I frequently get asked questions about my gear and thought it would be helpful to put together a couple of posts about what photography gear is in my bag currently (August 2019). This first installment deals with travel and the type of gear I have with me on the road. A couple of years ago I purchased an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II which is a 4/3 (four thirds camera), this switch has really changed how I travel and downsized my gear bag.
The gear in this image is a representation of how I travel, sometimes it is more than this and other times less. When it is more, I am adding a laptop and external hard drive for downloading and processing images while I am on the road. The instances it is less I usually remove the small tripod, international power adapter and polarizing filter.
Backpack: The most important item when traveling is method used to carry your gear, and I have tried many different bags over the year and do prefer a backpack to other bags. Almost two years ago I found the Tenba DNA 15 Backpack, and this is now the bag I use when traveling near or far with the four thirds camera. I have even used this when traveling without camera gear since it has a removable insert and can hold enough for me to travel over a weekend.
Camera: As I mentioned above I am currently using the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II camera along with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 PRO Lens. In the four thirds world this lens is equal to a 24mm-200mm lens in a small compact set-up. I have traveled with this all over the United States and the World capturing images with this camera body and lens and it has worked well for me. Being small it is less intimidating when taking pictures on the street, and it also doesn’t stand out larger DSLR cameras, plus if you spend a good amount of time exploring it weighs a lot less than a DSLR helping you on those hot and humid days.
In addition to the camera, it is important to have a battery charger and cleaning cloth with when traveling. The battery charger won’t always be with you during the day, just make sure to charge your battery fully each night.
Memory Cards: Memory cards are getting smaller and smaller, making them easier to misplace, thus I use a Think Tank SD Memory Card Case to keep them in order. I have around 10 cards in the case and if they are empty they face out with the label and once I have shot on them I put them in the case with the label not showing. In addition I will attach the case to my bag with a short cord to ensure that the case won’t get out of reach of my bag which is extremely important if you are not downloading cards each day as you travel light. There are many speeds of memory cards available, what this translates to is how quickly the data is saved on the card. In most situations a Class 3 card will suffice and give you the speed you need to capture stills or video.
Phone: I use an Apple iPhone as a travel tool with a handful of apps which I use on a regular basis. I also use the phone to capture images as well as video and have found in certain situations the camera on the phone works just as well as camera for capturing a quick image. When capturing video, think about using timelapse in the right situation.
Filter: I try to have a Polarizer filter in my bag when I travel. This filter will help cut down on glare, help with a little slower shutter speed when that is necessary as well as giving landscapes a little pop with color. Now some of these items you can do in post-processing but shooting it in camera initially helps lower your processing time. The size of the filter will depend on your lens, with the set-up I mentioned above I use a 72mm X2 CPL Circular Polarizing Filter.
International Travel Adapter: Traveling internationally and finding you don’t have the correct plug for country you are in doesn’t really set well. Some hotels are adding plug which will accommodate multiple types of plug put don’t expect to find this is all locations. A
Worldwide All in One Universal Travel Adaptor helps with this issue and will make sure you have the correct plug whether you are in the UK or Europe (which use different plugs).
Tripod: The tripod is a helpful tool when capturing images as it will help steady the camera for those longer exposures, but also will slow down your photography process so you can think about the image you are framing in the camera. The moment you put down a tripod in some locations you will have someone approach you as for some reason it translates to being a professional. The Platypod helps with this and also is small to carry as you travel. There are some differences between the Platypod and a regular tripod you need to get use to when using, however putting a small ballhead on the Platypod does work quite well. With a four thirds camera I use the Platypod Ultra, however with a larger DSLR you will want to consider the Platypod Max.
Computer: When traveling for a longer period of time, I will bring my laptop which the Tenba DNA 15 Backpack will hold up to a 15″ laptop along with your camera gear. At this point I am using an Apple MacBook Pro for processing my work.
External Hard Drive: An external hard drive is a must for backing-up your work while travel with a laptop. At this point when traveling you should consider only a SSD hard drive. The speed of these are quite amazing, and with less moving parts than a traditional hard drive it holds up well when traveling. I am using the Samsung T5 SSD 1TB version at this time, which gives me plenty of room to backup images.
Using just one lens I am not changing lenses in the field, thus I don’t find a need to carry a RocketBlower with me when traveling, however it is still good to have one at home. I am looking at other methods to backup photos while traveling on the road and am still doing some research on the best options when not traveling with a laptop. Once I find a good solution I will be sure to share.
Disclosure: I have linked to Amazon for additional details on the gear which I have mentioned above in some situations. Purchasing through these links may provide a small affiliate commission, however you should be able to find all of the gear mentioned at your local camera store as well.