Category Archives: travel

Packing List

 

James,
All the best for your trip to Europe. I hope you enjoy all the 6 or so months you have there. You asked for my packing list so here are my thoughts. They may not be the best of thoughts but a useful collection of things to keep in mind.

I’d start with the basics….

  • your 5D (I think yours is the mk2)
  • a good collection of CF cards – each one labelled with e-mail and numbered so as not to cause confusion
  • 24-105 f/4 or 24-70 f/2.8
  • a fixed big aperture lens – 50 f/1.4 would be good – for shooting at night, in galleries and isolating parts of a scene.
  • if you have something wide then take it as well something like the 17-40 can be good
  • a small telephoto (you are not going to use it much but it can come in handy when walking the streets of a city
That’s 4 lenses above. Carrying all would be a chore but after a week or so you’ll have an idea what 2 you are going to pack into your bag for any particular day.
Accessories:
  • A small discrete camera bag. For security something you can put at waist level rather than on your back. Think of something that will take your body and two lenses (one fitted). It can also be used to carry souvenirs and other nick knacks.
  • A polariser for getting those deep blue Grecian Skies.
  • An ND400 filter to have some fun.
  • A cable release (the ND 400 will need to be used with one).
  • A “bag” for support – perhaps find a small zippered cloth bag – I’m thinking a small clothes delicates bag that you can fill with foam packing peanuts when you are over there – you can use a Velcro strap to attach it to your camera bag strap when walking around – total weight a few grams.
  • Steal a hotel shower cap – it makes a good impromptu rain cover.
  • A spare battery.
  • Your battery charger – don’t forget to pack it when you are moving between hotels.
“Maintenance” things:
  • Rocket blower stored inside a clean plastic bag.
  • A small microfibre cloth.
  • Something to transfer photos to and cloud storage to keep them safe.

Other tips

  • Leave the battery grip at home.
  • If your camera bag gets wet let it dry thoroughly over a heater – any foam in it will retain moisture.
  • If something happens you have a credit card and places to shop.
I think that’s about it. Have fun and I look forward to seeing the results.

The South of France

I think it would be a common assumption, that as you go towards the equator, the weather will get a little more comfortable in a French February.  The more accurate observation is that the Pyrenees range and its high peaks with villages and snow capped mountains will surprise.

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Train Coming

I’ve seen a lot of images taken with a ND400 (10 stop neutral density) filter, I’ve taken several with my own. A common theme amongst them is slowing water and other natural movement in landscapes. As a different aspect for this filter, I decided to take an iconic photograph of the Puffing Billy steam train that runs near home.

Getting closer…..

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Getting Closer

The challenges are several fold in shooting this scene – trains run every 90 mins or so in this direction, deciding the shutter speed, focus and exposure on a moving target that will only appear for a few fleeting seconds are decidedly tricky.

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Just past….

In the end it’s not a perfect image. The front of the train is just past the apex of the bend – a point where the motion of the front of the train would have been frozen. The other little gripe is it was just a bit too nice of a day next to the bridge – the normally wet weather gives a deep colour to the forest and a darkness to the wooden bridge.

It’s a promising use of an ND400 filter so I’ll be back at some stage in the future when I hope I’ll be able to catch the train.

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A Few Days in Paris

I had the opportunity to travel – I always consider travel a very fortunate opportunity – to Europe. The first place on the itinerary was Paris. In a way, such a heavily filmed and broadcast city was always going to give me an element of ummm…  deja vu without even having experienced it before.

Perhaps the things best discovered and best photographed are the familiar sights from new perspectives. When you have the chance to physically move around then you discover new little things – the viewpoints which are part of an immersive experience that the two dimensional world can’t convey.

 

The Eiffel Tower in the early light of dawn. Once called a glorified lamp post by a critique – and it had several of them – these days I suspect every night time lamp on the Tower, in a way, represents one of those critiques.

The Lamp Post

 

It’s only when you’re inside the structure that you realise how the Tower is a marvel of hollowness. Everything you take for granted as being solid is, in fact, thin cast iron plates and angles that have a standard size.

The Skeleton

The Skeleton

 

The month of February isn’t what you’d call the best time to visit Paris if you are looking for sunny weather. Fortunately there is ample space inside the entrance of the Lourve from which the stormy skies can be observed from a perfectly climate controlled environment.

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There is one advantage to jet lag and wet weather – it does allow you to get up fresh as a daisy at 5 in the morning and walk to the very quiet river and parts of the city with camera and tripod.

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On the emankments

 

Laneway

Laneway

 

There were three weeks in this trip and Paris was the first three days of them. I won’t spam you with posts about Europe, Europe, Europe all the time but keep tuned as I make my way through the image collection.

 

 

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