Tips for traveling ease with photography gear

I've removed the padded insert from the hardshell Pelikan camera case and inserted it into an ordinary roller bag.  It fits into the overhead bin in a plane so I can keep my camera gear close at hand.  And, it's light enough for me to lift it overhead.

I've removed the padded insert from the hardshell Pelikan camera case and inserted it into an ordinary roller bag.  It fits into the overhead bin in a plane so I can keep my camera gear close at hand.  And, it's light enough for me to lift it overhead.

The Wuthering Heights Adventure

Yep!  This week I'm "leavin' on a jet plane". (Really, can anyone write those words and NOT hear John Denver's voice? Or, Peter, Paul and Mary?)

I'm headed to Haworth, England to experience the Yorkshire moors and learn from the great Carolyn Mendelsohn. I've been looking forward to this photography adventure for many months.

Choosing the gear

Does this happen to you?  You know you're going on a great photography adventure and you want to take every single lens, piece of gear you own?

Yeah, me too.

But here's the rub...I have to be conscious of my physical limitations.  In this case, I can't lift heavy things over my head - such as putting a roller bag into the overhead bin. (I'm NOT going to check my photography gear into the belly of the plane. Just not happening.) And I can't wear straps around my neck.

So, here are tips I use to make my photography life a little easier while traveling.  My choices for travel photography gear are based on physical comfort, ease of movement, and the photography mission.

Note:  I am going to mention specific products I use.  I don't have any affiliation with these companies - I just like the products.

Physical Comfort

You know how heavy that camera can get when it's hanging from your neck.  Weight around my neck is torturous.  Therefore, I wear my camera on a belt around my hips - the Spider Camera HolsterMy neck, head, and shoulders thank me for this.

I don't use/wear any handbags that hang from a single shoulder.  Every bag I use, whether it's a camera bag or purse, has a cross body strap.  The cross body strap helps to distribute the weight and keeps the downward pull of pressure off my neck. 

When I travel, I try to keep everything as compact, safe and light as possible.  I use this bag from Magellan.  It has lots of slots (RFID protected), a place for my passport and other papers, and the shoulder strap can be adjusted to many styles/lengths. I wear it across my body.

Now, for that camera gear bag...

I have a great Pelikan hardshell case that I use to transport all my gear - WHEN - I travel with someone who can lift it into the overhead bin. That puppy is heavy when it's empty, let alone filled with gear!

So here's my work-around.  Use your regular roller bag.

I can remove the padding insert from the Pelikan case and put it into the roller bag. Perfect fit. Don't have a Pelikan case with the removable padding insert? You can buy the removable insert on Amazon.

How did we ever solve problems before Amazon?

The camera(s) and lenses

I carry two cameras; a NIkon D810 and a NIkon N80.  The D810 is the digital camera and the N80 is a film camera.  This allows me to have a backup camera and to shoot film.  Added bonus? The N80 film camera is very light in comparison to the digital camera.

Here is the list of lenses/gear I'm taking:

  • 8 rolls of film
  • plastic zip lock bags to use as "raincoats" for the cameras in case of rain
  • 28-100 mm f/3.5 lens (film camera)
  • 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens (digital camera)
  • 70-300 mm f/4.5 lens (digital camera)
  • 3 TB portable hard drive for backing up the images
  • a speedlight - you just never know about the lighting
  • all the appropriate chargers and power cords
  • items for cleaning lenses
  • laptop

While I've designated a camera/lens, the truth is of course, they are interchangeable.  How, or why, did I decide to take these lenses?  Well, I need the 24-70 mm to give me a relatively wide angle for landscape photos.  And the 70-300 will give me the 100 to 105 mm range that is good for portraits.  Additionally, it will give me zoom capability. That 28-100 mm lens came with the NIkon N80. (I purchased the camera/lens on Ebay for $52.00!) That lens is very good.

It's going to take every bit of fortitude I have not to add the 85mm f/2.8 or the 105 mm f/2.8 at the last minute. I'll just keep telling myself "Remember, your lonesome self has to carry and lift all this!"

On the road again....

Yeah - Willy Nelson is singing in my head! (Ahahahaha).

Stayed tuned to read all about my experiences in England. Watch for the work I bring home from the adventure!

And next week, be sure to read the newest Inspiring Photographer Interview!  I think the photographer and the work she does will blow your socks off!

Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure!

Rebecca

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