Is it redundant now? Is it old hat that I post here and say “Oh, I’m going back to England?”
I hope not, because I’ve come here to say it again: “Oh, I’ve gone back to England!” And, for whatever reason, I always like to give a little backstory before I tell you about the trip itself.
I actually didn’t think I’d be going back to London at this year, because it just wasn’t a practical, it felt frivolous, etc. But, my friend Kayla was getting married this September, something I’d known since last year. She’d said I’d have an invitation to attend the wedding if I could work out travel to London again. I wasn’t sure I could manage it, but I did continue to set aside “just in case” money, and I would occasionally check airfare prices to see if my “just in case money” would be sufficient to buy a ticket to London. That was a mostly discouraging thing to do, because it’s not like airfare gets any cheaper year by year!
Then something happened: Brexit
In the tumultuous days surrounding Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, airfare prices changed. Literally, fares dropped $500 from one day to the next. Prices went back up again the next week, but not before I managed to buy my ticket on the cheap! I hate to say it, but I benefited from the UK’s economy going a bit wobbly in the wake of Brexit. The way I put it was: I hope the economy gets better…after September! Because not only were airfares down, but the value of the dollar versus the pound was better than it’d ever been in my previous travels to England. That really added up over the course of my stay (especially for things like paying for my lodging)
The day in June when I did a thing…
It felt like a whirlwind trip, because I had a little under two months between booking my flight and my departure date. Usually I have three to four months after buying a plane ticket for London before I travel. I was in denial that it was actually happening, probably up until the point when I boarded a plane in August! Plus, the amount of time I would be spending in London this go round was SO brief – this holiday would be basically nine or ten days versus the two weeks I’d spent in England each of my two most recent trips there.
Despite it not feeling like a thing that was really happening, it really did happen!
As for preparations during this “whirlwind,” a big thing for me, of course, was choosing which cameras I would travel with. Ever since the shame of my 2012 camera choices, I have wanted to pare down the number of cameras I’d take to the bare minimum. I was only marginally successful at that for 2014’s trip to England, especially considering the fact that the most cumbersome camera I took with me that time jammed up within about two days of my arrival in London and was dead weight the rest of the time!
Travel camera shame, 2012
Here’s what I came up with for 2016 though:
- Fuji GA645i. One of the reasons I bought this camera in the first place is because it’s touted as an amazing camera for travel photography. Plus, knowing I’d be doing photography at Kayla and Tony’s wedding, I couldn’t think of a more versatile piece of equipment to take (though it changed my shooting style, which I’ll discuss later.)
- Ricoh FF-1. This was a great camera during my 2012 trip to London, and I thought it’d be great for 2016 as well. Since my primary camera was the GA645i, I felt a compact 35mm camera would be a good companion for it.
- Pentax Espio Mini. I really should have chosen between the Ricoh and the Pentax, but I figured that they’re so small and unobtrusive, it really wouldn’t do any harm to have both. The reason I wanted both was that I knew there would be social occasions during this visit to England where I wouldn’t necessarily want to bring out the rather large Fuji GA645i. Plus, it’s Espiio Mini was only camera of the three that focused closer than 2.3 feet! Given my shooting style, not being able to focus close up was different for me, but at least the Pentax gave me more leeway with that.
- Fuji Instax Mini 90. I actually would not have taken this camera had I not been in the midst of my Instax daily photo project. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great camera and great fun, but it wasn’t the most practical choice, considering I wouldn’t be taking as many photos with it as I would my other cameras. But I was too stubborn to change the way my daily photo project works, so I took the Instax with me.
The temptation to bring a digital camera was STRONG, because it probably would have been a smarter choice for photographing Kayla and Tony’s wedding. But, in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And it literally was “in the end,” because I was at the airport before my departure to London and stood with the digital camera in my hand, saying to myself “I could just put it in my luggage right now. It wouldn’t do any harm.” I couldn’t do it though. I’m pretty happy about that decision though.
Due to how my time in London would be spent (about half of my days involved social engagements of one sort or another) and due to the cameras I was taking with me, I knew going into things that the “Amanda Goes to England” blogs might be a little different this time around. I think that is true, for the most part.
Mmmkay. I will get on to the business of blogging my whirlwind England vacay now!