I’ve written posts before on packing light. I’m sure some of my obsession with packing light comes from years of carrying 80 pound packs on month long expeditions; if you don’t need it, don’t carry it. But better put for photographers is maybe ‘too much gear is a hindrance, not a help’. I am very careful about carrying what I need on a shoot or workshop, because if I am only using a lens once or twice on a week long trip, then it is more dead weight that slows me down rather than helps me create images. I have learned a few tricks that might help with packing light on your next trip.
The image above is my gear for an 8 day workshop in Costa Rica. I have taken out the padded case from my LowePro Roller X100, and put my LowePro Flipside Sport 20L inside. This allows me to roller my gear through airports and to my hotels. Once at my destination, I take out this terrific pack and I am ready to hit the trail. Inside this pack are two bodies, 4 lenses, macro flashes/bracket, batteries, filters, cable release, battery charger. I close the pack, put my padded Macbook Air 11″ on top, and close the flap on my roller. One bag to roll through airports, with easy access to my computer if I need it.
The biggest decision I had to make was to bring my 500 F4 or not. I know there will be some bird images that would be great to shoot with this lens, but I decided to bring my 80-400mm instead. This lens is more practical to shoot hiking on trails and from boats, and I am not losing much. So following my advice to myself above, I am leaving the big glass at home.
In my small suitcase will be my clothes, a Gitzo 1541T tripod with RRS BH40 head, one light stand and a SB900 in a padded case. Since this is going to be a warm weather trip and I am bringing a lot of nylon clothes, I’m guessing my suitcase will be around 35 pounds….it normally is for week long trip. Of course these trips aren’t supposed to be about not bringing cozy things to wear or camera gear to use; after all, these trips are supposed to be fun! But if you do want to go light, just give a little thought to the gear you really need. You might be surprised at how light your suitcase is.