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Travel Photography

 Travel Photography

by Jonathan Copp

December 31, 2001

Capturing images of a journey that in some way portray the trials and marvels experienced can be, to the photographer, as rewarding an effort as it is difficult. There are many possible approaches to travel photography and a plethora of equipment to choose from. Keeping things simple, for me, has lead to the most memorable images. This is not to say a point and shoot around your neck and you are off. But when mobility and function are concerns, a slim equipment check list is essential.

In trying to remain true to a light and fast style within photography, two to three lenses accompanied by two compatible bodies is optimal. At all times both bodies can have a lens in situ. The main body should operate in both auto focus and manual modes. Traveling with a secondary body is both a back up precaution, in case the main body dies, as well as a great way to shoot two types of film at the same time. A premium secondary body is a sturdy no frills manual. My favorite lenses, which are also some of the more versatile lenses, are a 20-35mm wide angle zoom and a 28-105mm zoom. It is ideal to have apertures as large as 2.8, especially in shadowy open air markets or on dark sides of mountains, but cost can be a concern here.

Packing all the proper accessories can make or break your photographic effectiveness in the field. Zip lock bags, for example, are the cheapest security on the market. Bring six large freezer proof zip locks to store film, cameras and lenses. Include a small pack of desiccant in each ziplock to fight the moisture. If the Gobi desert is on the agenda, the fight is against dust instead of moisture. The weapons are the same. A small tripod is essential. I like to carry one small enough to fit even in a fanny pack. Film! Bring far more than you think you may need. Finding Velvia in Sumatra is not going to happen. If the journey involves climbing or other situations where there is bearing upon weight and space, a fixed 35mm point and shoot with a 2.8 aperture can come in handy, but donít let it eat up the best opportunities for key images.

-Always carry camera equipment and ALL film with you on the plane. Most x-ray machines worldwide will not affect film, especially slower films like ISO 50 and 100.

-Most importantly, be emphatic about having a camera ready at all times. Donít miss the shot!

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