An Unexpected Request
26th November 2017

When we travel to different countries, I always endeavor to respect their culture and wishes. I feel that as foreigners in their country we are ambassadors and, and such, our behavior reflects upon us and our country.

But there are times when I wonder about their requests.

Not too long ago while traveling in Switzerland, we had lunch in a small cafe then decided to walk around and look at the stores. We saw a gallery that was featuring a German artist and decided to go inside. After looking around, we decided to forego going upstairs and headed towards the door. A lady approached us and mentioned that there were more paintings on the above floor. Before we could thank her and say that we were leaving, she asked us to take our backpacks off and carry them in front of us.


She went on to say that, with everything going on in the world, people would feel better if we carried them. While her explanation made no sense to us, we explained to her that we were just leaving anyway, wished them luck with the exhibition and walked out the front door.

While I'm sure she thought her reason made sense, it really didn't to me. We were carrying my camera equipment in our backpacks, which I would have gladly shown her had she asked. I understand that given the times that we live in, seeing what we are carrying would put them at ease...and I have done it before.

The rest of the day, I paid particular attention to people as we strolled by with our backpacks. No one looked warily at us, or shied away. Since we were talking a mixture of German and English, they could easily figure out that we were tourists.

But I do wonder how many other people visiting the gallery - if any - she asked to do the same.
Rain Protection for Your Camera
04th July 2017
Did you ever listen to the weather report, which says sunny weather, and think "what a great day to go out and shoot"? You gather your equipment, hit the road and, bang, the dark clouds come out of nowhere and the rain starts. And there's some times I think
that the dark clouds follow me!

I figure since I can't control the weather, I should do what I can to protect my equipment. After looking around, I came up with a few solutions.

1. Carry an umbrella. I always take one with but juggling a camera and an umbrella is not easy. I tried that at a waterfall that I wanted to shoot and it didn't work very well. It was cumbersome to try to juggle both and many of my shots came out blurry.

2. A plastic bag. They're cheap and don't take up much space in your camera bag. Throw it over the lens, securing it with a rubber band. Poke a hole for the lens and viewfinder and you're good to go. It's cheap and works in a pinch.

3. A shower cap. On my last vacation I grabbed the ones from my hotel room and stuck them in my camera bag. They're large enough to go over my camera and lens in an emergency and can be thrown out afterwards.

4. A rain jacket. Companies like Op-Tech and Ewa Marine make multiple use camera protection jackets. I purchased several sizes of the Op-Tech raincoats at the last Photokina. They go on quickly, with a draw string for the lens cover and hole for the
viewfinder. It can take time to find the viewfinder hole - especially when you have to put it on quickly in a rain shower - but they work nicely. I've used them while photographing waterfalls and they've worked great.

I purchased a Ewa Marine U-B100 on Ebay recently. It's a bit bulkier than the plastic rain jackets (and comes in a carrying case) but it does provide good protection, especially when you're at the beach. It's great if you just want to use one lens; changing lenses necessitates removing the camera from the bag.

I'm sure there are other choices out there but these were just a few that I came up with. And, with me photographing waterfalls on my last two vacations, I found for quick lens changes and good general protection, the Op-Tech did the job well.
The story behind the photo…The View
03rd March 2017
There are times when I see something that I would like to photograph and have to stop. I grab my photo gear and am gone before hubby has a chance to get out of his door.

One day we were going through a construction site and were stopped at the red light. I happened to look over and see this bench between two trees in a field. There was something about the scene that was so peaceful and inviting that I knew I had to shoot it.

I asked Wolf to pull over, grabbed my camera and off I went. Being late fall, the fields had been plowed under and made ready for the winter. I walked out into the field, took a few photos, then decided that I wanted to shoot a few with a different lens. Wolf offered to get it, so I waited until he returned.

He came back a few minutes later and started laughing. Not a ha-ha type of laugh but one that was really loud and startled me. When I asked him what he was laughing about (I couldn't imagine what was so funny in this wonderfully peaceful setting), he told me to "look down".

Imagine my surprise when I realized I was ankle deep in mud!

After a good laugh, I dug my feet out of the mud, changed lenses and continued to take photos.

On occasion, when we pass the bench under the trees, we have a good laugh.

And we have learned to keep boots on the car when we go out.
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