I hate carrying too much stuff on a trip, which is why this list of essential photography equipment for travel photographers is comprehensive enough to make sure I get amazing photographs, but light enough for me to carry.
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1 Spare batteries
There is nothing worse than your camera dying just as you see the perfect shot. Often I’m away from power sources and I haven’t found a good solar powered option yet, to say nothing of the cold zapping battery power, so I always have a couple of extra batteries for my Canon 70D as part of my essential photography equipment. Two have extra insulation against the cold so stay going a little longer. For iPhone users or if your camera has a USB port a handy powerbank is essential.
2 Wide-angle medium zoom lens
I use a Canon 70D and the 35-135mm lens covers most situations, though it has some drawbacks for manual focusing. Since I spend a lot of time in dusty environments like Iceland, changing lenses risks getting the sensor filthy, so sticking with just the one keeps things simple and clean for me.
3 Lens cleaning cloth
Again dusty environments and rain. Did I mention the rain? For every pretty waterfall shot I have almost cleaned my filter right through trying to keep the rain off. You can never have too many lens cloths. T-shirts smear the glass, tissues leave link and dust – do yourself a favour and get a few good microfiber cloths as part of your essential photography equipment kit.
Here I just use a 10 stop ND filter for waterfalls to reduce the light and allow myself to get some nice long exposures and a skylight/UV filter to reduce haze and protect the lens. I once dropped my camera down a mountain in Romania and while the skylight filter was smashed, the lens was just fine, so a much cheaper option to replace. If you’re using an ND filter be sure you take a tripod to steady your camera or improvise with whatever is around you like your bag, a wall or the ground.
5 Approximately 3.4 million camera cards
On my first solo trip abroad to China I took a freezer bag full of film, which I was paranoid about every time I went near an airport scanner. Now I just have a little waterproof box stuffed full of SD memory cards. Why? Well the obvious answer is because I take a lot of photographs but also cards corrupt over time, they get dropped down glaciers and into rivers etc. Don’t miss out on shots because you didn’t have enough memory, it’s literally the cheapest part of your kit!
Now all you have to do is get out there and start snapping! Be sure and check out my posts on reducing camera theft by fuglifying your camera and if you’re lucky enough to see the aurora borealis you might like this article.