When traveling I try my best to limit how much gear I am carrying. There are many reasons for this but for me the most important is comfort; I do not want to walk all day long with 10 kilos of equipment on my back. I pack a basic set of gear which will cover me in most situations.
The most important item is the camera bag.
I have used different camera bags over the years and have developed a preference for the shoulder bag. This style of bag allows for quicker and easier access to your gear which is important for capturing candid moments.
The Domke F-2 Ruggedwear bag is the best option, in my opinion. I value it for its comfort and robustness and it will always be my first choice for rural day trips and city explorations.
I also have the Lowerpro Flipside 400 AW which is my designated ‘trekking’ bag. For outings that last a few days, it is more comfortable to carry a backpack so that the weight is evenly distributed. However, this bag still grants quick access to your gear as you can swing it around to your front, with the waistbelt on, and get what you need through the back-entry compartment. It’s almost as fast as a shoulder bag.
The camera I use is the Nikon D750. It’s awesome! Compact, lightweight and with a slim body, it fits just right in my hand. The high ISO performance and autofocus capability in low light makes it a more versatile camera resulting in a greater quality photos in poor lighting conditions. One feature that was initially overlooked but has proved to be a game-changer is the tilting LCD monitor. It is easy to become addicted to this feature as it opens up possibilities beyond what you can imagine.
Tamron’s SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD is more or less glued to my camera The focal range is perfect for landscapes yet it is also an ideal lens for portraits, particularly since the 2.8 aperture gives a nice bokeh effect. This lens is a good value compared to the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED.
When I am in need of a good zoom, I use my Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD telephoto lens. The vibration compensation amazes me and as a result this lens is very useful in certain low light situations. A word of advice: do not hesitate to use your telephoto for landscape shots – it will bring a different perspective to your photo.
Last but not least! My little Nikon Af-s 50mm F1.8 G is perfect for portrait photography and street photography, especially at nighttime when I use it in combination with my camera’s high ISO feature. I am always surprised by what I am able to capture with this lens in dark conditions. This is the lens I take when wandering cities after hours.
It is pretty important to use a UV filter on your lens. Whether it helps filter UV light or not is up for debate, but it definitely does help protect your lens. Firstly, it adds protection against rough handling or accidentally dropping the camera/lens and secondly, it protects against dust, dirt, salt water and other particulates that might result in scratches.
I use a Hoya UV filter. It does not alter the pictures and I worry less about my lenses.
I also have an ND filter for long exposure shots or when I am filming. This filter helps to reduce the amount of light entering the camera and supports lower apertures.
A tripod is essential when shooting with long shutter speeds (waterfalls, stars, etc). I used to carry the Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber tripod on all of my travels and it was a loyal companion, standing up to various conditions and abuse on the outside of my pack. I have not had it for a few years now but am planning to buy a new one soon.
A useful tripod accessory is the remote. It gives you more freedom than using the self-timer on the camera when trying to further reduce vibration for long exposure shots.
Generally I use the Lexar 32 Gig and I always carry more cards than I need. Running out of space, say for example when in Bagan snapping pictures of an amazing sunrise or when visiting an isolated tribe in the jungle, would be incredibly disappointing. As with all technology sometimes things go wrong with cards as well so better to be safe than sorry.
A cleaning kit , including the hama lens pen, lives permanently in my bag and gets much use. I always give a wipe after a day shooting outside and sometimes I clean my gear throughout the day depending on environment. If you are in high humidity environment it is advisable to carry silica packs to help reduce the risk of fungus growth. It’s also a good idea to have 2 spare batteries. This has saved me in numerous situations when exploring in remote locations, like in Papua New Guinea, or when on road trips.
Outlined here is the basic set of equipment that I carry with me wherever I am traveling. Remember, try to only take what you are going to need. It is easy to overpack.
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