My Vanquest SKITCH-12 is ready for the trip!

I'm going to Germany next week. Spending two weeks there and hope to capture some great images. Naturally, before a trip such as this, my mind turns to packing. Clothes and camera gear. It's already turning cooler in Southern Germany (Bavaria, primarily), so clothes I think I have figured out. And, except for the flight over, space is not a real issue since I'm renting a small car this trip. I'll be staying with my sister-in-law and my two adult nephews for half of the trip, but driving around small townsin northern and southern Bavaria for the other half.

My Panasonic GM-5 with the Olympus 9mm BCL attached is very pocketable!

I have used my Panasonic GM-5 camera almost exclusively since I got it back in April of this year. I love how small it is and, therefore, have carried it with me almost all the time. As a result, I haven't used my E-M1 much since April. Now, the E-M1 is not large, especially when compared to my old Canon 60D. But, next to the GM-5, it is certainly larger. However, I want to use the E-M1 90% of the time on this upcoming trip. I have a better keeper rate when I shoot with the E-M1. Plus, my larger lenses are a better fit on the E-M1 with regard to balance. Obviously, since the GM-5 is also a micro4/3 camera, all of my lenses also work with it. So, recently, I've been trying to use my E-M1 more. It's amazing how quickly you forget where buttons and control functions are! 

Love the OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm Pro lens. A total weather resistant package.

When I'm out and about and also, I've noticed, when I'm on trips, I tend to use my Olympus 12-40mm pro lens most of the time. In fact, I'm tempted to take that lens and only one or two others to use with the E-M1: my Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 and my Panasonic 25mm, f/1.4. I'd leave my Olympus 60mm macro and the 75-300mm, f/4.8-6.7 home. Though I may want the reach of the latter, I find I don't end up using it much if at all when I travel. And of all my lenses, it's the heaviest next to the 12-40mm.

This is always the dilemma before a trip. That is, how do I balance the "just in case" choices with the history of what I most often use? My primary objective during my time in Germany is to make great images of family and people I meet. It's not really a sightseeing trip per se - and I'm not really a 'sightseer' either - but rather a 'traveler,' choosing to just experience what presents itself. I speak German. I've been to Germany many times. But this time, being alone (my wife is not really "into" Germany) and having a car so I can go off easily and explore the countryside and small towns/villages, I just want to capture those experiences. For that, I don't plan on doing any macro shooting and don't see a need for the 75-300mm either.

I believe I just talked myself out of taking those two lenses! Yup! I think it will be the Olympus 45mm, f/1.8 (small and good for those portrait shots I hope to get), the Panasonic 25mm, f/1.4 (my 'fastest,' brightest lens), and the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 for some reach. The first two pack nicely together connected by two end caps glued together and in a Domke Wrap. I'll pack the E-M1 with the 12-40mm mounted and my Panasonic GM-5 with the 12-32mm. I also plan to take my relatively new Olympus Tough TG-Tracker with me and I will have my new iPhone 7 Plus with its new dual cameras. I'll probably just take a lavalier mic in case I want to do any video recording and I'll bring my new, small Olympus audio recorder.

The next decision relative to gear is what support system(s) do I take? I recently wrote about all the options I own and I have a lot. Instead of a standard tripod, I'm going to just take my little LolliPod. It's not super strong, but will serve me for when I see myself wanting to use a tripod with either my E-M1, GM-5, or the TG-Tracker. Because it's so light, I could use it as a selfie stick, should I decide I need to. And it can sort of serve as a monopod, albeit one with three feet. My other support piece that's going in my bag is the HandlePod. It's quite versatile and I think I can use it for more situations than the dSLR Joby GorillaPod. Haven't decided on the PlatyPod, but it takes so little space, it will probably stay in the bag. Since I will once again have an iPhone, my ShoulderPod will definitely be with me always. I want to do some videos and the new iPhone 7 Plus will be perfect for that! And I can connect the ShoulderPod to my LolliPod, HandlePod, or the PlatyPod Pro. Perfect!