we continued our trip and drove a long way through the alps. We stopped at every nice scenery for a quick photo shoot. Sometimes I just laid in the back of the camper for a break and enjoyed the beautiful view over magnificent  landscapes. I took that image to show you what I mean:


For this frame I wanted to capture the car interior, my legs and Yoda with the beautiful scenery in the background, which is why I used the Panasonic H-X012 (LEICA DG Summilux 12mm f1.4) wide angle lens to have everything in it. This lens also delivered the colors and contrasts beautifully which really helps to experience the whole depth of the image.

Yoda loves being on the road and sometimes she even refuses to come out of the car, I guess she was born to be a traveler. I wanted to capture that excitement in a human way by having her waving out of the car window. To keep it simple I cropped the image to only show the car and Yoda.


After a long day of driving and shooting the best feeling of the world is to lay in a warm bed covered under a soft duvet.


For this shot I wanted to capture slow hotel morning and show the beautiful morning light. As I was laying under that duvet I used a tripod and remote shooting via the Panasonic Image App to capture the photo at the right moment.

Any trip is better with a little planning which allows you to get more out of it. I planned our road trip quite a bit and thought I’d share one of my best preparing techniques when it comes to photography.  I find drawing and writing notes down, like what frame number would work, is a great way to prepare for a photoshoot. It helps to plan the composition and what mood I would like to have in the photo. Drawing the frame starts the creative process that continues in mind and helps to improve the outcome as you have a good base to work on.

South of France offers an amazing opportunity to photograph in the mountains and by the sea. Not to forget about the cities and villages within short distance. That is why I chose to travel there with the LUMIX GX800.

We were a bit unlucky with the weather as we had stormy weather for five days out of seven but it creates a certain mood when you are listening to the raindrops falling on the old VW bus roof while driving in rain on narrow mountain roads. It kind of isolates you from the rest of the world and that’s when ideas start to flow.

The scenery from the little village of Fayence to the Grand Canyon of Europe, Gorges Du Verdon, was so incredible that it was hard to choose where to stop.

I had to shoot very quick so that I have time to go as many places as possible. Working with the GX800 was so effortless. It is small and easy to use and has all the functions easily behind one step or two. For instance, you can go back and forth from 4k to RAW and shoot the scenery or flip the screen and take a 4k selfie. I can’t give enough credit how great the image quality is for such a small camera. It produces detailed and vibrant images. That is why the LUMIX GX800 is the perfect travel camera.