Arts & Culture · Travel

A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Photography

Black Pontiac - Alice Pettway A multipurpose zoom lens is a great inclusion in any pack. An 18–70mm zoom was perfect for capturing this antique Pontiac in the Viñales Valley, Cuba.

When you’re near home, bulky camera bags make sense. On the road, they don’t, for several reasons—they’re big and heavy, and they attract a lot of attention, which puts you at higher risk of theft. They’re also meant to be carried on their own, not in another bag, which leaves you in the position of trying to carry two bags (not the goal) or having to pull your camera bag completely out of your backpack every time you want to take a photo.

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Red Dragonfly II - Alice Pettway A longer-focal-length macro lens—like the 105mm used to capture this dragonfly in the Singapore Botanical Gardens—may be a bit heavier, but its increased versatility is invaluable while you’re traveling.

Modular packing is a far more viable option. It is lighter, and it lets you have your gear in a generic backpack that won’t call extra attention to the fact you’re carrying thousands of dollars of camera equipment. Neoprene lens and body sleeves will protect your equipment from bumps. And, depending on your destination, freezer-weight zip lock bags or small dry bags will ensure that there’s not water damage. A Gorillapod straps easily on the side of most packs, and batteries, filters, memory cards. and cleaning supplies are best stowed in a lightweight bag of their own—lots of backpacking companies make ultra-light, ripstop stuff sacks that are perfect.

That’s it! Throw your passport, some clothes, and a toothbrush in with your gear, and you’re ready to capture the essence of the most remote destinations.

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