I had a good reminder of what is important to gear this week when I was up in Minnesota photographing winter! Temps have ranged all over the place (not unusual for Minnesota), from around 8 degrees for the high, to highs near 30. I was dressed for it, and even got hot hiking in Northern Minnesota when I was going up Lookout Mountain in Cascade River State Park (a climb of all of 600 ft. in elevation to a height of ... wait for it ... 1300 feet!).
With so much clothing, cold conditions (usually), snow and so forth, there is a strong incentive to keep gear simple. It can be hard to change lenses (and sometimes you don't want to), and just handling gear can be challenging. While I do like my Sony NEX cameras, they are small enough with tightly spaced controls that gloves become a challenge.
I mostly shot with a Zeiss 16-80mm zoom. I love the focal length range of this zoom (made for the Sony Alpha cameras, I use an adapter), equivalent to 24-120mm on a full-35mm-frame camera. I also carried a Tokina 10-16mm fisheye zoom. I could carry the camera and lens on my tripod, with the extra lens in a jacket pocket (another pocket held batteries and a hand warmer which really helped, and never got hot).
Now sometimes I think we get carried away by technology and have to have extra camera bodies, more focal lengths, filters, flash, etc., with us at all times. I did have some additional gear with me, but I never used it. I know from experience that all of that extra gear means bulk and weight that must be hauled around, and in winter, you need a place to put it in the snow.
As I was driving through the state, I was listening to a podcast from Radio West, Rx for Tech. David Strayer of the University of Utah was being interviewed about nature and technology. He said that no technology in nature can allow for more awareness of nature.
That made me think a bit. I realized that not having a lot of gear with me freed me both as a photographer and a naturalist who connected with nature. Strayer was talking specifically about things like smart phones, but I think the idea of simplifying the technology one takes into nature is not a bad one. I know it was a good lesson for me. I think it forced me to deal differently and more directly with the nature I was photographing.