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Old 03-31-2014, 10:53 AM   #1
fractal
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The Worst Mistake a Travel Photographer Can Make

A Post By: Etienne Bossot

As a travel photographer and photography teacher, I meet a lot of photographers on a daily basis. Whether they’re amateur or pro, newbie or experienced, first-timers or old-timers, they often have one thing in common: too much gear.

The pro shooters who join me on my photography tours in Southeast Asia tend to look more like pack mules than people: they’re loaded with lenses, lights, filters, and a veritable menagerie of photographic accoutrement – you know, the kind of gear that makes you look like you know what you’re doing.

rest of article...

http://digital-photography-school.co...pher-can-make/
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:55 PM   #2
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Interesting article. I agree 100%. When I went on a one month trip to Morocco and Israel I took one body and a 17-50mm f/2.8. I figured a with a standard zoom range and a constant f/2.8 aperture I would be able to get about 99% of the pictures I needed. It was a beautiful thing to never worry about possibly damaging or losing expensive lenses in my backpack. There were a couple occasions that I would have liked my 30mm f/1.4 or my 70-300mm telephoto. However, since most of my pictures were street photography or architecture the 17-50m worked just fine.
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:10 PM   #3
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My only disagreement is the idea that someone shouldn't bring something because it's expensive. I didn't purchase the gear that I own so that I could leave it at home or in the hotel safe. (And the same goes with other goods... I didn't buy that dress so it could hang in my closet. I didn't purchase that over-the-top Margarita maker so that it could decorate my counter top... etc, etc.) I bought that gear with the intent to use it. While bringing an obscene amount of expensive gear surely increases one's chances of having something lost or stolen, I think leaving a favorite lens at home because "it's expensive" is a ridiculous reason.

That being said, I'm not saying that one should bring their nicest equipment to an environment or scenario where it doesn't belong or has a very high chance of being damaged. I wouldn't bring my DSLR on a dive boat... but I did opt to bring my compact Nikon 1 and GoPro. Bring the equipment that's right for the job.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:05 PM   #4
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Eh. I agree with packing wisely, and truly considering the circumstances. How much can you comfortably carry, which gear is most important..

But, I'll use Disney World as an example, since this is a Disney board.
Different lenses do have different purposes. If you go just with a standard length 2.8 zoom... like the Tamron 17-50, or one of the first party brand lenses, it might get you most of the shots you needed. You can walk away with beautiful pictures.
But if you had hoped to shoot animals on the safari... You really should have packed your telephoto. And you easily could have left it in the hotel room, on non-Animal Kingdom days.
If you were intent on trying to capture dark rides, then a fast prime lens is a bit critical.
And how many gorgeous ultra wide shots have we seen on this board?

Different trips, different circumstances, call for different gear -- and different amounts of gear.

Most of my vacations include having the comfort of a hotel room or cruise cabin, so I have a home base where I can leave gear that I'm not using.

So if I'm going mountain climbing, I certainly would need to "weigh" the extent I want to be weighed down by gear. And it would be a good reason to keep my gear as light as possible. If I'm going to the beach, I need to consider whether I want to be changing lenses around all that sand, and whether I want to be able to put down the camera to take a swim myself.
If I'm walking around an urban environment, a telephoto zoom may be useless and can be left behind.

So I think the article is correct in suggesting that you plan for your needs, and not get overweighed in gear. I don't agree that a professional or enthusiast travel photographer never needs more than a couple of lenses.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:27 PM   #5
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This is all very true. I have 7 or 8 lenses, however, since I got my D600 last September I have only used 2.

We are headed back to Disney at the beginning of June. I'm trying to decide which lenses to bring. I will definitely be using the 24-70mm f/2.8. I'm debating between my 70-200 f/2.8 and bring the 1.4x teleconverter or my 70-300mm. I haven't used the 70-300 on my D600 yet. I guess I should play around with that one before making my decision. I don't know if I'll bring the 10-20mm. Its a DX lens. It will work with my FF, but I'll either lose the 24MP to 10MP (the D600 will use DX lenses, but at a much lower MP) or only use it from about 15mm to 20mm. I have used it before at Disney and like it. I'm also going to bring my 50mm f/1.8. Its small enough to fit in my pocket.

Now, with all that being said, I'm also contemplating renting a 24-120mm f/4 or the 28-300mm. Either is only about $90 to rent for a week and is lighter than my 24-70 f/2.8.

In total I'm bringing no more than 4 lenses and will use no more than 3 in one day. Like someone else said, it all depends on which park.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handicap18 View Post
This is all very true. I have 7 or 8 lenses, however, since I got my D600 last September I have only used 2.

We are headed back to Disney at the beginning of June. I'm trying to decide which lenses to bring. I will definitely be using the 24-70mm f/2.8. I'm debating between my 70-200 f/2.8 and bring the 1.4x teleconverter or my 70-300mm. I haven't used the 70-300 on my D600 yet. I guess I should play around with that one before making my decision. I don't know if I'll bring the 10-20mm. Its a DX lens. It will work with my FF, but I'll either lose the 24MP to 10MP (the D600 will use DX lenses, but at a much lower MP) or only use it from about 15mm to 20mm. I have used it before at Disney and like it. I'm also going to bring my 50mm f/1.8. Its small enough to fit in my pocket.

Now, with all that being said, I'm also contemplating renting a 24-120mm f/4 or the 28-300mm. Either is only about $90 to rent for a week and is lighter than my 24-70 f/2.8.

In total I'm bringing no more than 4 lenses and will use no more than 3 in one day. Like someone else said, it all depends on which park.
My one "regret" about switching to full frame is the loss of telephoto reach. Where I used to be able to use my 70-210 and 70-300 as pretty long telephotos, not really anymore. Used to be able to use the 70-300 for birding, now it requires a lot of cropping.

So I suppose you could even consider the 70-300 AND the teleconverter.

I wouldn't do with the 28-300 if I were you.... You won't appreciate the loss of IQ and aperture, just for the convenience.
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
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This is the part of the article that struck a cord with me;

"I think of gear like a crutch. Instead of improving your skills, you become a slave to the latest and greatest gadget, thinking it will improve your craft. The thing about gear is that it takes years, even decades, to learn how to use a single piece of equipment masterfully. After 20 years of shooting with a certain lens, your brain begins to think in terms of its focal length. You effectively merge with the lens, become it."

On my last trip to WDW I brought a fisheye, 50mm 1.8, 19mm 2.8, 18-200mm, for my NEX-7. I also brought my NEX-3 as a back up with the kit lens. Like Havoc, my hotel room was my base. I made an effort on several days ( or big blocks of time ) to just bring one lens. One evening I just brought my 50mm to Magic Kingdom. One morning I just took my fisheye to Animal Kingdom. On another day I just had my 50mm at AK and found myself in KS regretting not bringing my zoom. However, I started taking shots with that lens and I came out of it with some of my favorite images.

Having just one lens with you (especially a fixed lens) will make you think different about your photography. Instead of trying to figure out which would be the best lens for each "moment" you start to see things through that focal length. I haven't "merged" with any of my lenses but I have found myself constantly gravitating to the 50mm 1.8. I also find that most of my favorite shots come from that lens. After our trip I purchased a 35mm 1.8 and used it extensively when I first got it - but now it mostly sits in my bag - may sell it.

I think the point of committing to one lens is just as, if not more important than "don't carry too much gear".
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
Different trips, different circumstances, call for different gear -- and different amounts of gear.
I agree.

When I read the article, Disney never entered into my mind. I was thinking about international travel.

When I go to Disneyland or WDW I bring all my photo gear. I have the time, freedom, flexibility, and a trustworthy base to leave unused equipment. I use whatever lenses strike me as a good idea in the moment. I've been known to head back to my hotel room in the afternoon to switch out my lens line up (when I'm not carrying my pack).

However, when on the move in the Middle East I need to be able to carry all my gear in my pack or my carry on. I have a months worth of clothes and gear in carry on roller and a simple backpack. That leaves very limited room for photography gear. Frankly, I could never justify a photography pack filled with lots of lenses and accessories when pack space is so valuable and theft is so common. I've stayed in places that I wouldn't trust leaving all my photo gear. (Hostels for instance)

Traveling within the USA I will bring quite a bit more gear than when I travel internationally. I'll bring a handful of lenses and sometimes a tripod.

I also disagree with "If it is expensive then don't bring it." I care about it's usefulness and versatility more than cost when I travel.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:28 AM   #9
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I agree that with international travel as a tourist, the minimalist approach is probably the best approach. My SIL, who travels quite a bit, purchased a used older model DSLR for a $100 just for situations as described being outside the US. Since photography is a major part of all my US vacations, I bring most of my equipment. At WDW, I will carry my DSLR with battery grip usually mounting a 28-70 f2.8. In my bag will be a 70-200, 30 f1.4 and a WR 18-55.i also have a travel tripod on my bag. I will have a second body in my room and the DW will carry her kit. We bring a lot of equipment to WDW!
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:51 PM   #10
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I've been thinking about it more. I think I'm going to bring both the 70-200 f/2.8 and when needed use the 1.4x teleconverter. I don't know which backpack I'm going to use. Probably my regular one. As much as I would rather I didn't have to, I'm going to rent a scooter because of neuropathy in my feet caused by one of the chemo drugs I was getting back in '12. While walking around a grocery store isn't to bad, my feet do get worse as the day goes on. No way I'll be able to walk around any Disney park all day long. With that in mind I'll have an easier way to cart around a bag with a heavy lens.

I'm going to work more with the 70-200 with the teleconverter attached before the trip. Luckily I have 2 sons playing baseball so I'll have plenty of opportunities to get more acquainted with that setup.

So I'll have the 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, 50 f/1.8 and probably the 10-20. I'll also have my SB-900 for the character meals (4 of our 5 meals will be character meals).
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:18 PM   #11
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I'm bringing one body, my 70-200, a fish eye and my walk around 24-120. It's an ok lens but that's all.

I rented a 14-24 last time I went and loved it. Even though I have the fish eye this time I just can't get over not renting the wide angle again. Also debating instead of renting a 24-70.

Will be photographing my daughters band marching. I usually use my 70-200 for them but I usually have a lot of space to move around and back up when needed. Since MK around parade time (MSEP) is so busy and packed I'm worried about space. I know a 24-70 won't be as nice as the 70-200 but it might just be worth it.

I'll have my tripod also but my backpack doesn't have a place to hook the tripod. I need to figure that one out too.

I usually only carry two lenses in the parks at a time. One on my body and one in a small bag. I'm miserable of I carry less and tired if I carry more.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:38 PM   #12
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Except I'd also LOVE to bring along a macro also, for flower & garden.

Too many decisions!
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Old 04-06-2014, 03:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I'll have my tripod also but my backpack doesn't have a place to hook the tripod. I need to figure that one out too.
I have a travel tripod that is about 15" tall when completely folded up, however, I have also used a standard size tripod at Disney in the past and it fit in the lockers near the entrance to every park.

I like using the travel tripod on top of the trash can's. All Disney trash cans are flat on the top. One of my favorite spots is one of the trash cans next to Casey's Corner in MK for Wishes. I don't have to extend the legs on the travel tripod so its has the perfect height for me. I've done this set up on 3 different trips.
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Old 04-06-2014, 04:42 PM   #14
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I use trash cans last time. Just dragged one to wherever I wanted it--lol. But ultimately it was difficult controlling the angles I wanted. But I didn't have any sort of small tripod on it. I propped it up a few times with whatever else I had with me. I'll be hauling the tripod this time. I have a mefoto.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:03 PM   #15
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Weight is the number one reason I sold my Canon and changed to micro 4/3. That Canon didn't take very good photos when left back in the room.
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