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Equipment Advice for Epic Travel Photos

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Having travelled for a large part of my life I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of my must have gear while travelling and shooting.

Camera

Of course right? This is an obvious one but I thought I would put it in the list to save any confusion. There is a huge variety of cameras to choose from not from DSLRs, Mirrorless, Compact digital camera, Bridge and old school SLRs. Each type has a wealth of options for you to choose from ranging from the inexpensive all the way to needing a new mortgage.

You need to think about what you will use the camera for be it wildlife, landscape, street and so on and what you want for the camera. For example, if you plan to avoid using manual mode and you just want to point and shoot on auto mode then an entry level DSLR or a compact digital camera would suit your needs. If you are a little more serious and want to get some great shots on your travels then you can look at mirrorless or higher end DSLRs.

You may also be interested in: How To Take Care of Your Camera While Travelling

Tripod

A must have for landscape photographer especially if you plan on shooting around golden hour which you should be. You will need a tripod for any long exposure or low light photography, you don’t want to end up with blurry picture.

There’s a wide variety of size, weight and materials the choice is yours. Larger tripods will weigh you can and can be hard to fit into a suit case. If small and compact is what you are after then a gorilla pod is your go to.

Ketambe seems to be much more authentic and eco-friendly than the tours from Bukit Lawang. If you have the time and don’t mind the extra effort to arrive, I would suggest going there.

 

Spare Batteries

You may be away from a plug socket for a few days at a time maybe even longer, who knows. It’s a good idea to keep spare batteries so that you never run out of juice well out on location. Another reason is that you can never be sure when a malfunction may occur and the last thing that you want is to plan out going somewhere, arrive on location and poof, you battery is empty or decides to stop working.

Cleaning Kit

Often overlooked the cleaning kit in essential, read here about what should be in yours.

You can buy ready-made camera cleaning kits or you can buy you own bits and bobs. I tend to have a small one I keep in my backpack and a bigger one with all the bells and whistles in my larger bag that I leave in the hotel. Your location and the weather will dictate you cleaning schedule but I would suggest once a week giving your camera a look over.

Spare Memory Cards

This merges with the previous item on the list for the same reasons. I have had it before, arrive in a great location, turn on my camera anddd “memory card error”. I was lucky enough to able to buy a new one from a small shop not far away but imagine if you are out in the sticks for a few days’ jungle trekking, it will defiantly put downer on your trip.

Another thing to keep in mind is depending on the size of your memory it may run out of space while you are out especially if you are shooting RAW. For this reason, it’s good to have an extra with a good bit of free space just in case.

Filters

Filters can be extremely useful well out and can greatly affect the look of your picture.

Polarising filters can take away reflections so come in really handy if you are doing some urban or architectural shooting, they also reduce haze in photos and increase the saturation.

ND filters reduce the amount of light that hits your lens, they are great for when you want to take a long exposure of something fast moving, for example a waterfall. It will allow you to get that silky water look without overexposing the image. For travelling I suggest a variable ND filter.

UV filters are made glass and block ultraviolet rays, I mainly use this to protect my lens. I defiantly better if you accidently drop, having to pay $50 for a new UV filter than having to fix your lens or worse buy a new one.

Lenses

As you won’t have endless amount of space while travelling you need to put some thought into what lens or lenses you will want. You need to think about what sort of photography you plan to shoot and how many lens realistically you can carry, I find 2/3 is best. Versatile zoom lens come in really useful while travelling, something like a 75-300mm or 55-200mm I also make sure to have a wide-angle lens for landscape shots like a 28-70mm. Keep in mind when buying a zoom lens you will have to sacrifice some speed in the lens so the aperture won’t be as large meaning it won’t perform as well in low light.

Camera Bag, With Waterproof Cover

This is an important piece of gear for any photographer. My advice is to by a bag slightly bigger than you think you need as you will usually acquire new piece of equipment along the way. If the bag is waterproof, happy days, if not make sure to buy a waterproof cover as you never know when you might get wet.

I would also suggest not getting a flashy camera bag covered in branded logos as this could make you a target for thieves. There are some fantastic any thief bags on the market that can only be opened from the back so when you wear it it’s impossible to open.

If you plan, like me on having quite a lot of gear a camera backpack would be up your street. Otherwise, a hip bag might suit your needs better.

Canoe Bag

Now this does depend on how you are travelling, if you plan to do street photography and city tours then you won’t have much use for this. If you plan to go trekking through rainforests then the conoebag will be much more useful.

It is just for an extra bit of protection from the elements. A few times I have been out for a day or two and found myself having to swim down a river. Without the Canoe bag I don’t know what I would have done. It’s a cheap bit of gear that could really save you at some point, it’s also lightweight and takes up next to no space, I usually strap mine to the outside on my backpack.

Remote Shutter

Most cameras now are able to use your phone as a remote shutter now but I can be usefull to have a dedicated one in case you run out of battery or you have an older model with that feature.

It has happened to me that I arrived at a beach location for the sunset with my Sony A7iii and my phone ran out of battery so I had to use the timer to avoid getting motion blur. It is a little frustrating when there is a lightning storm in the distance and you can’t get the picture you want as you have to wait 2 seconds before the camera captures the image.

Camera Strap

The amount of time that this has literally saved my camera.

A camera strap gives you the freedom to walk around and not have to worry too much about your camera. When an opportunity presents itself, you can simply raise your camera shoot and lower it again, no rooting through you bag. It also stops any would be thieves grabbing your camera and sprinting off.

Hard Drive

My last trip was two and a half years, I took my camera with me pretty much every day and I also shot in RAW. You can imagine how much space I needed to keep all of those images and I am terrible at deleting the picture I won’t need or use. A good hard drive will help keep those memory cards free and your laptop from slowing done. I recommend buying a shockproof box to keep it in as it is likely to get bumped around during your travels.

I came across rugged hard drives recently, while there a little more pricy there are sure to stand up to the wears and tears of travelling.

Laptop

What’s the use of taking all these pictures and having nothing to edit/share your amazing work on?

A laptop will enable you to look through your photos in more details and edit the ones you want. You will need something with a decent amount of memory and at least 8GB of RAM so that you can edit with issues. A smaller laptop will fit your needs if you are planning to travel light. I have a Lenovo Legion so I can still game on the move and also, it’s great for editing my video footage too, it is however quite large and heavy.

You can also look into laptop cases to give it a bit of extra protection while travelling.

Another option is to get yourself a good tablet/ipad and sign up to the cloud to store your images, with newer tablets you can download editing software such as lightroom and edit them directly on the tablet/ipad. There are many advantages to doing it this way such as; smaller size, less weight, better connectivity better battery life, just to name few. You can conceal these them much more easily.

Portable Charger

There are powerful portable chargers out there now that can be used to charge your camera, phone and drone on the go. With many cameras now having a port to cable charge directly through the camera, battery chargers can be left behind if you really wish.

Some charger have seriously impressive power output now although keep in mind some airlines limit the battery capacity that you can fly with, 2000mah is a pretty safe bet and more that enough to keep you gear topped up while on the move.

 

There are also a few brands that have solar powered chargers, so you never have t worry about forgetting to charge it the night before.

Some pictures sourced from pixabay, freepik and pexels.

Hello There!

I’m Matthew Lock

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