This post was written in collaboration with Canon USA. I’ve been using their products for over a decade and highly recommend their gear including the Canon EOS Rebel T7i. As always, I would never promote anything I wouldn’t use myself and hope you find this post helpful in your photography journey!
When I started traveling full time in 2016, I was shooting photos almost every day. I had just quit my creative agency job where I was knee deep in client work, and I yearned to create things just for fun. There was a freedom in not having to answer to anyone but myself.
Photography helped me remember why I love being an artist. It helped me capture moments otherwise forgotten. In addition, it gave me a way of sharing it with my family and friends back home. It forced me to really look, see and feel. Slowly, my camera became an extension of myself and my self expression. It’s still my favorite way of experiencing a new location.
With travel photography, it’s important to have the right gear. I have always used Canon cameras since my first point and shoot when I was younger, then my first DSLR and many professional cameras since then. So when Canon approached me about being a part of their Shoot for Greatness campaign, I was honored to promote their powerful beginner camera–the Canon EOS Rebel T7i.
If you’ve been following me along on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve been using it for my various photos challenges like shooting a perfectly timed self portrait or utilizing perspective and light to make a beautiful image. These challenges have reminded me that great images don’t just happen. They require vision, planning, being at the right place and having the right gear to support the vision.
The EOS Rebel T7i is a perfect travel companion for capturing those moments. I brought it with me on my annual trip to France where I explored the Alsace region, known for their fairytale medieval villages. Having the lightweight and versatile Rebel was perfect for wandering all the narrow streets while looking for pretty colors, compositions and scenes.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
My first DSLR camera that I purchased over a decade ago was a Canon Rebel XTi, and I learned so much from it. Since then the quality and technology has vastly improved in speed, performance and price. I was blown away by the quality of this most recent Rebel and would completely recommend it to anyone looking for an entry-level DSLR camera.
A few of features about the Canon EOS Rebel T7i:
• Image Capture Speed: 45 point all cross-type AF system and optical viewfinder lets you stay ready for that unforgettable moment with virtually no lag between what you see and what you get when you press the shutter.
• Auto-Focus: Fast and accurate Dual Pixel CMOS AF with phase-detection locks focus quickly and accurately to help make sure you don’t miss a great shot.
• Image Quality: 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor helps you capture special moments from vacations to family events in brilliant color, detail and vibrancy for beautifully memorable photos and videos.
• Low-Light: Maximum ISO of 25600, so you can capture photos in low light with minimal chance of blur.
• Connectivity: Built in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity lets you share these precious moments with your friends and family and upload them directly to the web.
Exploring Alsace, France
The Alsace region is in the northeast part of France. It borders Germany and Switzerland and is a mix of cultures from the various rulers over the years. It is known for its vineyards, Wine Route and some of the most beautiful villages in the world.
Since seeing a photo of colorful Colmar, I have always wanted to visit this area. I was in Europe and had a week to kill in between jobs so decided to explore on my own. Throughout the year, I always take some time for myself to reset. This was the perfect spot for just that.
I flew into Strasbourg and explored all the villages between there and Colmar. It’s only about 1.5 hours away but there’s so much to see in between.
The “Wine Road” is a 170 kilometers drive that is a clearly marked route with signs. It winds through villages, around 300 wineries, vineyards and rolling hills. The route goes from Thann, southern gateway of the vineyards, to Marlenheim in the north (near Strasbourg).
Below are my favorite fairytale villages in Alsace and where I would recommend visiting for a week’s stay.
Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace and is the perfect place to start before making your way through the region. It has a rich historical and cultural heritage with remnants all over the city.
I stayed in a studio apartment in the historic Petite France district. Right outside my door were 16th and 17th century half-timbered homes and charming cafes. These were former homes of tanners and fishermen. I felt like I was on a movie set every time I stepped out of my apartment. I’d recommend doing a boat tour when you first arrive to get a feel for the city. Then rent a bike or just walk around. Even though it’s the biggest city in the region, it’s still very walkable.
Spots to visit: the Cathedral, the Kammerzell house, the old customs house, the Covered Bridges, Rohan Palace
Riquewihr is always rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Most of the buildings are from the 13th century and are perfectly intact. The city is surrounded by vineyards which peek through the various narrow streets. You enter the city through the watch tower and gate called the Dolder. I stayed here for two nights and felt like I was in a Disney movie every time I walked out my door!
Another one of the most beautiful villages in France, this medieval city is lined with cobblestone streets and half-timbered homes. It is unique because of the castle of Kayserberg, which is accessible through climbing a path amongst vineyards. I didn’t get a chance to go up but heard it has gorgeous views of the village.
This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Alsace. I had seen a photo of the historic area called Petite Venice and couldn’t believe a place this colorful could exist! I had to see it for myself and it didn’t disappoint. The area is full of half-timbered houses next the river with architecture that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Spots to visit: Maison des Têtes, the Pfister House, the Schongauer House, the Old Custom House (Koifhus), Saint-Martin’s Collegiate Church
Another city that’s been on France’s most beautiful villages list since 2003, Eguisheim should win the prize for the city with the most flowers. I have never seen so many colorful blooms lining every window and street. What’s unique about the city is it’s set in concentric circles. Full of half-timbered homes, fountains and gardens, it’s easy to get lost in the charming maze. I’d recommend getting there early since it’s one of the most popular villages in the area.
How to get there
I flew into Strasbourg International Airport and hired an Uber to bring me to the city. However, there are many ways to arrive based on where you’re coming from and how much money/time you’d like to spend.
By Plane: Strasbourg International Airport is about 10km from the city centre and is easy to get to. There’s also Karlsruhe-Baden Airport and Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport that serve budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet flights.
By Train: Strasbourg is the second largest railway station in France and connects to various parts of the country as well as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and other European countries. There is a high speed train from Paris called the TGV that takes about 2.5 hours. The railway station is in the town centre and is easy to access.
By bus: There are many bus connections with Eurolines from Strasbourg to cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Krakow, London, Zurich, Frankfurt, Vienna and Venice.
By car: The major highways that go to Strasbourg are from Paris (4 hours), Lyon (5 hours) and Germany.
The Alsace region is great for anyone who enjoys history, delicious food, wine, colorful homes and the most charming villages you’ll ever see. Having a lightweight, reliable camera like the EOS Rebel T7i is a must for capturing all the sweet moments.
Thank you to Canon for introducing me to this powerful beginner DSLR. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.