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Author Topic: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?  (Read 2765 times)

rmfagan

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Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:57:51 AM »
Hello all. I'm wheels up in 44 days on another trip and I wanted to get the CR take on what to shoot. Any secret spots or can't miss places. General recommendations are welcomed as well.

I'm leaving NYC and have a 24-hr layover in Amsterdam, noon to noon. Then I'm flying into Athens, where I'll spend 3 nights. Then it's off to Istanbul for 4 nights, then a hop to Cappadocia for a night and a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the "chimneys". Then it's back home.

I'm planning on bringing my 5D3, 24-70 II, 70-200 II, nifty 50, my tripod, black glass, a few NDs, and one of my 600EX-RT's. I was considering bringing my 100L macro. Seems some of the Dutch "brownies", Greek food, and the Grand Bazaar beg for macro shots. Thoughts on that? I also intend to rent a TS-E. It's a hard call. The architecture and tight streets seem to scream 17, while Cappadocia might be better served by the 24. Any guidance there is appreciated.

So, any equipment guidance would be great, any input on where to go in the cities listed is even better! Thanks all!

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Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:57:51 AM »

mackguyver

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 09:12:24 AM »
While you're trip sounds really cool, it also sounds pretty risky for your gear.  I hope you have insurance and plenty of memory cards to keep swapping out in case the worst happens.  It might sound paranoid, but Greece and Eastern Europe are notorious for camera/luggage theft and a friend of mine had her camera stolen in Milan and all of her luggage stolen in Athens a few weeks ago.  If you're careful, you should be okay, but I'd recommend a camera strap with a steel cable (like this one: http://pacsafe.com/carrysafe-100-anti-theft-camera-strap) and keeping your gear hidden in bags that don't draw a lot of attention when not in use.  Some masking tape on the red rings and your body might help deter thieves as well.

Off crazy box - back to normal discussion - your gear sounds great, the only think you might want is something wider like the 16-35 or the TS-E 17, since you mentioned it.  The TS-E 24 is great, but with both lenses, keep in mind that shooting with a tilt shift is quite time consuming (in comparison to a normal lens) and requires a tripod for best results.  If you haven't used one before, there is a decent learning curve, too, so I'd try to get it a few days before your trip to play with it before you go.  If you have plenty of time to shoot, then both TS-E lenses are excellent choices.  The 16-35 is going to be a lot more versatile (and is probably a better choice for travel), but won't give you the straight lines and high IQ like the TS-E lenses. 
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lion rock

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 11:53:22 AM »
RMFagan,
Sounds like a very great trip, lots of traveling in not too long of time.  Enjoy and be safe.  Insure your gear, if you haven't.  Post your photos from the trip!
Since you're in NYC, take the opportunity to visit those great camera stores to get additional ideas of gear you may wanna get.  A day there ought to be good, with a credit card handy.
-r

tron

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 12:26:08 PM »
Get the TS-E 17 by all means. You will use it in all 3 places (Buildings, ancient temples and the catacombs). The  24 overlaps plus you can always crop (but cannot add the theme if you are not wide enough). Prepare to use most the shift function.

Get a canal tour at Amsterdam and visit the Van Gogh museum. Visit the Parthenon, Ancient Agora,  Acropolis Museum and National Archaeological Museum at Athens (don't miss the Antikythera Shipwreck temporary exhibition there and bring your Macro 100L IS).

Be careful at all 3 places. Even at Amsterdam you have to be careful not to leave things at your hotel room.

« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 12:51:06 PM by tron »

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 12:47:56 PM »
Be extra careful in Istanbul, especially the area near the city walls and in Taksim Square. I had problems in both these places and in Taksim square some creepy bloke managed to get his hand right inside my camera bag before I noticed.

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 02:22:51 PM »
I hate to be the wet blanket here but unless you are getting paid for exceptional photos at these locations, why not reduce your weight and stress loads and just take something simpler and lighter?  I know I'm inviting a lot of flaming on a photo equipment love site like CR but common sense dictates that when travelling in risky areas, simpler is better.

This is coming from a guy (me) who takes the very same equipment you have listed (and more) outdoors to scout campouts and other risky places but no where I go do I have to worry much about my safety or losing my equipment to serious theft.  If that were the case and I'm not doing this for a living, I would take something less expensive.  And my pictures are documenting a group event for a lot of families, troop slideshows, etc.

I guess my point is that this is supposed to be a pleasure trip to relax and soak up the environment and culture of the places you will visit, not lug heavy camera equipment around by yourself while watching over your shoulder for thieves to produce a spectacular coffee table book that you can probably just buy anyway and have better pictures than you will get just walking through in a hurry.

Again, I don't mean to rain on your parade but does this make any kind of sense to you??
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

JonAustin

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 02:29:54 PM »
I hate to be the wet blanket here but unless you are getting paid for exceptional photos at these locations, why not reduce your weight and stress loads and just take something simpler and lighter?  I know I'm inviting a lot of flaming on a photo equipment love site like CR but common sense dictates that when travelling in risky areas, simpler is better. ... Again, I don't mean to rain on your parade but does this make any kind of sense to you??

I have to agree with Rusty on this one. I'll lug a lot of gear with me when I'm on a road trip, but when I'm flying anywhere, I go with minimal gear. I would take one body, one lens (or two max), a flash and a small, light tripod (mine is the Oben CT-3410). If I were to take any filters, I would limit them to one each CPL and ND.

I don't know what your itinerary is in Athens, but if you have time, take a day and hop over to the island of Crete. Amazing scenery everywhere!

[I don't know how to caption the attached image, but it's a shot I took in Crete in 1976, with a cheap 110 camera (plastic lens), scanned from a print and cleaned up in Photoshop.]
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 10:01:32 AM by JonAustin »
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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 02:29:54 PM »

LightandMotion

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 04:39:31 PM »
Wonderful trip, enjoy.

Amsterdam - only 24hrs, so Id enjoy the city and agree the Van Gogh museum and the surrounds is great place for a morning or afternoon. If you want some landscape opportunities, a short bus trip (about 1 hr) will get you to UNESCO listed Zaanse Schans, and also Marken. Istanbul - late afternoon and evening images of the harbour and Mosques such as Sultan Ahmed are spectacular. I used Istanbul as a base to visit Gallipoli, but that's an Aus/NZ thing.

Regarding safety, using common sense I had no issues in any of the places you are planning to visit. My gear is insured and I try not to be conspicuous. Although I carry a lot of gear overall, I pick my gear for the location and use a secondary non nondescript shoulder bag. If I was going on the tram to photograph the Sultan Ahmed mosque at 9pm, I'd just carry my 1dx and 15mm and leave the rest behind in the hotel. I also have an unlabelled black tripod bag. Regarding gear I'd take something wider than 24mm so 17mm TSE would be ideal. I don't think I've ever used a flash on a travel assignment. I generally go with a 15, 16-35, 50 and 70-200 which covers almost all of my shooting options.
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Ben Taylor

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 05:24:27 PM »
Haven't got much advice for Amsterdam or or Greece but I've done Turkey quite extensively. It's a beautiful country with wonderful people. Cappadocia is an amazing place, definitely do a balloon ride. Istanbul is also brilliant, I think a TS-E 17mm would be an great addition. Don't over react to the "dangers" people are banging on about in some of the replies. It's inherently safe but as with anywhere, don't put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of and you'll be fine. We never felt intimidated or at risk driving around Turkey for 5 weeks, it's a lovely country. Pamukkale is also worth seeing if you can fit it in.

Check these links if you like - they're a couple of my blog posts from Turkey. Might give you some inspiration.

http://methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/ankara-to-cappadocia-turkey/

http://methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/istanbul-turkey/

http://methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/pamukkale-turkey/
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 05:30:02 PM by Ben Taylor »
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Valvebounce

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 07:28:12 PM »
Hi rmfagan.
Another vote for Zaanse Schans, beautiful place, working windmills, also many little craft shops, making clogs, really nice cheese! Only thing I will say is to check whether what you are being sent to is open, in many places early to mid march (if I've worked it out right) will be out of season for many touristy places.
Have a great time.
Edit,
Also if WWII history interests you there is the Anne Frank House, parents went there whilst the missus and I went to Zaanse Schans.
 
Cheers Graham.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 07:33:21 PM by Valvebounce »
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Don Haines

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 07:41:45 PM »
I hate to be the wet blanket here but unless you are getting paid for exceptional photos at these locations, why not reduce your weight and stress loads and just take something simpler and lighter?  I know I'm inviting a lot of flaming on a photo equipment love site like CR but common sense dictates that when travelling in risky areas, simpler is better. ... Again, I don't mean to rain on your parade but does this make any kind of sense to you??

I have to agree with Rusty on this one. I'll lug a lot of gear with me when I'm on a road trip, but when I'm flying anywhere, I go with minimal gear. I would take one body, one lens (or two max), a flash and a small, light tripod (mine is the Oben CT-3410). If I were to take any filters, I would limit them to one each CPL and ND.

I don't know what your itinerary is in Athens, but if you have time, take a day and hop over to the island of Crete. Amazing scenery everywhere!

[I don't know how to caption the attached image, but it's a shot I took it in Crete in 1976, with a cheap 110 camera (plastic lens), scanned from a print and cleaned up in Photoshop.]
Plus 1!
Never let your gear get in the way of photography.

If you carry oodles of gear it will slow you down, it will stop you from climbing those stairs or walking up that hill... it will distract you from seeing what you came there to see.  I'd bring something really wide, something sharp and midrange like a 28-70II, and a 1.4X teleconverter.... and if you really want a backup body, bring an EOS-M and a kit lens...
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rmfagan

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 10:37:56 PM »
First things first; thanks all for the replies and loads of advice and recommendations! It is greatly appreciated and especially nice to see everyone concerned for my (and my gear's) well-being.  ;)

Now to address a few of the comments...

I feel it is important to stress that the purpose of this trip is specifically photography. I realize now that I didn't clearly indicate that in the OP. True, I am not being paid directly to make images on this trip, but my intent is to build a portfolio worthy of being paid in the future. Regardless of current or future compensation, I would not be taking this trip if it were not for the photographic opportunities. As such, I'm disinclined to go with a one lens approach. I "get" the whole Cartier-Bresson thing, and the "what's in your hand" mentality, but the fact of the matter is that I have the ability to choose to have more at my disposal. The "right" tool(s) for the job(s), as it were.

Leaving the "good" gear at home seems to go against logic, to me at least. Why buy the best lenses, a 5D3, etc but leave it in a safe when there is some risk? It seems to me the risk of exceptional photos often goes hand in hand with the risk of none(i.e. losing your gear).

And yea, I know I'm no NatGeo 'tog, but the idea of just "buying a coffee table book with better pictures" than mine is hard to swallow. Isn't this why we're here? Aren't we out there to learn and get shots that are worthy of publication or admiration. If not, this exercise seems a bit pointless, no?

To that end, I'd think a single 5D3, 24-70, 70-200, and 17 TS-E, as well a tripod and a few filters, is a pretty minimum kit. I'm young and fit and just got back from carrying much more than that (to include a 500 II) on my back for nearly two weeks in Japan. I won't be getting tired walking stairs or climbing hills.

The theft concern is real and valid. I do have insurance, to include rental coverage. I'll also look into the cable-strap posted. That said, I've also backpacked for months on end through El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and more with gear without a problem. Care, some common sense, and a little luck go a long way, I've found.

Sorry that all came out as a rant. It wasn't really my intent. Just some responses that kind of made me do a double take.

As for gear, I think I will take the advice to go for the 17 in lieu of the 24 TS. I actually HAVE a 16-35 but really wanted the higher IQ and lines. Thinking of selling the 16-35. I'll be carrying my gear in a ThinkTank Retrospective, so at least thats fairly inconspicuous. Torn on the macro. I see one person gave it a thumbs up while most others are saying I've got too much gear.

 

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 10:42:44 PM »
Do what the pro's do - find a local photog or tour guide to connect with at each location.  Work your social media contacts, and places like CR, connect on facebook, etc.  See what they've shot, see where they've been, it'll give you ideas as to where you want to go, and a native speaker of the local language should there be an issue.
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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 10:42:44 PM »

tron

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 05:12:57 AM »
As for gear, I think I will take the advice to go for the 17 in lieu of the 24 TS. I actually HAVE a 16-35 but really wanted the higher IQ and lines. Thinking of selling the 16-35. I'll be carrying my gear in a ThinkTank Retrospective, so at least thats fairly inconspicuous. Torn on the macro. I see one person gave it a thumbs up while most others are saying I've got too much gear.
I also sold my 16-35 since I had a Zeis 21mm and a Canon TS-E 17mm. Much better!
Have you thought of a flipside bag instead? Retrospective may seem inconspicuous but it is a shoulder bag. You will feel the weight.

mackguyver

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 10:40:59 AM »
First things first; thanks all for the replies and loads of advice and recommendations! It is greatly appreciated and especially nice to see everyone concerned for my (and my gear's) well-being.  ;)

Now to address a few of the comments...

I feel it is important to stress that the purpose of this trip is specifically photography. I realize now that I didn't clearly indicate that in the OP. True, I am not being paid directly to make images on this trip, but my intent is to build a portfolio worthy of being paid in the future. Regardless of current or future compensation, I would not be taking this trip if it were not for the photographic opportunities. As such, I'm disinclined to go with a one lens approach. I "get" the whole Cartier-Bresson thing, and the "what's in your hand" mentality, but the fact of the matter is that I have the ability to choose to have more at my disposal. The "right" tool(s) for the job(s), as it were.

Leaving the "good" gear at home seems to go against logic, to me at least. Why buy the best lenses, a 5D3, etc but leave it in a safe when there is some risk? It seems to me the risk of exceptional photos often goes hand in hand with the risk of none(i.e. losing your gear).

And yea, I know I'm no NatGeo 'tog, but the idea of just "buying a coffee table book with better pictures" than mine is hard to swallow. Isn't this why we're here? Aren't we out there to learn and get shots that are worthy of publication or admiration. If not, this exercise seems a bit pointless, no?

To that end, I'd think a single 5D3, 24-70, 70-200, and 17 TS-E, as well a tripod and a few filters, is a pretty minimum kit. I'm young and fit and just got back from carrying much more than that (to include a 500 II) on my back for nearly two weeks in Japan. I won't be getting tired walking stairs or climbing hills.

The theft concern is real and valid. I do have insurance, to include rental coverage. I'll also look into the cable-strap posted. That said, I've also backpacked for months on end through El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and more with gear without a problem. Care, some common sense, and a little luck go a long way, I've found.

Sorry that all came out as a rant. It wasn't really my intent. Just some responses that kind of made me do a double take.

As for gear, I think I will take the advice to go for the 17 in lieu of the 24 TS. I actually HAVE a 16-35 but really wanted the higher IQ and lines. Thinking of selling the 16-35. I'll be carrying my gear in a ThinkTank Retrospective, so at least thats fairly inconspicuous. Torn on the macro. I see one person gave it a thumbs up while most others are saying I've got too much gear.
Your follow up post is helpful and I'm happy that you're taking a trip specifically for photography.  It sounds fun!  Also, it's good to hear that your insured and an experienced traveler.  I think the gear above (with TS-E 17) is a great choice.  If you don't want to carry a macro lens, get or rent an extension tube.  With a tripod, you'll get most of the benefits of a macro at a fraction of the size & weight. 

Also, I would highly recommend taking a spare body.
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, M 11-22 f/4-5.6 IS | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III
I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

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Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 10:40:59 AM »