Traveling has became a challenge, even more than it always was, specially due to the new rules about TSA measures against terrorism and weight limitations on the cabin luggage for the flights.
Many of us photographers need to travel long distances to be able to shoot whatever our subjects are, so we take flights. Airports are hard on us. We always have to hope. We hope that the monopod is not seen as a weapon, we pray for them not to decide that our vests with bulging pockets are too similar to you-know-what. We wonder a hundred times if we have weighed the backpack properly or it risks to be sent to the hold, where all hell seems to break lose, considering the state our suitcases are when we land.
We now ended up having to travel light as much as possible. We have to take decisions. Traveling light is frustrating, it puts our self confidence at risk. What if…? you keep asking yourself, previewing all sorts of complex situations.
You think about an internal flight on some small plane to some remote place in Asia or in Africa ( or in Iceland) and you are allowed 6Kg or 12 lbs in the cabin. Your camera body + your small laptop already weigh that much. You are forced to put at risk part of your expensive equipment by placing it in your suitcase ( which can be smashed, stolen, etc).
With small lenses, you can fit them in your pockets, hoping that airport people don’t think you are carrying something else.
That is when the word detachment started to make a sense to me. My way of shooting changed a little bit too. It took me two years to just go with the flow and forget the times when I could take all the necessary equipment labeled “just in case”, but I find that I am happy just the same when I travel. I don’t feel like I am missing photo opportunities and I became must more “flexible” in my way of seeing the world.
I have since given up on big laptops and now I travel with a 13″ one, I have only been traveling with 3 lenses in the last two years and an endless number of fun gadgets are now staying safely at home, waiting for the times I travel by car.
A tiny tripod thing which clings to the trees 😉 has taken the place of my good tripod.
I have realized that some “important” gadgets I had were not important at all and I can perfectly do without them.
Two images shot at a market in Morocco:
I have been challenging myself for many years to use my short lenses, it was very hard at the beginning because of being a photographer specialized in horses, and them being so fast and so big made it much more comfortable to shoot with my 70-200mm. Not so much leg work, much more chances of being able to switch from a general view to a small detail. It took some time but I started to love more and more my 50mm and also my crazy 16mm with it’s strong will and it’s curvy world.
Lately I decided that I was more and more in love with my shorts lenses, and while traveling I give priority to them, sometimes even to shoot equines. I feel it is a different approach, a different way to communicate. We must dare. We must experiment. When you stop experimenting your creativity is dying.
Do you want to travel with me? I organize photo trips in several countries, with small groups of maximum 5 people, average being 3 photographers and myself. If you like my way of traveling and my photography, just contact me and we can see about it.
It is for all of the reasons you outlined that I’ve switched to the Fuji X-T1 Mirrorless system. Smaller and lighter camera body and I also only take a couple of lenses. On the crop sensor I LOVE my 35mm f/1.2 lens – good for portraits and also for more artistic renditions of details. Flying with camera gear is intimidating for fear of losing or damaging expensive stuff. Luckily the Fuji gear (so far) can travel with me in my Brazil vest! 😉