Photography is my workout

by See-ming Lee
Photo trips with 10kg of glass
Photography is my workout.
Photography is my workout.

I don’t really go to the gym — but it doesn’t mean that I don’t exercise. My photo trips are/were my literal workout. I lug around 6-10kg of of lenses in a backpack when I do my photography.

This photo shows a typical case I carry for air travel. It‘s a rolling case. I got it a while ago because it’s really heavy if you need to trek around a large international airport as hand-carry. Once on the ground, I’d transfer everything from the rolling case into a backpack. The rolling case is not light — 5.8kg. So I won’t be using it when I’m on the ground.

If you thought that hiking in Antarctica in the snow is touch, try adding 6-10 kg to the whole trip while trying to take photos during the hike. During my Antarctica trip, I was exhausted every day by the time I got back to the ship. The thing with that trip is, I have no way to gauge how much I had to walk. The roads are not paved and we were literally walking on snow. The only thing really worthwhile was the landscapes and the penguins. True wonders — so worth it. Once in a lifetime experience.

I usually carry two cameras when I travel — one full-frame with wide angle lenses (either 17-40 or 24-70), and one crop-frame with a long lens (usually the 100-400). Yes, these are cameras with interchangeable systems — but you should never change lenses in the field. That’s not the way unless you love dust spots. So I always walk around with two bodies.

Sometimes people asked why I bought the 70-200 f/4L and not the 70-200 f/2.8L — do you know how heavy that extra stop is? Something that‘s so heavy that you won’t want to carry is something you would never use.

  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM — 705 g
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II — 1490 g

I was planning to upgrade my DSLRs to full mirrorless a couple of years ago, but then the pandemic started, and so I really don’t feel that I should upgrade my cameras with nothing to shoot. Also, work happened — I am now so busy that I haven’t had a vacation for 7 years ever since RoyaleAPI happened.

If/when I have time to take a breath to go on photo trips again, I might pick up an R3 or R5 from Canon. Who knows, maybe someone special would send me one for the holiday seasons (wink wink).

This was a crappy photo I took with my iPhone 5 in 2013 because all the cameras were in the bag. Obviously.

/ Photography is my workout
/ 2023-12-17