Now that summer is ‘officially’ here I admit I’m starting to feel the pressure!
Vacation is fast approaching, and this year is a ‘travel year’ (we save up, and try to ‘fly somewhere’ every-other-year if we can).
Although my motto is ‘Travel light, live the moment, capture the serendipity!’, this year’s destination, Greece, has been on our ‘bucket list’ for a long time. And as easy as it is to over-pack and take too much gear, the fear of taking too little gear on a ‘trip-of-a-lifetime’ is a phobia most photographers know all too well!
‘Balance’, I tell myself. ‘It’s about balance. Taking just enough, but not too much. Taking everything that’s truly needed, and nothing that isn’t’.
And my needs? My needs are modest.
I’m inspired by the photo gods who have achieved so much, with so little.
I’m not speaking of photographers from a bygone era either, such as Cartier-Bresson, Daido, or Eugene Smith. Even in more modern times we can take inspiration from Lana Slezic and her beloved Nikkor 17-55mm (D2X), Ed Kashi and his workhorse 16-35mm & 24-105mm kit (5DMIII), or Bob Krist and his very small RX10/A7 ‘travel light’ kit which he uses for both stills and video. Or perhaps Ben Lowy and a host of current photographers who have at times added the iPhone to their arsenal.
I am humbled and awed by their work. Their need, like their ability, greatly eclipses mine.
And what are my simple needs? What do I require of a travel kit??
There are basically 3 scenarios I need to account for:
#1 – in the event that I run into Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen while on vacation, and Gisele asks that I take some photos of her, I’ll need a portrait lens.
#2 – if, while hiking, I come across the secret entrance to some ‘Temple of Doom type’ place, I’ll need a wide-angle and good low light lenses
#3 – should I find myself in the midst of some unfolding, major news-worthy, and potentially Pulitzer-prize contending event (alien invasion, zombie uprising, etc.) I’ll need good focal range coverage and the ability to shoot both stills, and 4K video.
(*note: while you may question the likelihood of me encountering such scenarios, each does represent a ‘real’ need. While I may not be taking portraits of Gisele, I will be shooting portraits of family, friends or possibly even strangers. While I might not photograph the Temple Of Doom, I will likely photograph some building interiors and other low-light situations. While I may not document a Pulitzer prize or even news-worthy event, I will be documenting family-news-worthy events)
So, what’s in my travel bag that allows me to meet these needs, while travelling as light as possible?
Let’s take a look…
Just kidding. I don’t have enough facial hair to be hipster.
Here’s what I’ve really got:
– RX10 M2 (quite possibly the ultimate travel camera!)
– A6300 (an amazing camera)
– 10-18mm f4 oss (a very fine piece of… glass)
– 35mm f1.8 (I’ve always been a fan of this under-stated lens)
– 55mm f1.8 (chin up, Gizelle, chin up)
– 16-50mm PZ (this much maligned lens deserves much more credit than it gets – a great stealth lens).
I might also throw the RX1 into the bag as a sort of ‘proof of concept’. I haven’t tried using a single, fixed focal length for travel and I’m interested to do so (just not willing to ‘risk it’ this trip).
The side pouch of my Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW contains a hydration pouch which I’ll use (I hear Greece in July can be a tad warm). The other side is meant to hold a tripod. I’ll attach a water bottle there instead. Bottom compartment holds a rain cover. In and around the interior I’ll tuck a lens cloth, spare batteries, cards, etc.
What do you have in your travel bag?