We’ve all been there. We’re getting ready for a trip and we have to decide which of our gear we should take. We want to make sure we have the right equipment for every situation but that means we have to carry a lot of heavy, and expensive, gear. But if we don’t then we run the risk of taking subpar images.
At this point, I have enough to put a good dent in my suitcase but the reality is, I don’t want to travel with everything I have. Initially, when I got my DSLR and first two lenses (18-200mm & 150mm macro), I always brought them with me on every trip. I felt secure in the knowledge that I was prepared for whatever was thrown at me. While I’m sure there are many of you out there that would consider this a light load, this was more than enough for me. For a while, I carried these around and when needed, I would switch out my lenses. I soon found that I was swapping between the two much more frequently than was prudent. Every time I did so, I exposed the sensor to dust and dirt, as well as, endangering the inner element of the lens. I also found that at the end of the day, my shoulder and back were quite sore from carrying around the extra weight.
Now I did end up with better images in some cases but I actually ended up missing quite a few shots because I either had the wrong lens or I was busy switching. After some time, I started to leave my macro at home. Sure there were times I sorely missed it and being a vastly superior lens, my image quality suffered. But what I found was a new sense of freedom. It turned out I was happier sacrificing some image quality to gain speed and clarity in my photographic decisions. Because I had a lens with such a large zoom range, I didn’t have to waste time thinking about which was the right lens or whether I was going to miss an opportunity because of switching. I also felt better because my expensive lens was safe at home.
Now I know this isn’t the answer for everyone but it worked for me and simplified my shooting. I think what it really comes down to is what you want your travel photos to be. If you have a car, then by all means bring all your gear. But if you are mainly walking, what sacrifices are you willing to make?
Next time you’re packing, think about what your goals really are.