I always look forward to photo excursions. When a trip is on the horizon, I get giddy knowing that there is an adventure ahead. The anticipation itself makes me get out my passport and place it on my nightstand.
Regardless of the destination, I quickly pack the nonessential items the day before I leave. I never need much. I chuck two or three shirts and a few pairs of underwear in the bottom of a bag. I get my comfy pair of old, beat up jeans ready for the plane. I put a couple pairs of socks in the bag for good measure. Even more quickly come the toiletries. Within seconds I have a toothbrush, deodorant and toothpaste thrown into a ziplock bag.
As soon as I finish getting all of the rubbish sorted, I am ready to start actually packing the stuff I care about. Assembling my second bag takes much longer and is well more complicated than preparing the first. The problems I experience packing the second bag are my own fault.
Like many photographers, I have been traveling for years with as much gear as I can possibly carry. I break my back lugging gear. I have convinced myself that I must "be prepared for any shot." The reality though, is that I will never be fully prepared for every situation. It is how I react to the situation with the gear I have that is important.
Lets face it. I never need the majority of my gear. Three of the five lens never leave the bag. The extra polarizing filter I take just in case the first one cracks just collects dust (I don't even use the primary one). My second Canon 430exii flash either adds extra pounds to my bag or takes up space in a hotel's lockbox. I can quickly tell you how many times I have needed the backup 60d body that I usually take (ZERO!).
This weekend, I leave for a short solo trip to Vietnam. I am eager to be back in southeast Asia and am excited to see what frames will be captured. Photographically, the trip has already been successful. Before evening leaving, I have met a goal. I have packed less than I normally pack (admittedly still too much). With this goal met, I have shifted my attention to a secondary benchmark of actually using every piece of gear that I pack while in Vietnam. Wish me luck.
For my goal to be reached, there must be proof that the following were used:
- Canon 5d Mark 3
- SMDV Flashwave 3 Receiver and Trigger
- Fujifilm Instax and film
- Canon 430 exii
- Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM
- Sigma 24-70 f2.8
- Rogue Flash Gels
- Manfrotto MT293C4
- Plenty of memory
- Extra battery