Trip To New Orleans: The Gear I Took, The Photos I Got, And How I Managed Not To Irritate My Wife
"Flying is the safest form of travel, flying is the safest form of travel, flying is the safest form of travel." I repeat this over and over to myself as I try to get past my nervousness about flying.
My wife and I are on a plane bound for New Orleans to celebrate 5 years of marriage. This was not a photography trip, it was a chance for my wife and I to spend some much deserved alone time without the children. However, if you think I left my camera at home, think again. My camera goes everywhere I do.
There were some unique factors to consider on this trip. The primary one is my wife’s patience with my hobby. There’s a limit to my enthusiasm for photography on this type of trip, and there should be. This kind of trip is about having the best of both worlds. I wanted to be able to capture our trip without getting in the way of it. To spend time with my wife rather than my camera. To have photography add to the journey rather than take center stage. So, as I drink my way through my pre-flight anxiety, I thought I’d write a blog post about how to walk this line, or at least how I'm trying to do it.
This is probably the reason you clicked on this post. For whatever reason, people are suckers for the “what’s in my bag” posts or videos. I’m not different, so let’s get down to it.
The bag is my trusty Filson medium field bag. There’s no other choice for me really. This thing goes with me everywhere and it is the perfect mix of light, durable and easy access. On top of that, it can fit everything I would ever need for a weekend or a month long trip, photographically speaking. My other bag is my Filson zippered tote. This bag can fit enough clothes for a weekend, or a month. It’s small, light weight and durable, just like my medium field bag. This kept my clothes and my miscellaneous charging accessories and peripherals.
I took a grand total of three cameras with me. I’ll go over the first, well, first. My Fujifilm xt-2 is the perfect camera, in my opinion. It is the best blend of speed, small form factor, and quality that I’ve found. It does great with stills and video, the lens selection is absolutely wonderful, and the form factor is the best of any camera I’ve ever used.
The second camera is my Olympus stylus zoom 120. I can’t tell you yet whether this camera is a keeper or not. It’s a cheap-o thrift store special that I picked up for $5.00. I bought it because of the compact form factor and the generally good reviews online. Also, as you will see from my choice of lenses, I wanted to have a slightly longer zoom lens and this gives me one at 120mm max zoom. The other thing I love about this kind of camera, if not necessarily this one specifically, is that it’s a full frame camera that fits in your pocket. Sure, film is expensive to buy and develop, but this is a $5 camera, so come on.
The third camera is my xaiomi yi action camera. This thing is great for ultra wide simple photographs and for recording video. I don't use it much, but it doesn't weigh anything and it's small enough to chunk in my camera bag without really noticing it.
Choosing lenses is always a little tough for me. I sold a lot of my lenses for exactly this reason. The question is always one of weight versus focal length. Prime lenses are small and lightweight but they don’t cover as much ground as zoom lenses. On the other hand, zooms are heavy and not typically as fast or as good.
For this trip I went with my three favorite prime lenses. The 18mm, the 35mm 1.4, and the 60mm macro Fujifilm lenses. I did this primarily to save weight. In New Orleans, I typically walk everywhere I go and ounces start to feel like pounds as the day goes on. This setup gives me a full frame equivalent of 28mm-90mm plus macro abilities and a fast 1.4 aperture. The film camera rounded out the long end for me on the off chance I wanted some longer shots. I carry these lenses a lot and they always deliver great results in a wide variety of circumstances.
On this trip I’ll also be trying out a weird little lens from Japan. The Fujifilm 23mm f8 fixed focus lens. This thing is tiny and fits in my camera bag pocket without taking up much space or adding much weight. We’ll see how much I use it and how well it does.
To backup my images, I brought my Toshiba Canvio wireless hard drive. This thing is great for backing up raw images without a computer. It’s slow, so it’s best used at the end of the day.
To edit and post images I brought my iPad Pro 12.9” and my iPhone 6splus (I can’t leave the headphone jack behind just yet). For me, this gets my images about 80% of the way there with apps like snapseed, VSCO and affinity photo. Additionally, I love the iOS workflow because I can charge it on my anker battery pack. My MacBook Air won’t do this, so it stays at home.