I’m traveling a lot for business these days.  An average week will find me on 2 or 3 flights and visiting a couple of cities.  A few months ago I upgraded from a Canon G10 as my travel camera to an E.OS M mirrorless camera.  My travel kit consists of the EOS M body, 18-55mm zoom, and 22mm pancake lens.  If I know I’m going to be shooting a lot I toss my travel tripod (Induro C014 w/Markins Q3 head) in the suitcase.  It’s a great little outfit and weighs about 1/4 as much as my DSLR kit and big tripod.  But wait….all  is not happy in little camera land.  I spent nearly 20 years working in the photo biz and have been taking photography seriously for nearly 4 decades.  I know a lot….but on every trip I learn more.

Today I spent about 3 hours with the EOS M kit running around the Portland Japanese Gardens.  It’s a great place to photograph, stroll the grounds, sit quietly in one of the pagodas, or just be.  Water trickles peacefully through the multitude of fountains and a small stream meanders from pool to pool.  I spent at least half of the time there just sitting and listening.  It’s difficult to believe this place is in the middle of a big metropolitan area.  But that’s another story for another time.  This is about what I learned today.  In no particular order:

1.  Get taller.  When I got the Induro I bought a short column to go with it thinking it would be my primary tripod for photographing wildflowers and getting the camera 4 inches off the ground would be helpful.  But today I found myself time after time wishing for that extra 12 inches of rise I would get with the “normal” column.  As soon as I get home the normal column is going back on the tripod.

2.  Polarizers:  They’re not just for blue skies anymore.  One of the tricks I learned early on is to use a polarizer for reducing glare.  Yes, they are good for darkening blue skies but mostly they work for eliminating reflections.  In many of these images a polarizer would reduce the glare off the leaves and make the images much more pleasing to my eye.

3.  When you can’t go close, go long.  55mm maximum focal length just isn’t enough for some things.  I bought the EOS F/FS to EOS M adapter to allow me to use my DSLR lenses with the EOS M but today I don’t have a longer lens with me.  The adapter is in the bag but I’m sucking wind on longer lenses.  I intended to toss in the 28-105 and that would have been perfect….but that lens is safely ensconced in my backpack with my DSLR kit…at home.

So I guess if you want to be brutally honest, I simply didn’t prepare well for this trip.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that I’ll be back here in a few weeks and will be bringing the DSLR kit complete with large tripod and polarizers…