Photography Travel Equipment
Emmy Award winning cameraman and wildlife photographer, Mark Thorpe, gives his advice on the best photography travel equipment.
When traveling I tend to have some form of camera always available. It may not always be a full sensor DSLR (due to the bulk) but you can find some pretty powerful compact cameras these days. Pixel count is not the initial focus. For me, I look at how simple is it to access the main controls such as ISO, shutter and aperture. If I need to go through a set of menu’s to get to either then that becomes laborious. Some folks rely on auto settings which are fine if the image presenting itself is unique and needs to be had at any cost. That bears true across the board for type of camera. People tend to shy away from cell phones and smart devices as photography travel equipment, but in all reality some of the smart devices are home to some pretty powerful imaging tools.
If you are indeed a megapixel counter then you need to look at the OPPO Find 7, in UHD mode you get 50MP imagery options or the Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41MP offering. With the optimum MP to sensor ratio leveling out around 16MP there are many cameras these days approaching or matching that region. As a result, smart devices are only getting more and more versatile so they are not to be poopoo’ed. Always try to have that camera to hand, if not in a pocket then definitely in your Paxis backpack.
Time-Lapse and the Best Time of Day to Shoot
I prefer to shoot wildlife, landscapes and time-lapse imagery. I currently live near Tokyo where urban time-lapse is embraced, and as long as the people in the clips are blurred, I like to think that I don’t photograph people. The less people in my work, the better. It’s a personal thing. Given that preference, I find the best time of day to shoot (for the best light, as I seldom use additional filling or off camera flash) are the two main slots known as “Golden Hour” and “Blue Hour”.
Golden Hour is when the sun is low enough in the sky to not create harsh shadows, if you think first light in the morning through until about 9 – 9.30am and then again in the late afternoon between 4.00pm and sunset. What is known as Blue Hour by urban photographers is that twilight time where one needs a longing shutter if using a smaller aperture to get the first images of neon and streetlights. I tend to gauge that simply as the time when lights start to come on in the evenings. As a result, urban photographers are able to snag imagery with all aspects of the city still in sufficient light with the added element of streetlights but also with a sky, if it is a clear day, that has wonderful tones of cobalt blue about it.
I tend to try and not always have the sun directly behind me. Shadows can and should be used in order to give depth to an image, to also break things up, and create mystery zones. In Golden and Blue Hours these shadows tend not to be as dark and harsh as with middle of the day sun overhead shots. Consequently, this allows elements within those shaded areas to have some of their form visible, adding to the suspense, if this is what the photographer is looking to accomplish.
What’s In My Pod – My Photography Travel Equipment
Canon Eos M2 Back-Up
Small Manfrotto Table
Portable Zoom H2n Audio
Recorder For Ambient
Here’s what I’m packing (From top left):
1-EOS M2 – 18mp camera with interchangeable lens options.
2-EOS M2 flash
3-GoPro Hero4 battery charger
4-Rechargeable a cells in package wrapped in 6ft of black masking tape
5-GoPro Hero4 camera
6-Spare batteries/memory for GoPro
7-MIOPS camera trigger
8-Laser pointer for setting up miops camera trap gate/trigger
9-MIOPS connection cable
10-iPhone lightning cable
11-iPhone mains plug adapter
12-Portable power pack contains 5 full iPhone6s plus recharges-also for GoPro/Other USB connection recharging
16-Focus pilot lamp with Hot Shoe adapter
18-Intervalometer spare battery
19-Moondog Labs 1.33X anamorphic adapter lens for iPhone6s plus
20-iOgrapher 37mm screw in macro/wide angle/telephoto lenses for iPhone6s plus case
21-Spare SD/CF cards
22-Manfrotto table tripod
23-82Mm nd filters x 3 for Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Wide zoom.
24-2 X spare canon EOS batteries for Battery Grip
25-Container to place smaller items in
About the Author
Mark Thorpe is an International Underwater Film Festival and Emmy Award winning cameraman and wildlife photographer. He has traveled all over the world and has explored bat and snake filled caves, dove with Giant Manta Rays, swam with Gray Reef Sharks, and documented the life of jellyfish. Visit the Sea Wild Earth website or follow Mark on Instagram to see of his work.