There it is, like a night before the exams, the eve of a departure is always rich in adrenaline for me. The questions are always the same: what do I put into my bag? Or, worse, which bag I choose for this trip ….?
Not happy, I’ve added another relevant change to a few hours from this trip, a new camera, the Leica SL. Now, I just have a few hours, an evening, to learn how to use it, to understand where all the various commands are. A small risk that I take with pleasure because the journey on the road in Andalusia is a perfect opportunity to see it seriously at work.
Let’s start from the itinerary
Everything starts from Alicante, southern Spain. From there, with a rental car (Hertz), we will cross the Andalusian region by going through the Tabernas desert, Sierra Nevada, Granada, Córdoba, Sevilla, Cadiz and Malaga. My reference guide, like any trip, is the Lonely Planet, always helpful and full of good advice. In this wonderful region, there is so much to photograph, I have to skip something, but I prefer to have a travel pace not too tight and stressful. In planning, in fact, I’ve been able to set a stay of two nights in each place.
I did not read too much about what to see, because I prefer to make me surprise and guide you from the sensations of the moment, so I already know that every place will turn him long and wide.
What kind of photography do I want to get?
Before choosing the tools, it is very important to have a good idea of what are you going to see and, above all, what you want to photograph. Unfortunately, the temptation is always that of wanting to bring all the best gears with you, but for a journey on the road, with an average temperature close to 40 degrees, It is better to be lightweight and have everything under control rather than losing pieces along the way.
As far as I’m concerned, on this trip, I expect of doing many landscapes and street photos. Converted to focal lengths, it means I probably need 3 to 4 lenses, considering I do not use the zoom lenses. The telelenses, in my case 90mm or 135mm, probably will be the least used ones.
The choice of the bag is crucial for a trip where I plan on moving very much on foot and under a burning sun. Choosing a wrong bag, uncomfortable, can adversely affect photography as well as the vacation. It is very important for me to feel comfortable and the bag must not contain too many things and too many pockets.
Access to what is needed must be fast and easy.
For a few years, I always use the “messenger” model because it is what gives me more freedom in the movements while looking also elegant. The Sling model, for example, I excludes a priori because, in such a hot place, having the shoulder always covered would make me sweat a lot. Said so, here are my three bags, two Ona and one Lowepro, one in leather and the other in canvas.
Lowepro is the most spacious and complete, black and canvas material, is the least elegant of the three. It’s also very deep. This bag is mostly used in those situations or journeys where I do hiking or need to carry more gears. For this journey, it’s too much in everything.
Ona bags are much more comfortable and elegant and allow me to also go out in the evening without really looking like a photographer, so I prefer them. Between the two, the one on the right, the Brixton model, is more spacious but a bit too rigid, which makes the inner pockets practically unusable.
In the end, the choice fell on my favorite, albeit small but soft, compact and very elegant, the Leather Prince Street. Traveling with this bag is really a pleasure, but it can only contain a small camera, certainly not a reflex.
it’s pretty damn beautiful
Here the doubts have fallen almost immediately. I would have liked to bring them both, but I want to be focused on the newcomer, the Leica SL, so to better discover it and try it out the best. It will not be a long journey so I do not want to have too much material to handle. For this time, let the Leica M 262 rest at home.
With my new Leica SL, I can finally use all of the M42 lenses I’ve bought in the various vintage markets. Unfortunately, however, I had no time to test all of them, so to be on the safe side, I’ll take the M lenses:
- The Voigtlander Skopar 21mm f4 – landscapes
- The Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH – Street
- The Summicron 50mm f2 – close up and portraits
- The Tele-Elmarit 90mm – close up and portraits
What accessories to complete?
And here’s the rest of the accessories that complete my travel photo bag. In the picture above ther is also a Pentacon 135mm f2.8 which I then decided to leave home. (post edit: just couple of seconds before leaving, I dropped this lens in the bag! And ways an incredible great decision!!! )
- Tripod (this is off the bag)
- 5 batteries
- A power bank for my iPhone
- Shoulder strap
- Cleaning kit (air blower, cloth, brush)
- Leica M / Leica SL – Leica M42 / Leica SL Adapters
- Small Moleskin
- 4 SD cards
- A selfie stick
- The faithful Lonely Planet
The battery charger stays in the suitcase.
Now let’s put everything in the bag
As you can see from the pictures above, everything fits in the bag without big problems. Considering that the camera will always be in my hands, in the end, I will even have room to put a bottle of water while I’m around.
It was not easy, but hopefully, I managed to really only get the essentials gears without overloading the bag. The rest of the job will be done by my heart and my eyes, hoping for another unforgettable journey full of beautiful photographs.