I like travelling around in the motor home (my Elddis Accordo 120) since it allows me to carry on with passion for photography which is pretty cool. Having a “home on wheels” allows me to carry around more photography equipment than if I was staying in a hotel, but I still have space restraints in the motor home so I can’t take all my photography equipment, but I can take a few bits and pieces I need.
Even though I have a bit of space in the motor home I still try and travel light, after all my we still need space for food, clothes etc. as well as my wife’s bits and pieces! So, I have room but I don’t have room if that make sense.
My travel dslr photography kit consists of:-
My travel camera of choice is my Canon 6D. Compared to my other camera (a Canon 7D) it is physically smaller, lighter and obviously takes up less room. Whilst I do get full frame with the 6D I do have to make some sacrifices since I lose the crop factor and also the fast auto focus and tracking of the 7D. Al things considered losing the crop factor effect and the fast auto focus is a trade-off I am more than happy with since most of my travel photography subjects comprise landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes. When I go away I don’t shoot sports and action, although I will have a go at wildlife when the opportunity presents itself, which isn’t that often.
I love my Canon 6D, and it is one camera I have never had any regrets buying. It is a small(ish) camera, it is tough and durable, it is great in low light, the image quality is simply awesome and it is intuitive and easy to use.
I always use a batter grip on my Canon 6D, and whilst this may seem to totally contradict my preference of a small travel camera please wait and hear me out……..
I appreciate a battery grip makes the 6D a little larger but I find it makes the 6D more comfortable to hold, and feel nicer in the hand. The battery grip also enables me to shoot in portrait so I can easily compress the landscape for a different effect.
I was reluctant to buy a battery grip for the Canon 6D since I couldn’t see the point of adding bulk and additional weight for (what I could tell was) no good reason. As soon as I tried a battery grip I instantly changed my mind, bought one and haven’t looked back and I now grip all my cameras, and will continue to do so in the future.
If you have never used a battery grip, or aren’t sure whether you will benefit from one all I can suggest is you go for it and give it a whirl. I think you will be surprised.
As much as I would like to take my entire collection of camera lenses with me when I go travelling it simply isn’t feasible. I like to have the opportunity to take as many different types of photo as I can therefore my travel lens is a “jack of all trades” lens. After a lot of searching around and trying different lenses I finally settled on the Canon 28 – 300 L lens as my travel photography lens.
With a 28mm wide end this lens is capable of capturing wide angle vistas, although not super wide shots although I could always take a series of photos and stitch them together using some editing software if I feel inclined. With 30mm at the long end the 28 – 300L lens covers a large range of focal lengths.
Many people criticise the image quality of the Canon 28 – 300L, which I think is a bit harsh. Okay, there are sharper lenses out there, and there are faster lenses out there but none of them are as versatile as the Canon 28 – 300L lens. I have always been very happy with the image quality of the Canon 28 – 300L and I have managed to capture several photos I am proud of. I also use the 28 – 300L to take photos I sell to the general public, and I have never had any complaints yet. If you like to pixel peep on the computer you will see the image quality of the Canon 28 – 300L isn’t as good as other lenses, but if you look at the photo in print, i.e. how it should be, you will be hard pressed to see the difference.
The Canon 28 – 300L lens is an awesome lens and, in my opinion, the best travel lens currently available.
Landscape and seascape photography is something I enjoy doing when I am travelling, therefore a filter kit is an essential bit of photography equipment for me.
Since I only use the Canon 28 – 300L lens for travel photography, which is 28mm at its widest, I can get away with a 85mm filter holder and not suffer the vignetting problems associated with using ultra-wide angle lenses.
The 85mm filter holder I use is one made by Hitech, and I have to say I am very impressed with it. The Hitech filter holders are well made so they are tough and durable, but also lightweight. The Hitech filter holder will accept three separate filters, so there is a lot of scope for a wide range of shots.
The Hitech filter holder isn’t as tough as the Lee equivalent (although the Hitech isn’t that far behind) but it is a lot cheaper and much better value for money, and that’s the mst important thing right?
In a bid to travel light and carry as little as possible I only have (what I consider) the essential filters. I carry a two stop hard edged graduated ND filter, a two stop soft edged graduated ND filter, a 10 stop ND filter and a 3 stop ND filter.
I used to carry around a CPL filter however I can now achieve the same effect with Photoshop Elements editing software. Many people say they can achieve the graduated ND effect using photo editing software, however I have never manged to nail this. Sure, I can get the effect but I can never get the polished finish I want. Because of this I use graduated ND filters.
85mm filters are way cheaper than the 100mm equivalents, so my travel filters are an absolute bargain. I don’t use glass filters for travel photography, and instead prefer the man-made synthetic ones. Some photographers have the opinion glass filters create better quality photos, however I have to disagree with this. In times gone by glass filters may have been superior but times have changed, technology has moved on and the image quality using synthetic photography filters is superb.
Remote shutter release
A remote shutter release cable is essential for capturing sharp landscape and seascape photographs, and it is something that I always have in my travel camera bag.
There are loads of different makes and brands of remote shutter release cables and the price varies from a couple of pounds right through to forty pounds or more. There really is no need to spend a fortune on a remote shutter release cable, however I wouldn’t advise buying one of the really cheap models either.
I spent just under ten pounds on my shutter release cable and it has provided just under five years of service, and it is as good today as it was when I first bought it.
A speed light is essential to add a bit of extra light when needed, and the “I only shoot with natural light” attitude is one I don’t share. If someone wants to use just natural light that’s their look out and I have no problem with that. I do, however, have a problem when those photographers start preaching to me.
I love flash photography, I have learned how to balance light sources and I have learned how/when to use a speed light to get the effect I want. Consequently, I would never be without my speed light and I make sure I always carry one in my travel photography bag.
A tripod is essential to capture sharp landscape and seascape shots. Maximizing the depth of field, which is crucial in landscape photography, requires longer exposures so a tripod is a must have.
Ideally, I would take my full size Gitzo tripod with me in the motor home but it’s just not feasible. The Gitzo is big, it is heavy, it takes up a lot of room and it is a funny shape (i.e. has bits and pieces sticking out all over the place which could easily damage the motor home – even using the ball head rather than the tilt and pan) so it just isn’t suitable.
My travel tripod of choice is the Manfrotto Befree. This tripod packs up small, is light weight and has its own carry bag. Okay, it isn’t as sturdy as the Gitzo however it does adequately support my gripped Canon 6D and 28 – 300L lens (with the filters on the end) for sharp shots. The Befree does struggle in adverse weather conditions and I do have to strap it down if there is a slight breeze. In stronger winds the limitations of the Manfrotto Befree become obvious and when this happens it is a case of making do with what I have, strapping everything down as tight as possible and shielding everything for damage limitation.
Overall the Manfrotto Befree is a a great bit of travel photography kit, and an essential item.
So there we have it, the contents of my travel photography bag laid bare for you to see. I try to travel as light as possible but make sure I have most things I need to cover all eventualities.
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.