Darn Him for Bringing It Up

Derrick Story
3 min readAug 11, 2022

I’m thinking about a condo in Maui. I go there every couple of years, and have been doing so for over two decades. Actually, I’d like to be there right now.

But that’s not why it’s top of mind. I have a friend visiting there in a week, and we’re talking about his camera gear. We both love all the cool stuff we’ve accumulated over the years — lenses, camera bodies, filters, and more.

When I first started going to Maui, I lugged along a full backpack with much of that inventory. I thought I needed zooms for nature, primes for low-light, and a waterproof camera for swimming. All of this in addition to my mask, snorkel, and fins. Maybe a few clothes too.

But I’ve learned a few things during my time in paradise. First, I don’t need more than one change of underwear and socks. I never use them. But I do need board shorts and swimming trunks, plus a decent shirt for going out to dinner. That’s about it. Over my last five trips, I’ve never regretted cutting my wardrobe in half. Not once.

It’s the same for camera gear. I discovered that I wasn’t using three-quarters of what I packed. So instead, I put an Olympus Tough in my board shorts and called it a day. I went swimming with it, took it along for sunset cocktails, and brought it to the pool too.

Why did I transition from a backpack full of gear to a compact camera? Two reasons.

The first is experience. When I’m traveling for pleasure, and not on assignment, I don’t need to be ready for every possible scenario. Plus, I’m a good enough photographer that I can squeeze every drop of quality out of any device that I have with me.

Knowledge is more powerful than gear, and it weighs a lot less.

Second, my iPhone is a darn good camera. With the Pro Max, I have a mild telephoto, wide angle, and super wide angle lenses. Combine those with the zoom on the Olympus Tough, and I’m in excellent shape.

The pictures that I come home with today are just as good as 20 years ago. And I’m having more fun than ever.

My friend told me that he too was thinking of going light for his upcoming trip. “I don’t need all that stuff,” he said.

He’s right.

But darn him for bringing it up. An ice cold mai tai by the pool sounds really good right now.

(With, of course, an Olympus Tough in my board shorts.)

Derrick Story

Photographer, writer, podcaster — www.thedigitalstory.com — Editor of "Live View" on Medium.com.