My trip to Netherlands (very very long post to read, includes lots of pictures too).

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Hello, I finished my holiday trip to Netherlands a few days ago (stayed there for 10 days, visiting a friend). It was my first adventure trip on my own in a foreign country and I was unprepared as I could be (tried my best not to be though). Learned a lot out of it, especially when I missed my train and got stuck one night in Brussel's Midi train station :). I also learned a lot about travel photography along the way and would like to share some of the experiences.

First off, the equipment I had with me:
*Panasonic Lumix GX7
*Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 II ASPH M.OIS
*Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f 4-5.6 R ED MSC
*Sigma 60mm f 2.8 DN Art
*Minolta MD 50mm f 3.5 Macro 1:1

*1x SanDisk Ultra SDXC 64GB, 1x SP MicroSD 32GB, 2x ADATA MicroSD 8GB, 2x Transcend MicroSD 8GB
*2x1500 mAh and 1x1200 mAh Third Party Batteries
*Dual USB Battery Charger and 1xSlim USB Charger
*46mm ND1000 Filter
*55mm CPL Filter with 46mm to 55mm Step Up Ring

*Vanguard Nivelo 214BK
*Arespark Professional Durable Selfie Stick/Monopod
*Crumpler Quick Escape 400
*Formito 43 inch/110 cm 2 in 1 Reflector

*ASUS X550LB Notebook
*1TB External HDD
*Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Except for the notebook, selfie stick, tripod and battery chargers, everything on this list was in my Crumpler Quick Escape 400 all the time and with me. A testament to how compact M4/3 system is, at least for me.
So, first, the Crumpler Quick Escape 400. So far I have used it for 2 years and I have to say it's one of the best things I ever owned. It's small and compact (compared to messenger bags and backpacks) and it can be used as a belt holster (which I use it most of the time) or as a bling bag over the shoulder (I use it this way for long walks and hikes when I know I don't use my camera as much. At times, when I go out for the night and want to carry on one lens, I wish it was smaller like Crumpler Quick Escape 100 so I may add one of those soon. But for lots of lenses and accessories this one is perfect (or for bigger cameras like Panasonic Lumix GHs and Olympus OM-D E-M1s).

Lenses, I was surprised I used the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f 4-5.6 R ED MSC more than I thought. Most of the shots are either at 40mm or 150mm, really happy I got the lens about 2 weeks before the trip. The lens I used the most was my Sigma 60mm f 2.8 DN Art because I love the focal length, the fast-ish aperture but most of all the sharpness from edge to edge. The third lens was Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 II ASPH M.OIS at either 14mm (sometimes wishing it was wider) or 42mm (wishing it was faster). The reason I used my Sigma the most is that I love doing panoramas, from landscapes to portraits, and I used the Sigma for landscapes more than Panasonic at 14mm and here's why:
*Resolution, to overcome the limitation of M4/3 resolution. I do not print big (hopefully one day I will) but I do love having as many details in my images as I can. I love making panoramas from 30 MP up to even 200-300 MP.
*Depth of field, another limitation of M4/3 sensor size. I love landscapes with depth in them, with out of focus background and foreground elements when possible. Even at the widest possible aperture on the M4/3 system is not enough, so I prefer to shoot on telephoto focal length, wide aperture (since sharpness is so good from edge to edge), and stitch them together up to hundreds of megapixels. It's the only way to get Full Frame (or even Medium Format if you can use really fast lenses like f 1.4 or f 1.2) look to the images. And it works even better with portraits as it gives more of environmental details to them. Most of the pictures I take, most of the time, are panoramas.
But it does have its caveats, stitching panoramas do mean a risk of stitching errors which can be infuriating and not all of them can be fixed. I notice the wider the angle you want to capture (aka more pictures for the panorama) the bigger the risk because of the more extreme change of angle of view between the shots. And if the subject is not perfectly still it can be problematic for stitching (no matter if you do it automatically or manually). It's always good to first take a normal picture of what you want and then do a panorama, in case the panorama is unusable you won't lose the moment you wanted to capture.

The tripod and selfie stick. I am so happy with my little dinky tripod. It may not extend much like other, bigger ones do, but it's so compact and portable. And I don't even have to carry it in my hand. When I use my Crumpler Quick Escape 400 on my waist I can just slide one foot inside the belt loop and let it hang. It doesn't bang around much if the loop is tight enough. And it's pretty easy and fast to deploy when I need it. Another one of the best purchases I ever made (and it was even cheap too). The selfie stick, well I'm not one for selfies honestly but I got it because my friend asked for a specific thing she wanted to do together so I added it. Maybe I will get more into it one day, I actually never used it for myself, but it's pretty small and compact and it can be used as a monopod too. It did hold up the weight of the camera pretty good but if extended to the maximum the WiFi signal from the camera to the phone is lost and can't control the camera (with camera manufacturers would put a bigger WiFi antenna in the cameras, the range of 2 meters only is annoyingly limited sometimes.

The biggest problem I had on the trip was the memory cards. I had 2 memory card files in a row. My main memory card, the SanDisk Ultra SDXC 64GB, was read by my camera as it's full even though it wasn't and after copying the files from it neither the camera or Windows 10 could format the card (giving me errors). I couldn't trust the card so I didn't use it anymore (eventually throw it away). The next day I used one of the Transcend 8GB microSD and after it was full I changed it with another one and when I got back to the hotel to download Windows decided to format the card (because it had to *fix* the card to be used) and all the images were gone from the card. Luckily I used Recuva to recover the images and I lost only 2 pictures to corruption error. Still, both of the events scared the s**t out of me because all of the pictures were very important to me.

I took in total 8000 pictures on the trip, 50% of which is time-lapse, 40% are panoramas and 10% are single shots. It will take some time till I finish editing all of them, probably going to end up between 500 and 1000 pictures in total.

And not related to photography story. On Monday I had to return. So I had a train to catch from Rotterdam to Brussels and then the Euro Tunnel train from Brussel to London. But in Rotterdam, there were 2 trains for Brussels. One on Platform 3 and one at Platform 4, the one I needed was going from Amsterdam to Paris du Nord (with very small annotation of stopping at Brussels in French, French Company Train) and another one was going from Amsterdam to Brussels (Dutch Company train). And I lost the train I needed because I didn't know which one to take and nobody in the train station knew either. But somehow I did get the next train to Brussels and once I got there the security told me I can take the next train to London because I lost the one I had a ticket to and told me to come back tomorrow and buy a new ticket. So out of money I slept in the Brussel Midi train station and the next morning I used the last money to buy a bus ticket to London, which goes through Lille (France) with 3 hours downtime there. So I got to visit more than I expected (Belgium and France too) and one-day extra trip.

From these experiences, I learned a few things that I want to use in the future, related to gear upgrade, though I am happy (most of the time) with the image quality I want to upgrade my camera for features that I do not have right now:
*Weather Sealing, the first day it rained and it was very annoying to have to protect my camera when I'm out taking pictures (and I do love taking pictures during or after rain). And I live in the UK so it's not something I need only on vacation.
*Zoom lenses, f 2.8 if possible. Lens swapping was kind of a hassle on the trip but I got used to it. But with a 24-70mm and 70-100mm f 2.8, it would be less of a problem. Make a 50mm f 1.8 prime and 85-100mm f 1.8 prime.
*Flippy screen would have been very helpful for the selfies and in some vertical orientation low angle images.
*Dual SD slot. This one is too expensive for me (Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk. II is out of my budget and Panasonic Lumix GH5 is too big and heavy [when did Panasonic cameras become Jaba The Hut of mirrorless cameras?]) but it would be something I would love to have. Can only hope Pansonic Lumix GX9 will have that feature.

I have been thinking of jumping ship to Fujifilm for its weather sealed primes (at an affordable price) or Sony A7 to get that deeper Depth of Field (without the need to resort to panoramas) and maybe an improvement in image quality. But the size and weight keep making me rethink that idea. I love the small size and keeping every lens I have under 1KG (very easy to handhold and on my wrist). Now if only I could find the perfect-ish camera for me: 20-24 MP, 4K/6K video, ISO 50-12.800 USABLE, weather sealed, EVF 120 FPS, flippy out screen, dual SD card slot, Focus Bracketing, Live Composition, IBIS, Fast Continous AF, 10 FPS Burst, Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO ring/knob, solid construction built, up to 500 grams weight with battery, good battery life.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Holiday Netherlands.1910751.2017-Pano.JPG
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Panorama stitching from 16 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8 DN Art.
One of the many big cathedrals in the town seen through one of the back alleys.

Holiday Netherlands.1910815.2017-Pano-Edit.JPG
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Panorama stitching of 18 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8 DN Art
Bikes parked in front of the museum of the town in the morning.

Holiday Netherlands.1920301.2017-Pano.JPG
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Panorama stitching of 24 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8 DN Art
Typical rich residential house (one family per house).

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Panorama stitching of 27 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
One of the busy streets of a neighboring town.

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Single shot with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
An old wind mill in a town nearby.

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Panorama stitching of 10 images with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 II at 42mm, ISO 125 on tripod
One of the streets to the old town center in the early wet morning.

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Panorama stitching of 28 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8 DN Art at ISO 6400 hand held.
Early morning on the streets that will be full of tourists 4 hours later.

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Single shot with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 II at 26mm ISO 6400, 1/15 Sec hand held.
Early morning in the small back alleys.

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Single long exposure with Pansonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 II at 36mm. f 8, 1 Sec, ISO 200
The view of many canals in the city, residents usually park their boats in front of their houses.

Holiday Netherlands.1920357.2017-Pano.JPG
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Panorama stitching of 15 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
A bike parked next to the tree where an old man was fishing in the canal.

Holiday Netherlands.1920502.2017_stitch-Edit.JPG
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Panorama stitching of 61 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
The path through a park that goes around the old center with the canal on the right side.

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Panorama stitching of 2 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
A farm house with wind turbines in a town nearby, with a canal going through the side of the town.

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Panorama stitching of 32 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
Italian made motorbike parked in the early morning.

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Panorama stitching of 6 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
A very old bike abandoned, in the early morning.

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Single shot image with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 II at 14mm
The view through a ship window style on a door to the other side of the street.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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untitled.1910488.2017-Pano-Edit-Edit.JPG
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Panorama stitching of 14 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
A visit to a friend in a nearby town on a cloudy day.

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Single shot with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
My friend wit ha sunset in the background (turned the image to B&W because of the purple lens flare from the sun).

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Panorama stitching of 21 images with Sigma 60mm f 2.8
My friend's sister on the pier of the canal.

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Single shot Sigma 60mm f 2.8
One image of the panorama above turned into B&W.

These are just a few image I finished editing so far.
 

saladin

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Some lovely shots. But out of interest, how tedious is it to setup, shoot 15-20 shots and then PP them all together? I presume this is all Brenizer method panorama's?
 
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pake

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Now if only I could find the perfect-ish camera for me: 20-24 MP, 4K/6K video, ISO 50-12.800 USABLE, weather sealed, EVF 120 FPS, flippy out screen, dual SD card slot, Focus Bracketing, Live Composition, IBIS, Fast Continous AF, 10 FPS Burst, Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO ring/knob, solid construction built, up to 500 grams weight with battery, good battery life.
Good luck with that. :flypig: :friends:
 

fspeur

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I like your approach. Some great pictures! Personally, I wouldn't have the stamina... I used the "square panorama" method once in a simplified form when I was trying out my new 40-150mm lens on my old E-PL1 in downtown Edmonton. I was determined to get most of the building across the street in the picture and it was the only lens I carried with me, so I took 4 pictures (without a tripod), stitched them together with Microsoft Ice and was pleasantly surprised.
Some of my photos are on Flickr: speur
P2244106_stitch.jpg
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Its been a while but I finished editing all the images from the holiday and have time to share some more, so here they are:

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Very majestic big horse at a ranch.

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Very beautiful horse eating some grass at a ranch.

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A killer chicken :)

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Beautiful horses eating grass at the side of a canal.

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Lazy cows in the morning, taken from a high speed train.

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Little horsey running around, taken from a high speed train.

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Horses in front of an apartment block, taking from a high speed train.

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Sheep grazing on a hill.

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Ducks swimming in a canal.

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Duck making waves.

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Duckies in the sunset.
 

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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Some more pictures:

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To the beach, panorama stitching of 3 images.

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Relaxing after a bath in the ocean.

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Playing with the *Sands of Time*.

Holiday Netherlands.1930979.2017.JPG
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Seashells and oysters leave marks on the sand as they are dragged by the waves of the ocean.

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Little huts on the beach.

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The ocean crashing on the beach.

Holiday Netherlands.1940014.2017-Pano.JPG
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The dutch beach and the Atlantic Ocean, a panorama of 4 pictures.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Dad Pun Joke Master Over Nine Thousand Meme Lord
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Even more pictures:

Holiday Netherlands.1910745.2017-Pano.JPG
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A walk through the city, a panorama of 5 pictures.

Holiday Netherlands.1910785.2017.JPG
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A big basilica style church in the old town center.

Holiday Netherlands.1910804.2017-Pano.JPG
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Very beautiful old architecture of the city.

Holiday Netherlands.1910805.2017-Pano.JPG
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Very beautiful and detailed bas-relief on the old buildings.

Holiday Netherlands.1910815.2017-Pano-Edit.JPG
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Bicycles parked on the University/Museum campus.

Holiday Netherlands.1910837.2017-Pano-Edit.JPG
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The beautiful old Museum.

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The windowed wall.

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Very beautiful Labrador out in the park.

Holiday Netherlands.1920342.2017-Pano.JPG
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A beautiful house entrance.

Holiday Netherlands.1920357.2017-Pano.JPG
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A bicycle parked in the park, next to the water canal, a panorama stitching of 10 pictures.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Dad Pun Joke Master Over Nine Thousand Meme Lord
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Continuation of the above pictures:

Holiday Netherlands.1920389.2017-Pano.JPG
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The owner of the bike above, fishing in the canal, a panorama of 14 images.

Holiday Netherlands.1920374.2017-Pano.JPG
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An old wood stocked up shack.

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A residential area of the dutch city of Middelburg.

Holiday Netherlands.1920430.2017-Pano.JPG
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Sheep grazing on the side of the water canal.

Holiday Netherlands.1920283.2017-Pano.JPG
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Going through the park.

Holiday Netherlands.1920502.2017_stitch-Edit.JPG
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A bench in the park, a panorama of 45 images.

Holiday Netherlands.1920952.2017.JPG
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A beautiful day to go out biking.

Holiday Netherlands.1930009.2017_stitch.JPG
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The park path splitting apart into the unknown.

Holiday Netherlands.1930045.2017-Pano.JPG
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Walking the dog through the park.

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The dutch symbol: Windmill.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Dad Pun Joke Master Over Nine Thousand Meme Lord
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Holiday Netherlands.1940737.2017.JPG
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Boat tour through the water canal, on the left side, are floating houses.

Holiday Netherlands.1940736.2017.JPG
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A conceptual art displayed on the streets.

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Boat going through the main water canal to the open ocean, taken from high speed train.

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Wind turbines powering the dutch homes from the ocean winds.

Holiday Netherlands.1950302.2017-Pano.JPG
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Under a very old pier.

Holiday Netherlands.1950624.2017-Pano.JPG
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The view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Holiday Netherlands.1950645.2017.JPG
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Massive cargo ship compared to a tiny sailboat.

Holiday Netherlands.1950652.2017.JPG
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Admiring the size.

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Enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

Holiday Netherlands.1950696.2017-Pano-2.JPG
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Bikes on the hill.
 
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