I contemplated what gear to bring for quite a while before we headed to Italy. I knew I wanted good glass that would provide great results during our trip, but I didn't want to lug lots of lenses around with me for a couple of reasons. 1) more gear = more weight (who wants to carry lots of weight especially when we would be doing lots and lots of walking and sightseeing) and 2) risk of loss/damage/theft.
In the end I decided to bring one main lens (24-105mm f/4.0) and one portrait lens (50mm f/1.4). I was planning on taking some portraits of my friends while there but that didn't really happen so the 50mm barely got used during the trip. In hindsight only bringing the 24-105 would have been fine. It stayed on my camera the entire trip, I didn't have to worry about switching lenses and leaving it somewhere, or it getting snagged out of my bag. It is a really decent zoom lens and I knew that most of the shots I would be taking would be outside in the daylight so the 4.0 f-stop wasn't limiting to me. Even on indoor shots it worked great since my 6D handles high ISO really well. I definitely recommend a zoom lens such as this one if you are planning to take a mostly sightseeing trip. Leave all the other gear at home, safe and sound!
Multiple batteries/SD or CF cards
In order to save room (and my back since I didn't check any of my camera gear onto the plane) I didn't want to bring a lot of chargers, hard drives etc...I recently purchased these handy little Think Thank cases for batteries and CD/SD cards so I loaded both of them up and brought only these with me on the trip.
The battery case (black) holds up to four batteries. I only have three so I fully charged up all of them, put one in the camera and the other two in here. I only used up one and a half of the batteries the entire time I was there! I also brought multiple SD cards (red) so I could just keep the images on the cards and wait to download all of them until I got home. I know most people might not recommend this because if you loose the case, you loose all of your images! I totally understood this risk, but I made sure to keep really close tabs on this case and had it on me at all times.
If you are traveling to Europe or anywhere with grand architecture or fascinating landscapes, I highly recommend a wide angle lens. Even if you don't have a wide zoom like the 24-105 or a 17-35, a 35mm prime would do great as well. Being able to take in the whole scene (especially inside the ornate basilicas and churches) you need something really wide since you often have limited room. This is another reason I am glad I brought the 24-105, it handled those wide shots perfectly!
Initially I was planning on just carrying my camera strap free in my Kelly Moore Kelly Boy bag. I was somewhat worried with the possibility of it getting snatched so I thought keeping it in the bag as much as possible would be a better idea. Boy am I glad I changed my mind at the last minute! I brought my Peak Design camera strap and could not be happier that I decided to bring it. The bag got heavy with the camera in it and it was a chore to take it out every time inspiration hit. Paul ended up carrying the bag and I carried the camera cross body and that system worked out perfectly!
Put it down!
You are in a new place. You are with loved ones. You are experiencing something for the first time. Take time to just soak it all in and EXPERIENCE it all without a camera in front of your face. Make sure you have a balance of capturing moments and relishing and marinating IN those moments with your loved ones. You will be immensely blessed by both!
All images (with the exception of random iPhone images) taken with:
Canon 6D | 24-105mm f/4.0 lens