Capture

My Travel Photography Essentials

When I first thought about getting serious with travel photography, I knew my gear had to be light. My cardio game has never been good, so adding a lot more weight to myself will just slow me down even more, especially when I have to climb or hike to get good photos.

Minimal Gear

When I’m just walking around the city for the day, I like not bringing all of the photography equipment I own. Keeping my gear to a minimum makes it easy for me to ride public transportation and squeeze through crowds. Also, many establishments have strict rules against large bags, especially museums, so I’ve found that it’s a lot better to bring as few items as possible. 

My minimal travel photography gear. From left: Black Rapid Breathe shoulder strap; extra Fuji battery; ProMaster Rugged SD card; lens cleaning cloth; Matador Camera Base Layer; Fujifilm XT20; Joby Gorillapod

For walking around the city and capturing cityscapes and street life, my camera of choice is my mirrorless Fujifilm XT20 with a 23mm f2 prime lens. It’s a lightweight combination packed with features that let me be creative with my photography. It’s a combination that’s easy to bring around and it seems to be my preferred focal length for street photography. I then secure it with a Blackrapid Street Breathe shoulder strap attached to an Arca-Swiss compatible Fusion Plate. Instead of a traditional camera bag to protect my setup when not in use, I wrap it with the Matador Camera Base Layer. It’s like a lightweight Down jacket for my camera and it comes with a built-in rain cover. With the Base Layer, it doesn’t look like I’m carrying a camera even when it’s hanging across my body.

To make sure my camera has enough power and memory throughout the day, I always have one Fuji battery and one ProMaster Rugged memory card in 32GB or 64GB for backup, which I can easily store in my purse or pockets. I like the Rugged memory cards because they claim to be strong and resistant to extreme temperatures, water, high humidity, and impact, which are great qualities in any equipment that’s transported constantly.

I also always bring a tripod, especially when I want to slow down the shutter speed to capture busy streets without the camera shake. The Joby Gorillapod 3K provides the stability my camera needs in a lightweight package and although it lacks height compared to traditional tripods, the flexible legs give my minimal setup some versatility.

Lastly, for good measure, I also bring a lens wipe to make sure my lenses are always clear. 

All Aboard

My entire travel photography gear. Top from left: Wandrd PRVKE 31L backpack, Apple MacBook Air laptop; MeFoto  Backpacker tripod; Bottom from left: ProMaster filters; Fuji travel charger; ProMaster dual slot SD card reader; Rode VideoMicro microphone; ProMaster Rugged SD cards; Fuji batteries; lens cleaning cloth; bulb air blower;  Matador Camera Base Layer; Fujifilm XT20; Seagate 2TB Slim external hard drive; Joby Gorillapod 3K; Matador Lens Base Layer; Fuji 23mm f2 lens

The entirety of my gear just adds on to my minimal setup. I usually bring everything for longer trips or more complex photography projects. 

I use my Fujifilm XT3 as my primary camera and the XT20 as my backup. I choose the XT3 as my primary camera because it is weather resistant, so it’s more versatile, and it has more capabilities than the XT20. It’s only a bit heavier than the XT20, so it’s still not too cumbersome to carry around. As for my lenses, I also bring the 35mm f2 weather-resistant prime and 18-55mm f2.8-4 lenses I own, though I plan on renting a 14mm or 16mm prime lens from my local camera store for future trips because the wide angles work great to capture landscapes. To protect my additional lenses, I store them in the Matador Lens Base Layer, which is similar to the Camera Base Layer except without the built-in raincover. To attach my cameras, I also bring Black Rapid wrist and backpack straps, which all easily attach to the Arca-Swiss Fusion Plates,  just to give me options depending on my needs. 

My Fujifilm XT3 with 35mm f2 lens and Nissin i40 flash

I bring ProMaster UV, polarized, and neutral density lens filters to ensure I’m ready to capture different subjects in different lighting. The UV filters are almost always attached to my lenses, while I switch out the other filters when I need to. To also prepare myself more for different lighting needs, I bring a Nissin i40 flash, which is user-friendly and great for travel due to its small size and light weight. I also bring a MeFoto Backpacker tripod in addition to my Joby Gorillapod. It is a lightweight tripod at less than three pounds, with a maximum height of about four feet and folds into about a foot. It also comes with its own sling bag for easy transport. Always having a tripod is essential to my travel photography because it stabilizes my camera and reduces camera shake when I need to slow down the shutter speed in low light, which makes my photos sharper even in low light and slow shutter speed.

To ensure I’m covered during and after capturing the photos I want, I bring double the amount of memory cards and batteries as backup, plus I have a travel charger to ensure all my batteries are always ready to go. Also, so I can backup all my photos right away even on-the-go, I bring my lightweight Apple MacBook Air, a ProMaster dual slot memory card reader, and my Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim external hard drive. 

To pack everything, I put all of my items in my 31L Wandrd PRVKE backpack. It’s designed with the travel photographer in mind, from the weather-resistant outer cover to the number, types, and positioning of the pockets and compartments. I also opted to get the photography bundle because it adds a rain cover, waist straps, accessory straps, and a camera cube to the pack. 

Bonus

I recently added a Rode VideoMicro external microphone to my gear because I’ve been wanting to try out capturing videos of my travels. It’s great because it’s small and comes with a furry windshield. It needs an adapter to work on the Fuji XT20 camera and Apple iPhone lightning connection, but works as-is on the Fuji XT3. 

What items do you bring for your photography projects? Any recommendations? Please share below. 

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