by Cam Levack
A rewarding travel photo shoot starts with what you pack. You’ll have lots of decisions: Zoom lens or fast primes? Underwater compact or a housing for your DSLR? 110 or 220V for your battery charger? Whether you’re a pro shooting stock, or an enthusiast capturing memories, effective pre-planning is the best way to ensure success.
Check it out.
A little research on your destination will help you decide what kind of images you’re going for, and what equipment you’ll need to capture it. In some cases it’s obvious. Photographing lions in east Africa or whales off Cabo San Lucas requires a long telephoto zoom or prime. For sweeping landscapes in the Rockies, bring a wide angle, and for the dazzle of Times Square at night, include a fast lens. For others, a “walk-around” zoom, such as the 18-200, will do the job. And if you don’t own the perfect lens for the situation, consider renting one.
Steady as she goes.
Today’s image-stabilized lenses (in some cases, camera bodies) make it easier to get sharp, handheld images even in low light. But there’s nothing like a steady tripod, like Benro‘s new Travel Angel. It easily fits in your camera bag or carry-on luggage, yet is sturdy enough for your DSLR. Joby’s GorillaPod secures your camera to trees, deck chairs or just about anything. Video users can work with a Glidecam for steady footage – imagine a video walking tour of a Costa Rican rain forest.
Make a splash.
Moisture can be the enemy of cameras, so prepare. Specially-made underwater compacts, such as the Canon D10, Olympus Tough 8000 and Pentax Optio W80 are great for snorkeling, as well as beachside or vacation snaps anywhere. More serious users may prefer a waterproof housing by DiCAPac or Ewa Marine. There are specific models for your DSLR, video camcorder or point and shoot. To protect against tropical humidity and showers, consider a rain cover by Kata or Matin.
Get carried away.
If you’re trekking through terrain, a well-designed photo backpack like Tenba‘s Shootout will help you organize, protect and carry your gear comfortably. Tenba’s Messenger Bag is excellent for city vacations or more general use. E-Image has a number of bags suitable for a camcorders and video gear. If you like to carry your DSLR on your hip and ready for action, check out the BlackRapid R-Strap. The Matin Shooting Vest allows you to “wear” a variety of lenses, flash and other equipment.
You can see clearly now.
A UV Filter from will cut through haze and protect your DSLR lenses, while a polarizing filter will enhance the colour in the sky, remove reflections and improve contrast. B+W and Hoya offer a variety of filters to fit all lens diameter sizes.
Don’t forget the basics.
Depending on your destination, you may be able to purchase memory cards, batteries, lens cleaning cloths and other small items. But why chance it? Better to stock up before you leave with memory, such as affordable Acumem, and rechargeable batteries by Lenmar. Some chargers even let you switch to 220 volts.
Don’t leave home without it.
A trip to an exotic locale can be a unique photo or video opportunity. A little planning will go a long way in making sure you have everything you need to capture images you’re sure to treasure.