Q:

What's the Best Photography Travel Gear?

I want to take lots of photos during my holiday adventures. What do I need to know before hitting the road?

Nov 5, 2013
Outside
Outside Magazine

   Photo:f9photo/ Shutterstock.com

A:

Finding great adventure gear can be a blissful experience—and matching the perfect piece of camera gear to your trip is no different. Here are a few suggestions to help you take your best shots: 

Pack Light
Although your inclination might be to follow the Scout motto and “Be Prepared,” you’ll be more agile if you travel light. Top photographer Craig Easton, who is based in the UK and won the 2012 Cutty Sark Award for Worldwide Photographer of the Year, suggests curating your lenses. “I’m forever working wide open in dark, dingy places. For travel photography the fastest lenses are essential.” He’s been using a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 for 20 years.

Even with fast, stabilized lenses, Easton recommends bringing a tripod. “Here it is a question of weight versus rigidity, so carbon fiber is the answer,” he says. He uses a Gitzo Traveler for day-to-day work.

Some photogs opt for the flexible Joby GorillaPod, which adapts to any terrain with go-anywhere bendable legs. Just be sure to select the correct size and weight for your camera or those Gumby limbs will buckle under your DSLR.

If you’re not bringing a tripod, be creative about using fence posts, rocks, and even your camera bag for stabilization.

Pick a Great Bag and Strap
A sturdy, lightweight bag is a must. Look for one that will make your equipment easily accessible while working. Opt for a backpack if you’ll be trekking.

Easton tips his hat to the over-the-shoulder Domke bag, which is “designed by a photographer who knows that we don't want—or need—all that padding!” Plus, a simple-looking bag, such as those in the Domke line, won’t advertise your expensive gear to fast Freddies.

Straps shouldn’t billboard your tackle either; they should keep you comfortable. Easton prefers the straps that come with his tried-and-true Leica cameras. The rubberized shoulders aid comfort, and “they are small, thin, and all black, without a big logo on the shoulder advertising your expensive equipment to any opportunist thieves,” he says.

Independent manufacturer BlackRapid designs straps with similar utilitarian, non-descript qualities. Plus, its line includes harness and sport designs, as well as an option that’s ergonomically designed for women.

Easton’s last bits of advice: Pack good waterproofs for you and the camera, comfortable boots, and plenty of gaffer tape—a go-to for any photographer needing MacGyver-like ingenuity to capture the next great shot. 

Filed To: Adventure Adviser

More at Outside

Not Now

Got Wanderlust?

Escape your daily grind with Outside’s best getaways.

Thank you!