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I don’t understand photographers traveling light

I’m glad I wasn’t lazy and I had my tripod with me as I was walking around in Pienza, Italy, after sunset and came across kids with their electronics.

I just read another “pro” blog saying to leave your DSLR camera and lenses at home when traveling and just take a small mirrorless camera with one lens. If the purpose of your trip is to make great images, then that is the most stupid advice there is.

Let me get this straight:

  • You’re going to a grand location.
  • You may never go there again.
  • You want to make great images.
  • You’ve invested a good deal of money for the trip.
  • You’re spending valuable time on the trip.

So you should use equipment that you wouldn’t use at home to photograph your dog?

Yes, I’d rather travel light, it is much easier. I’d rather take no luggage and have everything given to me when I arrive. But that doesn’t happen in my income range. I always have at least one more case of equipment than anyone else – I want to be ready for the shot.

Now if I were to go on vacation and sit on a beach and do nothing, then I don’t need my real camera gear. But that doesn’t happen for me. Even when I’m not on a exclusively photography trip, I get away at least of a couple of mornings for sunrise light so I can make some decent pictures.

I see people buy these light, flimsy tripods for trips and they would never use the skinny things at home. So why use them when you are someplace special? Oh yea, it is easier. I hosted a workshop in Tuscany last summer and a couple of times when we went into quaint medieval villages I didn’t bother taking my tripod. I shoot nearly everything on a tripod but I was feeling lazy. And it showed. When I got home and looked at my images I couldn’t figure out why some days I didn’t get much in the towns. Then it hit me that I wasn’t using the tripod and it changed the way I shot in the towns. I did snapshots instead of real photos because I was just walking around popping off tourist photos without thinking what I really wanted to say with my photos. I blame that on my laziness.

I’m not going to let “It is easier” be the determining factor on whether I get good images. I hope you don’t either.

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