March 6, 2012

photographing the emerald isle

Yesterday we booked our plane tickets for our June trip to Ireland. I am SO excited...and already writing lists in preparation for the trip. What to pack, what to do before we leave, and what to do while we're there. Predictably, at the top of my list is photo gear! Friends, followers, and travel photogs...I'd love your input!
I sort of miss the days where I could travel with a compact camera in my sore shoulder, no fussing about what lenses to bring... In 2006 I spent two weeks in Wales (with a weekend in London) with my Canon Powershot and came back with images I love. I got my DSLR Christmas of that year and shot kit lens(es) through several more vacations...a couple beach trips, a summer 2009 trip to New cheap zoom on the camera and maybe a long zoom in the bag. Christmas 2009 came and brought me an ultra wide zoom (Tokina 12-24 f4) and my first prime (35mm f1.8) which went with me a few days later to Ireland, the 12-24 spending the most time on my camera. In summer 2010, the same kit came to France and Italy and again the wide angle was most widely utilized. Same story in the Caribbean, March 2011 (a year ago...wiiish I was there right now!), plus a little tilt-shift action. However, I'm not sure I want to go for the ultra-wide-all-the-time thing this time. So many of the photos have so much going on at once because the lens fits everything into every photo. The lens is also sort of heavy!
So, those of you who do a bit of traveling, what's your typical kit? Do you travel light or lug around tons of gear, prepared for everything? If it's the latter, how do you haul it? Backpack, messenger bag, or something else?
My initial thoughts for what to bring:

Nikon D7000 and
  • 12-24 f4
  • 35mm f1.8
  • 85mm f1.8
  • homemade tilt-shift (75mm f2.8)
  • SB-700
  • all other paraphernalia (SD cards, battery charger, etc) 
Yashica Mat 124G and a bunch of color film (and spare battery)
Superheadz Ultra Wide and Slim and a handful of color film (literally weighs nothing and is tiny)
Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home, messenger style camera bag which would fit all but the Yashica, or perhaps I will purchase another kit carrying option

Thus leaving at home:
  • 50mm f1.8 (may throw it in for fun anyway because it's small and light)
  • 70-300 f4-5.6 (meh)
  • kit lenses (18-55 and 28-80, which haven't been used in years)
  • all 35mm SLRs (as much as I'd love to bring's just extra weight to carry)
  • digital point and shoots
  • Evin will be buying a higher-end point and shoot for the trip (he doesn't have a camera and I'm so excited for him to get one!).  Right now he is thinking about the Canon S100 (also considering the Canon Powershot G12, which I'm dying to play with but for this trip and his needs we're thinking the S100 is a better choice)
  • We'll probably be doing a LOT of walking around and hiking...weight/bulk is an issue
  • Probable photo subjects: those gorgeous green landscapes, little towns, castles, flowers, glasses of Guinness...ok probably everything
  • KEH has 24mm and 28mm f2.8 lenses for around $150...a possible substitute for the ultra wide angle?  Thoughts?
  • It's probably going to rain quite a bit so rain protection needs to be thought out
  • I think I'm going to be doing a bit of shooting at a wedding ceremony or reception or both (don't know much about it) so I need to be prepared!
  • This trip is going to be amazing!
Ok!  I think I've typed enough! Your turn...what photo gear can't you live without when you travel?  And, if you've been to Ireland, what shouldn't be missed?


  1. As a carry kit, i've been doing a Leica M and a single lens; mostly a normal (50mm or 40mm). Just around my neck at all times, through all conditions.
    I generally shy away from camera bags too, but that was mostly since I had no other gear to carry, but I can see how it may become bothersome on the shoulders.

    The UW&S is a fantastic camera that I think is all you need for a wide. Unless you're doing night photography! I'd probably carry just this for wide shots, adds character and sharp when it needs to be.

    As for a digital compact, my vote goes for the S100, although not much different from the S90 (cheaper too now!) produces great images.
    I'm a fan of the Ricoh GRD series myself, but they can be pricey and have no such seals for the lens if you stick it in your pocket!!

    I think your selection for the D7000 is good; the ranges are covered for all what you'd want to capture, and the TLR/Med format is what I would do too; if I had a MF camera handy.

    Have lots of fun and take many photos!

  2. I think you've got it about right. I'll be traveling later this month and am planning on taking the Hasselblad or Yashica Mat, Leica M6 with a wide lens, and a Dslr for video and people snaps. I like the idea of the superheadz... Might have to get one of those!

  3. So so so exciting... Can't give you any advice on travel though I've never left the country, or even flown anywhere with photo gear, but I can't wait to see your pictures!

  4. I hope he gets the Canon G12. That camera is a thing of beauty. The other model looks good, too (and small).

    My only absolute essentials are my D300 and my 50mm 1.4 & 35mm 1.8...and I suppose my 85mm 1.8, too. And then I'll usually bring my 20mm 2.8, too. Even though my long zoom is a great lens, I never bring it along unless I know I will need it (just because of how heavy it makes my camera bag). Oh and for trips, I use my Domke shoulder bag. It's the best.

    Your list looks good though. It's hard to decide what to bring because you don't want to leave anything important behind but if your bag is too heavy, that's definitely going to be an issue. Packing gear is such a tricky thing. I'm already struggling with what to bring to a 4-day (camping) music festival.

  5. Can't wait for your trip. I have wanderlust for mine and for everyone else's!
    I'm planning a post much like this one, about my travel kit as well. Personally, I have concluded that for traveling my bulky film cameras are too much of a hassle for things beyone road trips, so I am bringing just one digital body, three lenses and various other supporting characters (external HD, memory cards, etc)


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