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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.