People joke about women and their love of handbags. But what about photographers and our obsession with finding the perfect camera bag? I really do not want to think about how many camera bags I accumulated and sold and bought and re-purposed over the years. Bags of varying sizes, materials, number of compartments, colors, etc. all in the quest for the perfect bag to compliment the perfect collection of gear to anticipate any and every photographic scenario.

I actually spent the last hour fitting my chosen cameras and lenses into the various bags I own in preparation for the upcoming Iceland trip.

Do I take my traditional, ballistic nylon Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home (old style) with its extra padding and pockets? Do I take my larger Courser F1002 canvas bag that will not only fit my cameras with lenses attached, but also allow me to slide in a laptop? Do I use any of the inexpensive bags I found while scouting the local Army Navy Surplus store.

Among my choices, I think I am going with this:

In a week I leave for a photo/driving holiday in Iceland. Like any gear-loving photo enthusiast the bulk of my trip planning revolves not around booking flights, or cars, or accommodations, rather it is thinking about what gear to bring.

So after (way too much) careful consideration, I've decided to bring the following equipment as the best compromise between traveling light yet meeting all possible photographic situations (both real and imaginary).

Whether I was simply suffering GAS or had a real photographic need, I've expanded beyond the small and fast micro four thirds system I've happily used for the past three years, and bought a not as small and not as fast Fuji X-E1 with XF 18-55 "kit" zoom.

I built a light box today. No one in my family is making items to sell on eBay or Etsy. I do not make any income from product photography. I really have no reason for a light box except as an experiment. 

The Internet is full of DIY instructions to transform cardboard boxes into light boxes, but I decided instead to go upscale and use PVC tubing instead. Why PVC? Because I lacked a suitable cardboard box.

After bribing my son with a drive through Dunkin Donuts, we went to the hardware store and returned with this:

I previously blogged about "Making an Effort" with photography in which recounted forcing myself to go for a walk with my camera instead of taking a nap. For the second time in the same week I was faced with a choice - do nothing or take pictures.

I was in Boston with over three hours to kill waiting for my daughter to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It was cold and raining. I considered grabbing a coffee and sitting inside warm and dry streaming a film on my laptop. But I didn't. Instead, I pulled the hood over my head and walked into the rain.

This is what I saw: