Now that it's too late to add or subtract gear, what did I end up packing?

from "Hairspray" at Zach Theatre.

Unless you are much, much more brilliant than I'll ever be the process of packing seems always to be fraught with regrets and misgivings. I wish I could be a modern photographer (equipment wise) but have the travel services of the golden age of travel, when people could travel with giant "steamer" trunks and be followed through train stations and airports by legions of baggage handlers. If that were the case I'd take along everything photographic that I own in case I had a passing whim to pull some esoteric lens out of its velvet lined case and use it once or twice. Sadly, this is a possibility only for those with deeper pockets than mines, in current times.

After using the G9s for the past two weeks, on a daily basis, over and over again, it was a foregone conclusion that I would be taking them as my primary shooting cameras. There was a bit of hesitation last night as I looked fondly at the GH5S and it's lovely color palette but my newly acquired, intimate knowledge of the G9s pushed them to the front of the line. And, of course, batteries....

Now, here is where you'll probably disagree with me but I decided to leave the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 at home. It was a tradeoff between how much I could carry and how much use I thought I might get out of the longer selection of focal lengths. I know, I know, it's an exquisite lens and I'll regret not having it at some point but there are times I also regret not having a 100 megapixel Phase One system as well.  I'm sure I'll get over it....

Since I forfeited the longer focal lengths that helped me get off the fence on my primary zoom lens. I decided on the Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 Pro over the Panasonic/Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 because the Olympus lens gives me an extra 40mm of reach, is a known super star and has proven itself to me in many more situations than I've been able to cover with the Panasonic/Leica. The new guy gets left behind until it shows me some aspect where it's the better choice. The one thing that kept the new lens in the running was the lower weight...

Once those decisions were made everything else fell into place. I needed the Panasonic 8-18mm because wide is good for landscape stuff and near/far effects. 

After I pulled in the heavy hitters I added a few lenses for play. My choices for this adventure? The Sigma 30mm f1.4 and the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 (small, light and dual I.S.+ sharp) and finally, the Sigma 60mm f2.8 DN. 

So, there you have it. Lenses for personal work that fit in a small bag and won't tweak my back. When you get tired and haven't slept in a while every pound makes a difference. Go lighter to go further.

I'm happy with my choices and writing about them allowed me to while away the waiting time. Now it's time to check a bag. Happy days!

Ah. The JF"catch-22". Making waiting akin to punishment.

I hate waiting but I hate being late even worse. It's one of those personality quirks. So, I got to the Austin airport and approached a SkyCap to curb check my luggage (I'm heading to Iceland today) and get everything squared away.

The guy behind the counter gave me the sad news. Since my layover exceeded six hours in JFK he could only check the bags to there. They'd have to be collected in baggage claim, re-checked for my next flight, and I'd have to go back through security again. No problem.

But when I got to NY I asked an agent to check my bags and he informed me that they have no way to store baggage for longer than..... six hours....and that I would have to wait from 12:30pm till 3:05pm before I could check my (one) bag. I'd have to drag my suitcase around with me until then.

But where's the Catch-22? Well, all the seating and good food is inside the security perimeter but until you check your checked luggage you can't go through security. But all the seating and decent food is inside the security zone/departure area and you can't go through there until you check your bags and we're right back to the six hour exclusion period.

In 25 minutes I'll (theoretically) be able to check in the bag and proceed to the TSA check point.

It's gray, cold and murky in NYC. Instead of standing in a giant, crowded ticketing area (absolutely bereft of seats) I decided to take the Air Trans tour of the entire airport. I dragged the bag along and got on the Air Trans, which is mostly intended to take travelers to connecting terminals. Pretty bleak for tourism, but then airport tourism was never high on my bucket list.

I think from now on I'll try to make my own travel arrangements rather than leaving it up to someone else. After two weeks of tight schedules and (Yikes) eighteen flights across the Southeast U.S. my tolerance for schedule slop is pretty minuscule.

Looking for a little silver lining, I did bring along the cookies they gave me on my last flight. I think I'll eat them now......

And, by the way, today is my birthday. Happy to have made it to 63 and hoping to get a few more good decades in..... I'd like to end up setting the record for the oldest working photographer. But not if I have to spend those decades waiting to check my luggage....