Written 7 years ago by Mark Evans
I love travelling, and photography too, so its only natural to combine the two to come up with my ultimate pass-time; Travel Photography. Sounds easy, but when you have to lug a tripod about everywhere you go, while all the time keeping your gear safe, it can certainly make things a little harder, but all that doesn’t matter when you’re surrounded by great views and more shots you can poke a stick at.
I find backpacking one of the greatest ways to see more of a place by getting off the beaten path. Australia has some of the most stunning natural scenery I’ve seen, and around every turn there’s something interesting and wonderful to point your camera at. As you can imagine, meandering around these parts can last from a few weeks to a few months, making a trip far longer than expected, so if you’re a film junkie, take loads of film with you as Fuji Velvia is like hens teeth when between major cities. And if you’re digital, take more than a few memory cards; there’s nothing worse than running out of film or space when surrounded by picture postcard scenery!
Travelling with a tripod can be a real hassle, especially when you’ve already got a back pack and camera gear to carry. To solve this problem when I was travelling around Asia, I managed to get my tripod in my backpack when going between cities, that way it wasn’t easily stolen (a good lockable pack is definitely a bonus), and I could take it out for day trips without too much hassle. You could also buy a tripod bag and strap that to your pack, although it’s still adding another piece for you to keep your eyes on. If you’re wanting to travel light and are looking for a strong tripod, Manfrotto carbon fibre tripods could be worth a look.
Tropics or Baltics
Condensation is not what every photographer thinks about when on holiday, but its important to know about it, as it affects your cameras health. If you’re out in really cold temperatures, and you then take your camera indoors, condensation can form that can cause havoc inside your camera. Its also a bigger issue when taking your camera from shooting in a hot location to inside a cool air-conditioned room. To avoid problems with fogging and condensation when taking your camera through temperature changes, make sure your keep it inside a bag of some sort, be it your camera bag or a plastic bag; that way it will gradually acclimatise to its surroundings without causing problems with your beloved camera.
Bag your Films
Not so much of an issue anymore, as most people shoot digital, but if you’re one of a few dedicated Film fans out there then you’ll probably want to keep your exposed films in a special bag for taking through airport x-ray machines. Admittedly I have taken films through x-ray machines on a few occasions without any ill effects when processed, but hey, I might have been lucky, so don’t take the risk with your precious snaps.
When your visiting a foreign country its often hard to know what areas are safe and what areas aren’t, so to go incognito with your camera and avoid a possible mugging, keep all your camera gear in a camera backpack. These are fantastic for stashing all your gear in one place while also keeping it safe from pickpockets. I have a Crumpler backpack, which I find indispensable, although it can sometimes be a little awkward to get into when a spontaneous photo opportunity arises.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but quite often its overlooked; insure your gear. I know because I’ve forgotten it before and paid the price. Just because I was staying semi-permanently in a Sydney hostel, I thought my gear was safe and didn’t need insurance. Its easy to get complacent that way, so whether you’re in a hostel or a hotel, its good to have that peace of mind; knowing that your expensive 5d or D300 is insured can be a weight off, although having said that, even when staying in a hotel, I now take my camera gear with me wherever I go! To insure your gear, either get in touch with a camera insurer such as Photogaurd (UK), or contact your home contents insurance provider.
Travel photography can be more challenging than other types of photography, but it can also be more rewarding too. You have to be on your toes most of the time, otherwise you could miss a great shot, or even worse, have your gear stolen. However I think these risks just make the reward feel greater; capturing an awe inspiring shot while on the road brings me a great sense of achievement and will remind me of the good times in years to come.