Gear vs Weight: Packing for a month in India

On my trip to India I have several photography goals: (1) taking picture of a tiger drinking from a lake (2) get at least one crazy Holi shot without breaking my camera and (3) improve on my street photography.  During the trip I’ll be on a photo safari for a week in a national park, in Mathura for Holi and hiking the Himalayas and the mountains around Dharmasala. I’ll be on at least 6 flights so I would rather be light than burdened with gear.

My favorite gear tip when traveling like this is to take a second camera bag that you can put in your main bag.  I have a small Manfrotto messenger bag that perfectly fits my camera with a 24-70 mm lens.  When I am shooting street photography and being my tourist self, this is all I need. The great thing about this bag is that the insert is removable and when in my backpack the insert protects my zoom  lens and allows me to lay the bag flat.  In total, my camera bag weighs almost 20 lbs.  This is a ton of weight to carry, but having a messenger bag means that on most days I will only have one camera with me while my gear is in the hotel.

I find that with two lenses my 100-400 mm zoom and 24-70 mm lens, I can cover 99% of the shots that I would like.  No need to take another lens.  I do travel with a second camera body.  The great thing about mirrorless cameras is that the bodies are light.  It would be hard for me to justify spending nearly $3,000 on a backup body but since I plan on traveling for the next two years, it will see lots of use.

My usual debate is tripod or no tripod? I take a lot of landscape pictures, but these are always my least favorite shots so I usually ditch the tripod.  It is heavy and I probably will never use it.  I’m camping on my tiger safari and it would be great to take a night picture of the sky over the campsite, but not sure one picture is worth carrying a tripod for a month.

On this trip I am ditching the tripod but adding a Mavic Air drone.  I still have no idea how to use it properly, but will figure it out as I go along.


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