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A Perfectly Squiffy Jag


17.07.08 Thursday
05:22 pm - Munich+ Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry

[+16 | Slideshow]

I haven't taken many photos in the last year. I thought it might be because I had bumped up against the technical limitations of my equipment, so I went out and bought a Canon 40D. I really like it; much more professional and better built than the Rebel line; certainly worth the extra weight and size. I've realized, though, that the problem wasn't my equipment so much as I've come to prefer being engaged in the moment; hiding behind a camera creates a buffer with the world that I used to appreciate, but which also interferes with the now. Anyway, regardless, it'll probably take me a few days to get back into the habit of taking photographs - especially while learning a new language as I go.

I flew into Munich a few days ago to visit my friend Heather. Now we're in Rome; Katie is giving a presenation on "Stability of Periodic Solutions to Euler's Equations for Surface Gravity Waves" at a mathematics conference. While she's doing that I'm going to brave the pickpockets, humidity, price-gouging and, most notably, the legions of tourists by wandering around the historical district. If anyone wants a souvenir let me know. I plan on taking some bricks from the Colloseum to use as patio pavers, and I promised Ashley I would grab her Pauline Bonaparte's marble nipple while I'm at Galleria Borghese.

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gfrancie [18.07.08::12:28]
Please bring back any interesting chocolate or biscuits.
Or any gaudy religious ornament.
No one does gaudy religious stuff like Italians. The Mexicans and Spanish come in a very close second place but the Italians own that bizness.
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tyrven [18.07.08::12:37]
Totally. BTW: Any suggestions for things we must see while we're here? Non-tourist treasures we might miss? We didn't do nearly as much research as we usually do so I suspect we'll overlook a lot. (Especially depending on what we do after Rome - which is still up in the air).
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gfrancie [18.07.08::12:52]
Hrm... I haven't been to Rome.
But if you go North and visit Venice (which I suggest you do) stay in Venice. Most tourists stay on the mainland but Venice is much more interesting and beautiful at night. You can go to Absinthe bars, eat pasta and squid, cooked in the squid's ink and eat gelato at 2 in the morning.
Cinque Terre is cool if you just want to hike, eat pasta and drink really good local wine and hang out on the beach.
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tyrven [18.07.08::12:58]
I've been told Venice is miserably muggy, stinky and crowded during August so I was planning on nixing it from the list.

BUT I am thinking about coming back in September to focus on Eastern Europe (Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Bosnia, etc) and so I could easily add in Venice at that time when Italy is less of an armpit.

(Originally I was going to do Italy and Eastern Europe on this trip - but it's really proving to be an inopportune time for a Southeastern Europe holiday since it's tourist season - and since the Eastern countries have less reliable air conditioning).
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gfrancie [18.07.08::01:48]
Of course Venice is always a little muggy. You take a shower and you never quite get dry. But hey that can be fun.
Hang out on the other side of Italy. Like I said, the western coast of Italy is rather pleasant. Are you going to hit up any other countries?
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gfrancie [19.07.08::02:24]
I just thought of something. You should go to Paris. It won't be as crowded as it normally is as everyone is out at the beaches or something. Not as many restaurants will be open but you could have a rather nice time.
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tyrven [20.07.08::05:03]
This is definitely something we've been thinking about. The obvious answer to it being "hot and touristy" is "go to where the tourists are coming from".
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gfrancie [20.07.08::06:37]
David Lebovitz is a food writer I like and he lives in Paris and he was saying how nice it is when everyone else is on vacation. You can go and look at piles of human bones! Eat fois gras! Find wax replicas of vaginas.
push_the_limits [18.07.08::12:33]
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Lenses - tyrven [18.07.08::12:42]
You know, the Canon 300-450D's are all really fantastic cameras and I can't really bash them. I can't even say that the image quality of the 40D is superior to the 450D - in fact, if anything, I think the 450D might be slightly better. I also think the 350D (my previous body) is a superb value, currently selling at $350 (I believe) new; I strongly considered getting two so I could carry them with me at weddings without swapping lenses.

That said, since I do a lot of traveling in adverse climates - and since I carry my camera around my neck without any sort of protection (case, lens cap, etc) - the extra build quality of the 40D is really worth it to me. I also like the large size because it's a lot easier for my hands to grip. And, last, the ability to (easily) swap focus mattes is a huge plus since I prefer to use manual focus for portraiture work.

I use the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and it's by far my favorite lense. I haven't used the Pentax version, though. For weddings, I use Canon's 85mm f/1.2 which is incredible. For Rome, I'm using my 24mm f/2.8 which is pretty good - although I wish I'd found a better wide angle lens before my trip. People seem impressed with the Tokinas - I haven't decided yet, though.
push_the_limits [18.07.08::12:54]
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Re: Lenses - tyrven [18.07.08::01:01]
That's great to hear about the Tokina. Which lens specifically does he have? They seem to have really good built quality, are reported as being surprisingly sharp and (for the price) they offer a very nice range with very acceptable speeds. I was particularly interested in the 10-25 f/2.5 - although I think that one got slightly-less-glowing reviews on Fred Miranda's site.
push_the_limits [18.07.08::03:22]
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katethoughts [18.07.08::02:02]
Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

is to get me a postcard.
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katethoughts [18.07.08::02:03]
Realistically, if you have the moment to grab some cool italian packaging please snag it for me!!

and btw, I am no longer coming to Seattle in August. Postponed to the middle of September. More details when you get back.
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tyrven [20.07.08::05:04]
Oh, lame - we may be making Part II of our travel plans (to Eastern Europe) in September - TBD. Of course, after a mere week in Rome I'm ready to go home and call it good. I'm having more fun than I expected, but I'm pretty exhausted.
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katethoughts [21.07.08::03:32]
Super lame! But good for you that you're having such a great time! There has been precious little in your photodocumentary department...perhaps it's time for another upload to Flickr?

(Anonymous) [21.07.08::04:22]
I've taken probably 500 photos and whittled them down to the 50 or so I like the best. Before I upload them, though, I want to go through and tag them. Unfortunately, they're not going to be that interesting - I've fallen into the tourist trap of taking obligatory photos despite being personally more drawn to the people and the dirt. Of course, part of that is that due to a mishap in packing we don't have a lens appropriate for picking off shots of strangers without asking for permissoin ;-).
(Anonymous) [21.07.08::04:25]
Oh, and I wouldn't say we're having a great time - but it's fun enough and definitely worth breaking it up into two distinct parts since my energy is wearing thin. (Ugh - the computer at the hotel is running IE5.5 for OSX - which won't let me login to LJ; this is Jeremy).
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huffines [18.07.08::02:33]
If you have the time, you should make it to the English Garden. There's one spot at which a bridge crosses the stream that rolls through the park. The stream rushes in and hits a cement ledge just under the water's surface, thus causing a decent amount of rapids to form.

You'll know you'll be in the right place because you'll see men in wetsuits. Surfing.

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silvergrrl [18.07.08::05:30]
Renting a bike and riding through the English Garden for a few hours was one of the best days I spent in Munich. (Did you know that helmets cost extra?)
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silvergrrl [18.07.08::05:28]
Did you go to the ginormous outdoor market in Munich or made yourself get up early to watch the Glockenspeil? My brother did much hilarious Glockenspeil commentary on video when we visited Munich. There's background noise of other English-speakers snickering.

T-Punkt rules. I have so many pictures of it, many with someone in them doing cheesy Japanese-tourist-inspired cheesecake poses. As far as Roman trash goes, try going to the outskirts of the city rather than the city center - they seem to clean up trash a little more the further away you get from the tourist areas. And if you don't like garbage stacked on every street, every curb, up to six feet high, never go to Barcelona.

Don't miss this restaurant when you're in Rome - it's my absolute favorite:
Cave Canem
Piazza S. Calisto 11
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republiqua [21.07.08::09:47]
Ah, Munich. I sure do miss it. Lovely city, don't you think? Especially around this time of year. Any chance of making it to Holland on this trip?