R&R Travel & Photography

We’re heading to Napa for a little R&R, and no matter how prepared one is, there is always the question: what and how much to bring. The answer might seem obvious: “everything you need, and only as much of it as required.” Right.

I am a huge fan of one-bag travel, Mary not so much. ;-) And that’s okay, because travel should be enjoyable for each individual, and none of each of our respective choices should impinge on the pleasures of the other. When I am traveling solo, or perhaps to join another photographer, the discipline and benefits of one-bag travel are profound. I’ve done Bora Bora with two monster Pelican cases full of gear, plus the necessary luggage. Never again. I’ve done New Zealand with a carry-on size-compliant bag (that contained two medium format systems—Phase and Hasselblad!), though Air New Zealand did force me to check that bag on the way home (when that’s much less of a problem). I’ve also done a full photo session with a Phase and Leica kit, plus clothing and tripod all in a Tom Bihn Techonaut 30 (my favorite bag).

But this trip is local, by car. And while the GT is relatively spacious, you’re not putting a steamer trunk in it. [Nor should you want to; unnecessary weight nibbles away at EV range, and that nibbling adds up.] So, again, what to pack? The Techonaut 30 is again the bag of choice. Without the Phase, and just a small Leica kit (and another compact Leica combo that Mary is trying out) and tripod, plus clothing. If anything, the Tech30 is overkill. All that stuff in the picture above? I’m not bringing all that. I don’t need it. But I will still make choices to make the most of what I carry. Without the Phase, I don’t need the more robust RRS Ascend tripod; I can use the even more compact and lighter Peak Designs Travel Tripod. I don’t need the umbrella, or the cover the camera, or the larger filter set, etc. Leaving stuff behind also cuts down on making choices in the field that distract from your artistic work. Win and win.

Why bother to pack light for a road trip? Aside from the aforementioned fuel efficiency, the other reason is comfort. Fewer things to haul to and from the car, fewer things to unpack in the room, less clutter. More freedom. That’s what works for me. I find the quasi-asceticism very rewarding. Over the course of my career and life, I wasn’t very good at zen. These little bits of it are gratifying.

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