02 – explore

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe live in one of the safest cities in the United States with the ability to take a bike nearly everywhere using an off-street trail or clearly-marked bike lanes. My weekly bike ride takes me from the front door of my house to Pacific Coast Highway at Newport Beach, then back home. While in Irvine, the only time I’m on a street is about a 1/4 mile while I transition from one trail to another. When I’m in Newport Beach – it’s all on the road that I share with cars.

I *love* living in Irvine, but now that one of my kids is on a bike, all he wants to do is explore – while the other kid just wants to play in playgrounds. It’s a tough situation, but unfortunately, I have to err on the side of safety and keep him within line of sight – even though we live in one of the safest cities. Why? Safe city statistics are based on crime – not on random car accidents, careless drivers, and careless kids who are too busy playing with their bike bells.

Even worse though – we decided to ride his bike around the trail next to the lake on New Years’ day. Big mistake – the trail was *filled* with people wearing their new workout gear…with every person determined to lose some weight this year. I’m sure in a few weeks, the crowds will thin out.

This afternoon, I ran a quick 10k on the running trail…and for a part of it, I kept up with an entire family on their new bikes.

So, until the paths and trails become less crowded, we should probably explore and find other places where we won’t accidentally get into bike and scooter accidents. On the road, drivers are a force to be reckoned with, but on the bike trails, it’s a 9-year old boy on a new BMX bike and a 6-year old girl on a fancy new Razor scooter, complete with tassels coming out of the handlebars…and of course, being chased by yours truly, with a camera bag that seems to be getting heavier and heavier.

My camera bags (I have four – different bag for different reason) now contain the following:

– Olympus E3 DSLR (primary camera – weather-sealed)
– Olympus E410 DSLR (backup)
– Olympus EPM1 m4/3 mirrorless camera
– Zuiko Digital 14-54/2.8-3.5 lens
– Zuiko Digital 40-150/3.5-4.5 lens
– Zuiko Digital 35/3.5 macro lens
– Sigma 19/2.8 lens (m4/3)
– Samyang 7.5/3.5 fisheye lens (m4/3)
– Olympus FL-36R flash
– generic LED ring light
– Trek-Tech T-pod portable tripod
– two cabled shutter releases for the E3
– batteries, batteries, batteries
– a bunch of other crap (lenspen, straps, cabled flash leads, card reader and cable, white balance lens caps)

All in all, if everything is in one bag (everything does fit into a Tamrac bag that I picked up on Friday), it all probably weighs around 15-20 pounds. Hence, I have some smaller Crumpler bags for on-the-go outings with a single camera and a few lenses. I have not yet found an occasion where I *need* to bring everything. I also have a couple full-size tripods and a clamp that I’m not including – these mostly stay at home or in the trunk of the car.

I am determined to find an occasion/event this year where I will *need* all of my kit with me…

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