As a part of my preparations for my trek up and down the coastal United States, I have to decide how I want to document my adventure.
Whenever I travel, my gear can include a DSLR camera (big boy camera), lenses, tripod, batteries, cards, steadicam, GoPro and accessories, not to mention the equipment to support all of it, like a computer and card reader. It was not unusual for me to carry a whole backpack just of camera gear, weighing over 30 lbs, just so I could capture moments in the highest possible quality. My goals varied from corporate marketing to personal memories, but I always wanted to make sure I had gotten everything superbly documented. So, why is this trip different?
My goal for this trip is to become a better person, and without going into a huge philosophical rant, one major point is learning to enjoy each moment along the way. If I bring all my heavy equipment, yes, I will definitely have the quality advantage of a high-end, full frame camera and all the versatility that comes with it. But at what cost? The cost of lugging that gear around? The cost of setting up the shot and missing the bigger picture? The cost of worrying about losing or getting my gear stolen? Or just simply, the cost of missing the moment while looking into a viewfinder?
The Arguments for my DSLR
Having followed local professional photographers like Jonas Maon, Dallas Nagata White, and John Hook, I have really been inspired to take the best photographs I can, wherever I go. The argument going on in my head is ‘I may only experience this once, so I better document it well.’ So, for all my past trips, I have lugged around all my gear, snapping photos and shooting video along the way. Luckily I have realized my goal and now have very exciting, high quality memories documented forever.
The Arguments for Leaving my DSLR
The biggest argument for leaving my DSLR behind is space. Between all the gear it takes to make amazing photography, it not only takes up a whole bag but gets really heavy after you pack it all in. I recently did a trip to Utah & Oregon with just the bare minimum of DSLR gear, and even then it was a whole bag to carry everything in.
The other big argument in my head is the notion of enjoying the moment outside the viewfinder. When I have my DSLR, I am so focused on settings, framing, exposure, zoom, white balance, and other settings, that I’m afraid I may have missed the bigger picture. “Enjoy the moment for what it is and not worrying about the correct settings for documenting it.” It’s a strange thing to think about, but for someone who’s so used to making sure the settings are correct for any moment (in life or in photography), it will be a huge learning experience to just enjoy the moment for what it is (perfect or not).
What this really comes down to is my goal for this trip. Yes, had this trip been about documenting the journey or capturing the best quality images, it would be a no-brainer to take all my gear and hit the road. However, this trip is about personal growth, living with the imperfections of life, and enjoying the moment. In this way, my camera gear can be a part of this growth. I won’t be able to take the perfect shot and I will be forced to look outside the viewfinder. Of course I will still be taking photographs with my iPhone and GoPro to document the best parts, but without the worry of all that expensive gear, I should have a much more rewarding experience for me.
Gear I Will Be Bringing
This list will be updated as I go along, and hopefully I will write a post-trip review as well so you can see how well it all went!
• iPhone 5
• olloclip 4 in 1 Lenses (will be testing this week)
• GoPro Hero 3+
• Steadicam Smoothee
• Trek Tech Go! Monopod/Tripod
• iPad Mini (for editing)
Do you have any tips/suggestions? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks!
As a side note, Forbes Magazine has a pretty good article about using your iPhone for photography. Remember, as the camera geeks say, “the best camera is the one in your hand.”