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Archive 2013 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family O...
  
 
Gunzorro
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Last week my wife and I went to Yosemite, meeting up with up with daughter Chelsea and her husband Brad, as well as her middle school friend (and surrogate daughter) Linda Li and her boyfriend Greg Shinn. This was over Spring Break for Chelsea and Brad, attending Berkeley for their post grad studies. Five days of tent camping in Yosemite Valley -- come what may on the weather.

I know this is a gear discussion forum, so I'd like to kick off the idea again of vacation travel, and the gear each of us would like to take along for the trip.

My background is that I used to visit Yosemite (and other locales) with a full 4x5 monorail set-up, planning the trip around lighting on specific locations. It was hectic and crazy and tiring, but I got a few good shots (at the expense of family relations).

So, I've tried to turn over a new leaf and travel light and shoot-from-the-hip, joining in on the walks and sightseeing that the other member enjoy.

On the forum here, I hope I'm know as a fairly enthusiastic gear-slut, always looking at my list of future acquisitions, and out "testing" current cameras and lenses. The lead up to this trip was no different, with my purchase of two used lenses from members here on the B&S forum: the 24-105L IS and the 100-400L IS. After much think-think-thinking, I chose these two, plus the 16-35L II and the 24 TSE II along with 5D2 (no grip) and 1Ds3. Also brought a little G10 and lightweight tripod. I brought three Lowepro bags: mid-size Compact AW shoulder bag, Inverse 200 AW belt pack, and Passport Sling. The Compact AW was mostly for storage and stayed in the vehicle, the other two were the trail bags.

Here's how the lens usage broke down: 24 TSE -- zero, 16-35 -- 15%, 24-105 -- 75%, 100-400 -- 10%. Camera body usage: 5D2 -- 80%, 1Ds3 -- 15%, G10 -- 5%.

I could have brought all primes and considered doing so. Samyang 14, 24 TSE, 45 TSE, 90 TSE (or 100L). I decided against, and I'm glad I did. If I were in "assignment mode" I would have gone toward primes, but I wanted to be in "run and gun mode" trying to keep up with family.

What I learned:

1) I'm old. I get tired easily trudging up trails even without camera gear. The first hike I used both the belt bag and the sling bag, and it was too much. I found I didn't need all that gear.
2) The 24-105L is an awesome lens. Very sharp. Very versatile. I could probably have been fine with just that lens, building panorama shots for wider views. Mine is newer 2010 vintage.
3) The 100-400 is a terrific lens too. Very sharp! 2008 vintage. Aside from new ownership enthusiasm, not really needed for this trip -- no wildlife shots. A great combo with the 24-105 for general travel though, makes a great two lens kit.
3A) Got both used lenses (24-400mm) for $1715, shipped (slightly less than the $1750 I paid for my used 28-300L IS). I consider that a great bargain for this fine travel package.
4) Could have left the 16-35 and 24 TSE home for this trip. For architectural landscape, buildings, and cities, these two would be super-valuable to have.
5) Leave the tripod home.
6) Pack as light as possible to hike longer and faster. Being 60 is not like being 50. And being 50 is not like being 30!
7) Enjoy the time with family and friends as much as possible. Provide them with photographic memories for years to come, not grudges for having to align their fun into your shooting schedule.

Naturally, these points would change if I had an assignment or was simply shooting solo. I bypassed a great opportunity to shoot the falls under full moonlight -- to drink wine and play Yahtzee at camp! Hey, you can't do it all!

So here are some of my travel mementos to kick off the thread.






  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    115mm    f/8.0    1/200s    200 ISO    -0.7 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    24mm    f/8.0    1/200s    250 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    105mm    f/8.0    1/125s    250 ISO    -0.7 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    28mm    f/8.0    1/60s    160 ISO    -1.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    58mm    f/8.0    1/50s    250 ISO    -0.7 EV  




Apr 02, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


One other conclusion: I really like that little Passport Sling bag! It's not big, doesn't have AW protection, and has only one padded compartment, but it is terrific. It will carry a 5D2 with 24-105, and the big 100-400 (or other lens or two, if the camera is around your neck), plus a few filters and water bottle (outside pockets).

Here are some of the shots I will remember most! The family stuff.






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    58mm    f/8.0    1/200s    200 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    105mm    f/5.6    1/640s    400 ISO    -0.7 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    47mm    f/8.0    1/100s    200 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    24mm    f/8.0    1/200s    200 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens    28mm    f/8.0    1/50s    400 ISO    -0.7 EV  



Edited on Apr 02, 2013 at 03:23 PM · View previous versions



Apr 02, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Cicopo
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Very nice & I agree that with age it all gets heavier & heavier.


Apr 02, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Cicopo -- Yes! 30 years ago, I carried a Toyo 45G, with three lenses, spot meter, and about 5 film holders in a bag on one shoulder, and a Bogen 3051 tripod on the other! Not real far though -- under 1/2 mile! Still, I could do it, then jump in the car and drive to the next location. Not now, at least I don't want to. But for a two or three mile walk or light hike, I want to keep the gear reduced -- I'm packing weight around my waistline now.


Apr 02, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Thanks for posting GZ, I've been to Yosemite and the rest of the Sierras many times over the years and have a similar set of images to yours - different family members substituted. And my gear use has stabilized to match yours: A 5D[1..3] + 24-105, a crop with 100-400, 17-40, 100 macro, a light tripod or more often a walking stick with ability to attach a small ball head. As a photographer, you will see the views you want to remember and and the 5D + 24-105 combo will let you capture them quickly. Sometimes a 17-40 is used for a vista and sometimes the macro is needed. My family is patient about this if it doesn't occur too often. I've hand-held panorama sequences with the 24-105 that have stitched up nicely in photoshop.

In camp or car you will see critters often enough that a second body with the 100-400 will let you capture these. On the dayhike trail I've made a padded insert for my Kelty Redwing that holds the 5D + lens in the center with two additional lenses on adjacent sides. It hangs high in the center to keep the weight balanced and allows plenty of room elsewhere for the 10 essentials. Usually the camera is over my shoulder while walking. You will see more scenery than critters and usually then just the south end as they leave. Some are patient enough to allow you to change lenses. When you stop for lunch you can switch to the macro for squirrels that will come up to share lunch. You shouldn't feed them.

I'm 66 and thinking the 100-400 is becoming a beast to day hike with and I find myself wondering if the images from the 70-300 IS would be so bad. And maybe pair it with the new 100D and a 15-85. I still backpack but try to keep my total pack weight with water and food below 35 lbs. My camera gear has been a G series, currently the G1X, a walking stick and Manfrotto 3009 mini ball head.

This is not to dis more dedicated photographers with their tilt-shift lenses or their wooden view cameras or the dedicated wildlife photographers with their big whites and infinite patience. I've found my kit allows me to capture a wide variety of excellent imagery and remain in harmony with family outings. Cheers.



Apr 02, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Thanks Jeff!

Like you, I'm not dissing anyone who shoots more professionally. I find Fred's work especially inspiring, along with a number of other forum contributors. I think the distinction is sort of travel vs. landscape photography.



Apr 02, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Sure, and there should be room in the car for a good tripod and TSE lens and time in 5 days of camping time to get off on your own to spend the time necessary to capture a truly inspiring image. Its our vacation too. But, I think like you, my gear list is more often limited by what I'm willing to carry and how patient I am to wait for the light or animal than any external limitation.

We're lucky that 5Ds make such good point 'n shoots too And they keep getting better, with f8 AF on the 3, I won't need the crop camera any more. Yea!



Apr 02, 2013 at 05:00 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


I guess it also depends on what gear you have on-hand and what your image quality preferences are. For years my 'travel' kit has been 1D series APS-H bodies (because they're what I needed for a lot of my work, and therefore what I had on-hand) with the 16-35, 50L, 85L, 70-200/4 IS and 1.4x TC... It covers a pretty broad range with good low light flexibility as well.

I'm wondering if it's worth lugging around big FF DSLR bodies with lenses that are still pretty large and heavy when there are good options, such as from Olympus and Panasonic, in the m43 system? It would seem that to really reduce lens size, a considerably smaller sensor is required. So far about the only disappointment I've seen from these is that files can sometimes start to look a bit like P&S quality when closely examined, compared to APS-C or FF. But that said, I've seen great 20" prints from the GH3 that I never would have guessed came from such a small sensor...

Or, a Sony RX100...

I know we're all Canon fans here, but admittedly, there's a lack of compact (lens) options available for the EF system. I went the other way and invested in a Leica M9 system, despite its aging technical specs, with a number of lenses to retain the FF look, but also to save a lot of size and to some degree, weight. My typical wandering kit is the camera with 12, 21, 28, 50 and 90mm lenses. It all fits in about the space a 70-200/2.8 would... While the camera is sometimes a bit of a frustration, the lenses have been spectacular, especially the 21/3.4.

I'm looking forward to what Canon does with the EOS-M, but my guess is it will take a few years for them to fill out the system and it probably won't be an attractive option until it replaces the D-Rebel cameras. It will be interesting to see what other options are on the market by that time...

Jim - thanks also for the feedback on the Passport Sling bag. It's one that has interested me, but instead I opted for a couple slightly customized CourierWare satchels. For extended wanderings I sometimes head out with a pair of satchels. The benefit being they stay very close to the body and allow me to move them around to distribute bulk and weight around my waist, almost like a belt system.



Apr 02, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Edward Castro
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Looks like I've learned a bit earlier then you. I'm going to Hawaii very soon. But one thing that my trip to India taught me was you don't need so much gear to take good snaps and enjoy at the same time. Lugging two cameras plus flashes and some lenses made the trip a bit less enjoyable.

So this time I'm using a used (but very well take care of) G1 X and 270EX II. I also bought a Gorillapod hybrid (so I can be IN the pictures) wireless remote (I don't feel like running all the time) extra batteries and some other accessories. All this fits snug in a shoulder bag that's half the size of my Think Tank UB30. Although I will be taking a DSLR I will only use it if I REALLY need to.

PS: I'm only 36



Apr 02, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Bones74
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Fantastic post, very interesting and great images. Thanks


Apr 02, 2013 at 08:17 PM
 

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lhdvries
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Wow super series of images(including family also)!! I am way beyond envious of your trip !
very well done JIm!

Len



Apr 02, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Kathy White
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Loved your images, thanks for sharing. Being at "that" age as well I smiled at your descriptions. I also have and love that bag. I have many more expensive, bigger, smaller, etc, but that one is the one I grab most often using it for both purse and camera bag. Enjoyed hearing that others also put alot of thought in what to take to be able to get what you want and still keep it light enough to enjoy yourself.


Apr 02, 2013 at 08:36 PM
robbymack
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Jim first off that's a great looking family you should be proud. I think we all too often forget the important things like family in the pursuit of great pictures. The wife has a rule for me, one camera, one zoom, and one prime. I think it not only frees up some creatively dealing with some limitations but also focuses on the important stuff and that's spending time with the ones you love. Haven't been to Yosemite yet which is silly because I only love 4 hours away. Definitely something to rectify in the near future.


Apr 02, 2013 at 09:06 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Gunzorro wrote:
On the forum here, I hope I'm know as a fairly enthusiastic gear-slut, .....

1) I'm old. I get tired easily trudging up trails even without camera gear.


Yosemite is a great place to be, one of my favorite parks, too. Regarding gear and weight, just sell all what you currently have and simply buy Leica M-series instead.



Apr 02, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Access
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


I agree with most of your non-technical points. When I am doing serious work, I am always doing it alone. If I'm with family or friends, I'm rarely doing any serious work.

Obsession has a dark side and if one has to choose between different things, don't choose photography over your family or photography over life. It is a far better thing to have a great family than to have taken great photo, or even several great photos.



Apr 02, 2013 at 09:08 PM
boingyman
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Good post and replies. I think when travelling with the family or your significant other you need to have some balance. In just the 2 years I've been into photography I've learned that leaving the DSLR at home for majority of my trips with my wife is the best move I could ever make. Just bring the P&S and capture some good memories together. To balance that out with my shooting I need to make more of an effort to go out and shoot or take mini trips strictly for photography purposes. Yeah it sucks that my next trip to Hawaii, Japan and our big trip to Europe will not include my camera gear, but hey happy wife, happy life

On a side note maybe I can convince the wife for me to purchase a RX100



Apr 02, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Edward Castro wrote:
Looks like I've learned a bit earlier then you. I'm going to Hawaii very soon. But one thing that my trip to India taught me was you don't need so much gear to take good snaps and enjoy at the same time. Lugging two cameras plus flashes and some lenses made the trip a bit less enjoyable.

So this time I'm using a used (but very well take care of) G1 X and 270EX II. I also bought a Gorillapod hybrid (so I can be IN the pictures) wireless remote (I don't feel like running all the time) extra
...Show more

I agree and disagree I've found that if I'm going somewhere I've never been (or really beautiful) I don't really trust any camera less than my 5D and 24-105 to capture the images I want. Even for air travel, if I can get past the carry-on restrictions, two bodies and three or four lenses is manageable. It really depends on how much time the gear will spend on my back and how safe it is out of sight. We're leaving for a month long trip to Bhutan and Nepal and my camera gear will be 5D3, 24-105, and 70-200 f4 because I'll be carrying it a lot and have some restrictive carry-on limits. While I'm encouraging my wife to take our G1X as her camera I don't think I'd want to rely on it as our sole camera. We went to Costa Rica last fall and I wouldn't have wanted to go without my 100-400 and 100 macro. So it depends. A few of our destinations are so familiar that a G1X (or etc.) is all thats needed to capture the family having fun.

The gist of this thread is a family oriented car camping trip. One modest camera bag of gear should provide enough range to capture likely subjects and not intrude on the adventure too much.

boingyman wrote:
Good post and replies. I think when travelling with the family or your significant other you need to have some balance. In just the 2 years I've been into photography I've learned that leaving the DSLR at home for majority of my trips with my wife is the best move I could ever make. Just bring the P&S and capture some good memories together. To balance that out with my shooting I need to make more of an effort to go out and shoot or take mini trips strictly for photography purposes. Yeah it sucks that my next trip to
...Show more

This I don't understand, a DSLR with normal range IS zoom doesn't take any more time than a P&S. Yes it weighs 4 lbs instead of 1/2 but its on your shoulder and takes much better pictures. You can still be thoughtful and attentive to your spouse. Of course if you are going to NYC for the museums or night life you probably don't need much of a camera to begin with. It depends



Apr 02, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Ron -- I find the smaller format cameras unrewarding if there is any grand scenery to become immersed into. I successfully took a 60D APS-C with 15-85 (and G10, and largely unneeded Contax 50/1.4) IS on an Alaskan cruise, and a Oly EP-2 with kit 14-42 and 40-150 on a Mexican cruise. Those worked well for real sightseeing and nothing too expansive (except the glacier in bay!). But I prefer the full frame or 1D-series.

I'd also been looking at reporter and satchel type bags, so I was happy to see this sling bag. I got it used on ebay, a local sale for $28 with pick-up, no shipping. Combined with that belt pack, it's great for flat walks -- can carry two bodies and 4 or 5 lenses if you want, plus a few extras. All handy and easy to get to. The Inverse 200 is one of Lowepro's modular types, so you can add two accessory compartments on either end of the bag.

Kathy -- I agree. That sling bag is terrific! I used it today between my first posts and this one. I had a scheduled doctor appointment, so grabbed the Passport Sling, the 5D2 and 45 TSE with shade, added Book 3 of the Song of Ice and Fire (a re-read for the current Game of Thrones season), my smart phone and a pair of reading glasses, and I was ready for a little walk from car to office in Burbank. (Who says TS-E's aren't made for hand held shooting? )

Here a few hand held panoramas of an interesting building on the way, across the street from the Tonight Show studio. These are 5 and 6 shot panoramas from jpgs, shot in the landscape orientation. I got a bunch of other interesting shots too. Great and handy "purse", facilitates creativity. Same basic approach as I used in Yosemite -- "f/8 and be there".





  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    TS-E45mm f/2.8 lens    45mm    f/8.0    1/320s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    TS-E45mm f/2.8 lens    45mm    f/8.0    1/320s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    TS-E45mm f/2.8 lens    45mm    f/8.0    1/200s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Apr 02, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Snopchenko
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Great shots!
For me, the choice of travelling as an "assignment" or as a "family event" is a nonexistant one... because my wife is also working at the newspaper, so wherever we go, we go having a future printed article in mind. And ironically, while in the past we were usually splitting the duties - I was doing the photographing, she was writing - today it's more of her own work, and I'm on the sidelines. Especially since I got her a Sony NEX camera with which she's by now masterful - creating full A2 page photo reports from wherever she goes (and she does travel by herself quite a bit as well) with just the 18-55 kit zoom... Though I'm contemplating getting a 6D for her since she does need more and better lenses eventually... but instead of plonking down money on specialized mirrorless lenses, I'd rather get her something that enables her to use my lenses... and that enables me to use her camera in a pinch.
The only occasions when I travelled alone (and thus did all the work) were 2011's Xinjiang and a couple of visits to Vladivostok (2010, 2012...) I also chose to do all the writing (and photographing) for the 2008 trip to the Far East, since I'm more emotionally attached to that place than my wife, and felt I could've written it better.

As for the gear, I don't have any special rules. I just take my 1D Mark II N body with two lenses - 16-35 and 70-200 - and add something on top. It's either 50/1.8, 24-85 or 14/2.8, usually only one of those. In Cuba, Hong Kong and Xinjiang it was the 50, the 14 for Tenerife and Yaroslavl, the 24-85 for Crimea.
Crimea:





(excuse all the dirt on the sensor)





New Year in Stockholm:





Yaroslavl region:










Tenerife:

















Apr 03, 2013 at 07:58 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Travel Photography -- "Assignment" vs. Family Outing


Terrific images! Wish I could visit in early Spring. And, yep, I'm at the same point in life where I've had to thin down the gear. I normally travel sans family and with a small kit: 5D2, 24-105 4L, 220EX, Gitzo Traveller tripod and Crumpler 6MDH. I rarely bring a telephoto or macro unless I know for sure I need it. I could live pretty happy between 24 and 50. However, can't imagine traveling without the tripod since I like twilight and blurred water images.


Apr 03, 2013 at 08:20 AM
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