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St. Petersburg, Florida USA
  • Iris

What's in my (bag) "pockets"?
This tour was advertised "For all skill levels," so I wasn't shy about my skills or equipment.  Then again,  I did experience "camera envy" when I saw some of the cool equipment that the other people used on this trip.  I think I was forced to learn a lot more about photography without all the automatic features, like auto focus and exposure, bracketing, etc.  Also, using print film made up for most of the exposure mistakes, so all in all I was happy with the photos I took.

Body:  Pentax K1000 - 12 years old!  I love the fact that it doesn't need batteries, which comes in handy during long trips.  I also don't have to worry about what features it has (none, really) and what I need to override if I want to do something different.  It's dependable and every mistake I made was my own error in exposure and focus and that makes me learn how to improve.

Lenses:  Tamron  80-210 f/3.8-4 and Sigma 18-35 Aspherical  f/3.5-4.  These lenses covered most all of my needs on this trip from village streets and markets, beautiful plants and animals to the panoramic vistas.

Filters:  UV and Polarizer. Film:  Fuji Superia 400 print.  I've used slide film in the past, but decided to go for print as my main objective for photos is to document my trip, view the pix and share with friends easily.  It's a lot more of an event to have a slide show (though it can be lots of fun) and as I don't have a slide projector I don't regularly see my shots.  I've had these prints added to CDs as well to save time in scanning and that will enable me to do more with them later.

That's it:  no bag - just pockets and my little backpack as my equipment is not very sensitive; no tripod - I decided a while back that for all the times I wished I had one there were many more when I thought "why am I carrying this darned thing?"; no flash - never returned after someone borrowed it and never got around to getting another. Wish I had:  A fast 28-300 zoom to go along with my wide angle to cover that missing midrange.  A real macro lens or extension tubes- I love close ups of plants and insects but could only go so far with 210 mm.  Maybe a flash - I like to concentrate on natural light, but there were a few times during this trip, especially in interiors, where it would have made a difference. My goal is still to carry as little as possible and learn to do well with what I bring.


"I'm not usually a tour person, but I'm glad I went on this trip.  I have a fear of the "everyone get off the bus, look at this, and quickly take the same photo" scenario and so I usually just go alone, land somewhere and take off with research in my head and a guide book in my hand.  This was much better than I imagined and I saw things that wouldn't have been possible without all the advance preparation done by Rainbow Tours.  No buses, two passengers and a guide per car insured that we had great flexibility in how we spent our days.  The guides and drivers couldn't have been more kind and attentive to our needs, and Robin and Cathy made sure we were well taken care of.  The days were packed with activities, places to visit and people to meet.  This was definitely the best organized trip I've ever taken."

Iris funds her travels as the Food & Nutrition Services Manager at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has lived on three continents and has visited all but one - Australia will soon complete the list. Much time was devoted exploring Asia, southern Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, with most of her traveling done during years spent working overseas where seven weeks of holiday time were standard. Unfortunately that's not the case any more. Iris' future travel plans include Vietnam and Cambodia, West Africa, and Australia/New Zealand.

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