Every trip I make I get a more refined idea or perspective of what to do the next time. So, photographic post-mortem of the 8 day trip:
Leave the Sigma 10-20mm UWA lens at home. I like the lens, but the distortion that comes from setting the lens at the widest angle takes just too much work to correct in Photoshop. Of the three lens I bought to San Francisco, the cheapo 18-55mm VR lens got the most work: 98% of all the images were taken with it, with the remaining on the 55-200mm and for the keynote addresses when I wanted close-ups of the speakers. I’m gonna stare very hard at the 16-85mm VR lens from Nikon when I’m at home. It’s just a pity the lens is a cropped sensor one.
Monopod > Tripod. Especially when you’re travelling alone sans Tripod Girl. I couldn’t take night shots, but I don’t think I would have anyway on the streets of San Francisco. Deploying a large tripod with lots of crazy people walking around – bad idea. But using the monopod helped stabilize images of down to 1/8 second shutter speeds.
HD digicams FTW. In just one 8 day trip, I’ve taken more video than I’ve taken in the last 4 years traveling using the mini-DV camcorders. Hard to go wrong when the Panasonic HDC-SD20 has 2.5 hrs of battery juice in it and soaks up as much video time as you’ve got storage space.
Leave the SB600 at home. Didn’t use the flash unit at all, which alongside the AA battery charger added nearly a kilogram to the baggage weight. The flash unit is really necessary when you intend to include people in your photos outside fillers, but very few of the images I triggered did.
MB-D10 is very useful. This battery grip for my D300 wasn’t cheap at SGD299, but it was loads easier to take portrait perspective pictures. And lots of people beo my camera as a result LOL.
The MSI Wind is a godsend. No more limits to the number of photos or video I can take on any trip. I shot everything in RAW, and just dumped everything from the CF card to my MSI Wind every night. Ditto for the HD video files. In all, I took 1900 frames and 8 hours of video over the 8 days. That’s about 43 GB of material to process at home now. As an added bonus, the 5 hour battery life on my MSI Wind let me write 3 blog entries on the 11 + 8 hours return flight and edit the images in them – with plenty of juice left in the battery thereafter.
Other advantages: I had two spreadsheets on the netbook to keep track of whether I was going to break my baggage weight allowance (of 23 kg). There was 19.2 kg of baggage arriving at San Francisco, and a lot more outgoing. I picked up nearly 5 kilograms of vendor brochures, CDs, materials at The Expo event as I went on a booth crawl finding out about each company’s most current game technologies and talking to their product managers.My outgoing baggage was 22.8 kg – just 200grams shy of 23 kg and having to cough up more dough for excess baggage.