On your St. Marks, get set…..

Gondola time approaches and today I had my first look at the camera bag. I know you all want to know what I shall be packing so here, for the photography buffs amongst us, is the answer to “what’s in the bag?”

1x Fujifilm X-T1 –  the lightest principal camera I have travelled with in 20 years.  4 batteries

1x Fujifilm X100s – my back up. A fixed 35mm lens. Great IQ for a small camera. 3 batteries

1x 10-24mm zoom.

1x 14mm prime lens

1x 18-55mm zoom lens

1x 23mm prime lens (maybe, not decided yet)

1x 55-200mm zoom

1x 56mm prime

1 small clip on flash.

various UV, CPL and ND filters

1  blower, 1 brush and a box of lens cleaners

1 Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with ball head

All that will fit in a backpack, my Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW. The ‘pod goes on the side. There is a side pocket for water and some zip pockets for guidebook etc.

I considered a larger flash. The Fujifilm X-T1 comes with a tiny flash and it will do for very close work but it isn’t going to illuminate St. Marks. The bigger version weighs as much if not more than the camera body. Travelling light then adding something heavy I don’t envisage using seemed totally pointless to me.

The other thing I am taking, though not in the bag, is Mrs. Ha. As Frankie Howerd used to say, “titter ye not!”  Mrs. Ha will have her own Lumix that will fit in a matchbox but her real secret weapon is her eye for a picture. I get rather frustrated. I will spend 10-15 minutes faffing about trying for a decent composition. She will then show me the LCD screen of her camera and say “what about something like this?” And invariably she has seen what I have not. Almost grounds for divorce, some might say.

So, what should I add  or jettison? Any polite suggestions appreciated. I have booked a local photographer for 3 hours on the first full morning. He has a mandate to show me places I might otherwise not find. Local secrets. We start before sunrise at 6.30am. I shall have to find a breakfast bun somewhere.

High on my hit list is Burano. Of course every photographer, who ever visited Venice has probably done the same route and I doubt I shall discover an angle not yet attempted. My e-download of the Karma Photographica has suggested positions I would never have thought of but I am not sure I shall be able to focus properly let alone get up again. Perhaps I should throw in a can of WD40 for the knees. Five days to “do Venice” without a DSLR. I can hardly wait.

I wonder if my 2 girls are still waiting for me.

Ciao Mama



46 thoughts on “On your St. Marks, get set…..

  1. I appreciate Mrs Ha’s attitude. I’m a point focus and shoot man myself, often getting a better shot than I planned. My bag used to have my Nikon FM with 80-200 zoom attached, a 35-80 zoom with macro (in the event something came along), the 50mm that came with the camera (I think I used that twice in 8 years) and a flash. If I needed to clean the lens, I always used my hanky. When backpacking one doesn’t have space for luxuries like a tripod.

  2. It’s funny Andrew, you and I must have crossed paths on our switch. I have fallen in love with the DSLR all over again 🙂 of course I only use it with a 35mm prime and occasionally a 50mm so i am still better off weight-wise. Your gear is quite impressive but also quite overwhelming. Sometimes maybe just travelling with a couple of lenses – maybe a wide zoom and a tele zoom if you need the range – eliminates the selection process of what to lens to carry. The x100s is always there as a prime lens backup. When travelling with too many lenses you invariable end up carrying everything in the fear “that you might need it” and that can result in quite a heavy walk around bag methinks 🙂 Anyway have a super trip – can’t wait to se Venice again through your eyes!

    • Its a good point, Kaushal. I have agonised over this for ages. The argument for is that the lenses are all fairly light, some extremely so. The 14mm prime can be stuffed in my pocket. I was planning to take a small Domke day bag too so I could wander around with much less kit if I want. I think I know what I need for Venice but Madrid and Salamanca, not sure.

  3. I have no personal experience with most of your lens choices and, therefore, my thoughts are half baked at best. I know the primes in your kit are renowned but I’d seriously consider leaving them behind since they are covered in the range provided by the 3 zooms you list. If you feel the need for a prime for your street photo time I am confident you can pick one favorite prime for the X-T1 or just use your backup camera and its prime. My $0.02 worth. Looking forward to the presentation of your trip. Safe travels.

  4. Oh yes, you’ll do Burano credit. It’s a longish journey but well worth it. Make sure you’re ready for lunch too – there are some really good fish restaurants there!

    • Thanks Jenny – the guide book suggests going to Burano first then working your way back via Murano. That is the plan anyway. Mrs. Ha will love the fish restaurants.

  5. What an absolutely fabulous photo. Husband knocked out by it it too. BUT I am weeping that you have hired someone to show you the byways of Venice. This is something we have been working on for years. When we go (my husband takes a quarter of your kit) and walks me off to some deserted calle or doorway and we wander on from there. My 60th present to him was to sent our youngest daughter (artist) to Venice for a fortnight to draw and paint. Her sketchbook is bliss. Anyway, enjoy. It is an astonishing (and often empty) city.

    • I spent 4 or 5 days in Venice in 2008 Hilary and felt I hardly scratched the surface. If we do various galleries then our time starts to ebb away and I wanted to make sure I maximise my time there. So it seemed a modest investment to discover what I might otherwise miss. What a lovely idea for a birthday present. Our younger is a talented artist (wasted in accountancy) and I think she would love Venice too.

  6. Lots of extra memory cards? Who are you traipsing around Venice with? (The local photographer)

    Hey, I know those two belle donne! 🙂

    I am so looking forward to your photos. I want to see lots of details, please.


    • The local guy is called Luca Zanon. I hope he is good. I am always over-kitted out with memory cards but they are easy to buy anywhere so I tend not to worry about them. I did forget a charger 18 months ago. That was almost a disaster.

  7. I wonder if customs will switch all that equipment on. They did with my shaver and after arrival the batteries were flat and I had not taken my charger.
    We are studying self contained accommodation possibilties in Venice. Something preferably away from tourist throngs but within a few metres of cafes and shops.
    Gee , those two ladies look formidable. I wonder if the husbands are cowering somewhere in the background?

    • I am not sure about switching things on Gerard. If they do it will be a nuisance. I wet shave anyway so the blades don’t need recharging. You should go to Venice. Stay a month.

  8. So long as you don’t pack all your troubles (Miele washing machines, terrorist gardeners etc) into your old kit bag, todas will be muy splendido. Very much looking forward to your take on Venice. Andrew, even if you only packed a Box Brownie, I know that we are in for a treat.

      • Muchos 😉 but actually I’ve become quite temperate – tres is my maximum. Could be something to do with my wacky new Indian veg diet. existing on a diet of pulses and vegetables – my body is a temple BMB 🙂

  9. I have no suggestions as you are a much better packer than I…my strategy is to take everything I own and suffer the consequences.
    I hope you and Shirley have a great time and I am sure we are going to see some very nice images from the trip…..hopefully at least one will be a romantic shot of the two of you relaxing in a gondola.

  10. I have nothing to add to the bag except a few energy bars so you can carry it all day. . 😃
    Please take some cool flower photos for me!

  11. All the batteries and set up and getting ready…and the picture with the two women was worth it all. That’s another writing prompt just waiting for pen and paper, Andrew.

  12. There’s a pair! That reminds me of a garden design class I once took, taught by an Italian. Every year he would take students to Italy so they could absorb good architecture and hardscaping, and he would take pictures to show at later classes. We were delighted to discover that every single shot he took had a lovely young lady in it somewhere. Usually front and center. We teased him about it and he would protest~”Whaat? There are stones there. See? Look, down by her feet!”

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