The case for a little weight


The best guidebooks on Europe stress traveling light as the only way to enjoy Europe.

Add to that two kids in Brownian motion, and you get the 11th Commandment – thou shalt pack less in thy backpack.

Even so, I ended up packing two camera bodies (the 50D and the 6D) and a whole variety of lenses, including the metal-barreled canon (not Canon) -weight Canon L 70-200 f/2.8 and lugging it all across Italy. In the train ride from La Spezia to Manarola in Cinque Terre, only two backpacks were taken for the night stay – one full of clothes, toiletries, cosmetics; and the other packed with camera gear. But the load sharing was getting to be a problem, so reluctantly, very reluctantly, I decided to dump the 50D and the L lens back at the train station in the car in La Spezia, and proceed with (shudder) just one body. It was just one night – what could go wrong.

Murphy strikes as predictably as the unpredictable.

As we sat gazing at the fiery sunset against the cascading houses off the Manarola harbor, I heard a blunt thunck, and saw my Tamron 10-20 on the ancient stone floor. Fearing the worst, I pick it up and check for rattling parts – glass or otherwise – inside the lens. None – phew! Barely any dents or scratches on the surface too – wonderful! I slap it on the 6D, and I get a dreaded Cannot recognize lens.

Furious cleaning, shaking, resetting – nothing. Searching the entire web for possible causes, while the sun sank lower – nothing.

Resigned to my fate, I attach the 28-70, sit on the stone floor with my tabletop tripod, and snap away these normal-focal-length images of the glowing town in the deep blue colors of dusk in silence. Wishing I would have carried the second body to try out the lens on the 50D and get better, more expansive views of the sunset – but had to make do with what I got – which turned out pretty good.

That night, and the next morning, all I could imagine was the horrendous cropped images of Rome that I would get with the normal lenses. All I could think of was to get back to La Spezia quickly enough, to see if the 10-20 would work on the 50D. All I ended up doing, apart from fretting, is searching for photo stores in Florence, and praying that they carry reasonably price wide angles in stock. And I cursed myself for not carrying lens backups.

The next day, back at the La Spezia train station, I pop the trunk first things first, and test the lens on the 50D. Voila! It worked. Slap it on to the 6D again, and poof! No issues!

What happened? Don’t know and don’t care. But all I know is that carrying an extra body, and all that extra weight, was well worth the mood-savings for the rest of the trip, and that I would be willing to pack even more in the next backpack.

Posted in italy, traveling.

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