Any active photographic expedition can be exhausting. Events shooters, wedding photographers and sports photographers can really feel the effects of a shoot when it's done. For those of us shooting landscapes and wildlife, the hike in can be pretty brutal. Adding 40 or so pounds in camera gear only makes the job more tiring. Here are a few tips for shedding some pounds in your pack or bag.
Leave the laptop at home or in the room.
I know some readers will cringe at this one, if not for the fact that they can't break the chain to the device, then because it's hard to leave something valuable unattended. If you're not at home, most hotels will have safes or other secure storage options included with your room charges or for a small fee. Not only will you eliminate a few pounds, you'll be protecting your computer from the potential damage that might be caused by packing it around. Let go for a little while and carry a few spare memory cards so you don't have to worry about downloading.
Use a tripod alternative.
Yes, I know, those mini tripods often just don't do the trick, and beanbags, etc. can be just as heavy as a full-size tripod. If you're packing around a big telephoto zoom or prime, you're going to need solid stabilization and that three-legged monster is hard to beat. It isn't the only choice, though, especially if you're not carrying really heavy glass. Check out this article for a good discussion on alternatives.
Use a zoom when a zoom will do.
We all know that prime lenses are the first choice when it comes to image quality. On the other hand, unless you're birding or imaging planets, you might be able to sacrifice a little bit of sharpness in exchange for a big difference in weight. Street and travel photography, event shooting and many other genres will let you get by with a little big of softness if your image tells a quality story. You can also do some sharpening in post processing. Find a good walkaround zoom to cover the range you'll be most likely to use and leave the primes at home when you're going to be really active or packing your gear a long way.
Redistribute the weight
Sometimes reducing fatigue is simply a matter of weight distribution. There are a great number of good camera holsters, harnesses and other ingenious rigs engineered for placing the weight on the strongest areas of your body. There's a good chance that by using more than one carrying point, you can haul the same amount of equipment without feeling so much strain.
These are far from the only ideas you can consider for making the task of lugging your gear around easier. They are, however, quick solutions that should help you feel a little relief with just a little bit of effort.