Author: David Huffman
There are plenty of articles about travel photography providing advice on what equipment to bring, how to pack, etc. I’ve even written my share. So, just returning from a month in New Zealand, I thought I’d offer a few that made my trip more successful.
- Figure our what you use most, and if you’re out on foot for the whole day, don’t take all your kit with you because it will tire you out. The toll thistakes is either bringing you less fun or causing you to forego some sights or activities. My all-in-one lens is my favorite. My system this trip included 2 full frame bodies, 20mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, 1.4x teleconverter, speed light, 24-120mm f/4, 80-400mm f/4.5 and DX-format compact 28mm fixed lens camera. Without my tripod, all in one backpack, this weighs 22 pounds, which I find too much for a full day up-and-down hills trekking. Analyzing my pictures, I find that about 85% are with the 24-120mm lens, so that is my “go-to” lens for most days. I also have found a good way to carry the second body with the 80-400mm, which leads to my second tip.
- Use a cross-shoulder camera strap, especially if you are carrying more than one body. The second body and long tele zoom weigh in at over 4 pounds, and carrying a second body brings its own complications for being ready for that quick shot. In the attached photo, you can see that I’m using a Jobi strap attached to the tripod foot (Kirk brand) on the long lens. It balances well and I can quickly get to it to grab a fleeting image of an animal, bird or scene. I find that carrying the 80-400 in addition to the 24-120 makes me more aware of a wider range of images and the compressed perspective of the longer tele adds image variety.
- Carry a plastic rain hood for your camera. I purchased two of these for less than $15 and have been using them for years. They are a little awkward to shoot with, but keep your equipment dry when you really need it, and they can stuff away in a small pocket.
- Photographers love pockets, and I’m no different. The black jacket I’m wearing is the Evolution from ScotteVest, and it has about 30 pockets. I develop a routine so I know where the lens caps, spare batteries and memory cards, sunglasses and micro-fiber cleaning cloths are kept, and I can safely hide money and passport inside. It’s waterproof and the hood and sleeves zip off to make a vest.
- Don’t be a photo snob, carry a compact camera along with your DSLR or mirrorless system. I’ll drop the heavy stuff back at the room when we’re ready for dinner. At the end of the day when the light is gone, I can use my Nikon Coolpix A for fun shots of streets and restaurants and make no excuses for image quality because it has a DX crop sensor instead of the smaller ones. The lens is a fixed 28mm f/1.8 and has an excellent sharpness rating, and the camera offers full DSLR controls with a similar menu system to my other cameras.
- Back up your images every day or two. I’ve found that using a Sanho ColorSpace UDMA device is my best choice. It is light weight, about 4x6x1 inch in size and I’ve installed a 1TB disk drive. The screen and firmware handle all the functions and the battery has good life. I even carry the WiFi dongle so can view the images full screen on my iPad. This combination is lighter than my MacBook Pro and I’m not risking that computer while I’m away. You can find this device listed on my website. It is also pictured here.
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