Here’s the second half to my thoughts on Gear. The first half of this post can be found here.
Keep the Gear Bag Small
Backpackers intent on trimming pack weight will take stock after a trip and review all of the gear in the pack and split it into 2 categories: used and not used – and then add a 3rd column – “wish that was in the pack”. Through this iterative process – it’s possible to carry less without leaving valuable gear behind.
Photographers can learn a lot from this practice.
For the average out-and-about shoot – a couple of hours within fairly constrained parameters – it’s possible to estimate the essentials. And often – a small photo bag is all that is needed – and in turn – this will let you: (1) travel lighter (2) think less about gear choices – and more on the task at hand and (3) draw less attention.
For example – when I shoot sports – the 70-200mm f/4L is in the bag. It’s my go-to lens. And depending on the time of day – maybe the 85mm f/1.8 or the 24mm f/2.8. However – if I’m shooting a gig in some dimly lit bar – the big one is at home – and I’ve probably thrown in the Lensbaby, 50mm f/1.8, 24mm, or maybe the 85mm (if the venue is big enough).
Note – I don’t typically carry more than 3 lenses (as I miss too many pictures swapping out lenses) – and most of the time – I only carry 1 or 2. When traveling – especially for business (which isn’t photography) – I often carry just the DSLR and the 24mm – see posts on Barcelona and Joshua Tree.
And unless I’m shooting a big event (like a wedding) – the large Domke is at home – and I’m likely carrying 1 of 2 converted Patagonia bags (both now are discontinued) – which are pretty small and have a low profile. And often – no tripod (OK – maybe the Gorillapod…).
For the loose ends – an extra battery, biz cards, memory cards, a lens cloth, small notebook / pen, and a circular polarizer.
Photos: (top) backpackers in the Jefferson wilderness – fixed 24mm and (bottom) Washington v. OSU rugby – with the trusty 70-200mm f/4L.