Many of you have reached out to me and asked about my camera gear, how I was able to take a photo of myself when I was traveling alone in New Zealand (and everywhere else) and so I decided to put together the ultimate travel photography guide for people who wants to travel light without sacrificing the ability to capture amazing photos. Let's begin shall we?
First let me explain what kind of a traveler I am so you can decide whether this guide is for you or not. I am a solo traveler who likes hiking mountains and prefer to travel light. I am also a photographer and a filmmaker so this guide will be all about photography gear that are light-weight yet powerful.
Keep in mind that this list might not work for every traveler but the gear mentioned here is what work best for me during the past 3 years of traveling. Below are all the photography equipments I have in my daypack at all times:
Sony RX100 M3 is what I use as a primary camera. Believe it or not, Most of the photos and videos I took were from this little compact camera. Don't underestimate its size though, because Sony RX100 M3 packed quite a punch under its small body. It takes sharp images of up to 20 megapixels while sporting a Zeiss lens with 24mm wide-angle shooting and a large aperture. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder which you won't find in any other compact camera out there. To top those, it also shoots RAW and allows a certain amount of manual control for those wanting to shoot manually, all in a body that fits inside my side pockets.
How much control you asked? Well, I was able to take a photo of the Milky Way with it.
Since this camera is literally in my pocket all the time, I was able to capture moments that I would not have with a big camera. To give you an example, imagine carrying your DSLR camera to a night-out with friends in a local bar. It doesn't sound like you will have fun with that big camera around your neck all the time does it?
Trust me, RX100 M3 is the way to go if you hate traveling with your bulky DSLR.Buy Sony RX100 M3 ($798)
I used a GoPro camera only when I want to shoot some action footages, water activities and timelapses. With all the accessories GoPro has, I was able to capture stunning photos and videos in places where my primary camera can not go, like underwater or on top of my head while biking. I also use GoPro to shoot timelapse so that my primary camera is free to take other photos while the GoPro do all the work.Buy GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition ($399)
A lot of people ask me how I was able to take a photo of myself when I am traveling alone. Here's the answer for you, I use a tripod. With a combination of this, a timer functionality and me running tirelessly, I was able to capture many stunning photos of me with the landscape I want. Usually a tripod is a heavy equipment but due to the size and weight of the Sony RX100 M3, a light-weight tripod was more than enough to get the job done.Buy the light-weight Tripod ($10.99)
Due to its small body and the beast mode it enables, the Sony RX100 M3 battery life can be crappy at times. With heavy usage, it can barely last me a whole day so I carry an extra battery just in case. Also when you are hiking, the cold weather can drain the battery pretty fast so it helps to have a fully charged battery as a backup for when you need it.Buy NP-BX1 Battery for Sony RX100 M3 ($34.94)
I shoot everything in RAW (photos) and XACV-S (videos) format which takes up a lot of space so having a few SD cards with large capicity is necessary. I found that I could go for almost a month traveling before I fill up an SD card so 2 - 3 are usually enough for a 3 months trip.Buy 64GB SD Cards ($18.94)
A 3-way stick is a GoPro accessory that acts as a tripod, a monopod and a grip for the GoPro cameras. I used this to capture crazy stunts that I do from several angles. The stick can also be converted into a small tripod that I can use to take timelapses.Buy a 3-way stick for GoPro ($42.14)
I love to use this with my GoPro when I am doing extreme sports. It allows me to capture action shots without having my hands occupied. This and the GoPro wide angle lens are perfect for capturing action shots where you need to interact with the environment like biking and kayaking.
Should I get a chest-strap or a headstrap, you asked? For me, I chose the headstrap because with it, I don't have to turn my whole body to show the viewers what I am seeing like you have to with a chest-strap. I just have to turn my head and that is it.Buy a Headstrap for GoPro ($15)
The waterproof housing is good for when there is water involve but when there's no water and you want to capture sharp footages on a clear day, the waterproof housing can create an annoying grow effect (due to the reflection of the light and the transparent housing) that can ruin your footages. That is where The Frame Mount comes in. The Frame Mount is basically a GoPro mount without the housing and I use it most of the time with my GoPro when I don't plan to go anywhere near water. The mount is also much lighter to carry than the waterproof housing.Buy a The Frame Mount for GoPro ($22.93)
I have 2 identical My Passport HDs with 2TB each to back up my photos and videos. One I take it with me on the road, and the other is safe at home. I have had the opportunity to experience the worst fear a photographer could ever face first hand not too long ago, when my bag was stolen together with my external HD. It was a hard lesson learned, and that is why I now have two HD backups and you should too.Buy Western Digital My Passport HD ($89)
Last but not least, the thing I can't live without is my Navy Blue Herschel Supply's backpack which I use to carry all these gear with me all the time. Why Herschel Supply? Well first, it is stylish as hell and secondly, the capacity is more than enough to carry all these gear I mentioned, plus a jacket, a laptop, some snacks and water bottles, and finally, a good book, which is all I need for a great hike in the mountain.Buy Herschel Supply Little America backpack ($99)
Total Cost: US$ 1529.94
And there you have it, my photography gear guide for light-weight solo traveler. What do you think? Did I miss something on the list? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
The Solo Traveler’s Resources is a series of posts by Bucketlistly where we will explore the ways of life of nomads including how we work, travel, and what we carry in our backpack.
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