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Author Topic: European travel?  (Read 10218 times)

tiltshift

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European travel?
« on: April 03, 2013, 01:11:46 PM »
Going to be traveling in Switzerland (Zurich, Geneva, and Berne), Germany (Munich), Czech Republic(Prague), France(Paris), and I am wondering if anyone can suggest any destinations that I must see, experience, and/or photograph  :). Museums, streets, shops, landscape, events, etc.... I have never been to Europe so anything would be helpful.

any gear suggestions also? although I will likely travel heavy (have done this before and the weight is not a major concern)
I am thinking of bringing 5D, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200, 50, 40, extension tubes, GND ND CPL filters, cable release,  tripod, possibly my Fuji XE-1.... (I know I am on CR...  :P ) More looking for cautionary warnings and such, but any advice will be GREATLY appreciated.

Will be traveling this May if that changes anything.

Thanks!

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European travel?
« on: April 03, 2013, 01:11:46 PM »

BruinBear

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 01:18:40 PM »
If your gear is insured, make sure they cover things that happen overseas. If its not insured, insure it.

I'm actually going in may as well but I will be doing quite the opposite and traveling with only 6D, 35, 40, and 17-40 or 24-105. I expect that most of the time ill have the 35 or 40 glued to my camera anyways.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 01:20:34 PM by BruinBear »
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androiduk

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 01:27:27 PM »
If possible, buy train or airline tickets online as far in advance as you can. My last trip to Europe was this past April and I went to London, Paris, Venice & Rome. Went from Venice to Rome for $10 by train (Trenitalia website) and flew from Rome to Paris for $35 with Easyjet. If I had to pick one museum it would be the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. Have a great trip!

myone

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 01:28:12 PM »
Going to be traveling in Switzerland (Zurich, Geneva, and Berne), Germany (Munich), Czech Republic(Prague), France(Paris), and I am wondering if anyone can suggest any destinations that I must see, experience, and/or photograph  :). Museums, streets, shops, landscape, events, etc.... I have never been to Europe so anything would be helpful.

any gear suggestions also? although I will likely travel heavy (have done this before and the weight is not a major concern)
I am thinking of bringing 5D, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200, 50, 40, extension tubes, GND ND CPL filters, cable release,  tripod, possibly my Fuji XE-1.... (I know I am on CR...  :P ) More looking for cautionary warnings and such, but any advice will be GREATLY appreciated.

Will be traveling this May if that changes anything.

Thanks!

That sounds like a lot to bring! Don't let the weight bog you down as you will have to do a lot of walking/sight seeing.

My 2 trips to Asia that lasted 3 weeks each taught me well to pack light on gears. Even 5D3 + 24-70 + 17-40 + 35L was giving me too much weight. I ended up leaving my flash and 17-40 in the hotel all the time, bringing only 24-70 + 35L.

If you look at your gear list, you have a lot of redundancies. Pack light and have fun!

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AlanF

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 01:56:29 PM »
I regularly go to all of those destinations and live in a tourist spot, which I walk or cycle through daily. Yet, I have never seen a tourist with a big white lens or using a tripod in all of my travels. A 24-105 will cover 90+% of your needs and won't make you a slave to your gear.
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buddha14

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 02:02:29 PM »
@tiltshift

with respect to your initial request reqarding some main spots in Switzerland I would like to recommend hereafter mentioned destinations and/or cities. Not sure if you're interested in more landscape or the typical city view with some museums and cultur, but however I will cover both. In addition I'm not sure about your original home country - Switzerland is small and you can reach normally each destination by train within 2-4 hours / car is not much faster.

Traveling in Switzerland is really easy and for sure in general safe. Take care about the typical security and safety hints in foreign countries, but no worries. The public transport is perfect to catch each destination by train, bus or some other local transporation like ships.

- Geneva // walk around in the city itself and enjoy the waterfront with the Jet d'Eau as large water fountain - maybe a short stop in the cathedral saint pierre or the UN part of the city
- Berne // catch up depending on the weather conditions the ship across the lake lucerne, take a stop in Lucerne itself to watch the chapell bridge and afterward you can climb up to Mount Rigi or Mount Pilatus for a breathtaking view from the mountains
- Zürich // from my point of view a typical business city - explore lake zuerich and the city itself for some old historical buildings and museums

As add-on if you have one or two days time left - travel to Jungfraujoch as top of europe (but take care - typically tourist spot but still great) or travel to Zermatt and drive to the Gornergrat with a breathtaking view to the Matterhorn.

I'm living there and you can check my flickr account for some capture from the mentioned areas.

Flickr in general
http://www.flickr.com/photos/15140450@N04/
Switzerland
http://www.flickr.com/photos/goerner/sets/72157607037959876/
Jungfraujoch
http://www.flickr.com/photos/goerner/sets/72157625265808803/
Matterhorn / Gornergrat
http://www.flickr.com/photos/goerner/sets/72157615253565750/

Enjoy your stay
Steffen


« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 02:07:41 PM by buddha14 »

bornshooter

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 02:26:34 PM »
I am just back from prague wonderful place you will love it :-) i didn't get out too much with the camera as i was there with friends but heres one shot i grabbed.

Prague by Lseriesglass, on Flickr
a night scene

prague beautiful blonde night scene by Lseriesglass, on Flickr

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 02:26:34 PM »

kyamon

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 03:17:51 PM »
Good plan! (I live in Switzerland...)
some of this has been said already, but maybe I can still add some infos... Depending on the duration of your trip you should do as much as possible by train. The system throughout Europe is great, and if you book in advance you can get good deals. Within Switzerland you can get a general ticket that is valid on all trains, as well as public transport in all cities. Most boats on the major lakes are also included or at least give you a discount if you have this ticket. As a tourist you can get it for a reasonable price (check www.sbb.ch, the site of the national railway company). Special trains like the one up to the Jungfrau Joch are not included but might give you a discount.
For general travel in Europe the train is also good, but is often more expensive than flying. But it is way more relaxing and lets you see the gradual changes of landscape and people as you travel from Geneva to Munich and Prague.
I recommend you also go to Berlin. This really is a phenomenal city with A LOT to offer, whatever you desire.

Aside from the mountains in Switzerland you will find quite pretty, old medieval town centers; Zurich, Bern (there are several more in Switzerland since it did not get bombed in WWII), Prague, and Paris - there in particular the Marais - are nice. Munich is missing that to a large extent (for obvious reasons), but still has some nice corners. The English Garden is very nice, and around the Odeon and Marienplatz you will find pretty spots.
The lakes in Switzerland also offer a lot for photography. Lake of Zurich, lake of Lucerne (and Lucerne itself), lake of Geneva in particular. If you are in Zurich you should go up to the Üetliberg from where you will have a great view over the town and lake of Zurich. There is a small train going up, otherwise it is a very short hike.
In Berne, if the weather is good, go to the University (which is very central, near the train station). It is slightly higher than most of the rest of the city and gives you a spectacular view of the alps.

As a last tip - if you take the train from Bern to Geneva make sure you sit on the left side (looking in the direction the train is moving) and have a window seat (top floor if it is a double decker train). If the weather is good you will have a breathtaking view when the train reaches the lake.

 I don't know how long you are planning on staying in Europe, but each of the places you mention deserve at least a couple of days, Paris probably a week (Berlin as well) at least...

And about the equipment - I tend to agree with what the others say... Even though I have, in fact, seen people with big white lenses (including myself :) ) I don't think there is a need for the 70-200 or any of the extenders. Wide is nice since there will be lots of opportunities for landscapes but you will not need much on the long end. And in the worst case there are rental places where you can just pick something up :)

jhpeterson

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 05:43:35 PM »
One piece of gear that I would most recommend is a second body. Perhaps I see this as essential because I'm a professional who spends much of the year traveling on business, but I'm amazed how many visit a place they've never been without backup equipment. Should your camera fail, it would render all your lenses and accessories irrelevant, or at the least you would be forced to spend time seeking out a replacement when you could have been out touring the sights.

I was in Prague a year ago and one of my favorite places was Old Town Square, a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. There is much medieval architecture to train your camera on (be sure to see the Astronomical Clock, best is on the hour when costumed guides proclaim the time from the tower) and walking the stone streets is another must.
Since you'll be there in spring, I would recommend you enjoy at least one afternoon along the river, both for  the excellent views it should afford and the many places to enjoy a meal or drink.  If it's a nice day, a cruise on the Vlatava would be time well spent. 
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robbymack

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 06:14:22 PM »
Is there a female involved in this trip?  If so do yourself a big favor and take one camera and one lens. Nothing ruins a trip with the wife/significant other quicker than having to deal with your photo hobby. If no by all means take as much as you want, but having traveled the euro gauntlet a lot (wife is from Budapest) I say pack light. You got that fuji, I'd be inclined to just take that.

Valvebounce

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 06:33:05 PM »
Hi, last time I was in Munich I visited the Dachau concentration camp where there is a memorial to the atrocities, a very moving experience, wih plenty to see.
I would second JH Petersons suggestion to have a backup body, I was on holiday in Phoenix AZ (from UK) at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, probably the closest I will get to Africa, I have a 40D which suffered shutter failure with about 2000 shutter count, I went back to the hire car and grabbed my 300D close to 10,000 shutter count at the time. I almost didn't have it with me, I took it out of my camera bag twice whilst trying to decide what to leave behind to keep the weight down to carry on limits for the flight. I am so glad I had it with me, I have great reminders that I wouldn't have if I left it behind.
Also if your flying make sure your gear counts as carry on, have you seen the luggage handlers throw a suitcase?  :o
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20D, BG-E2N, 17-85mm, 50mm are pre loved. :)
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tiltshift

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 10:39:08 PM »
All great advise, Thank you all for taking the time, it is truly appreciated. 

I am having a hard time telling myself to leave the 70-200 at home, but the thing is a beast and I am sure I will only use it a handful of times... will have to go through other travel pictures to see how often I switch to it and see if its worth the hassle.

I am traveling with 3 other friends for the majority of the trip, but can always do the majority of my photography alone if need be. but as several of you said I should probably lighten my gear bag, will likely loose the 70-200 the 40 and maybe the 50.... and in its place bring the Fuji XE-1 (18mm and 35mm) to have a backup or more suitable camera for certain days/adventures. 

We have planed 3-5 days at each city, so hopefully that is enough to cover the basics (I would much rather have 3-5 months each city but who wouldn't  :P ).

two more questions.
1) Should I be looking to buy transit passes now? We have booked all of our trains from city to city, but should we buy a daily commuters pass (or what ever it may be called) for travel within one city (like a Zurich only transit pass)? Or should we just pay for buses and public transit as we need it? Kyamon you mention a pass that sounds like what I am going to want/need. Can it be purchased when I arrive or am I better off by buying it now?

2) I only speak English (live in Canada), how much trouble am I likely to have knowing only one language?

Again all recomendations have really helped, Thanks for helping a stranger out  ;D

Also if anyone else has the time my main focus for photography is landscape, architecture, city-scape, and general travel. I know that doesn't narrow it much....
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 10:42:27 PM by tiltshift »

chasinglight

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 01:19:48 AM »
Last summer I traveled throughout Italy. I brought my 7d w/ battery grip, 15-85, 70-200, 50, 430 ex ii, pocket wizards, a travel sized tripod, and a host of other accessories. My main goal was photographing travel landscapes and some travel portraits. I can't say that I over packed as I did use everything I brought, but I definitely could have done without the 70-200, but that's okay as I just left it locked in the hotel safe when I didn't need it. The only piece of gear I did not list above was the Think Tank Retrospective 10. This bag proved to be invaluable to me; I was able to inconspicuously carry all of the items I listed above (besides the travel tripod which has its own 13" should bag).

In short as Alan said above 90% of the time you will use the 24-70 so really think hard about everything else you bring if space and weight are an issue. Additionally if you have a traditional camera bag thing about getting something like the retrospective so you don't look like an easy target for thieves in touristy spots. And most of all don't forget to get out from behind the camera and enjoy!

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/retrospective-10-pinestone-shoulder-bag.aspx

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 01:19:48 AM »

kyamon

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 02:57:30 AM »
Here is the link to the type of pass I meant:
http://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/swisstravelsystem/swisstravelsystem-buchung.html
But this is for all of Switzerland, so most likely you will not need that since you already have the city-city tickets. Since I live here I have never gotten this (it is only for non-residents). Within cities in Switzerland you should probably get day-passes as you need them. They often are valid for 24 h (as opposed to calendar days), so depending on your schedule you can use one for two days... And they normally cost around as much as two single fairs.
But I think you will find yourself to do a lot by walking, too. The cities you mention (except for Paris) are relatively small, and you can easily do most things by foot (unless, of course, you carry 20 kg in photo equipment... :) ).

If you have the time (and like mountain valleys and alpine landscapes) you should also consider going to the Engadin (where St. Moritz is, you might know that) in the south-east of Switzerland. This, and the valley connecting to it in the south (called Bergell) are most amazing places. It would take you around 3 hours to get there by train (or car - renting one might be good at least for this kind of trip, but then you would miss out on an amazing train ride) from Zurich, and in good weather it is absolutely worth it!

English will be fine. Maybe you should take your 70-200 after all, that way people recognise you as a tourist more easily :)


(and, btw, when you are in Munich you might want to consider going to Neuschwanstein, about 2 hours by car from Munich. This IS the disney-castle, so it might be nice...)

Sporgon

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 03:28:28 AM »
I am just back from prague wonderful place you will love it :-) i didn't get out too much with the camera as i was there with friends but heres one shot i grabbed.


Great street shot of 'beautiful blonde'. Shot into street lights at night of people in dark clothing. Please send this to ankorwat / mikeal risdal or what ever he calls himself....

Prague by Lseriesglass, on Flickr
a night scene

prague beautiful blonde night scene by Lseriesglass, on Flickr

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Re: European travel?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 03:28:28 AM »