I’m a really fast packer. I can be packed and set to go at any point in less than ten minutes. And I pack super light too. A 4-day trip in a backpack.
Except when I’m taking my photography gear. Then, I need to debate, decide, pack, change it again and then throw up my hands, pack it all, realise it is too much and then cut down.
When I started photography (as a hobby), I used to travel with ONE lens – the standard 18-55mm. I didn’t realise what a great lens this was till I went back and started looking through my shoebox collection of photographs. Then I got the 18-200mm and this was my favourite travel lens. Yes, you cannot get a great bokeh. Yes, the lens has drawbacks. But my vision was different when I was traveling, and I sorely miss it (well, it is still around. Just has to be serviced badly).
In the past few months, I’ve been working with SIGMA lenses and I absolutely love these lenses. I could easily say that they’ve really spoiled me for other lenses. The only drawback is SIGMA’s 18-300mm lens – the essential do-it-all – doesn’t quite measure up to my trusty old 18-200mm lens. In any case, I’ve stopped using tele lenses during travel and I want to shoot with a fixed lens only. This is a challenge I set myself and has resulted in some frustration on the spot and some great shots. And some missed shots.
Plus, I do not allow myself more than 2 lenses at any given point, so I have to choose carefully. The 50mm is usually a standard. I love shooting portraits, and this works great for portraits and street. The second lens, these days, I generally debate between a wide or a zoom. Despite my recent spurt in landscape photography, that isn’t one of my genres. I like shooting gritty streets, the underbelly and the absolute absurd. I like shooting people, or elements of landscape that involve people. I recently had a chance to review the SIGMA 135mm F1.8 Art lens and absolutely loved it. (Then again, I’m yet to find a Sigma art lens that I don’t love). The flip side of this lens is the weight. It is over a kg and can get pretty damn heavy when you are hiking through the streets. Plus, since I go with my trust old Canon 7D, which is a crop sensor, I’ve an 80mm in the form on a 50mm. So I end up going with a wider lens (also since I’ve been traveling to places that call for wide lenses) like a 24mm or the 20mm.
I’m yet to invest in a GoPro. Not sure what exactly is holding me back. But I use the OnePlus a lot when I’m on the road for quick shots. The OnePlus 3T is quite fantastic, even in terms of manual settings. Plus I realised early on that a DSLR isn’t quite suitable for shooting on the go.
What’s in your Travel Gear Bag? Keen to hear!