Doubled Down. Do You Carry Multiple Cameras, too?

I have a habit that I have not completely decided if it is a problem… yet.

It results in lots of great photos, hours of video footage, heaps of social-media ready content, and nary a missed moment.

It also results in a sore back, full hands, and often being the guy standing back recording the action rather than fully participating.

The maybe-a-problem is that I usually carry multiple cameras on vacation.

Actually, while these days I’m often lugging a dSLR with multiple lens, an action camera (like a GoPro) with a video stabilizer, and a smartphone (for snapshots or panoramas, and because it’s a phone), I only occasionally doubt the practicality of this approach.

After all there are some pros to having more than one camera:

The Pros.

  • I usually have the “right” camera or lens for the scene.
  • I’ve taken some amazing pictures over the years and often this comes down to having appropriate equipment.
  • All the tech I’ve invested in gets a turn.

On the flip side, I have been known to just bring a single camera somewhere so I can focus (no pun intended) on a single style of picture-taking.

This makes me think of some of the cons of carrying too much equipment, such as:

The Cons.

  • I only have two hands, and spend a lot of time switching or juggling gear.
  • It’s tough to travel light when you’ve got so much technology and an extra bag for it all.
  • I’m likely a higher target for crime or theft.
  • As a photographer I’m not growing as I’m taking the easy way out of switching to the easier equipment for the scene, rather than getting better with what I have in my hand at the moment.

And to be honest, it’s probably writing down that last one that hits me the hardest, the idea that I’m becoming creatively stagnant because I’ve shifted my focus to gear over improving my technique. Learning happens, after all, because we challenge ourselves to solve a problem that we haven’t encountered before.

I don’t want to make any grand gestures or statements here claiming to forever shift to one way of doing things, but I do wonder if I’m in good company with the multi-camera approach to photography… or if I’ve instead shifted to a kind of photographic FOMO: fear of missing out on some perfect shot.

It’s something to pause and think about next time I set out on a photogenic adventure: should I take just one camera, or a whole bag worth?

March Melt in the River Valley

So desperately am I looking forward to two things: being able to travel further than my neighbourhood and the now-six-month-old puppy being able to tackle a long hike.

Adventure journal.

The spring is being generous to us this year.

Last year (and I remember this specifically because it was the first couple weeks of local lockdown and I was keenly aware of the weather and the time I spent outside because of being stuck at home) we had a slow, wet March melt.

The snow lingered. The ice slipped up the sidewalks. Regular dustings of snow teased a late spring.

And I didn’t yet have a six month old puppy who needed long daily walks.

I live in a city of almost a million people, but I doubt more than ten thousand of them delve very deep at all into our local wilderness.

The local municipal government made some smart decisions a number of years back and created a kind of zoning exclusion to private development along the river. There are some houses and properties grandfathered in, but for nearly fifty kilometers of river it is managed wilderness, threaded with asphalt paths, single track trails, foot bridges, parking access, picnic areas, and boat launches. The single connected system has been calculated to be twenty-two times the size of Central Park in New York City.

And we live a ten minute walk from any of about six nearby access points.

I Took the Afternoon Off.

The dog needed a long walk as much as I did.

We slipped into one of the lesser known river valley access points, the kind where you step onto a gravel trail between some houses tucked into the back corner of the neighbourhood, then your take the left fork away from the main trail and out into what seems to be a small strip of unused agricultural land, follow a narrow single track trail into the trees and then wander your way down a moderate descent to the main asphalt path.

I’ve walked (or run) it a hundred times.

It was new territory for the pup.

And I was being cautious, of course.

The pup is still not fully grown, and she’ll always be somewhat small. Evidence of coyote scat leftover from the winter was all over the place. I’ve seen the wild hounds out there a few times, too. She wouldn’t make much more than a snack for one of them, though they’d be fighting me tooth and nail to get ahold of her. Fortunately they didn’t seem to be lurking nearby and are generally timid critters. We’re going to have an encounter eventually, though. It’s their habitat and I built my house on it. But it doesn’t mean we don’t keep a couple pairs of eyes and ears on alert even when we’re enjoying our walk.

The ground was squishy and the air was fresh.

As I said he March melt has been particularly generous to us this year. The temperatures were in the mid-teens and the wispy clouds let enough sunshine through to make the day more than enjoyable, particularly after that long, long winter.

But mounds of unmelted snow still huddled in the shady bits.

And the ground was soft and soggy where drainage was less cooperative.

The mud caked on my pant cuffs and also in the tuffs of fur around the pup’s ankles.

We trekked down through my familiar route, into the valley and meeting up with the trail where more people had the same Friday afternoon idea as I.

Five kilometers later we had circled back to the house, both tired but refreshed from the spring air, and had a small collection of photos to swipe through as we dozed together on the couch.