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Traveling Light: Photography Road Trip

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I love photographing architecture in places I’ve never been. The thrill of capturing new and distinctive buildings in unfamiliar surroundings is like no other feeling for me. Somehow seeing these marvels through the lens intensifies the sensation of discovery and delight in the beauty, ingenuity, materials and ornamentation that humans have used for building throughout time.

From Bruges. [2]

From Bruges.

In the early summers of my marriage, my husband and I packed up our car with my camera equipment and sketching supplies and drove around the United States and Canada. Our matched set of luggage consisted of black garbage bags and there was always plenty of room for watercolor sets, photography magazines and plenty of film.

After several weeks we would return to New York poorer, but rich in the sights we saw and experiences we had on the road. (And, of course, the hundreds of photos and slides I shot with my 35mm cameras and TLR.)

During later years, after the kids came, the four of us took two five-week trips to Europe. One was a lovely sojourn in England, Scotland, Paris and Wales; the other was a dazzling journey through Italy and Spain. Airlines did not have the same weight restrictions then and, while we did not take a carload of stuff, we needed at least two luggage carts to get from plane to plane.

More recently, my son took me to Europe on three extraordinary holidays: Stockholm, Amsterdam and Vienna. There were side trips to Mora, Sweden, Bruges and Ghent, Belgium and Salzburg, Austria, respectively.

I frequently look at the thousands of photographs I took in these places and to relive my experiences. Each time I put a disk of those photos into my computer, I recognize some new architectural details or a distinct way in which a building was constructed. I can transport myself to the places via my images.

From Australia. [3]

From Australia.

I also can remember struggling with overly packed suitcases and unnecessary gear.

Throughout my travels, I learned valuable lessons in packing lighter and more practically, both in equipment and clothing/personal necessities. It was a solo trip to Australia and New Zealand three years ago (one that required traveling on seven planes in 17 days) that thoroughly prepared me for packing for my upcoming shoot in Germany.

With each and every trip, my main priority was photography. Balancing equipment requirements and personal belongings demands thoughtful and careful planning. That noted, I offer some very basic tips for the road:

From Vienna. [4]

From Vienna.

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