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© Don Mammoser

Every May for the past five years, Don Mammoser takes a group of clients to one of the most pastoral regions of Italy: Tuscany, where the verdant landscapes, friendly people, and picturesque towns present a lifestyle unlike anywhere else. "They've lived this way for thousands of years, understanding that the good things in life have to do with excellent food, drink, and people, as well as in respecting the land and saving it for future generations," Don explains. His workshops often start out in the Tuscan capital of Florence, then head out to the town of Pienza, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"This town is the heart of one of the most stunning regions in all of Tuscany called the Val d'Orcia, complete with rolling hills and these little medieval-looking towns perched on the hillsides," Don says. "You can walk end to end in Pienza in about 15 minutes. I stay at the same B&B every year, so the owners know me now and look forward to my groups. We usually head out in the mornings to photograph, then spend the afternoons touring or indulging in local cuisine and wine."

On his yearly Tuscan expeditions, Don has one lens that's a must-bring: his Tamron 28-300mm VC PZD. "A lot of what we do is street photography, so I need an all-in-one lens that can cover everything," he says. "The 28-300 is ideal because we can be photographing wide, broad scenery in the mornings before we wander into town, then trying to capture street scenes in the winding alleyways of Pienza. This lens ensures I can zoom in as soon as something catches my eye, without having to stop and change lenses."

Handheld shots are made easier with the 28-300's Vibration Compensation (VC) feature to eliminate camera shake. "It allows me to get sharp shots, even at slower speeds," Don notes. "And because I can shoot handheld, I can be more spontaneous. For instance, if I see someone doing street art on the sidewalk, I don't want to set up a tripod and have to finagle myself into position. Tuscany is the type of place where I don't go in with preconceived notions. We simply wander around, and if a scene presents itself, we photograph it. This lens lends itself perfectly to that."

Plus the 28-300 is compact and lightweight enough for a long day walking around the Tuscan countryside and up and down the cobblestone streets. "I spent many years carrying around a full backpack, then getting to a place and having to put the backpack down, open it up, and figure out what lens I wanted to use," Don says. "The 28-300 covers my wide-angle photos, my midranges, and even long telephoto images, all in one lens. I don't even bring a camera backpack anymore: I have a small canvas day bag with this lens, a bottle of water, and an umbrella—that's all I need. As long as you can get the images you want, there's no need to carry around a 50-pound camera backpack."