It's finally here, your annual leave has been approved, your tickets booked. It's the night before and if you're anything like me you're frantically running around doing your customary last-minute-pack. If you are a photo nut at some point you will be racking your brain about what photography gear to take and what to leave behind.
Here is a few thoughts that might help you to make up your mind.
Without some pieces of gear you're not going to be able to do much. So here's the obvious list:
- Batteries and charger
- Lens. (lens specifics at the bottom of this post)
- If you're shooting raw I would also suggest a laptop and small external HD for backup.
Now that that's packed what other essentials can you take to make your travel photography shine? Here's the list that I can't leave home without.
Circular Polarising Filter or CPL
A CPL is pretty much mandatory if you are doing any work at the beach or where there are a bunch of reflections. But where the CPL particularly shines is when you are shooting through glass, water or any other highly reflective surface . CPL's are super light, small and usually comes with a protective case. If you are shooting outside most of the time you will probably just leave it on the end of your lens. Because it filters out reflected lightwaves you will lose around 1 stop of light. Cheeper brands (typically sold out of China on eBay) may give your images a colour tint so be sure to buy a good brand like Tiffen, Hoya or Lee.
Generic bag and Sling camera strap.
In the words of my darling mum, "It's better to be safe than sorry." Normally I would shrug her remarks off, but when you're a million miles from home in a foreign country and the local language is not even your second, Mum's maxim might be worth considering.
Advertising that you are carrying around an expensive camera is one thing, but a bag full of the stuff makes you a target that's ripe for the picking.
When I travel abroad I usually take a small Maxpedition backpack. They're tough, modular, expandable and don't scream "CAMERA GEAR, PLEASE TAKE ME!"
The only downfall is it lacks padding, but that's nothing a lens sack cant fix. Same goes with straps, Black Rapid have a great selection of sling type straps that I just love. And best of all no strain on your neck.
If you are planing on doing any low light, night time, long exposure, time lapse, or multi exposure HDR photography you are going to need a tripod.
Ultimately you want something that is lightweight. If you can spring for carbon fibre, dodging the airlines excess baggage charges will make it worth its weight in gold. Another important consideration is that it extends to a reasonable height. Sturdiness is also an essential quality. The better tripods have a hook at the base of the center pole to hang your bag to increases stability.
iPhone + DSLR Bot
Time lapse footage is great for inserts or b-roll. All you need is some sort of intervalometer to regularly trigger your camera shutter. If you already have an iPhone all you need is the DSLR Bot app and a cable that weights next to nothing. Perfect for traveling.
It's a balancing game, if you're buying a lens specifically for travel photography and you want a light package with maximum versatility I would recommend something getting a 18-200mm.
However if you are have a wide range of glass and can't decide what to take, your choice will ultimately come down to the type of subjects you think you will encounter. If you are more likely to capture open vistas and cityscapes then take a wide angle .
If you are think wildlife and candid street portraiture are going to be more what you will capture then perhaps a telephoto will be more suitable.
I alway take a 50mm no matter what, as a fall back lens.
Always take out Travel insurance
You can never have enough when you need it most. Enough said.