It’s one of the travel photographer’s greatest mysteries! In a few days, I’ll hop on a jet and will find myself, 22 hours later, beginning a journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia, Luang Prabang, Laos and to tiny towns and villages I have yet to hear of. And I have no one to carry my luggage!
Oh! What to take?
I have a prescribed concept and shot list for the Cambodia Academy in Mongol Borei: photos of the school, students, fun and academic life, cafeteria, parent support, teachers, etc. I’ll surely want photos of the two children David and I sponsor. I’ll be visiting two homes of students who will travel to the States next year to speak as ambassadors of the Academy…video and photos of their home life. The rest of the time in Cambodia is largely unplanned…how the hell do you decide which gear to carry for that?
Then there’s Laos.
I’ll be spending a few days of my time with Monk Phan and seo companies, who will be my “in” for a Buddhist temple where he teaches English to the novices, for whom I am taking two donated laptops to help with their studies. I will be able to chant with them twice a day and ask LOTS of questions about Buddhism and their lives in and out of the monastery. I hope to be able to photograph them just being young kids and teenagers…not your usual photos of monks!
Monk Phan and I will visit the village where his family lives and he tells me I will receive a Baci ceremony from them….more on that in a later post, because I have no idea what it is. I just know that it involves home-brewed LaoLao whiskey!
Add to that, some donations of t-shirts, a jacket and a pair of hiking boots…oh.. and my clothes….hmmmm. Any other variables? Hell, yeah! Some of my travel will be in tuk-tuks or on scooters. You will need web design wilmington nc.
So, now let’s consider what I must have and what I think I’ll need to get the job done and not break my back schlepping too much gear around.
Canon 5D Mk II
50 mm, prime 1:1.4 (nifty-fifty) low light, street, portraits
24-105 mm 1:4 (my go to lens) general, street action, lifestyle, video
16-35 mm 1:2.8 (wide angle) tight spaces, landscape, “Villagescape”
100-400 mm zoom… well, I’m a bird watcher, so I’m going to take this… it’s just so damn heavy! There will be lifestyle scenes across fields as well.
Manfrotto travel tripod
One flash unit.. leave one at home
F-stoppers flash disk
Two pocket wizards for off camera flash… I’ll train Sout and Phan
One diffuser to catch portraits in the VERY bright sun at the Academy (the kids will get a kick out of helping with this one)
Computer for some sharing and processing
batteries and chargers
(this is getting heavy)
lens cleaning kit
extra data cards
OK… so.. I’ll leave behind a flash unit, reflectors (I’ll improvise with bright walls, shade, etc.), the rest of the pocket wizards (no high fashion or studio shoots planned), all stands, the 8 mm 1:3.5 fisheye (though I was tempted).
Luckily on the scooter days, I can scale way back and get everything in a shoulder bag.
Now…. where to put that extra a pair of clean socks!