As you know, every photographer and photo tour enthusiast has their own way of doing things. When it comes to photo tour gear, some are minimalists with one camera, an 18-300 mm zoom and maybe a back-up I-phone! No tripod, no flash. Others are equipment fiends with four a five cameras & assorted lenses, filters, and a tripod heavy enough to stand steady in a Cat. 5 hurricane. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, and much of what we bring is determined by our shooting style.
Good Photo Tour Habits
1. Every photographer is responsible for what’s in their frame, and that includes any intrusions into it by fellow participants! Everyone will at some time or another find themselves in someone else’s shot, so please be courteous and understanding. Be aware of others when changing positions, and if you might be intruding on someone’s shot, announce your move ahead of time. When you have a prime position, don’t over indulge. Everyone will have ample opportunity to get their shot.
2. Download your images at the end of the day’s shooting, before dinner if possible. Back up the “keepers” and “maybes” to at least one other source, preferably two, and double check before deleting images from your memory card.
Note: External hard drives these days are very small with very large storage capacities available. And they are not expensive, 500 Gigs from $25.
3. Save your very best images, or images you would like reviewed in a separate folder and/or thumb-drive.
4. Charge batteries and clean your equipment if there is time before dinner and any adult beverages. Set up for a pre-dawn Grab and Go exit. It’s no fun scrambling around with foggy morning brain, especially if the power is out. A good headlamp is a good idea.
Just keep in mind Luminous Journeys photo tour holidays are usually two weeks of continuous travel and photography, often rising before dawn and returning after dark. For any equipment fiends who have not been on a photo workshop of this duration before, you might consider bringing a fair bit less than what you might normally take out for a weekend. Then again, we had a guy last year with so much Myanmar travel photo tour gear he hired 2 extra porters and a separate vehicle in each location! Honestly, it didn’t help J. But to each their own, if they can afford it!
Minimal Photo Equipment:
1. Primary Camera
2. All-purpose wide angle zoom, such as a 24-70 or 18-200mm
3. UV, polarizer and/or neutral density filters
4. More than enough memory cards/capacity
5. Camera battery charger
6. Extra batteries
7. Universal plug adaptor (for those outside of U.S.)
8. Power board to charge everything at once
9. Lens cleaner / cloth
10. Sensor cleaning system (unless you won’t need to change lenses, or have a good self-cleaner)
Recommended Additional Equipment
1. Secondary camera (This might be a DSLR w/ a special lens, or something different altogether, like a small rangefinder)
2. Fast Ultra Wide angle lens
3. Light Laptop powerful enough to handle your megapixels
4. Good photo editing software, Photoshop, Lightroom or similar
7. Portrait/landscape zoom, like a 70-200mm
8. Rugged thumb drives for extra back-up and portability up of your best images
9. Leatherman or Swiss Army knife multi-purpose tool (pack in checked baggage always, or risk confiscation)
10. High quality headlamp like a Petzl
1. Graduated filter(s) for landscapes, slow shutter speeds
2. Specialty lens and/or teleconverter
3. External flash w/ batteries
4. Extra connectors, camera to laptop/external hard drive
5. Extra power connector for battery chargers/laptop/external hard drive
6. Video Capability
7. Surprise us!
We discourage hard cases and large framed bags because they are heavy, and difficult to pack into vehicles.
What to pack your photo tour gear in? We encourage well padded soft cover bags with padded sleeves that fit your essential gear. Consider Think Tank & Lowe Pro, as well as a two bag solution: one carry-on bag that fits all your photo gear (sans tripod perhaps, but including laptop or tablet) and a smaller bag to take only what you’ll need for each shoot. (Your clothes & toiletries case should also be soft case somewhat smaller than a ’74 Buick!). You will be able to safely leave extra gear with the vehicle.
As you can tell we lean on the lean side. There a million different gizmos out there designed to separate you from your wallet more than they are to help you become a better photographer. No gear beyond the basics will do that. But to each their own gear and gizmos we say, and bring whatever you like. Except the Buick.