Hardware I Packed For Italy Image
Sony Alpha 350 DSLR Camera

I can’t tell you how excited I was to go on this trip.  I have been to Italy before, but that was over ten years ago, and I only brought a bunch of disposable 35mm film cameras that time.  This time I was bringing along my digital SLR and the thought of the opportunity of capturing some of Italy’s most beautiful landscapes and unique way of life made this trip one of the more highly anticipated trips in recent memory.  On this trip I revisited the cities of Florence, Venice, and Rome, and I also drove through Tuscany, a place I have only seen in photographs.

Taking Photos
To capture all that Italian beauty, I packed my Sony A350 DSLR attached to my new SAL18250 lens.  And of course, my two filters: UV filter and circular polarizer.  I also packed my Manfrotto 190XB tripod legs with Manfrotto 484RC2 ball head.

Just in case anything went wrong with my A350 and or the SAL18250, I brought along my Sony Alpha 100 with a Sony SAL1875 lens. Fortunately, I never needed to use them.

Flash Memory
There is an 8GB 133x Compact Flash card in the camera, and I carry two other hi-speed 4 GB CF cards for back up, which I never had to use.  I bring along the A350 dedicated USB cable as well as a USB multi flash card reader to transfer the photos from the card to my laptop.

Storage
To store my photos I brought along a Western Digital 120GB Passport external hard drive.  I ended up only needing a third of the space, for the 12 days I was in Italy.  But, I did need to delete some of the movies I had stored for my in flight enjoyment.  Maybe it’s time to get a new harddrive?

No Backup
Another problem is while I am traveling, I don’t have a convenient solution for photo backup, besides my 120GB external hard drive, I don’t have the capacity to backup my photos to another source.  My laptop only has a 60GB hard drive, with about 40GB worth of other essential files and programs, leaving me less than 20GB; not enough for longer trips, like this one.  I could write to dvds from my laptop, but it seems like I would use up a whole lot of dvds, which I wouldn’t need later.  It makes me nervous to think that all the photos I have accumulated are only on that single portable hard drive, easy for someone to steal or for me to simply lose.  So this time I backed up about half of my photos on the laptop’s available hard drive space, and the later half was solely stored on the external hd.  I better figure something out before my next trip.

Laptop
The laptop I use is a Sony Vaio, with 10.1″ widescreen.  It’s very small and light, and nice for traveling, but maybe too small for me.  I would prefer a full size keyboard and maybe a slighter larger screen.  Of course I would get a larger capacity hard drive next time around.

New Filters
I like my gear, I feel like it gets the job done and allows me to take decent shots of most situations, while remaining as compact as possible.  On a trip like this, with such big landscapes in the countryside and some tight shooting spaces in the cities, I might have been able to make use of a wider angle lens or maybe a camera with a full frame sensor.  One thing that constantly irritated me was my circular polarizer.  It’s depth was enough to cause substantial vignetting up to 25mm or so.  So I would have to take off the polarizer if I wanted to go to the wide range of my 18-250mm lens.  Which proved equally aggravating, since the polarizer is particularly difficult to remove.  It wedges itself tight against the lens, and when you try to unscrew it, only the polarizer ring turns, not the base, which is what is actually screwed to the lens.  So I think I need to get a new polarizing filter soon, one with a lower profile, and one that is easier to unscrew.  By the same token, I think I need to get a UV/Haze filter with a lower profile, I don’t use mine now, since I find it aggravating to have to remove it so often, if I want to get a real wide angle shot.

Other than my two lens filters, everything I brought performed great, with no mishaps or failures or other irritations. So for next time, I need to get some new filters and some sort of backup solution for my photos.