The thing about photography is it is very subjective and all photographers are different. Each and every photographer has their preferred subjects to shoot, their preferred equipment, and their preferred methods and techniques. In addition to this every photographer has their own idea, opinions and views to what is the best way. This is all well and good but it means that when you have a specific question or query, and need a bit of advice from fellow photographers you are going to get a lot of different answers, which usually causes even more confusion and questions.
When it comes to a general walk about set up I know different people will have their own view, as detailed above, but I have finally found a set up that works for me and it could work for you too. I am not saying it definitely will work for you, but it could and it may be something you want to consider (or at least have a very quick look at at) if you are trying to identify ways to make sure you have the right photography equipment in your walk about kit to make sure you get as many of those shots as possible.
Walkabout photography camera
My walk about camera of choice is the Canon 6d, which is a relatively recent purchase. Prior to the Canon 6d I used a Canon 7d, and whilst it was an exceptionally good camera capable of producing top quality images I longed for a full frame camera. The 5d is a camera I have lusted over for a long time, however it is very expensive and I don’t have the budget to buy one. The Canon 6d is a more affordable full frame camera (although it is still pricey) so that is what I ended up buying.
The Canon 6d is an awesome camera and I am very happy with it. Okay, it doesn’t have the same high burst rate as my Canon 7d and neither does it focus as quickly, but I am more than happy to sacrifice these things for a full frame sensor. Besides, a high burst rate and super quick autofocus is only really needed for sports photography and fast action photography, neither of which I usually come across on a walk about.
The Canon 6d is a pretty small and compact camera, and whilst the size of camera doesn’t bother me (as long as it fits in my camera bag of course) but if you like to travel light and have smaller equipment for walk about photography this fact may be of interest to you.
Walkabout photography lens
My walk about photography kit consists of one single lens. Yep, I have one lens attached to my 6d at all times and I never take it off.
When I am out and about I like to take as little kit as possible which means I don’t want to carry around a bag of camera lenses with me. When I am out and about I like to work fast and efficiently and don’t want to be hampered by having to keep changing lenses, besides I don’t like to change lenses outdoors too much since it increases the chances of getting dirt, debris and dust on the camera’s sensor and the rear element of the lens.
I like to have the option to snap photos of as many subjects as I can when I am on a walk about, and this requires the largest range of focal lengths as possible, which requires a zoom lens, and my lens of choice for this is the 28mm – 300mm zoom.
With a 28mm wide end the 28mm – 300mm lens is suitable to capture wide angle shots (although not super wide-angle shots) of landscapes, cityscapes and seascapes. With a 300mm long end this lens makes it possible to zoom right in for frame filling shots of distant subjects or very small subjects close by. The 28mm – 300mm lens covers all of the popular focal lengths of 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 85mm, 100mm, 200mm and 300mm, as well as everything in between. The 28mm – 300mm lens is versatile and can be used for many different subjects. When on a walk about you never know what you are going to come up against and having such a broad range of focal lengths gives you the best opportunity to bag those shots.
I used to use theTamron 28mm – 300mm zoom lens which is a good lens capable of capturing high quality photos, however it is not the best. Even though I as happy with the Tamron 28mm – 300mm lens, I still lusted after the Canon 28mm – 300mm f3.5 – 5.6L IS professional spec lens and after a bit of saving up and trading in some old photography equipment this is the lens I currently use as my walk about lens.
The Canon 28mm – 300mm f3.5 – 5.6L IS lens is a beast of a lens and heavy, but this is a small sacrifice for the high image quality. The images this lens captures are sharp, colourful and vibrant and top notch. Whilst this is a big and heavy lens I find using a sling style strap (such as my Black Rapid) or my Lowerpro top loader bag takes the weight perfectly when I am not actually shooting photos, so I don’t have any issues carrying this lens around all day. Providing you have the right equipment you won’t have any issues with the size and weight of this lens.
Like all Canon L series lenses the 28mm – 300mm f3.5 – 5.6L IS lens is tough, durable and more than capable of dealing with all the abuse I throw at it. This lens is also weather-sealed making it dust resistant, water/moisture resistant, and more than capable of dealing with whatever Mother Nature wishes to throw it at. This is one bullet proof lens that is going to last a long time.
Other equipment for walkabout photography
When it comes to walk about photography the camera and the lens are obviously the most important bits of kit, however there are other items I take in my bag including lens cleaning cloth/air blower and lens pen (there is nothing worse than dust spots because of dirty lenses/filters), screw in polarizing filter, plenty of memory cards and a spare battery. As you can see, I travel light and take as little as possible.
Stuff you don't need for walkabout photography
When I am on a walk about with my camera there are things I simply don’t take, and you may find this surprising. When I am out on a walk about I never take a speed light or a tripod since I find them too cumbersome.
I typically use a flash or speed light for indoor photography, portrait photography and macro photography, neither of which apply when I am out on a walk about. On a walk about I rely on natural ambient light. On a walk about I never take portrait photos and on a walk about I never take macro photos (because that involves carrying another lens, which I don’t want to do). A speed light is a bit of equipment I don’t use for walk about photography therefore I never bother taking one.
When I am out on a walk about I don’t like taking a tripod because it is not only heavy and cumbersome but it also takes time to set up, which slows me down. When I am on a walk about I take hand held shots and I do my best to make sure they are nice and sharp by paying close attention to the shutter speed and bumping the ISO as necessary.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.