What photography equipment to take with you on your next trip, is a question that photographers at all skill levels have to ask themselves. Of course, the gear you take will vary depending on what type of holiday you’re going on and how long you go for, but here’s a few tips that may help you decide whether to take it or leave it.
If I could summarize everything I’m about to tell you in the shortest amount of words possible, it’d be “go light”. Going light with only the essentials enables you to keep your gear on you more often and most importantly, it puts that camera in your hand at times when it may not have been before. So ditch some of the luxuries and concentrate on what’s going to get you that shot you want.
As mentioned, going light is key to successful photographic journeys that are strenuous on the body. Whether it be a trip that lasts a long time, or hiking through mountains for hours on end each day, culling what’s not essential will almost certainly be what makes your journey a joy, both photographically and physically.
Travel involving backpacking and/or Extensive amount of Hiking
One camera body: Personally, I’ve gone mirrorless for weight saving and versatility reasons. But regardless of what you use, there’s only a need for one body and perhaps a slim point and shoot you can effortlessly slip in your pocket and pull out when the situation calls for it.
Two lenses: You’re supposed to be travelling light, so it’s important you don’t weigh down your bag with a bunch of gear you’re barely going to use. Take a f/1.8 (or f/1.4) prime with a focal length somewhere in between the 50 to 100mm range, as this range is superb for street photography and portraits. An ultra-wide angle lens (16-35mm) you’ll need for capturing those breathtaking landscapes.
Filters: UV filters for all of your lenses (for protecting that expensive glass), with a circular polariser and ND for your ultra wide lens at a minimum. Though filters take up very little room, so get a filter pouch and fill it up with CP’s and ND’s for all your lenses if need be.
Light Weight Tripod: Don’t even think about bringing that tank of a tripod you normally use. If you do, it will just sit in your hotel room. Leave it at home and bring a smaller light weight tripod that isn’t going to break your back when you’re trekking up a mountain. If your tripod ways 5lbs+, it’s not light enough. You should be able to get a descent setup around 2-3lbs that should be sufficient.
Spare batteries & Memory Cards: This is an absolute must! The last thing you want is arriving at your final destination after a 3 day trek to find out that your camera has no more juice…or you are out of memory space. I recommend an additional 2 to 3 batteries and plenty of memory cards. Don’t take a battery grip, as this just adds additional weight and makes your camera chunky. Additional batteries in your bags side pocket, is a far better option.
Cleaning equipment: This goes without saying. Take multiple microfibre cloths, a brush, and some lens cleaning fluid so your images are clear of marks.
Hybrid Camera Bag: When you’re out on the road, you’re going to need to carry a whole bunch of things other than your photography equipment (water bottle, guide book, jacket, etc). A hybrid daypack where bag has a horizontal divider, separating your camera gear from your day to day stuff, is a necessity. Preferably get one with a quick access flap, which will give you access to your camera within seconds. This is great for those Kodak moments that come and go in a flash.
To be continued….Travel Photography Equipment Guide – Part 2