See How It’s Done: Four Examples of How One Photographer Traveled Lighter

See How It’s Done: Four Examples of How One Photographer Traveled Lighter

UK-based architectural and fine art photographer Quintin Lake previously gave us his six camera bag tips for travel photographers. He has also put together four short case studies from his travels to show how he managed to still travel light, even in the wildest of conditions.

In each case, Quintin tells us where he traveled to, for how long, the weight of his gear, and what bag(s) he used to carry it all. He manages to remain true to his “less is more” philosophy, even when trekking across the Arctic for a month. Learn more about his experiences, and check out the amazing photos he took along the way.

Case study 1: Arctic landscape photography

Duration: 1 month

Travel style: Self-sufficient expedition. Tent, food, fuel, mountaineering equipment, food and medical equipment for the time in the field.

Weight of camera gear: 2.5 kg/5.5 lbs.

Weight of supplementary gear: 78 kg/172 lbs.

Camera bags: CCS pouches and holster with canoe bag

As I was pulling a pulk (sledge) and climbing mountains, I used a holster and pouches around my waist to carry my camera and stored these in an Ortleib canoe bag when not in use.

Midnight Mountains, Greenland, 2006 (Winner Travel Photographer of The year, Portfolio 2010)

Greenland landscape, 2006 (Winner Travel Photographer of The year, Portfolio 2010)

Quintin Lake pulling a 80KG pulk (sledge) with food and equipment for a month expedition in Greenland, 2006. Camera carried on CCS waist holster, which slides to rear when not needed.

Case study 2: Street photography in Iran

Duration: 3 weeks

Travel Style: independent travel, hostels, hotels

Weight of camera gear: 3.5 kg/7.7 lbs.

Weight of supplementary gear: 4 kg/8.8 lbs.

Camera bags: Billingham Hadley Small Black Canvas

This journey lent itself to the more traditional approach of using a shoulder bag. The black Hadley is very fast to work from and doesn’t draw any attention.

An Iranian girl looks out from the trunk of Sarv-e Abar-Kuh “cypress of Abar-Kuh”, also called the Zoroastrian Sarv, is a Cupressus sempervirens tree in Abarkuh, Yazd Iran. It is estimated to be over four thousand years old and may be the oldest living thing in Asia. Iran, 2008.

A boy at the window of The Arg (Citadel) of Karim Khan, Shiraz, Iran, 2008.

Billingham Hadley Small Black Canvas, my favorite bag for discreet street photography.

The bag is fast to work from, and can be opened and closed with one hand. Shown inside is a Canon 5DII with 24-105L & 100-400L.

Case Study 3: Walking the length of the Thames

Duration: 10 days

Travel style: Backpacking, sleeping in tent, buying food en-route

Weight of camera gear: 0.5 kg/1.1 lbs.

Weight of supplementary gear: 7 kg/15.4 lbs.

Camera bags: Zpacks ExoZpacks shoulder pouch, sandwich bag

This is my most recent project, and shows the ever-declining weight of my gear and bags. I used ultra light backpacking equipment made with Cuben fiber. For this particular project, I was walking a total of 170 miles (20 miles per day). I wanted to be alert enough to see a picture at the end of a long day, and I need the camera accessible at all times. I used a Canon G1X held in a shoulder strap designed to be a water bottle holder. I transferred all my gear to a waterproof bag when in rained hard.

Thames Waters IV, 5 Miles downstream, near Ashton Keynes, 2012

Thames Waters X, 100 miles downstream, dawn near Shiplake, 2012

Zpacks Exo Cuben fiber Backpack holds my tent, stove, and backing equipment at the start of my walk.

On the Millennium Bridge, London, at the completion of the River Thames walk. Shoulder bottle holder on backpack (shown) contains G1X Camera.

Case Study 4: Architectural photography in Denmark

Duration: 2 weeks

Travel style: Commercial assignment, hotels

Weight of camera gear: 14 kg/30.8 lbs.

Weight of supplementary gear: 3 kg/6.6 lbs.

Camera bags: Mountainsmith TravellerMountainsmith Kit CubeTerra Nova Laser 20Lowe Alpine TT Roll-On 40

I needed a lot of gear for this architectural photography assignment, so it was easiest to work out of a wheeled bag. The tricky part was getting all the fragile gear into 8KG carry-on, which I achieved using a runners backpack and padded pouches.

Hothouse at the Botanical Gardens, Aarhus. Designed by C.F. Moller & Søren Jensen. Denmark, 2012

Staircase at IT Corner, Aarhus University. Designed by Jørn Schütze &Søren Jensen. Denmark, 2012

Architectural photography equipment carried for a two week assignment in Denmark.

Left: Lowe Alpine TT Roll-On 40 containing Mountainsmith Kit Cube, disassembled Gitzo and clothes (checked in, 14KG). Right: Terra Nova Laser 20 containing Mountainsmith Traveller & Macbook Air 11″ (carry-on, 7.9KG)

Read more about Quintin Lake’s travels, photography, and gear at
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There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Mike at 10:07 am

    The Hadley Small is a great choice for a street photography bag that doesn’t draw attention to itself.

    You know what does draw attention to itself? A 5D2 + 24-105L + 100-400L, stuffed into a Hadley Small. If I had to think of the world’s worst street photography kit, it would be the 5D2 + 24-105L + 100-400L.

  2. Quintin Lake at 11:17 am

    I want the OPTION of not dawning any attention. If the camera is in my hand I’m comfortable with all around knowing it, but If I want to put it away and blend in I like my bag to do that. I mostly use the 400ml for landscape and architecture details rather than sniping people, although i’ve had some successful people shots at that focal length. I don’t think that street photography = rangefinder but i’m sure many including yourself would disagree!

  3. Pingback: Case studies on Photographers Traveling Light | Coordinate Gear
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  5. Kevin Segedi at 8:53 am

    Mike – your comment literally made me laugh out loud.

    Quintin – your response made me nod in a thoughtful way. That, and I envy your career. Fantastic shots all-around mate. Well done.

  6. Paul Vlček at 5:46 am

    Quintin, congratulations, a good read even though I’m not a photographer and being inconspicuous in the street is not really in my nature. Hope to see you and Mila soon, look after her 🙂 Paul

  7. Eve at 4:52 am

    Hi Quintin,

    Great article for someone who has problem deciding what to bring and then decided to bring all every single time. Luckily I’ve only got 3 lenses. 🙂

    Can you share what camera gears did you bring on your Arctic Landscape Photography Trip?

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