Liechtenstein

DAY 104: NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG…


A rainy day in tiny Vaduz

Top of the afternoon, blogaholics. Unbeknownst to us, today was Liechtenstein’s unofficial ‘water the whole damn country’ day and our gear just wasn’t up to the task for being 2km up, in the great outdoors trudging (drowning) in centimetres of rain.  So we stayed indoors… Being the awesome husband that I am, I even gave Robbie the day off from blogging – although for those of you that know us, you’ll probably credit that Robbie ‘took’ more than I ‘gave’, but let’s not quibble now, there’s more important matters to discuss. I’ve been given the opportunity (yeah, “told”, but don’t start that again) to put a photo page together with our best and boldest photos, and to pen a few notes about the gear we use and how we get some of those smashing pics…


The wonderful world of photography

Technical photographers we are NOT, but a lot of thought did go into what kit we should take on an extended trip, which includes some epic destinations indeed.  We agonised over whether we should take the big SLR or not (coz it hadn’t historically got a lot of action on our smaller holidays), or to bring it and invest in additional lenses and if so which ones, how many, for what kinds of photos… Did we really want to be carrying such a beast through some questionable destinations, with a big “steal me I’m worth thousands” bag full of canon… Because let’s face it, 90% of the time, a  modern point and shoot camera will do the job good enough for most folks to be happy.

In the end, the answer for us was yes, bring the SLR, yes buy the right lens(es?)… and it has absolutely been worth it; by  taking it and actually using it, the SLR has given us some extra-special memories and in a way having it, and knowing enough about how to use it in various conditions, motivates us to get out there on days when (evidenced by the lack of people) most tourists stay away (not today though folks – just too darn wet for mountain trekking).


Our rationale

We are real middle-of-the-line photographers… but it turns out we like to work up close or far away, with not a lot concern for things in the middle.  So our choice of kit was heavily influenced by this.

Type of Photo Our Impressions
Landscapes Awesome!
Portraits Meh.
Macro Oooh, shiny.
Telescopic Hell yes!
Day Obviously.
Night Mebbe.
Moving/Action Shots Awesome!
Stills Absolutely.

 

Or to put it in non-geek speak we needed gear which could do (in order of priority):

  1. Wide-angles for massive landscapes (think Norway and fjords, or Switzerland and mountains); 
  2. Wide-angle and macro for getting up close to small and large objects (think bugs and art, and architectural/building shots);
  3. Zoom for things we can’t get to (think Africa on safari, monkeys in japan, or features on distant mountains); 
  4. Quick fire for moving things (think birds in flight, running animals or moving landscapes from trains); 
  5. Everything else;

 

Norway - 10mm wide-angle for truly massive landscapes

Norway – 10mm wide-angle for truly massive landscapes.


 


Norway - 10mm wide-angle for truly massive landscapes

Norway – 10mm wide-angle for truly massive landscapes. 


 


Finland - Savonlinna, up close amongst the trees at 10mm

Finland – Savonlinna, up close amongst the trees at 10mm.


 


Liechtenstein - your average 10mm wide-angle landscape shot

Liechtenstein – your average 10mm wide-angle landscape shot.


 


Liechtenstein - Up close with a wide-angle lens

Liechtenstein – Up close with a wide-angle lens; this one is actually two photos with different exposures overlayed to give the fuller set of colours and textures (just Google “HDR” if you’re interested).


 


Iceland - Up close with a wide-angle lens at 10mm

Iceland – Up close with a wide-angle lens at 10mm – don’t be fooled, that thing’s massive – look for the people underneath…


 

 


Japan, 250mm from 100m away, with single-point focus

Japan – 250mm from 100m away, with single-point focus.


 

 


Japan, 250mm from 50m away, with single-point focus

Japan – 250mm from 50m away, with single-point focus.


 


Switzerland, Montreux - 90mm aimed 10km away

Switzerland – 90mm aimed 10km away.


 


Iceland - 65mm whilst roaring along at 130km/hr - no blur...

Iceland – 65mm whilst roaring along at 130km/hr – no blur.


 


Switzerland - a double stitch job at 10mm

Switzerland – photos stitched together at 10mm.  The polarising filter allows you to see through the water. 




The gear 

1. The Workhorse – Canon EOS 500D with a Canon 10-22mm ultra-wide (NOT fisheye) and a Canon 55-250mm zoom, plus circular polarising filters for each lens.

  • The 10-22mm is on the body most of the time, as for trekking and touring where we can get up close, or the landscapes are large enough, this is just brilliant.  It’s also the guy we use for most of our panorama/stitched shots..
  • The 55-250mm isn’t used as much as you might think; mostly for wild-life and ‘out of train/car window’ shots, as on the average day, zooming in on a mountain from 25km away just get’s you a hazy image.
  • The circular polarisers ($150 a pop) are worth every penny – the deep blues, the ability to shoot towards the sun, the ability to peer through water, etc, are all due to this guy.
 

2. The Point & Shoot – Canon IXUS210

  • The battery lasts forever, it does an admirable job in cloudy or sunny conditions with the light beside you or behind you.
  • Always in the pocket as our point and shoot buddy for “memory shots” – we take literally hundreds of photos a day with this thing knowing we’ll get a dozen or so keepers.

3. The Backup – iPhone

  • Useful as it geotags our photos, so we often take at least one snap in each location with this for later use.
  • Basically rubbish in any kind of ‘non-perfect’ conditions – too variable, too prone to shake/blur, sucks in low light.
  • The Video has been great for ‘train days’ where there’s lots of things in the way and moving fast as we can just snap out the frame we want.
  • Always in the pocket as a backup (dead batteries on the other cams, whatever).
  • Good for sneaky shots where you aren’t supposed to take photos (or you’re too tight to pay)- no clicks, no whirrs, and hands free sneaky snaps.


4. Software: Google Plus, Picasa desktop software & “Hugin” for stitching multiple pics together

  • Google Plus and Picasa – Cataloguing photos, lightening dark photos, cropping photos, creating albums, hosting albums (at 1600 x 1200 px) online for free.
  • Hugin is a freebie that takes multiple photos and stitches them together.

5. Dropbox

  • Full-size backup in cloud-land; all original photos, after being imported into Picassa, are pushed up into our 100GB dropbox.
 

Point and shoot camera for "Memory Shots" - Canon IXUS 210

Point and shoot camera for “Memory Shots” – Canon IXUS 210.


 

Canon EOS 500d - shown with the stand lens we DIDN'T take...

Canon EOS 500d – shown with the standard lens we DIDN’T bring.


 

Canon 55-250 lens - for our zoom and action shots

Canon 55-250mm lens – for our zoom and action shots.


 

Canon 10-22 lens - for the majority of the 'wow' shots, this guy is responsible...

Canon 10-22mm lens – for the majority of the ‘wow’ shots, this guy is responsible…


 

 

Join us tomorrow, where we hope to have something a little more exciting to report as we cross into Austria!

3 replies »

  1. I’ve got the Canon 40D and the same 55-250mm lens as a complement to the outstanding 17-85mm lens purchased with it. Agree totally that the extra effort in understanding how to rise above point-and-shoot powers delivers exponentially fantastic results. You don’t even need to learn much… just a little delivers so much. I really like the look of that 10-22mm lens… may have to purchase

  2. Now that you’ve given us all the inside details of your awesome photography, Papi & I can crawl back to bed just a little bit more confused than before…. too much high tech info for two old “horse & cart” country noggins like us. By the way, is Canon paying you for all this FAB free publicity? If not, then they should.

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