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Equipment List for Travel Photography

written by: digitaldan1•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 11/26/2009

Travel photography tests a photographer's ability to plan and manage their time and equipment, particularly when air travel is involved. Here's a travel equipment list to help you with your planning.

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    Packing for a photo/destination trip can be a real challenge, particularly if air travel is part of the itinerary. Depending on your travel plans, you may be severely limited in what gear you can carry with you. For instance, my wife and I once traveled from New Jersey to Arizona to photograph Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon. This trip involved not only air travel, but hiring pack mules to carry our backpacks, but our hiking 10 miles through the desert carrying daypacks with all our camera gear. We then needed to fly out of the canyon via helicopter. As you might imagine, careful planning was involved!

    This article will provide you with some guidelines for developing an equipment list for travel photography. It groups items into one of several categories (vital, important, nice to have, bad weather gear, travel gear).

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    A camera back pack can carry lots of gear.
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    Vital Equipment

    • Main camera and backup camera (I prefer multiple DSLRs, but sometimes my wife and I share a DSLR and point and shoot) depending on your budget, the backup camera may fall into a different category
    • Wide angle zoom (depending on your camera something like a 24-70 or 24-105 is good)
    • good quality tripod (the better the tripod you can bring, the better off you'll be)
    • remote shutter release (helps avoid blur from camera shake for long tripod mounted exposures)
    • polarizing filter (helps clean up reflections, increases contrast in flat scenes)
    • graduated neutral density filters
    • camera bag for carrying gear
    • extra batteries and charger
    • sufficient memory cards and storage for the length of your trip
    • lens cleaning kit
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    Important Equipment

    • extreme wide angle zoom (12-24)
    • mid range telephoto (70-200 or 70-300)
    • shoe mount flash
    • color intensifying filter
    • macro photography tools (diopters, extension tubes, close up or macro lens)
    • camera raincoat
    • neutral density filter(s)
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    Nice to Have Equipment

    • selective focus lens such as a Lensbaby
    • telephoto lens (400 mm or longer)
    • panoramic tripod head
    • Better Beamer or other flash extender
    • Plamp
    • panoramic tripod head
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    Bad Weather Gear

    • camera raincoat
    • warm gloves
    • polypro glove liners
    • external battery back that can be worn inside parka
    • tent or photo blind
    • chemical heat packs for hands, chest and feet
    • plastic trash bags (to keep your gear dry)
    • plastic tarp (to set your camera bag on to keep dry)
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    Travel gear (choose one as appropriate for your style of travel)

    • rolling camera backpack or travel camera case
    • camera backpack
    • camera vest
    • camera belt pack and harness system
    • chest pouch
*Please note - the author received 'M-Rock Great Smokey Mountains Messenger bag and modular trolley' from a company other than Bright Hub in order to develop the content contained within this article or review.