I've always manged to pack light in my travels since I first started moving about the country. Even when my travels started taking me across the world, I've managed to get around with only a 22" carry on and a messenger bag to almost every continent (Antarctica yet to go!). However, when it comes to photography I'm often inclined to bring everything I own. And I mean everything. Tripod(s), extra camera bodies, lots of lenses, filters, chargers, diffusers, light stands, flashes, batteries, backup to the backup memory cards...you get the idea. When shooting a project for a client, this kind of preparation is usually necessary. The trouble is when traveling for leisure, most of this stuff becomes a burden especially when traveling by air. My brother and I recently flew our dad out to Montana to celebrate his 60th birthday for a few days of fishing just with the boys. Along with my fly fishing gear of course I was going to bring along some photographic goodies. So in the spirit of packing light, this is what I brought along:
- Nikon D300 body
- Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens
- Zipshot tripod (really light & small)
- Extra battery & charger
- 2 CF memory cards
- Lenspen for cleaning
- Neutral density filter & polarizer (62mm)
- Dry bag (for the camera while on/in the river)
That's it! I wanted to challenge myself to use a single lens in a variety of conditions and something like the Sigma 18-200 allows me to do just that. Of course, with lenses of this nature there are drawbacks that you must be willing to trade off. It isn't as tack sharp as say my 70-200mm f/2.8 and the aperture varies with the focal length. So at 200mm you are certainly not going to get f/3.5 out of this lens. That said, it's a still an excellent compact option without worrying about changing lenses while standing in a rushing river!
In the end, it was a wonderful four days of fishing with my dad & bro. Good beers, good meals and great story telling all around! I was glad I brought along just the one lens and will do so on future trips when packing light is essential. Hope you enjoy the pics, my wife and I will be heading down a little closer the equator this week with the same basic setup and hope to bring back some great shots. Stay tuned for another post soon concentrating on the specifics of packing light and the gear itself.