By: Terry Tallis
We visited France this July on a small river boat (when do they determine when it is a boat or a ship? – but that is a different story). There were 46 of us who ventured from Nice (it was), France, to Paris (it was okay) France worming our way up the Soan river. Geographiles will know it does not go all the way to Paris nor come from Nice. It is just stuck in the middle of the country where all the fine wine is. Nice!
Anyway, to get back to what Helen might want in this epistle. It’s a tour, Terry! Get over it! You will be herded here and there and told to stand back, move along, lets do it at noon, keep up and watch your wallets from the pickpockets. And it helps to speak the language! When Napoleon went to the Balkans, he took all the consonants with him and left the vowels in France. Ugh! I digress.
Approaching this trip, I had several decisions to make. What was the purpose of my photography. That became rather simple. I wanted to document the trip. (We always make a photo book of our adventure). So ideas of getting that early morning, or late night classic photograph was out of the question. We ate then! As a group! In boring places!
So do I lug the Canon 70D or something smaller. The 70D was out of the picture (weight, and, remember, pickpockets) so I had my Canon G1X. It too was to large to stuff in a pocket unless I went disguised as a kangaroo. Enter my friendly photo guy, Mike Lowery at Focal Point (Is this a commercial – yep) and traded my G1X in for a Canon G16. Wow! Just the ticket! Loaded on a wrist strap so if someone in Paris tried to grab it, they would have had to take an arm.
This little critter worked great. Most of the time I was on program mode, but if I had a chance, I could immediately switch to aperture priority or other mode and “work” a photograph, while the rest of the tour listened to the tour guide explain why Monet moved from Paris to Giverney without telling his best friend. (By the way, we did get on the grounds first, before all the Asian five decker busses arrived). And was able to shoot many photos in RAW.
I did get some great pictures. The best were when I lagged behind and turned around! We had those little gadgets that the guide used to tell us all the history (I am glad we only had two hundred years to learn here in America) so when I started hearing static (out of range) I could know to catch up. We had a number of other folks who were good photographers on the trip. I would look at where they were shooting and generally look the other way. Between all of us, we did use up a lot of pixels.
A tripod was not necessary, but took along a little bean bag that came in handy for night shots (the G16 takes great night shots). And at the last minute I threw in my remote shutter release. Also, I carried two extra batteries. And needed them, even though I charged them each night. Number them, so you know where you are. Une, deux, trois!
Upon arriving home, I loaded the best of the best onto iBooks and created a nice table top book to remember the trip by and share them with others. There may be others that will show up in the competitions and still others from which I will do a painting.
Another handy thing I picked up over there was a man-purse. All the natives had them, so not to look too out of place with my argyle socks, golf hat and white belt, I bought one. Worked great to carry water, maps and camera and saved my camera when I fell flat in an intersection the last day. Tripped. Remember the pickpockets? They were quick to help you up. I held on to my man-purse like a football. They got nothing! I got a hip pointer.