Traveling Photographers’ Must Haves

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Urban Lights, LACMA. Los Angeles, California. May 2016.

I love taking pictures whenever I travel, no matter how near or far. Whether I’m hiking up mountains in Hawaii or Scotland; walking beaches in Australia or back home in SoCal; or exploring cityscapes in New York or London, I always want my camera close by.

While traveling, however, you can’t always have the same resources with you that you would at home – like your computer on hand to upload your pictures when your camera is full or protection from the elements or a whole mess of other things.

This list covers a few of the must needs from the ‘I need this to work’ that so many people forget to throw in their bags in the rush of packing to fun extras you wouldn’t think about that just help you out.

1. An External Hard Drive — There are a few models out now which no longer need a computer to either back up or store your photos when you are traveling and don’t have access to your computer. If your camera uses a SD memory card, my dad bought and really liked My Passport (Pro or not) Wireless Hard Drive on his last bit of travels. While he didn’t need to offload pictures for space but as a back up in case of an emergency – lost camera, damage, ect. – I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d a back up unit like this when my phone (and in turn my camera) were lifted in Paris!

2. Rain Sleeve — These are plastic covers that you can put over your camera with an open space for your lens but coverage for the body. There are great designs you can purchase or you can try to build your own but make sure everything is really covered and you can still get to all your controls. This is important even if you don’t think it’s supposed to rain – things can change quickly! Also, these shields protect against most other elements, like sand.

3. Camera Stabilizer — There are so many cool designs for products that help you take amazing photos. I’ve seen walking sticks that you can plant in the ground and screw a camera onto (like a tripod but with multiple uses!), retractable string add-ons that attach to your clothing or shoes to show any tilt, as well as easily broken down tripods that are really travel accessible. These can help you frame pictures, reach higher, and get better shots of yourself while you go – yes, selfie-sticks fit here as well but they have been banned from a lot of places so be careful or yours will be confiscated.

4. Small, Digital Secondary Camera — If you have a good SLR camera (you know, with a removable lens), carrying a small compact camera as well as a back up can be really helpful. My dad used to be a professional photographer so he takes his cameras pretty seriously and he has been doing this for years. There are places that don’t allow large cameras – any professional looking ones – but in other places the lighting causes issues with larger cameras – these quick shots work really well.

5. Multiple SD Cards, Batteries, and Don’t Forget Your Charger(s) — I know, I know, this one feels like a no brainer, but you’ll be surprised how many times these things end up NOT in your bag! My recent trip to the LA Zoo, for example, ended up being a cellphone camera only event since I hadn’t charged my battery and didn’t pack my spare. You’ll be really disappointed if you can’t photograph your travels because you’re missing your hardware. So seriously, write it on your hand, your mirrors, a post-it note on your front door, or anywhere else that you will see  before you leave.

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So that’s my list. It’s just a few things to remember when you pack up your camera but they can be pretty important if you want to get your shots!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Traveling Photographers’ Must Haves

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