Whenever I go on holiday I have two battles to fight. The first battle is how much equipment will I take, that’s really a how long is a piece of string question, but as a photographer it’s a biggie. Julie (my wife) will agonise forever over what dresses, shoes etc. to take. If the country we’re traveling to is 120v and her hair straighteners won’t work, well… that’s a blog on its own.
Me… I could pack my clothes in half an hour, luckily Julie does that for me because I’m still agonising over what equipment that I need to pack. I normally take more kit than you could wave a stick at, not this time. We were traveling to California and hiring a convertible to drive from L.A. to San Francisco via Big Sur then onto Yosemite, Death Valley and finally Las Vegas, so minimalist was the keyword.
I settled on the Fuji X100 and Panasonic GH2, two great little cameras, though the Fuji is one of my all-time favourites assume quality it has a fixed lens which can be limiting. I knew I was taking a risk as we were going to Yosemite – Ansel Adam country!
My 2nd battle is a problem most photographers face when on holiday. Time! Normally I spend a lot of time working. I know what you’re thinking, going to interesting and beautiful parts of the world and taking pictures and calling it work, it’s not exactly building the Hoover Dam! I hear ya, but if you walk around with your eye to the camera the whole time you lose the reasons why you’re there.
I do find it incredibly difficult to switch off the photographer part of my brain; I’m always analysing light, colour, composition, angles etc. Even when I’m having a conversation with somebody I’m doing all of the above, I can’t help myself, it’s a disease!. So when I’m on holiday I’m always working even when I’m not. The trick is knowing when to at least put the camera away and have some fun. Luckily for me Julie is very patient and understanding… after the obligatory shoes and handbag shopping trip that is!
Did I regret bringing the two smaller compacts to Yosemite? Yes and no. Yes because I would have liked something with versatility and no, because it means I’ll have to go back again!