Japan, home of the fastest train in the world, is soon to be my next epic travelling destination for 2007. Unlike my previous holidays, I intend to document this one extensively on my new Moleskine notebooks and post anything legible on Ejecutive. I got my Lonely Planet’s guide to Japan today along with the phrasebook, which now means I can start planning my trip. I’ll probably be doing the classic Tokyo to Kyoto route, so I get a “sample” of New Japan and Old Japan.
Looking through some spectacular photographs of Japan in magazines, books and Flickr, I’ve decided to get serious with the photography on this trip. It’s been years since I’ve taken my full SLR camera kit out with me, mainly because of the weight of two bodies, four lenses and a tripod. Then there’s the problem of film: buying it, storing it, loading it, developing it and scanning it one-by-one. A tedious process when my last trip ended up with me taking twenty 36-shot rolls, spending a small fortune developing them, and the not having the effort to go through the negatives finding the best shots.
So I have only once choice, move to digital, and consolidate my lenses. My trusty Nikon F70 and Nikon F401s are going to have to go, and be replaced by a digital SLR. My choices are the Nikon D50 and Nikon D80, the choice probably being made by how much money I have to spend after the travel expenses. My current 28-80mm standard lens will stay, but the 35-70mm will go to save weight. The 70-300mm long zoom will also go, but my partner in crime is carrying his so I’ll still have access to something long if I need it, and I see no point in bringing my Sigma 400mm telephoto. I’m guessing that 80% of the photographic opportunities will be catered by two new lenses, the Tokina 12-24mm ultra-wide zoom and Nikon 50mm prime.
I’m tempted to ditch both my standard zooms to save weight, and rely on the very fast and sharp 50mm lens. This is something I’m going to try in my short weekend away in Dublin first before I find myself regretting it on a trip of a lifetime to Japan. Add two batteries, two 2GB high speed SD cards, my 30GB iPod with USB camera adapter to download photos onto it, the Lonely Planet guide and phrase book, I can see my Crumpler Ben’s Pizza XL bag being a bit of a squeeze, so the fewer lenses the better.
I’m probably not going to take my Macbook though, I can edit photos when I get home and move photos from the SD cards to the iPod for mass storage, and I can’t remember the last time I was away from a computer for over a week. But don’t despair yet readers, I’m not going until Autumn 2007, and you’ll hear a lot more about this until then.