The Window Of Opportunity
I did have some luck, however, on a train returning from a Sydney suburb. The city circle line passes through Circular Quay station and as luck would have it, the design of the station allows you to see the wharf where the cruise ships tie up. This afternoon there was a big one in there. The sight of it is so unusual that it would have been criminal to miss it.
The train is only in the station for less than a minute...Sydney people live their lives at a setting of '9' on the dial. So I dived into the Crumpler bag and grabbed the Fuji X camera. The Fuji has a compensation dial that is right near the right thumb...a quick whiz round to give the meter a chance to cope with the bright outside and dark surround, and three clicks of the shutter. This is the best framing of them all, and really does capture the fleeting moment.
I do not think you could do this with the iPad, or a big DSLR buried inside a travelers backpack. You need the spontaneous shot, and the mirror less and compact cameras are really your best bet. Either that or sit on the train for another circuit of the city line and try again.
Note: we sell leather ever-ready cases for some Fuji cameras and some of the other brands that might have done it. Retro they might be but in some cases they really do work. The half-case is also a good idea. Admittedly you do show off the camera a bit more but it is out in battery as fast as anything. Consider the strap that you will use - some of them seem to be more suited to a Betty Page postcard than a working photographer, and some of them would be suitable for a BAR in the jungle. I opted for a light cotton strap with leather re-enforcements on the ends and it has not garrotted me yet.
And a final note from the CE spy on holiday: say thank you to the shops that put a uniform on their staff members. Some of the places I have been snooping in don't - and it can be quite an awkward thing to figure out if you are speaking to someone who works there or another visiting enthusiast. Of course if they try to sell you a memory card and a filter it is generally a pretty good clue, particularly if all you asked for is the rest room. If I drink a lot of coffee this is a valid question.
Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with 148 UV filters...