sending postcards
a travelogue by alex and mina


• 16 notes •

Lately we've been getting more emails than usual asking us about what kind of cameras/lenses we use so we thought we'd write a post about it for those of you who are curious. We're certainly not experts, but taking and editing photos has become an unexpected hobby that we're having fun with. Hopefully some of this information is useful to you!

HDR Image taken with the Canon SD880, edited using Photomatix

Canon SD880 - It was a great point-and-shoot at the time we bought it. It was small and inconspicuous for times when we didn't want to draw attention to ourselves. We also hacked the camera so that we could take HDR photos with it. The hack doesn't technically void the warranty, but it's not officially supported by Canon - if you're worried about that sort of thing. The video isn't great (see here), but it's better than not having the option to take a quick video if you want to. There are definitely more sophisticated options available now but we were really happy with it for our trip.
kiss on tortuga bay
Taken with 35mm film, using the Fisheye 2 Lomo Camera at Tortuga Bay.

Fisheye 2 - We are so glad we took this camera with us. It uses standard 35mm film that you can buy anywhere, but you can also buy the expensive lomography filmif you want (we haven't... do you guys know if it makes a difference?) The photos we took with it at the pyramids are our favorite, and you can see more of our fisheyes in our lomography set on flickr.

Taken with the Canon Rebel XS

Canon Rebel XS - Initially, we said we weren't going to buy a DSLR. Right before we left Toronto, we decided that it would be a shame not to have one, so we picked up the entry level Canon and kit lens. It's a very good starter camera. However, we would recommend buying the body without the 18-55mm it usually comes with. We rarely used that lens because we purchased a 50mm lens that we found took really nice portraits and worked well in low-light situations. We've since sold both the XS and the 18-55mm.

Taken with the Diana Mini

Diana Mini
- This lomo camera can do a lot of things that we haven't really experimented with yet. We picked it up on a whim at Urban Outfitters in Miami and haven't had a chance to play with it too much. If you'd like, you can click here to see some of the photos we've taken with it so far.

Taken with the Fuji Instax Mini, on the Brooklyn Bridge

Fuji Instax Mini - We don't think we've actually posted any photos we took with this camera - that's because we don't have a scanner. It's a cool camera for those of you who miss polaroid, but the film is still expensive (relative to digital, of course, but not to old polaroid film) and it's pretty heavy. Also, as you can see in the above photo, it's not the greatest in low light. It was much brighter outside that day than it appears in the photo. Overall, it's not a very travel friendly camera.

Taken with the 50mm lens in Antigua, Guatemala

50mm lens - There are several different 50mm lenses (f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8) for your price range. We purchased the least expensive one but it served us really well in the various low-light conditions we encountered on our trip. We'd like to upgrade eventually, but for the time being, this really does the trick.

Taken with the 70-200mm lens, in South Africa

70-200mm lens -  When we went on our safari in South Africa, we debated whether we could do the safari with just our point and shoot and the 50mm. The safari definitely wouldn't have been as much fun without the zoom lens. While it is too big to carry around on a daily basis, for something like a safari, we would absolutely recommend splurging - or at least renting one for the day. There were plenty of occasions where the animals would walk right up to our car, but there were also instances where we wouldn't have even seen the animal if it wasn't for the zoom. There is a more expensive (and better) version than the one we bought, which we would have preferred to have purchased if we weren't in South Africa at the time.

Taken with the Rebel T2i and the 24-105mm lens

Canon Rebel T2i & 24-105mm lens - We bought both the camera and lens at B&H Photo in New York City.  We picked up the T2i to replace our Rebel XS, and the 24-105 lens because our only wide angled lens was on our old point and shoot. Aside from the size of the 24-105, it is a fantastic tourist lens! If you had a good camera bag while traveling, it really covers what you need as a traveler wanting to document your trip.

The service at B&H Photo was amazing.  We were able to try all the equipment before purchasing, and the salespeople are photographers who know the equipment and not teenagers counting down the time until their shift ends.  The prices were quite competitive, we usually buy our digital cameras through Amazon but in this case B&H had a better deal.

Taken with a random underwater camera somewhere in the Galapagos Islands

We didn't bother including all of the underwater cameras we purchased because we don't really know anything about them. We would randomly pick up disposable underwater film cameras whenever we could. They really are hit or miss. Almost all places near the water have entrepreneurial individuals selling them for obscene prices. After getting tired of paying too much, we finally bought a film camera with a hard, waterproof casing. When we eventually start scuba diving, we might buy a fancy digital one... but until then, the disposables are fun for snorkeling!

That's it for now, if you have any tips of tricks for photography while traveling, we'd love to hear in the comment section.


• 12 notes •

After an overwhelming number of emails/facebook messages/comments etc... saying we HAD to go to Grimaldi's if we were looking for the best pizza in NYC, we figured that the collective opinion of so many people had to hold some merit - so we saved it for last. Some people did tell us to skip it because it was just a tourist spot, but we went anyway because, after all, we are tourists. 

When we arrived, there was quite the queue. This photo of the boy at the end of the line pretty much sums up how we were feeling about it:

Grimaldi's doesn't take reservations, so there's no way around waiting. We don't think you can even call in your pick-up order in advance. The host/owner is known to be a bit of a curmudgeon and was shooing people off the sidewalk who weren't standing within the rope (including a woman with a stroller while we were having a conversation with her and her husband). He was really friendly to us though, and we chatted a bit about our travels. By a stroke of luck, a table for two became available and everyone in front of us was in a bigger group so we got to avoid the line!

Any place with photos of Frank Sinatra all over the walls has to be good, right? We shared an 18" pie for about $15. It was definitely delicious and probably the best we had out of the handful of pizzerias we visited.

This is our last restaurant post from NYC - so sad! We have a few more things from our time in New York this past summer to share with you, and then we'll finally be moving on next week!

dog day afternoon

• 16 notes •

New Yorkers really love their dogs. We were surprised to see so many dog walkers (and big muscle-y guys with Paris Hilton-type 'accessory' dogs). It reminded us of the dog parks in Mexico City.

Despite the lack of square footage when it comes to real estate options, it seems that man's best friend still makes it into people's hearts and homes. Perhaps it's because there are so many great parks and (for the people who don't pay to have their dogs walked) it must be a nice excuse to go outside and get some fresh air.

We didn't need a dog to enjoy the park, but definitely saw some interesting ones with even more interesting owners. We're also convinced that we saw the biggest dog in the world:

Can you tell the scale of the dog from the photo? We were kinda afraid to get too close.

happy birthday, alex!

• 22 notes •

Dearest Alex,

You have been the best travel buddy ever. Thanks for being a really great listener, mini-pizza-chef, and solver of problems. I like that you are the most practical person I know (even if it makes you impossible to shop for). George Harrison once said "All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much" - but I think you can have your whole cake today (even though you lie and say that you don't like dessert and then proceed to eat half of the brownies I made last night)! I feel so very fortunate to have you in my life. Happy Birthday, my love!


 Photo by Max Wanger

flatiron building

• 9 notes •
Some typical tourist photos of us in front of the flatiron building.
What a beautiful piece of architecture.

more moma

• 11 notes •

A few more images from the MoMA.

The fluxus wallpaper (above) is by George Maciunas and Yoko Ono. The repeated image is of someone's bum, a still from Ono’s Film Number 4 (Bottoms). It covers an entire wall, from floor to ceiling. More on this unusual piece here, if you're interested. Oh, Yoko.

Although we had seen an entire exhibit dedicated to Picasso's work only a few weeks prior to visiting the MoMA, it never gets tired. We feel so incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to see so many great works of art in person during our travels.

An amusing note about the characters in the above photo: Another (elderly) museum patron approached these two and started chatting with them. They seemed very perplexed as to why someone randomly chose to strike up a conversation with them but politely kept talking to him. Then the gentleman started asking them about the significance of their costumes and they realized that he thought that they were part of the exhibit. They explained that they were not and everyone parted ways looking quite embarrassed - the wonders of modern art.
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