A moment of Zen


I brought my Leica M-P, a Sony A7 (which I borrowed) and my 4 lenses (21mm, 35mm, 50mm and 90mm) during my trip to Japan in early April. The idea was to use the 50mm or 90mm on the A7, while having the 21mm or 35mm mounted on my M, a typical 2 bodies setup to cover the focal length range while traveling.

So for 10 days I’m carrying them around, climbing mountains, braving seas, venturing woods… I can feel their weight, but it’s not particularly heavy or unbearable for a day of walking. But wouldn’t it be great if you can just travel around with one camera and one lens? It’s definitely possible, and there are those who already did, some even with prime lens (fixed focal length) instead of a zoom lens.

While I was taking a short break at Tofuku-ji, a temple in Kyoto famous for it’s Zen philosophy, I sat in front of one of the Zen garden, pondering about the Zen-ness of photography. Perhaps less is more, perhaps simplicity is more, perhaps cleanliness is more. Yeah, why not. I’ll post this challenge to myself for my future trip and see how things turn out. I’ll try to cover a long trip with one camera and one lens.

“How can that be possible?”

This is the first response I get when I brought up this idea to a friend of mine. I think those who succeeded shooting this way when they travel are those who knew and clear about what they want to shoot. Landscape or street, food or people and so on. There are those who simply want to challenge his mind to think for a different perspective or framing while limiting himself on one focal length. Either way, it will be interesting to see how things unfold.

“Won’t you feel wasted if you can’t get the shot you could have taken? Why torturing yourself on a relaxing trip?”

As I have stressed previously in other post, I won’t die without taking the shot. So I believe it’s really okay for me to miss a shot. Enjoying the moment in real time is certainly more important. As for torturing? Hmm, it’s subjective. One may see carrying loads of gear as more torturing than staying with one camera and one lens. I’m neutral on this so why not just give it a try.

Oh, I just recalled that I did traveled with one camera and one lens before, but it was a 3 days get away in Penang Island, Malaysia. I remember I brought my Fujifilm X-T1 and XF23mm f1.4 to cover the whole trip. Yeah, it’s doable. Perhaps I should try to do it a little more often. Let me know your thoughts about traveling with minimal gear, till then.

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