Camera used: iPhone 4s
As small business owners, it can be difficult for us to go on vacation at the same time or for this matter, together. Though difficult, it is possible with careful planning.
Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and New York. Yes, we conquered those cities in the brief amount of time — 15 days. Our priority was not to take the most perfect photos during this trip, but to enjoy and live in the moment. This was not a travel for “work” thing but more of a “we’ve worked so hard the past seven years that we deserve a grand vacation” thing. We think we succeeded in our goals. Stay tuned for some photos from our vacation with the best group of friends.
In the meantime, we wanted to share some of our concerns and notes about packing for our trip, what gear to bring and how not to look like such a “tourist with a nice camera so steal me” target.
First off, do we bring a DSLR, point-n-shoot, or just rely on our phones?
Seeing as to how this was Grace’s first time in Europe, she was adamant about bringing a DSLR. Jennifer on the other hand was all about her camera phone. She wanted to soak in as much of the vacation more than trying to capture every moment possible. Yes, she’s that easily distracted.
How did we pack our gear?
Jo Totes – I fell in love with this bag months ago but finally had an excuse to buy it when planning for this trip. My travel buddies didn’t even know it was a camera bag until I pulled out my camera. Functional, yet stylish. I just wished it had some pockets inside the bag to hold memory cards or any other small items. But other than that, it was just the right kind of bag for my needs — stylish and somewhat functional for this type of travel. Now, if you are more hardcore, I’d recommend carrying a couple more lenses and a backpack made for all the gear. It’d be less stress on your back and shoulders.
Tumi hard roller case – I’m sure this isn’t the real name for it but that’s what I know it as. It’s a hard roller case usually used for documents and travel, I’m sure. I turned it into a makeshift camera case by purchasing camera padding from Amazon. This case was mainly used for long travel (e.g. Paris to Barcelona) and locking camera gear when away from the apartment.
Nikkor 24-70mm – Absolutely loved the versatility of this lens but after carrying it for 3 days straight, I thought my shoulder was going to fall off. Traveling with a group of people and a handful of destinations each day, I didn’t have luxury to stop by the apartment to drop off/pick up equipment when needed. I had to carry all this gear all day long. Prime lens sounded better and better when walking up hundreds of steps to and at Notre Dame and Montemarte, among other landmarks.
Nikon SB800 – I barely used this flash all-in-all. Mainly because I often left it in the apartment and honestly, there were only a couple times where I wish I had it with me but again, didn’t want any more weight added to my bag.
Tripod – This definitely came in handy for night shots. Due to our constant adventures, I only had time to really maximize it for the Eiffel Tower and some Notre Dame night shots. Either way, it was worth lugging the tripod around all day for those shots. OK, I was really lucky and appreciate having my friends carry it around for me during the day. LOL.
PacSafe Security Web – I was so paranoid leaving my equipment behind that I brought my PacSafe with me. As much as it was a hassle to lug my Tumi bag and find a secure place to attach this to, it always gave me a peace of mind. And really, this PacSafe is so light but secure. I figure, one more step for thieves to conquer through if they really wanted it.
Apple iPhone 4s – If I didn’t have my camera in hand, it was my iPhone. Got some amazing photos with it when I didn’t have my DSLR with me or was too lazy to take it out of my camera bag.
All-in-all, I think I packed just the right amount of gear for my very first European adventure.
I had a great time! For once, because I didn’t have all my camera stuff in hand, I actually enjoyed being in the moment. When I have a camera in hand, I usually have the tendency to try and always capture every single moment, making sure I get the right shot. I get into the “I have to document this…ALL of this” mind frame. With my phone, I knew I wasn’t going to capture it exactly as I wanted (my phone is not as sophisticated as the iPhone, or the other phones my friends had) but it sufficed. I was and am very content.
Sometimes, I’d walk around the streets of Paris or Barcelona thinking my purse was too light or I must have left something behind only to realize my purse really is that light. Hey, I can’t help it…it’s amazing what one can fit in a woman’s purse! It’s usually a mini-suitcase. Because of this, I always worried about Grace’s gear, making sure that she didn’t leave anything behind. There were times when I’d look back at everything she was carrying and think, “That must be heavy. Her shoulders must hurt…*shake my head* oh first time travelers to Europe.” Hahaha. OK, I wasn’t that mean — but we did joke about it off and on.
It definitely helped to travel with a group of friends we trust. We all had each others’ backs and looked after each others’ belongings.
One more thing, I did bring a USB 3.0 portable hard drive. I made sure that someone in our group brought a laptop so that I could backup photos to this drive for safe keeping. And yes, I made sure to backup Grace’s plethora of photos. This ensured that our photos were in at least two places (our phones/camera and hard drive) and freed up our memory cards, in case we ran out of space (we didn’t). Be safe and backup!
…’Til our next adventure!