Travel photography, what to bring

On our honeymoon in Lanzarote all I had was my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5, 2 1GB SD cards, a spare battery and charger.

Little did I know that I would wish for a wide angle lens when we visited Cuevo De Los Verde (along with an English gentleman who missed his tripod too) but I still got some stunning photos of that cave. Everyone started copying me after a short while by disabling the flash and shooting long exposure images while balancing their cameras on suitable rocks. The lighting in that cave is drowned out by a flash but with a little care I captured a few beautiful images. Unfortunately my camera case is scratched badly by the volcanic rock so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t have the 20D! I’m taking a bean bag with me next time!

I digress, here are some suggestions for what you should take with you on holidays. Take a look at the rest of Digital Photography School, it’s a fountain of information and I’d be here all day linking to the great articles there!

Going Professional

I consider myself very lucky to be passionate about two subjects – software development and photography. For many years the former paid the bills and allowed me to dabble in influencial projects while the latter came into it’s own in the last few years as a serious hobby.

That’s good because working on WordPress pays better than the average photographer’s pay. It’s very difficult to make much from stock photography too because of the wide availability of cheap stock images.
This is of course only true in general terms. Some photography services such as event photography pay well, and I agree with Arun in the article above, the quality of micro-stock images doesn’t often beat that of the big stock image houses.

Another survey is more positive but I’m not giving up the day job. It’s too much fun :)

Coincidentally, they’re looking for a photojournalist in The Beaumont Enterprise, a newspaper in Beaumont, Texas. Mark Hancock works there so I can only imagine it’ll be a tough job!

Sigma 10-20: going wide

I splashed out on Monday afternoon on a Sigma 10-20mm F4.0-5.6 EX DC HSM in O’Leary’s Camera World. Prices are good at around 499 Euro, comparing well with those I found at Pixmania and elsewhere online. Sigma are based in Bandon, Co. Cork and I guess that helps to keep distribution costs down.
First impressions? It’s wide! It’s also distorted but that’s to be expected. Chromatic aberration is kept to a minimum although I haven’t looked too closely for it. It produces nice crisp images and saturated colours!
While walking around town I found that 10mm is almost too wide. I can be almost on top of my subject before shooting which can be a little nerve wrecking considering the loud click of the 20D! I have captured some great street shots with it already, some of which I’ll post over the next few days.

I couldn’t find many reviews but a number of print magazines have reviewed it and given it glowing recommendations. This thread by Jamison Wexler points to a gallery of example images. This picture reminds me that it’s great for taking self portraits when you really don’t want to ask someone to take the photo!
Now, if only my Sigma 18-200mm was a real 18-200..

While on holiday in Lanzarote I found a shop that sold this lens for 389 Euro. The shop is Visanta and is listed as the main Sigma dealer in the Canarys. You can’t trust all the small electronic shops selling fakes, but Visanta are ok. There are dodgy looking guys hanging about outside the tourist traps but Visanta staff were very helpful and professional.
Unfortunately they didn’t have the lens in stock. Of course, if you buy over there, you should declare it when you get home. The islands are a duty free zone but you’re only allowed to bring home goods below a certain value without paying that duty AFAIR.