I’m getting ready for a trip to Italy coming up in a few days. We are celebrating Susan’s birthday in grand style. The itinerary includes a week in a Tuscan hilltop villa with all the family, and then a packed schedule including visits to Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice and Lake Como. We’re very excited, but as always, I have started obsessing about what gear I should lug along on the trip.
The basics must include my Canon 5D Mark IV and my back-up 5D Mark II body. For my small “carry around” camera, I’m conflicted about whether to take my Canon G11 or the remarkably versatile, Canon SX50HS. The HS has a ridiculously wide focal length range, 24-1200, but its tiny sensor can’t match the image quality of the G11. I’m not sure that I will need the long focal length, as I shoot in the narrow streets and confined churches of Italy, so I am leaning toward the G11. If I could only get Susan to touch “her” 50HS, I could have both.
|Keel Billed Toucan, Tortugero Costa Rica|
Of course, I must include lots of memory cards, batteries and chargers. For back-up I will bring a portable hard drive and therefore I must bring along a laptop. Memory cards, hard drive and laptop will satisfy the rule that an Image doesn’t exist until it is in three places. Then there are the filters, lens cloths, cable release, and my light tripod. I will walk with my Arca Swiss enabled monopod/walking stick, both to steady my camera and to gain sympathy as the TSA scans my artificial hip.
I will decide on a couple of camera bags, but which bags will depend on the my toughest decision, which lenses to bring.
|Cresky Krumlov, Czech Republic|
The Lens Dilemma
|Bare Throated Tiger Heron|
Obviously I will be bringing my work-horse 24-105 lens. For all those cramped churches, my 15-35 wide angle must be included. I can’t justify bringing my beloved 100mm macro nor my 85mm portrait lens. The big question is, “to telephoto or not telephoto”.
|Alaskan Breach, 400mm|
I have faced this question before. On trips to the Alaska, the Galápagos Islands and the rain forests of Costa Rica there was no question that, to get closer to the wildlife, I needed all the reach possible, but Italy may to be a different matter. My Canon 100-400 f4 is an amazing lens, but it is a beast, weighing in at 3 pounds. Back in 2011, I was struggling with the same issue as I prepared for trip through Central Europe which included wonderful Prague and then a cruise down the Danube to Budapest. I didn’t want to lug the 100-400 and eventually pulled out my old Quantarary 70-300mm. This is the lens that, years ago, I dropped into a brook below a waterfall in the Madame Sherri Forest. It wasn’t worth paying to dry out this inexpensive off-brand lens, but After a few years I found that the elements had dried without any apparent corrosion or mildew. It seemed to work fine including the auto-focus. The front lens still has very slight water spotting, but it doesn’t seem to affect the image quality. The lens lacks image stabilization and it doesn’t have the sharpness or rigid build of my beloved L Lens, but it is dwarfed by my 100-400, and is 1/3 the weight. Ok, I’ve talked myself into it, the 70-300 is a go.
|Schonbrunn Palcace Vienna Austria, Quantarary 70-300mm|
How to Carry it All – On a Plane.
Air travel is getting increasingly dicey for photographers with prohibitions on the use of electronic devices and special restriction that might apply to photographic equipment. I start by wanting to avoid being forced to check any of my gear. I have a nice, medium sized, camera pack which should work well and I plan to bring my sturdy Peak Design Messenger bag as my “personal, under-seat item.
That’s the plan, but who knows how the regulations may change within the next few days. Wish me luck.
As we wander around Italy, I’m not sure whether I will have access to the web. I’ll try to keep checking in, but I apologize in advance for any missed posts.