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Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011
2011 was a big year for me, travel-wise. Italy and Iceland. Yeah, baby!

Last year, I detailed the gear that I planned to travel with in my "What am I Taking?" thread. Well, those trips are well behind me, now, and the photos are in the tank. Time to salute those bits of kit that I felt went above and beyond my expectations during my 2011 Travels.

Best Supporting Equipment, Italy: The String Monopod

[Image: StringMonoPodST.jpg]

Italy in May. No way I was dragging a tripod around with me. Still, sometimes you just need just a stop or 2 of extra stability - say - inside a cathedral - a place where a tripod isn't welcome anyway. What's the answer? I took a GorrillaPod with me that I never used, and this little bit of home-made kit, that I used a lot.

I clobbered it together from stuff that was lying around the house - the only real extravagance being the BlackRapid tripod connector, and even that was less than $15. What a great piece of gear! It fits in a tiny space in a camera bag, or just slips in your pocket. No security guard in a cathedral ever bats an eye at it - it looks so "not" professional.

Does it work? Well, you have to breathe like a sniper when the shutter speed gets really slow, but 1/25 sec is no problem at all, and the unsharpened shot below at 1/6 sec clearly shows what is possible with a little practice.

[Image: SienaCathedralCeiling.jpg]
Leica M9 / Leica 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH, ISO 160, F2.8, 1/6 sec

Best Supporting Equipment, Iceland: The Garmin Oregon 450 GPS

[Image: Gamrmin450.jpg]

What? A GPS?? This is supposed to be a Photography forum isn't it?

Guilty as charged. I have been enthusiastically collecting GPS tracks for years when I hike. Call it my own benign version of "train spotting". When I decided to go to Iceland, I set myself a loftier goal - that I would chronicle the entire trip from start to finish. When I returned, I loaded the GPS tracks that I captured into Google Earth. The result was Toad's Iceland.

[Image: Iceland%202011MapST.jpg]

The tracks are detailed down to a few meters resolution, and help me to provide a level of accuracy and background detail for my pieces in Photo Stories and Journalism that wouldn't have been possible for me before. The Oregon 450 is a trim, waterproof unit (here shown on a lanyard made for me by my son) that was the perfect companion on my Iceland trek.

Grand Prize - Best Equipment 2011: Leica 50mm F/2 Summicon-M

[Image: LeicaSummicronM50.jpg]

My 50mm never fails me. Its by far the best lens that I have ever owned. It hate to take it off my camera, and I am always happy when it returns.

There are plenty of examples of its extraordinary "look" and resolving power throughout my Toad's Iceland and Toad's Italy threads, so I won't extend this thread by providing more examples. Needless to say, its a real pleasure to use, and produces amazing images. It's going to hold a key position in the hierarchy of my camera gear for a long time to come.

Messages In This Thread
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Toad - Feb 9, 2012, 17:53
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Zig - Feb 10, 2012, 10:18
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Toad - Feb 10, 2012, 11:49
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Toad - Feb 10, 2012, 11:52
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Toad - Feb 10, 2012, 16:32
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by NT73 - Feb 10, 2012, 17:40
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Zig - Feb 11, 2012, 04:52
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Toad - Feb 11, 2012, 10:53
Toad's Travels: Equipment Awards 2011 - by Toad - Feb 12, 2012, 03:35

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