Travelling Gear – pt 2 – Camera stuff

Hey all, another post about things I’m going to be taking with me, but this time it’s exclusively photography kit. I know that some people may think – but he doesn’t take very good pictures – but everybody has to learn sometime. And, with some of the places I’m planning on visiting, I would really kick myself if I couldn’t capture a really good picture.

If you don’t know me, I have a terrible memory. Really, really bad. While I can remember directions to places really well, the people and places I go to are generally a blur until I’ve visited many times – only then do they cement in my brain. Based on this, I resolved that as part of my trip, I would learn to take good photos – night, day, portrait, landscape, effect, vanilla… basically I want to be able to supplement my poor memory with (hopefully not really poor) photos.

Now many people would just get a decent compact camera. One that would neatly stow away in a pocket, that could be unobstrusively whipped out at a second’s notice, and that wouldn’t cause an excessive amount of anguish if it went walkabouts. I contemplated that for a bit… and thought: For a couple of weeks? – maybe; for two years travelling? No. So, I have resolved to learn to take good pictures. Hopefully the gear I’ve amassed (and it it a mass) will enable me to add some really good pictures to this blog in the months to come…

So – what am I taking with me?

The camera body – a Canon EOS 1100D. The most basic DSLR on the planet. I’ve been told that it’s a perfect starter platform, so let’s hope I can make good use of it.
My main lens is going to be this beastie. A Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD super-zoom (apparently a world record holder at one point – possibly for the most ridiculous name). While it’s not the best of lenses in the world, it has the huge benefit of having a massive focal range in a single lens, and also has a really good image stabilisation system, so my shaky hands will ruin fewer pictures :).
I’m also taking a fast lens – a Canon 50mm f/1.8. This one has a fixed focal length (which is really odd to use on a big camera), but it’s fast, so very good at low-light/indoor photos. There may be better options, but this one is by a long way the cheapest, and is pretty highly rated. The pictures I’ve already taken with it, I’m happy with.
For good pictures, a camera often needs to be held in place to allow a long shutter time. I’ve gone for two separate items here: a Joby GorillaPod, which is a fairly tiny camera mount, designed to be attached to any available tree/post/pillar; and a Manfrotto tripod, which is a full-blooded camera tripod which packs down to a reasonable size. It may be that I decide to sell/abandon the big tripod at some point in the journey, it does weigh a bit, but I’ll deifinitely keep it with me through NZ and Australia. Basically, until I actually have to carry it a lot 🙂
Filters. Very exciting camera add-ons to the lay person, but I’m taking a basic set of Circular Polariser (tunes out reflections)/UV (mainly to protect the lens)/FL (slightly corrects fluoresecnt light – probably pointless while travelling) and a variable ND (neutral density – darkens the whole shot, allowing slow shutter speeds in broad daylight). I’m also taking a set of filter step-down rings – different lens have different mounts, so these mean one set of filters fit all lenses.

There are a few other bits – cleaning kit, wireless shutter trigger – but the main bit i have yet to sort out is a bag. There isn’t really that much to take, so a dedicated camera pack would be overdoing it. I’ll put something up on my final kit post…

PS. Please don’t judge the quality of these photos, by the way – I know I should have used the opportunity to practice basic photography skills, but i was tired 😉

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