Monday, June 23, 2014

My Two Cents

by Carol





Last week Terri wrote a timely post about packing her gear for traveling. In case you missed it, you can read it right here. I just returned from a big trip, and my travel mates and I have been discussing this since January. Some of my decisions worked out and others didn't, and I made a few great little discoveries along the way. So I thought I would give you my 2 cents today.



When I met my blog mates in Chicago last year, I discovered that having a shoulder strap bag and a shoulder camera strap was a pain in the neck - literally and figuratively, so I did a lot of research about bags before the PDN convention last November. I had several bags from different manufacturers that I wanted to check out. I ended up buying the Brooklyn bag from Epiphanie expressly for my trip and other long-term travel. I liked the look of the bag because it is roomy enough for my laptop and gear  - my camera and 4 lenses -(one of them is the very small sized 50mm). What made it different than anything else was that it could convert from a backpack to a cross body. I figured I would get everything over there, and then pack it for daily outings. I carried it on a small trip down to visit my parents and found it very sturdy, well balanced and weighted, and roomy enough to hold my purse items with no problem. And it fit perfectly under the plane seat.
(On a side note, its worth mentioning that one little inside pocket zipper broke on the bag and Epiphanie replaced the entire bag when I told them - that is rare and incredible customer service and I will recommend them to anyone, with gratitude!)





About a month or so before I left, I found myself searching for photography vests - mostly for use at home, and I stumbled upon the women's "Travel Vest" by Scottevest. I got such a kick out of the website, with clothing that has anywhere from 17 to 42 pockets!!. They have thought of everything! There is an inside pocket for your iPod that lets the wires run up through the vest and come out by your ears! There's a pocket big enough for a water bottle that sits diagonally in all that wasted hip space! There's a passport pocket; my magazine iPad and umbrella fit in the small of my back.  I could go on and on! (When I returned home, I noticed that world photographer, David duChemin himself was promoting it.) So while others had several bags, I found that all I had was my backpack under the seat and I wore my vest. No purse! I packed a small flat purse for the times when I would need it at my destination - but how great to have hands free in the airport!


me in my vest!
One of my two mistakes was in not packing a small camera bag. The Epiphanie bag could not have been better, but it was a bad plan to think I would switch back and forth with the body strap. It's inconvenient to switch and on a big trip like I was on, you may have two or three destinations in a day, with stops at the hotel in between. Also, switching meant all my lenses had to be left in the hotel room in my suitcase, and I had to think about what to take each time out. I ended up creating a day bag by buying a touristy bag and making some lining from my bag's supports and some hotel towels. Not a good look - or good protection for my gear! A travel mate suggested to bring a day camera bag, and if you fill it with small items before you pack it, it really doesn't use much room in your bag.



My other mistake had nothing to do with photography - I brought just a ridiculous amount of clothing! May is a hard time to travel because you don't know if its going to be warm or cold or rainy ( and it was all three at different times)! But lugging around everything you own, plus the kitchen sink ( and in my case the bathtub too) is "tres stupide," as the french would say. Imagine how delightful it was over cobblestone streets and bed and breakfast hotels with steps! I have survived a week in Europe with only a backpack in the past - what was I thinking?



One other quick note about traveling. As Ansel says - being prepared is everything. All last winter while dreaming of my trip, I pinned iconic and effective pictures of Paris. I read about where the best pictures and views were in each of our destinations. I noticed what pictures the guide books used, and I looked up where the sun rose and set in relation to the landmarks. A little research gets you that iconic picture that you just have to take while you are there, and then frees you up to use your own creativity. That was advice that really paid off. At the same time, you can't beat dumb luck! I happened upon a festival full of balloons when I was at the Eiffel Tower, one friend got a rainbow over the Seine and my instructor caught a marriage proposal in front of Notre Dame! So keep your eyes open - you never know what's around the bend!

Happy Trails!




12 comments:

Sarah Huizenga said...

Love that vest idea, and such good advice about bringing a small camera bag. Packing for big trips like this is always challenging.

stamper2 said...

Great information! Bags are always a long thought process for me when traveling! So glad for your share! Gorgeous captures~~

Dotti said...

Great information, Carol! We're planning a trip to Paris and Italy next summer so I'll be thinking hard about this. Right now, I have a camera bag that fits right inside my rolling carry on bag. My daughter got me a nice backpack {not camera bag} at Christmas that I use for other essential carry on items and it has worked well the couple of times I've used them. I'll be interested in seeing your setup in Galveston! Oh, and lovely photos!

Deanna said...

Perfect information. I have thought about those vests and think I might need to investigate. Actually I am going to Paris next summer with my daughter's dance troupe and will have plenty of time for photography, so timely post and beautiful images!!

kelly said...

well first of all I am loving your beautiful photographs. and secondly, this is really useful information. I've just been using a backpack for my camera gear. which I like not having a bag on my shoulder, but I feel like I need a legit camera backpack. I'm going to look into some of the things you suggested here.

terriporter said...

Such great information and the perfect complement to my post on a similar subject. I think we all have to try different things until we find what works for us, our gear, the type of trip we're on, etc. I agree with the suggestion to pack a day bag in your luggage so you have something to walk around with and not have to lug your entire arsenal of lenses. I think one of those vests would be great but right now, while it's close to 110 here, all I can think of is hot, hot, hot! But for Paris in May, I'm sure it was the perfect thing! Still working on what I'm bringing to Galveston so all this great info is so helpful! And your photos . . . sigh! Just gorgeous!

Cathy said...

First off your photos are gorgeous. Such great advice. It is a challenge to find just the right bag. I like you have two my big Epiphany bag and one that will hold my camera with a lens on it and one extra lens. I like the idea of a backpack and the vest. Looks like you had a magical time!

Kim Stevens said...

I have my Two Sues bag from Kelly Moore and really like it - like you said it goes right under the airplane seat with no problem. And like Terri, the vest would be great if it wasn't so hot here!! Your photos are just gorgeous!!

Carol said...

Thanks for the kind compliments on the images! The vest is pretty lightweight - Im using it here in summer - but Arizona and Texas might be a whole different story. Ill bring it to Galveston and we'll see!

sherrygaley.com said...

Lovely lovely images Carol. Your research and preparation definitely paid off. I think that's the biggest change I've made myself when travelling -- advance planning for photography. And of course as you say being open to serendipity. Great tips too about various bag possibilities. I'm curious about the vest...

heyjudephotography said...

Carol such great info here. I'm glad you shared what worked and what didn't for you. I have been planning for a couple of different trips, and of course thinking ahead to Galveston. I use a camera backpack much of the time, but have recently started using an Epiphanie bag when I'm in Manhattan and other city type days.

heyjudephotography said...

Carol such great info here. I'm glad you shared what worked and what didn't for you. I have been planning for a couple of different trips, and of course thinking ahead to Galveston. I use a camera backpack much of the time, but have recently started using an Epiphanie bag when I'm in Manhattan and other city type days.

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