You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

Everywhere we walked today, and we walked many miles, we saw flowers. Most of them were tulips, which came as a surprise to us. Our New York friends tell us that they are a common sight here since 9/11 when Denmark gifted them to the city. They certainly provide color to this city and a ready target for my camera.

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So here we are in Manhattan enjoying the sights and showing the city to our friends who are here for the first time. The weather is beautiful and the people on the streets are, as always, interesting. I’ll be keeping this short because I’d rather be out and about than typing on an iPad, but here are some shots from yesterday that start to capture this place and the time we’re having.

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Last time I talked about what I have. This time it’s how I use this stuff while we’re on the road. The type of trip we’re going to take obviously effects what I take and how I use it. A long weekend visiting family when I know it’s all about being social will usually involve the Point & Shoot and that’s it. If we decide to take a laptop along for other reasons then perhaps I’ll back the photos up to it, but I don’t consider that a requirement. Laptop means weight, as well as cables and chargers to hump around, so for a quick visit I just drop the P&S into the bag with (maybe) a spare battery. Easy-peasy.

For true vacations I bring more gear, both camera stuff and backup equipment. These usually fall into two categories. If we’re taking a car-based trip (like the trip last year to the Southwest or to Scotland a few years back), I’ll bring the 7D, most, if not all, of my lenses, miscellaneous crap and an appropriate bag to shlup it all around in. Sometimes I’ll bring the tripod or monopod if I can find the space in the luggage. I also bring the Garmin GPS. Every morning I start a new track on the Garmin and it’s off we go. I’ll shoot all day and, because we tend to go to “target rich environments,” I may take several hundred shots. When we finally end the day wherever we plan to lay our heads, I back this data up … and I’m a bit anal about this. My view is that we may only pass this way once so I want to ensure that I don’t lose anything. Historically we’ve taken a laptop, currently a Mac Air, along. This allows us the luxury of having a reliable storage location as well as serving as access to the web to update this blog. (Side note: this blog was started when we went to Scotland. Updating was easy pretty much everywhere we went.) I also back up the GPS track to the laptop, but this is a bit over the top, even for me. Once the data is on the laptop, I copy it to an external drive. I now have three copies of everything (originals, laptop, external drive) and I can sleep well that night.

We are currently experimenting with traveling MUCH lighter, particularly when heading to urban locations where we won’t have a car. In this case I take a much smaller bag with only the 10-22mm and 24-105mm lenses (and maybe the 50mm since it weighs next to nothing). Instead of the laptop, we take a mini-iPad which is nice for books and web access but, in my opinion, is woefully lacking for photo storage. I’ve solved this with the Sanho Colorspace Photo Storage Device (PSD). This little gadget rocks. It has card slots for both CF and SD cards. I just slide the cards in, hit a couple of buttons and the shots are sucked up and stored on the internal hard drive. It will even do incremental backups, so no duplicates are created. I can then attach my external drive and create a second copy (backup the backup). If I want to post some shots, I use the wireless dongle to transfer the selected shots to the iPad and use the mobile WordPress app to create a post. Light and compact. Sweet.

That’s the theory anyway. We’ll be testing this whole “travel light” scheme when we head to the island of Manhattan in the near future. Stay tuned for that.

Here are a couple of gratuitous shots, since this IS a photo blog. Concert shots.

RIP Richie Hayward, Little Feat Orlando, FL, 3/5/06

RIP Richie Hayward, Little Feat
Orlando, FL, 3/5/06

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Cesar Rosas & David Hidalgo, Los Lobos
Denver, CO, 11/2/06

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The Nighthawks
Cocoa Beach, FL, 3/10/13

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Coco Montoya
Indian Harbor Beach, FL, 2/25/07

My basic kit

My basic kit
Taken with my phone. When you’re taking pictures of your camera gear, you use what’s left over!

OK, so here’s the first in a series of posts that I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. To my wife’s relief, it will be a short series. I thought I’d post on a) what photo gear I travel with, b) how I deal with the photos I take while on the road and c) my process once I get home. See? Short series.

My main camera is the Canon 7D. If we’re going on what is potentially a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip this body is with me. Heavy? Yup. Worth it? Totally. It takes great pictures at a good pixel count and has all of the features that I could reasonably need, including a menu feature that allows me to change settings via the rear display. This feature is nice for this middle-aged photographer because the settings are displayed in a nice large font that does not require me to put on my glasses. It’s the little things in life.

I have finally arrived at what is, for me, a perfect set of lenses. I’m a firm believer in getting a good body and then investing in great glass. My basic walk-about lens is the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS. On the 7d the focal range translates to about 38-170mm, which is more than adequate for most situations. My long lens is the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS (effective focal length 112-320mm) and this thing takes gorgeous pictures. I love love love using it for portraits. It’s much lighter and smaller than its close relation, the 70-200f2.8L, but the image stabilization makes it a wash for me. I just wish it wasn’t white; it really stands out. For wide work, mostly landscapes, I use the Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 (effective focal range 16-35mm). Again, beautiful shots. I once rented this lens for an urban photo tour I was taking. When I received it, I took some test shots with it. As I brought them up on the computer Patti walked by, saw them and said “you need that lens.” She bought it for me for Christmas that year. Does she rock, or what? The last lens I own is known as the “nifty 50”: the Canon 50mm f/1.8. Best bang for the buck out there … it’s now about $125, I paid about $70. It’s fast, extremely light and takes nice shots, particularly in low light.

We have a couple of point-and-shoot cameras. We have an Olympus 720SW “waterproof,” which I’m shocked to discover you can still get from Amazon. It takes great photos, even under water. We’ve had it for years, treated it pretty roughly and it keeps on taking nice shots. I can strongly recommend this line of cameras. Last summer we bought the Canon S100 for our trip to the American Southwest. I wanted a P&S that I could have more control over and, after researching the issue, decided on this. Patti ended up taking 900+ shots (and several videos), many of which you simply can’t tell weren’t taken with the DSLR. While limited in many respects, it completely fills the niche I wanted it to.

Two more significant items to mention: the Garmin Dakota 10 GPS & the Sanho Colorspace UDMA 2 Photo Storage Device. I use the Garmin to record my daily movement while on the road and utilize the tracks to tag my photos when I get home. More on this in a later post. The Sanho is my latest addition, allowing me to back up my photos to its drive, to an external hard disk, or even to an iDevice. Again, more on this later.

The rest of the gear in the photo is basic miscellaneous stuff: the Canon 580EX flash, Manfrotto mono-pod, CF cards, spare batteries, filters, cleaning equipment, etc…. I should point out that I do NOT carry all of this crap on every trip. If we’re on a car-based trip, I may bring most, if not all (plus laptops). When we go lighter, to an urban area for example, I carry a subset of what you see.

That’s my stuff. Except for my camera bags. Don’t even get me started on bags.

Outside Bozeman, MT, 6/30/07 Canon 7-200@135mm, f/4, 1/125

Outside Bozeman, MT, 6/30/07
Canon 70-200@135mm, f/4@1/125

Bryce Canyon, UT, 7/30/12 Canon 10-22@19mm, f/16, 1/320

Bryce Canyon, UT, 7/30/12
Canon 10-22@19mm, f/16@1/320

Catacombs, Paris, Fr, 12/8/05 Canon 50mm, f/2.8, 1/30

Catacombs, Paris, Fr, 12/8/05
Canon 50mm, f/2.8@1/30