Know your gear, trust yourself.

In Film, Travel
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Earlier this summer I spent two weeks traveling with three generations of my family to Istria, Croatia and Venice, Italy. I don’t usually toss the word epic around, but for me and for my family, this was truly the trip of a lifetime.

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I started sweating the details of what gear to bring months before I had to pack because I was desperately afraid of not having what I needed for any possible image I’d want to make. In the end, I packed only my favorite camera, my Pentax 645n, and much more film than I thought I would possibly need and hoped that along with my phone, this would be enough. I’ve only gotten about two thirds of the film back so far, but I think that, for me, packing more gear would have been a big mistake.

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I have, out of necessity, made a practice of photographing the prosaic – finding my beauty very close to home, often in the easily overlooked. The trip presented the complete opposite opportunity. I was confronted with breathtaking beauty around every bend in the road, the light was exquisite, the colors were fantastic, and nothing was prosaic or ordinary. The challenge, then, was not finding a shot, it was choosing what to shoot from the multitude of images before me. If I had been dithering around deciding between cameras, I would have made far fewer photos than I did.

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Most days I was confronted with more beauty than my eyes felt they could process. But whenever I started to feel sensory overload coming on, my best girl grounded me. I brought her to my face and automatically began walking through my familiar paces with her: composing, adjusting settings, re-positioning myself, double-checking that what I saw in frame held meaning to me, and pressing the shutter and then, quite often, running to catch up with the other nine in our group.

I will definitely be sharing more of my trip here in future posts, but for today, and especially for those of you whose epic summer travel lies ahead, I leave you with this: know your gear, and trust yourself.

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Keep your eyes wide open,


  1. Such beauty in your words and images. I will take your advice to heart on our next journey and I can’t wait to hear more about your epic trip.

    • Thank you, Angie! There’s so much film, this trip might provide fodder for posts for many months to come!

    • Thank you! I really love that one too, Staci. Ektar doesn’t always work for me, but that day, on the water, it was perfect.

    • I’ll keep posting more, Holly, but I really think you have to make the trip for yourself 🙂

  2. My first read on your blog, but I think the photos are very nice. I grew up not so far from Istria, and spent many a happy holiday on the Croatian cost …love the place!

    • I can imagine you do, Stevan. It’s paradise for kids – the 5 we had with us would have been happy walking the Lungomare, jumping off piers and snorkeling the entire time.

  3. I love your advice, Debbie, thank you! and the beauty in this images enchants me and makes me wish to see more of your photographs from this trip.

  4. totally agree! I also went to croatia this year, among other places on my interrail trip, and only took one camera, one lense and my phone and found that was more than enough. I’m thrilled with the images I’ve got back so far and wouldnt have had it any other way. Great photos!

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