Your Tuesday Travel Tips

buddahThe photograph at left was made at the Golden Buddha one of three largest statues in Japan. I couldn’t resist this charming image of a teacher making this photograph of his class. Camera was a Canon EOS Digital Rebel with EF18-55mm lens at 30mm. Exposure was 1/200th of a second at f/10 in Program mode.

If you only learn one new thing from this week’s Travel Tuesday post, it’s that you should NOT buy a new camera or lens on Thursday before leaving for a weeklong trek to Africa, Macho Picchu, or Easter Island. Here’s a few more tips:

  • Batteries: Remember to bring them—lots of rechargeable batteries—and don’t forget the battery charger. It’s happened to me and only because I ran into a friendly photographer who loaned me his charger and I was able to make any images past the original charge. Another time (it seems like I never learn) I had to purchase a charger while in San Diego. Paid too much
  • Memory Cards: Pack lots of memory cards too. You may be not able to find an SD card or even a Wal-Mart in the mountains of Bhutan and you may be surprised that the prices in Tokyo’s Akihabara are a lot higher than your friendly local camera store.
  • Tripod: Even a small tripod will help you capture sharp images when the light is low but unless you are a die-hard shooter even lightweight carbon fiber models don’t make the best traveling companions. When traveling by car consider a window clamp tripod, which is especially useful to keep you from being eaten by lions while on safari.
  • Camera Bag: Equipment protection comes at all levels; soft to hard, metal to plastic, fabric and foam, fabric covered hard shells, plywood laminate with metal corners, vacuum formed ABS and the final choice of wheels—or not. Many soft bags are made from  nylon fabric whose fiber thickness and diameter is measured in denier or “D.” The higher the number, the stronger the fabric will be. Most soft-sided luggage, for example, is covered in 400D material. There are as many ways of making an image as there are in packing a case. The most common error is leaving too much space around the gear. The snugger the fit, the better the protection.

Don’t look at any bag as a collection of features. Instead think of it as a system that includes useful add-ons. Many bag makers offers accessory pouches, small bags, wraps, and cable organizers. I’m also a fan of photo backpacks and even designed one or two. Tip: I always keep one battery charger in each backpack.

Author: Joe Farace

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