Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read More.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk
Thread started 12 Jun 2017 (Monday) 06:04
Prev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

 
MatthewK
Goldmember
MatthewK's Avatar
Joined Apr 2009
Maryland
Jun 12, 2017 06:04 |  #1

We're heading to St. Thomas this week for a destination wedding. It isn't a photography trip, but we'll be there a week and will have ample time to spend off on my own. I haven't had an actual vacation in years, so am really looking forward to this! Getting out and exploring on my own is the best part, but I'd like to read about your experiences if you'd like to share :)

This wouldn't be a proper travel thread without talking about my gear lineup! Someone is bound to say "leave the heavy camera and just enjoy the vacation"... thank you, but no, DSLR is going. With that being said, here's my regular travel lineup:

5D4
16-35 f/4
50L
100L
Sirui CF travel tripod

This worked great on my last trip (3 years ago to Turks and Caicos), but this time around there's birds and wildlife, and that's what I'm into shooting these days, so I may swap out the 100L for the 100-400 II + 1.4xIII. Carrying it all in a ThinkTank Trifecta 10, and taking a TurnStyle 20 for lighter weight outings.

Pros: it's the 100-400 II, Canon's best lens. Can shoot passable macro-type shots, birds, portraits if need be.
Cons: HEAVY.

If anyone has been to the USVI, do the birds/wildlife there warrant lugging the tele-photo zoom?


flickrexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
Phoenixkh
a mere speck
Joined May 2011
Gainesville, Florida
Jun 13, 2017 00:33 |  #2

We've only been on St. Thomas on the way to St John, but on St John, there were quite a few birds where we stayed. Small birds that would eat sugar out of your hand and lots and lots of hummingbirds. Lots of monkeys and donkeys too.


Kim (the male variety) Canon 1D IV | 6Dc | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS |100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
RRS tripod and monopod | 580EXII | Cinch 1 & Loop 3 Special Edition

LOG IN TO REPLY
MatthewK
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
MatthewK's Avatar
Joined Apr 2009
Maryland
Jun 13, 2017 14:00 |  #3

Monkeys?! Didn't know this, now I'm really stoked about this trip! Reading up, it seems like St. John is the place to visit for hiking/wildlife in the USVI. So, I think the 100-400 is coming with me for sure!

Wife wants some portraits and stuff taken, so I'm also bringing 430EX-RT and ST-E3-RT.

Am really looking forward to using my 16-35 f/4. Haven't done any wide angle this year, so some nice sunsets and stuff will be fun.

Despite taking all of this gear, my intention is to not be the guy behind the camera. I think I'll set aside 1 day to take photos, and then focus on just enjoying vacation with the wife and friends. Of course, if I wake up early and have some time to sneak off, I will ;-)a


flickrexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
Tom Reichner's Avatar
Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Jun 25, 2017 00:40 as a reply to MatthewK's post |  #4

.

So how did it go, Matthew?

I would love to see some of your favorite pics from the trip and hear about your experiences there.

.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

LOG IN TO REPLY
MatthewK
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
MatthewK's Avatar
Joined Apr 2009
Maryland
Post has been last edited 5 months ago by MatthewK. 3 edits done in total.
Jun 25, 2017 10:37 |  #5

Tom-

It was an excellent trip! The Virgin Islands, especially St. Johns (STJ), are insanely beautiful. I recommend that anyone looking for a short trip to paradise, this is the place: it's a short flight from the US, and you don't need a passport. You can hike the National Park on STJ (and camp, if you want!), lounge on a beach, snorkel, scuba dive, and of course, do all sorts of photography :D

We stayed on St. Thomas (STT) because the wedding we were attending was held there; in the future, I'm going to St. Johns straight away. The best beaches are there, and also smaller crowds compared to the more built up St. Thomas. Reason being is that cruise ships regularly dock on STT and dump 3000 people, so it gets crowded. It costs $20 for a round trip ferry ticket from STT to STJ, and then cab fares ($16-$18 one way), so it adds up if you figure out too late that STJ is where it's at (like we did).

General tips:

- Sun screen, lots of it.

- Bug spray: the mosquitos weren't a factor while we were there, but they are reportedly bad, especially if it has been raining. You will also run into biting No See-ums, especially on the beach after the sun goes down. There's a reason why every front desk/hostess booth has cans of Deep Woods Off available for public use.

- Food is expensive. $25-$35 per meal, and that's not including drinks (if that's your thing). Because it's an island, prices are higher. If you stay in an Air B&B, I highly recommend hitting up a food store the first day there, and stock up.

- Cabs are expensive. Rent a car if you can, but beware: driving there is scary. Lots of hairpin turns, blind corners, and the roads are super narrow.

- There's a guided bird walk, hosted by the US Park Service, at 7:30 AM Friday mornings at Francis Bay on St. Johns. I didn't make it to this because getting there from St. Thomas was a hike, but next time I am most definitely going.

- On STJ, there's a bar right off of the Redhook ferry in Cruz Bay called Joe's Rum Hut. Try the Lime in da Cocount drink, it's delicious.

- Bring snorkel gear, you can jump in pretty much anywhere. Trunk and Cinnamon Bay were excellent.


Now to the stuff we all want to read about :)

Photography gear, or "what should I take??".

5D4: awesome, didn't miss a beat. For wide angle stuff, you want a FF sensor. If you are primarily birding/wildlife, go with an APSC. Because I was using the 16-35, the FF camera had to come along.

16-35 f/4: was great for all around use, though some may prefer a 24-xxx variant. You can't go wrong with either. I'm not much of a wide shooter, so it was a nice change of pace for me working with the wider FOV.

50L: was the least used, simply because this is a bright, outdoors sort of place, so the big aperture is not needed, and you generally are wanting wide or telephoto. The only place I used the 50 was at the wedding we attended. If I am going to an urban area, the 50mm would see a lot more use, but for future sunny trips I'll probably leave this one back home.

100-400 II: most used lens, by far. I won't lie, this was a heavy beast to lug around, but because I mostly shoot birds these days it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. I came away with some photos I truly love. Used it with the 1.4x TC 99% of the time. If I wasn't shooting birds, this lens would be hugely unnecessary.

What about a macro lens? I normally bring the 100L with me on travel, but this time I took to 100-400. For Caribbean islands, I'd skip the macro because there are just about ZERO bugs. There are a good amount of flowers though, so a macro lens might be better for your needs. When I go to Costa Rica someday, the macro will definitely be in the bag.

Tripod: didn't use it. IS on the 16-35 f/4 did everything I needed.

430EX flash: didn't use it.

ThinkTank TurnStyle 20: excellent bag for walking around. Hold just enough gear, and it's comfortable.

ThinkTank Airport Essentials: insanely good bag for travel, though I think I'd rather get a more hiking backpack style for future trips.


If I were to do it all over again? Tough call because bird photography is my interest these days, but if I were to re-wicker my bag for general purpose travel (to USVI, or anywhere), it would look like this:

5D4 (or 6D, depending on if you are ounce counting)
16-35 f/4: this lens is awesome. 16mm is perfect for city/urban trips, but outdoor stuff I think I'd rather bring a standard zoom
OR
24-70 f/4: small, sharp, macro mode if necessary
70-300L: smaller than the 100-400, great zoom range

No primes. Thin DOF stuff just isn't my thing anymore, and if it is dark enough where I have to shoot at f/1.4 I should probably be on a tripod anyway, which I wouldn't be bringing either.

A small Fuji kit would be nice too, but I've yet to branch into another system.


Birds: there are a number of birds on the USVI that we don't regularly see stateside (at least where I live in MD), so I thoroughly enjoyed chasing down what the islands had to offer. You regularly see Bananquits, Pearly-eyed Thrasers, Green-throated Carib hummingbirds, and a good number of doves and pigeons. There were more obscure species that I didn't happen upon (Mangrove Cuckoos, numerous shore birds, Antillean Crested hummingbird), so I need to go back at some point and complete the scavenger hunt :)

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.
Photo from MatthewK's gallery.

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.
Photo from MatthewK's gallery.

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.
Photo from MatthewK's gallery.



Beaches

I mentioned beaches... Needless to say, almost all of them are world-class. White powder sand, turquoise blue waters, the quintessential idea of paradise.

This is Trunk Bay, regarded as the best beach in the USVI.

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.

I actually preferred Cinnamon Bay because it was more quiet, and there were a number of Brown Pelicans there. No, I didn't get any photos of them this time... but now I have a reason to go back :)

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.

That's all I have for now, hope I didn't bore you with the trip details :)

flickrexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
Tom Reichner's Avatar
Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Jun 27, 2017 10:18 as a reply to MatthewK's post |  #6

.

Beautiful photos, and a great account of the trip. .

I especially like the Trunk Bay photo - that little island needs to be explored!

Thanks for sharing all of this info with us - it is appreciated.


.
.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

2,975 views & 3 likes for this thread
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk


Not a member yet? Click here to register to the forums.
Registered members get all the features: search, following threads, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, settings, view hosted photos, own reviews and more...


AAA

Send feedback to staff    •   Jump to forum...    •   Rules    •   Index    •   New posts    •   RTAT    •   'Best of'    •   Gallery    •   Gear    •   Reviews    •   Polls

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS 1.4version 1.4
made in Finland
by Pekka Saarinen
for photography-on-the.net
Spent 0.0011 for 6 database queries.
PAGE COMPLETED IN 0.08s
Latest registered member is jaxonville
1091 guests, 457 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6430, that happened on Dec 03, 2017