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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Packing for the Danube

This weekend Sue and I are heading off to Prague, Czech Republic to begin a 17 day trip featuring a boat trip down the Danube ending in Budapest. We will be visiting Linz, Vienna and Salzburg among with other middle European locations.  We are excited to explore a new region, but Nelly is getting a bit nervous about all the luggage.  As we approach the trip I am immersed in my usual camera gear anxiety. What cameras and lens should I take? How much do I really want to lug around? How much weight can I get on the plane. How will I handle image back-up. How will I keep my gear secure? I typically start by listing the "must brings" and then agonize over all the optionals, knowing always that the one thing I leave behind will be the one thing that I will desperately wish I had. It is always my strong inclination to bring EVERYTHING.


Canon 5D MII with my workhorse 24-105 f4 l lens

A ton of CF cards (I bought two new 32 gig cards for the trip)

Canon G11 (nice small, full featured, carry around camera as a backup and to use in situation in which I don’t want to display my big DSLR). I have decided not to bring my old 5D as a backup DSLR.


Small 500 GB external drive ( have the Western Digital passport). My back-up strategy is to keep copies of images on the laptop and the HD as well as on the cards.

Various small, but necessary accessories : cable release, polarizing filters, lens cloths, batteries and chargers, power adapter, mini bunges (always), lens brush, plastic bag rain cover, and my Giotto air blower. Despite all my efforts, I will undoubtedly forget at least one critically indispensable cable and will spend half a day becoming familiar with the camera stores of Prague.


Lens are always an issue. My Canon 16-35 f2.8 seemed a no-brainer. I expect to be photographing inside lots of churches and castles, not to mention capturing grand overlooks. A wide angle lens is essential. My major questions was about bringing my beast, the Canon 100-400 f4." I would love to have it , but it weighs 3 lbs. and, since Susan refuses to be a Sherpa, I can't see myself lugging this monster all over the continent. This is supposed to be a vacation after all. But then I remembered my old Quantaray 70-300.  This is the lens that I dropped into a brook a couple of years ago. It never stopped
 working, but had a bit of haze on some of the internal elements. Just enough to justify getting the Canon 100-400. When I pulled the lens out, I discovered that the haze had largely disappeared. This lens can't be compared to Canon L glass, but it is MUCH smaller and lighter (1 lb.). I will miss the image stabilization, but It is better than nothing, and the sharpness is not bad. It will be nice to have more reach without a lot more lug. So, three lens.

I toyed with not bringing my tripod. I don't expect to carry it around for most of our walking tours, and, although my carbon fiber Gitzo is not terribly heavy, by the time I add the Kirk ball head, it does add some significant weight and bulk. Then I thought about the wonderful low light opportunities, the lights at night and the chance to try HDR on the classic old world architecture. I'm bringing the tripod.

I still haven't decided about bringing a Speedlite and I may decide only when we do our final weight assessment. A compromise might be to take my lighter 430EX instead of the 580EX II. I doubt I will need the extra power and I will not be triggering any slaves.

Well of course, with all this stuff, I had to get a new bag. Photographers can never have too many bags, but seriously all mine seem either too small to carry what I would need on tours or are too bulky. I don't want to be knocking over precious shrines throughout Europe. I finally found a nice compromise National Geographic shoulder bag which I hope will work well.
  It has reasonable padding, a comfortable strap and is compressible for packing. I can fit my 5D and two lens in quite easly with room other necessaries and with reasonably easy access.  I must confess that carrying a "National Geographic" bag seems a bit cheezy to me, but the thing has a nice feel and does what I need it to do.  I may look for a patch to cover-up the logo.

That's about it. We haven't done the final weighing, so things may change. We are excited about the trip and I will try to post when I can along the way.

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