Before I get into the gear I packed for the trip, I thought I would write something about my philosophy regarding travel photography. It is simply that travel comes first and photography comes second.
Let me give an example of what I mean. When traveling, if we were to arrive at a gorgeous landscape location at noon and the light is harsh and the shadows deep, I would find a composition I like and bracket a few shots in raw format. Then I would return to the car and drive to our next destination. On the other hand, if photography were the first priority, I would not take a photo at noon but merely “check out the location”. Then I would return when the light was expected to be better, such as one of the golden hours. And if the light was not “just right” I might come back yet another day.
As a result of this approach, I expect only about 1% of my shots to be potentially “portfolio” shots, and perhaps another 4% to be useable for Facebook or Instagram. The other 95% are just “nice-to-have” photos. So, at least 95% of my shots do not require a great camera or fast lens. They will not be printed and will be viewed at a maximum of perhaps 1080 x 1920 (full HD). That’s about 2 megapixels. (I think my iPad has a bit higher resolution than “full” HD, at 1536 x 2048. That’s about 3 megapixels.)
With this in mind I try to keep my gear small and light, although I do feel I need to cover focal lengths of 24-300mm ffe to get the framing right, or 24-600 ffe when there will be animals such as the elk, moose, and big horn sheep, which we were expecting in Rocky Mountain National Park.
[Unfortunately I ignored my own advise and took zooms and primes that covered only from 18-350mm ffe. I never used anything wider than the 24mm end of my 24-200 ffe zoom, and wish that in about a dozen of my images that I had something longer than the 90-350 ffe zoom. I wish I’d brought my 200-600 ffe zoom. Oh well, next time.]
The cameras and lenses went into an Incase Camera Insert. I bought it through Amazon two years ago for $40; however it is no longer available. But it shouldn't be hard to find something similar. I'd google/search for something like "camera bag insert".
The insert then slipped into by LLBean "Ridge Runner" day pack ($100 but Bean's always seems to have a 20% off sale going on).
Olympus E-M1 and 12-100mm (90-95% of images)
Panasonic GX80/85 and 40-175mm (5-10% of images)
Sony A6000 and Rokinon 12mm (didn't used)
Cinch it up
Slide into day pack
Toys to be accessible while flying:
MacBook Pro, iPad, Kindle
(note orange brick/battery in camera insert in first photo above,
to be available if needed during the flight.)
Sound reducing headphones
Zipped up with compression straps too.
Will easily slide under plane seat
19" long x 10" wide x 7" thick