Last August, just before I set out to Europe, my old faithful point-and-shoot Canon died on me. I knew I didn't want to travel so far only to miss the Indian summer the region was experiencing at the time, so I went camera shopping.
Armed with a budget and intent to purchase a high-end point-and-shoot camera, I instead ended-up bringing home a Nikon 5100 with me.
Despite the fact that I loved the Nikon was a step-up from the Sony I was eyeing, I regretted the purchase as soon as I got home. All I could think about then was how in the world I was going to carry this heavy piece of equipment halfway across the world with me and in what sort of bag I was going to do it in. I almost returned it, but didn't only because I was short on time.
I started looking for a camera bag that didn't look like a camera bag (yes, you read that right) almost as soon as I got used to the idea that this camera was for keeps. There was no way I was going to carry the camera in a Nikon-branded bag which practically screamed 'Look, there's a camera in here. Yoohoo... come get me!'
I found three websites which had what I wanted - TechGarage, Epiphanie and Kelly Moore. If you're like me - a woman travelling alone - and don't want to draw attention to the fact that your carrying a camera, then these bag options are the perfect solution. No one will know about your camera until you whip it out to snap some photos.
After reading almost every photography blog I could find online in the short time I had (and my eyes hurt), I purchased a Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Prime lens to complement the Nikon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Zoom kit lens I had.
In the end, it was the Prime lens I carried and used throughout the journey. While it isn't the most versatile lens to use where the light and photo opportunities are great, it more than served its purpose for this very amateurish amateur.
Some would argue that my Nikon is not quite the Top-of-the-Pops of cameras, but I'm immensely happy with it. Here are some of the first shots I took in the garden with the kit lens after bringing it home.