Photo Traveler Holiday Camera Bag Giveaway!!!!

Okay, a number of emails came through about the Scrooge-like tone of my last post on photo careers (hey, all I can say is, “don’t shoot the messenger.”) and also about my Nutcracker post, questioning the Homer Simpson lookalike reference. You think I would joke about something like that????

So to quell any thought that I might be making this stuff up, I’ve posted the latest author portrait that will run with my next book for Lark Publishers, on the Power of Moment, just to prove that I wasn’t kidding about being more Homer than Nureyev. As far as the photo career stuff goes, well, just ask any recent j-school graduate (God speed Tiny Tim!). But I’ll be writing more about that stuff in the New Year. Let’s try to enjoy the holidays!

HomerBob10

"Springfield Bob" has a LowePro bag to give away!

Speaking of which, thanks to the generosity of the folks at Lowe Pro, I’ve got a brand new Outback AW300 to give away.  This is the waist pack that I use, which I alternate with another slingbag.

So I thought I run a contest of sorts.  I’m going to send this bag to the poster with the best travel photo tip to show up in the comments section of this post by midnight EST, December 31st.

A couple of ground rules. First, you have to live in the 50 states….no, this is not American jingoism. I simply don’t want to deal with overseas shipping and customs.

Second, it has to be a tip that concerns travel photography, not just travel. So all those cool ideas you have about finding cheap hotel rooms and good airline seats etc. you have to save for another blog contest.

If we actually get more than one entry To handle the onslaught of entries, I’ve assembled a panel of the judges who are fellow professional traveling journalist/photographer/video types of my acquaintance. (If I make them judges, then they can’t enter!)

They’ll stay anonymous so nobody knows who to get mad at if your tip doesn’t make the final cut! (And I’m staying out of it altogether). They’ll be looking for originality and real-world usefulness. In the case of similar tips, we’ll count the one posted first.

(Even though it may take me a while to approve posts, they’re all time stamped. And posts have to be approved to appear just to stem the huge flood of spam posts we get—with the effort these spammers put in, it’s pretty clear to me that selling counterfeit prescription drugs and pianofortes (?) are the growth industries of the coming decade)

So have a great holiday, and send us your best travel photo tip….who knows, you may start the new year with a cool new camera bag!

This entry was posted in Destinations, Events, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Travel.

73 Comments

  1. Andrew Knapp December 24, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    There’s no sense in stressing about getting the perfect shot of the quintessential scene while you’re traveling. Most travelers want to enjoy themselves, revel with friends, meet the locals, eat the food, drink the drink. I say, do that. Do it all. Take photos of it. But don’t go looking too hard for shots. Don’t follow the guidebook because you’ll end up getting photos like the ones in the guidebook. In short, enjoy yourself. The best photos will come serendipitously, when you least expect them. Don’t wait for that moment. Live for that moment.

  2. Maynard Switzer December 24, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Bob, one way I travel with my computer & have it arrive safe, is to take out the convoluted foam in the lid of my Storm hard-shell case & in it’s place I put my 13″ Mac computer, which is already in a padded zippered case that has had industrial Velcro stitched to one side of it & attach it to Velcro that has been glued to the inside of the lid. As the computer does not take up all the space in the lid, I have some small pouches also Velcroed to the inside of the lid which hold my Olympus LS-10 recorder & the other pouch holds the cords & charger, all in an easy carry on case. The bottom half holds an extra body, lens, flash etc. This way I only have one extra case for the computer & the extra camera gear.

  3. Mark Hansberger December 24, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    I call my tip Digital Breadcrumbs. I like to wander around new places and make photos but sometimes get caught up in my wandering, so I make sure to take a few extra pics of street signs and landmarks to help find my way back to the hotel. This serves not only to get me back where I started but helps identify the places I’ve been shooting. And the first shot is always the room number I’m staying in (but not the hotel, just in case my gear get stolen.)

  4. Tim December 24, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Instead of submitting a photo to a contest I would not win I will Just give my best advise instead. Pac light and make sure Bob Krist is standing within 10 ft. of you. This recipe worked quite well for myself.
    Happy Holidays to you and Peggy, Bob

  5. Terry Mitchell December 24, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    f/8 and be there.

  6. Alan Haynes December 24, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    If you’re traveling in the USA, here’s a tip to reduce the weight of your luggage on the way home – and save the excess baggage fees.

    I always accumulate a lot of literature when I travel. I use it to help me keyword my images and just to remember my trip. All those glossy magazines and brochures weigh a ton!

    So, the day before your return flight, ship it home via a USPS FLAT RATE BOX. For $10.35, you can ship as much as you can cram into the free box. And I always include one of my small backup hard drives in the box just in case the rest of my luggage doesn’t make it home.

    The flat-rate box can save you nearly half of what you’d pay to ship it by weight. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying the airline’s over-weight charges.

    I wrote about it last year at http://tinyurl.com/yleqs2e.

    Alan

  7. Joe December 24, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Put black tape (electrical or gaffers) over the name brand on your camera and camera bag. You call a lot less attention to yourself when people don’t see the “canon” or “nikon” logo, and your bag / camera is a lot less likely to get stolen.

  8. JamesT December 24, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    I don’t qualify cos I’m in the UK, but here’s one anyway..

    Always keep an impressive looking but practical zoom lens on your camera, and always have your camera out on display. The impressive lens attracts random conversations with both locals and tourists, and also allows you to quickly snipe those unexpected photo ops. A 70-200 f/2.8 is perfect. You normally have time to switch to a wide lens if a nice landscape presents itself, but a zoom is often needed quickly and gets more conversations.

  9. Heymo December 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    If you want to take a picture of a person try to build a relationship first, even if you don’t speak the language. A smile and gestures is all you need.

    Also, have your camera visible but not in your hand when you first approach. Like that it’s obvious that you’re a photographer, but it’s less threatening.

  10. mike a December 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    i guess my only tip would be take your favorite camera/lens combo and enjoy yourself. Don’t make your trip just about pictures, but instead walk, look, explore, get lost, make memories,eat good food even if you don’t know what it is,don’t take yourself too seriously, smile, help someone and shoot from the heart.

  11. Paul Dymond December 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Well I’m well and truly outside of the 50 states but my tip would be…don’t wait to get on a plane to make travel photographs. Start to see your own local area as a travel destination and hone your skills where you live. Too many people think of the real show as only starting when you get off a plane somewhere exotic. It’s easy to make bad photos anywhere in the world, harder to make good ones in places you see every day.

    I hope you and your family have a great Christmas Bob and all the best for 2010 – may we all be around to shoot and get paid for just a litte longer. :)

  12. Mike O December 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    Having traveled quite a bit with a camera (and even a video camera at times) the best advice I can give is to capture your travels by taking lots of pictures, but don’t forget to soak in and experience your surroundings at the same time. I’ve found that most of the times that I allowed myself to simply get caught up in where I was at at the moment I would find that perfect shot or moment to capture because I wasn’t necessarily looking for it. Sometimes the best shots can’t be sought, but rather, discovered.

  13. Judith Taylor December 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    Bob,
    My best travel photography advice, just get out there and shoot!
    I’ve gotten up in the wee hours to go with some friends up to the Smokey Mountains. At this time of year the weather can be really chilly or downright cold.
    It’s all worth it though to catch a bear, deer or wolf. Even a great sunrise! The beauty of the Smokies is majestic and a photographer’s pallette. So being tired or the fact it’s the weekend is not an excuse. I’m a returning college student majoring in photography and getting up no matter what the circumstances is what gives any even photographer and especially the travel photographer the one who gets the great and often breath taking shots.

  14. Ginny December 25, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    What I’ve learned is that I will not be able to take every lens with me and have everything I normally have. So I pack light. And I don’t use my normal photo bag that screams expensive camera equipment. I converted an old backpack with velcro sections and padding and even made a place for my laptop. Even though most of us carry our equipment on the plane, I don’t want attention drawn to me at the airport from any slick thieves.

  15. J K Hoffman December 25, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    I’ve got a couple, actually.

    One is a classic; the best camera is the one you have with you. When out, even for breakfast or to grab a paper, always, always, always, bring your camera with you! You never know when you’re going to get that perfect shot that defines the trip or place, so be prepared.

    Two, think you have enough batteries? Great! Then bring some extra because you’ll burn through them faster than you thought.

    Three, remember that last tip for batteries? Same applies to memory cards, stick, film, etc. If you run out of room on your camera in the middle of a tour, or whatever, you won’t have time to move the shots to your computer, so have spare memory that you can swap FAST.

    Four, know the camera you’ve got with you. On a trip when you’re trying to collect memories is not the time to be reading the manual trying to figure out how to adjust settings! Figure that out before you go so you can focus on taking great shots while you’re on the road!

    Oh, and Merry Christmas, etc. Great blog. First time here, but I know I’ll be back often.

  16. John Leonard December 25, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    The best travel advise, to me anyways, is before you leave. Check and then recheck that you have everything you need fro your trip. You don’t want to get hundreds or thousands of miles away and realize you’ve left a lens or battery charger behind! More so if you are traveling for paid work. Make a checklist and follow it every time.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  17. Drikus December 25, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    The best bit of advise that I’ve heard and that has never failed me is to befriend a few locals and get them to show you what they don’t want tourists to see. If you get the right people, they’ll be taking you on a little whirlwind exploration through places that most other people never even hear of. They’ll get you there faster, be informative and you’ll have more stories to tell! It’s always worked for me and everyone who have taken this advise.

  18. Charles Scott December 25, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    We all know about shooting during the morning and evening “magic hour” but this does not mean we must put our cameras away during the middle of the day when the light is high overhead. Concentrate on photographing people midday and shoot portraits during this time, but make sure your subject is in the shade (and preferably with an equally shaded background). Shooting on the shady side of a street lets the marvelous soft reflected light from buildings on the sunny side illuminate your subjects. There is no better light for great portraits.

  19. Jon December 25, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    This is for the amateurs — don’t take gear that you’re going to end up worrying about. Visiting new places is supposed to be fun, and mothering over expensive equipment will make you miss out on some of that (and ultimately your photos won’t be as fun either).

  20. V Herath December 25, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    1. A good Camera bag (preferably Carry on size) Lowpro, tamrac (my choices) at least it should fit
    -2 camera bodies
    -1 Telephoto lens (70-200/300mm)
    -1-2 prime lenses (50, 85mm)
    -1 All purpose (18-105mm)
    -1 wide angle (optional i carry 11-14mm tokina)
    -a flash and batteries (keep charged batteries inside the flash and inside the charger.. else its a pain! TOA will give you a hard time)
    -Shamwow (u never know rain , snow etc.) and lens pen.

    2. if you are traveling to europe or asia , make sure You take universal plug… else u will be in big trouble!!!!!!
    3. kayak.com is the best place to find very good air tickets. Studentuniverse.com is my second fav.
    4. Hotels: again kayak and studentuniverse , i always double check with price line. If you dont mind staying with a local couchsurfing.org is the most reliable place to find. It will give you a chance to meet locals also very good photographic opportunities.
    5. Extra memory cards: Else you will be mad with your self !
    6. Model Release forms and couple of pens
    7. Travel guide: i recommend frommers and lonely planet.
    8. Business cards, else people will think you as a pervert.
    9. Some cash in local currency (in case)

    Sorry for the long list!
    Keep Shooting My Friends!

  21. Jose Gutierrez December 25, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Whether you are going to Tokyo, Japan or Lincoln, Nebraska, make sure you sign up for all the loyalty programs for your airline, hotel and car rental. Not only will this let you pick better seats on a place, ask for a top room floor away from elevators or request an SUV for your gear, the points for these programs add up quick. Soon you will have enough points to get even more gear or use them for gifts. The best part is that all of these programs are FREE. Just make sure to keep track of the account numbers. There programs get even better and better as you rack up miles/stays/rentals.

  22. Curtis Haig December 25, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    Carry on the most expensive and delicate camera gear. If you have to check a bag try and check the camera accessories like lens hoods, battery packs, reflectors, extra batteries, tripods, etc. Carry on the expensive stuff like lenses and camera bodys. The Think Tank carry on rollers are awesome for this. If something gets stolen then at least it’s the least expensive and usually easily replaceable stuff. One other tip get insurance for your gear. If you are a member of PPA then Marsh offers some really great rates. Usually for around $350 per yr you can insure $15,000 worth of gear against theft, breakage, etc.

  23. Vickie December 25, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Be sure to plug in/recharge your camera every night.

  24. Don Winkler December 25, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    When traveling with camera and photo toys such as wires and flashes and transmitters. Going through customs can be a problimatic and you could lose equipment during the search procedures ESPECIALLY IN PLACES AT SMALL ISLANDS ETC THAT DON’T HAVE A LOT OF PATENCE FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT. Wires and flashes tend to look like something of interest in a camera bag.

    Tip
    Place all small items in each pocket of your bag into a zip bag that fits that size pocket or stall in you bag. When they tend to search it won’t take to long as everything is visual and all come out of each pocket without boucing around the bag check area

  25. Andy December 25, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    My tip for everyone who doesn’t have a fancy photo bag but still wants to protect their coveted lenses while travelling is to go and get a couple of the insulated and padded bottle coolers for individual babies milk bottles. Perfect to house most lenses while in otherwise normal bags and luggage.

    I use them to protect my lenses and speedlights while travelling and it means I’ve never needed a dedicated ‘photog bag’. (Allthough I’ll be happy to win this one!)

  26. J.P. December 25, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    My advice is to THINK.
    Think about the fact that you’re going to have to carry the equipment you bring, so balance function with fatigue.
    Think about how many batteries and memory cards you’ll need, then double it.
    Think about what you want your picture to communicate–you might not get a second chance to take this shot.
    Finally, think about shooting without thining once in a while, since you might not get a second chance to take this shot.

  27. Michelle Knight December 25, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    I’m in the UK, so I’m not going to win anything … but the only real tip I have used when shooting is the opposite to what others are saying … I say, research and plan; if it all goes well boo yah! If it doesn’t, spontaneity will take over. You can always throw away the plan if it doesn’t work.

  28. Sam allen December 25, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    I learned mine from a friend travelling in NYC. Put piano wire through your camera strap to thwart razor-wielding crooks. It may save your camera and in his case your
    life. In keeping it from going through the strap, it also will keep it going through your neck/chest.

  29. Rick December 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    I travel and photograph a lot. The best tip I have is this-know when to leave your camera in your camera bag and just enjoy the moment with your companions. Sometimes the best memories are the ones you only capture in your mind.

  30. Tom December 25, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Christmas People..

    Best tip is to take a picture that you want to see and that it represent your personality and style. Something that you would look back and feel the mood, atmosphere and meaning..

    And dont forget to enjoy your trip!

  31. John Ricard December 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    This tip is about shooting without wearing a camera bag all day.

    When you reach your hotel, leave your camera bag there. Take only one lens and one body with you. Don’t bring extra batteries, flash, extra CF cards…. Just one body and one lens. Put the camera into a regular plastic shopping bag until you reach the place you want to shoot -Disneyland, Venice Beach, Sunset Blvd, whatever. The plastic bag will help hide your valuable equipment until you reach your shooting destination.

    Once there, put the plastic bag in your pocket and spend the day shooting without being encumbered by a camera bag hanging from your shoulder.

  32. Howard December 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    Travel tip for everyone, not just photographers.

    Luggage Identification.
    When traveling anywhere via plane put some type of unique identifier on your checked luggage. For instance I use a foot long strip of either silver duck or metal duct tape across my bags (front and back) or I have multicolored pom poms attached to the handles. Not only does it make it easier to identify from other similar bags when it’s coming around on the conveyor belt, its easy to spot if someone else picks it up by mistake.

    If you’re concerned about the tape on your bags, keep in mind that the airlines are going to mark up your bags during luggage handling so what difference does it really make.

    Making pom poms is easy and duct tape is available in many different colors. If you’re OCD you can use both on bags to protect yourself.

    Howard

  33. Robert December 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    I’m always on the lookout for a good bag. LowePro make some good ones, but most of them don’t fit my needs; I normally just use a normal hikers backpack. My normal kit consists of: Chamonix 45N1 camera, 80mm, 135mm, 210mm Schnieder lenses, Sekonic light meter, Fuji QuickLoad holder, 20 sheets of film and a complete Lee filter kit.

  34. Phil Bowser December 25, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Get online and search for photos in/around your destination and study those. This will help to prevent you from taking the same shots everybody else has been taking. Plus, it can also suggest some scenes you might not have considered visiting!

  35. Derryl Varghese December 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Geotagging your pictures would help you and any of your fans/blog readers know where exactly the picture was taken. I think geotagging pics is very important for every travel photographer.

  36. Chris F. December 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    When traveling with family members, put point-and-shoot cameras in their hands and let them fire away on the automatic settings unfettered by your over-concern with f-stops, shutter speed, white balance, and RAW vs. JPEG. They will see things that you don’t, many times produce a better shot than you did (as my wife did on a recent trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon), and remind you to take chances with your photography and enjoy the experience.

  37. Denise December 25, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    When taking pictures of friends and family at all those iconic locations, remember to have the person closer to you than to the location.. If you are trying to get their picture in front of the Eiffel Tower — and you back up far enough to get the whole tower… you aren’t going to be able to see the person because they are so small in the shot… and remember, sometimes you just need to get a small portion of the structure to be able to recognize it later.. so if you are trying to capture the person.. make sure they are the real focal point.

  38. Paul Papanek December 25, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    Whenever possible, ask someone before taking their photograph. Not only is it polite, but you now have the opportunity to engage them – and pose them – moving them to better light or a better background. And – you can actually learn from them. Believe it or not, this works even if you don’t speak their language.

  39. Suman Paul December 25, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    if you are not on assignment, travel with minimum gear. A fast wide zoom (17-50 f2.8), a short tele (70-200 f4 or 135 f2), and a cropped sensor SLR body. Everything should fit in a quickly accessible shoulder bag or belt pack.I generally carry a second body which stays in the hotel. And be prepared to
    1. Walk a lot (and I mean a lot, hopping from one tourist destination to another won’t get u anywhere)
    2. Talk a lot (not only asking local people for advise regarding what is unique about the region, ask before clicking the shutter. Personally, I have never been denied permission for taking a picture)

  40. James Atkinson December 25, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Travel photography is tough because you usually have very limited time to capture the moments you want that will represent your body of work. For example, cultural activities and festivals may last only one day… or even just a couple hours. A CF card full of off-exposure pictures doesn’t go a long ways, especially if you can’t return to the action at a later date.

    Using your camera with a battery grip, set the camera’s continuous shooting as fast as possible with auto-bracketing (3 or so stops) and take three high speed shots.

    This will ensure you get at least one photo at the correct exposure. However, you still need to prepare for the “moment” and ensure your timing is correct.

    This also works very well for aerial photography from fast moving planes and helicopters.

  41. nick December 26, 2009 at 1:46 am #

    Tip: Utilize Creative Compositions -

    let’s face it, when you’re traveling, inevitably you will find yourself in a situation shooting a monument, a statue, a river, or a mountain range that has been shot thousands of times before by thousands of other photographers.

    In order to create a truly stunning image, you’ll have to shoot that scene in a way that hasn’t been shot before. Get down low and shoot your subject at an upward angle. Scale a nearby hill or climb up on a chair for a high angle. If you’re shooting a person, don’t be afraid to frame them at a diagonal within your view finder.

    Creative post processing might help as well. Shooting at a wide aperture and stitching together a panorama creates a striking image with shallow depth of field with an uncanny wide angle – let’s see someone do that with a typical wide angle lens!

    The key is to transform a worn subject into something new through creative compositions.

  42. Colleen December 26, 2009 at 3:16 am #

    I’m a tour guide in Alaska and I often end up helping my guests with their cameras. Most often the problem is that the camera is brand new and very likely their first digital camera, so they just are not familiar with how it works. However, occasionally I’ve encountered a situation where a camera is really broken. So my best advise is know your camera and how it works but also have your manual along just in case, and bring along a second camera in case the first one really does break or malfunction. If you’re shooting an expensive DSLR and it goes bad on you, a simple point and shoot could save the day (trip).

  43. Larry December 26, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Plan ahead and see what’s there before you go. Check Google Street view of the location you’re going to and the surrounding areas to see streets, landmarks, etc. You can then get a sense of where places are in relationship to sunrise/sunset. Also, check photo sites such as Flickr. You don’t want to copy somebody else’s photo, but you can find a lot of places that aren’t mentioned in guidebooks.

  44. mk December 26, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    On-board flash! A most versatile piece of equipment for your travel photography. Learn it. Utilize it. Here’s how:

    –first, with a couple of pieces of velcro, cut to order, you can attach a 1/4 or 1/2 CTO gel, also cut to order, over the flashhead and not worry about that blast of white light you too often see from others.
    –in a lowlit pub somewhere? dial it down to minus 2EV and it’s a wonderful fill light. Doesn’t ruin the interior atmosphere. (this really only works with nice small primes like 20mm, 35mm and 50mm. otherwise you’ll get a dark semi-circle shadow in the lower half of the frame. besides, when you’re doing this kind of shooting, you don’t want anything really big anyway, right? Put away that 12-24 and the 17-35, gotta keep it light, fast paced.)
    –outdoors too! dial in a minus 1EV and you get a nice, subtle bit of light to fill in shadows. Also puts nice catch lights in the eyes. Makes them sparkle.
    –triggers off camera flashes for that extra bit of light in the back ground, or down the hall, or behind that plant, or… etc.
    –a creative use of a soup spoon and a white napkin (or menu! or wall! or plate!) and you can make a stunning soft light product shot or a meal/dessert shot.

    So here you are able to create a nice portrait, a product shot, make indoor candids without ruining the atmosphere, fill in shadows and put catchlights in the eyes of your friends despite shooting in midday at the beach! All with that little pop-up bit of light.

    Cheers.

  45. Charles E. Pike December 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    go to festivals. I go the the Renaissance Festival, here people expect that you will take their picture. I use my 17-35mm on a D200 with the setting to “P” and focus to nearest subject.
    What do people like to look at? People doing things. Feel funny taking pictures of people? Ask if you can take a picture of what they are doing. The leather worker working on leather. The blacksmith working metal.

    The reason to keep your camera set to “P” is that when your out traveling you might turn a corner, see a shot, and not have time to fuss over your settings.

  46. Larry December 26, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    When you’re traveling, keep this in mind to shoot, as Bob wouild say, a sense of place:

    FLAP – Festivals/Fairs Landscapes Architecture People

  47. Mike Morse December 26, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    My apologies to Johann Sebastian Bach:

    12 megapixels
    11 pounds under luggage allowance
    10 extra pockets
    9 great ideas
    8 GB CF cards
    7 days out of town
    6 camera batteries
    5 great lenses
    4 segment upgrades
    3 tripod legs
    2 camera bodies
    1 local fixer

  48. Richard Graves December 26, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    I always carry a small point and shoot camera to let other people take my picture. But better yet I have started carrying an XShot collapsible post that has a camera mount on one end. Not only is it great for taking my own picture using a Sony DSC-W300 but it attracts so much attention from other photographers that I should be selling them.

  49. Mike Morse December 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    OOPS. Forgot I wasn’t to include airline stuff, so substitute 4 lens filters for 4 segment upgrades

  50. Bill Reade December 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Bob, I do most of my travel shooting on long motorcycle trips. Im talking from north New Jersey to Idaho, Montana, norhtern california etc. While looking for the perfect camera bag to hold my 2 D700 bodies, lens, filters,
    cards,and battiers. I searched B&H, adorama and every store advertised in “Outdoor photographer” I planned on spending close to $300 for the “perfect Bike Bag” I found it, 150% waterpfoof,floats, room for all my stuff.
    $49.99 at sorry Wallmart. Its a fishing reel bag. Fits the bike like a glove, 1 in thick padded wall, removable deviders I LOVE IT. Ride on

  51. Jerry Hanes December 26, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    I agree with JOE #7
    Black tape AND ditch the Name brand cheap web strap
    That screams digital (take me).
    Jerry

  52. Tim Camuso December 27, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    I always try to remember to pack my most essential piece of gear…my brain. Then I try to use it wisely.

  53. Rikk December 27, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    The only irreplaceable item other than your life is your images. The backup for your images should be carried on your person back home. This means in a pocket-not in a carry-on-not in your checked luggage. I put mine on a passport drive in plastic ziplock bag (with a dessicant pack)and carry it in the breast pocket of the camera vest I wear. If I am separated from my baggage for any reason, I still have my pictures. They are in a bag in case of a water landing (remember the landing on the Hudson River?)

  54. Kent Wells December 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Keep it simple & fun , , ,

    Spend 40% of your time available shooting #1 and 60% on #2.

    1. Shoot what you know or are familiar and comes naturally, sports, landscapes, whatever is currently in your portfolio.
    2. Step outside your comfort level, expand your repertoire and challenge your abilities. Getting up close and personal i.e. people, places or things.

    When outside familiar areas I find that I am much more adventurous and willing to take advantage of the “excitement of new surroundings”. I learn more at times like this do to being open to the adventure.

  55. Terry Clark December 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi Bob,

    Great list of tips!

    One thing I do is maximize my lens range when traveling by carrying two bodies – one full frame (5DMK2) and one cropped sensor body (7D). By packing just a five moderately small lenses (16-35, 50 1.4, 85 1.8, 24-105, 200 2.8) I have an outstanding mix of focal lengths. Add to this mix the diminutive EF12 extension tube for close ups.

    Most of the time when I’m walking about I carry the 16-35 lens on the 5DMK2 and the 24-105 on the 7D, for an effective focal length of 38 – 168. The other lenses are packed in a ShootSac, ready if and when needed.

    The only other “tip” I can offer is to bring twice as many memory cards as you think you’ll need. Even on small day trips I don’t leave home without at least 120 gigs worth of CF cards.

  56. Justin Balog December 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    There are a bunch of great trips here and I have learned a lot from them. I am looking forward to implementing them on my next trip. As for tips that haven’t been mentioned I would say do your homework. A little forward recon on the net or talking with friends that have visited where you are headed will do a long way when you hit the ground.

    Happy holidays Bob and thanks again for a great blog!

    Justi

  57. Jesse Darlington December 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    umm…have a model-release app custom made for your iPhone so that an indigenous native with a bone through their nose can sign his/her release to publish with their finger on your touch screen

  58. Rich Kennedy December 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    Don’t leave the long glass home. Too many people think the best pix are those shot with wide…sometimes too wide of an angle lens. I’ve found over the years my favorite pix from a trip are often times shot with a longer focal length. I spent an entire trip to Ireland years ago where I shot predominately with a 300 f/4.0 I found I could capture the charm of the people by keeping my distance. I also found the longer glass compressed landscapes for more interesting images. Love the blog Bob!

  59. Jim Green December 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    My most useful travel trip is:- get a camera that runs with no batteries whatsoever (Olympus 35 Trip)or (more reasonably) a camera that uses AA batteries (Nikon F100, Nikon F3 with M4, Canon AS1100is, etc.) AA batteries are available everywhere, are small, light and cheap. No weird chargers, converters, etc.

  60. Karen December 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    I always think it’s a good idea to learn to say at least these three things in the local language…”hello, please, and thank you”. People do appreciate it if you make an effort to do that little bit. Also, no one minds you taking photos of the local food, just don’t make gagging noises or faces while you do it.

  61. George December 28, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    Lots of good tips here – I feel like I’m a winner just by reading them.

    The best tip I can come up with is to be open to the local experience. Some of my best pictures came when I listened to suggestions from the locals as what they are proud of; very rarely is it the tourist shots we see other people bring home.

    With a digital camera, I can even show them what the shot looks like after I’ve taken it.

    Thanks again.

  62. Doug Kreiter December 29, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Bob, I love the blog and look forward to every new post.

    I often don’t want the burden of a camera bag when I hit the street at my destination, so for me, having the correct jacket is crucial. Unfortunately, finding the perfect jacket is like finding the perfect camera bag. I prefer two casual looking ones: the classic LL Bean field coat and the Barbour Classic Beaufort jacket. Both have big front pockets that can hold a flash, filters, batteries, small zoon, etc. Designed as a hunting jacket, the Barbour also has a full-width rear game pocket where larger items like a reflector can be stored.

  63. Mary December 29, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Put yourself in the middle of the action – don’t simply be a spectator, but participate in the activities going on around you. You can better capture the moment and the spirit and demonstrate that in your photos rather than something you just happened to see. This also makes for a more memorable travel experience. I’m not necessarily saying go run with the bulls, but what a fantastic photo that would make – to be in with the pack rather than shooting from the safety of a balcony!

  64. Mark Olwick December 29, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    If you’re in an area that has them, hire a local driver. Not only will you get to where you’re going with minimal hassle, but you’ll establish a relationship with them. They’ll learn your goals, realize that you’re not a typical tourist, and will soon be seeing the places that only locals know.

    Also: Take half as many lenses and twice as much memory (or film in my case) that you think you’ll need.

    Mark

  65. Jerry Rampelt December 29, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    I work out and take hikes with a heavy bag on my back. This enables me to have the needed gear with me. I did this in Nepal, China, Indonesia, Honduras, and throughout Europe. Also, never had an item stolen.

  66. MikeScott December 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Wrap gaffers tape around a pen (I use an ultra fine point Sharpie) and stick it in your camera bag. You’ll always have just enough tape for that moment when you wish you had it without having to eat up space with a roll of the stuff (not to mention you’ll have something to write with too).

  67. Dr. Biggles December 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    Hi Bob!

    How many stories have you heard of a camera being left behind? Dinner, pub, hanging out. Don’t set your camera down. Keep the strap around a portion of your body, or on your lap. I generally don’t use a strap and keep the body cradled in my arms like a shotgun, or in my meat-hooks (fangers). Don’t set your camera down.

    xo, Biggles

  68. Todd Naskedov December 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    Part of my travel photography setup now includes a bottle of wine, bread and cheese (all bought locally) and a good book…all to keep my beautiful and understanding non-photographer wife happy while I work like a madman at sunset locations. We call this the “Florence Rule”.

  69. Jill L. December 30, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Of course remember to put down the camera once in a while, but while you ARE shooting, make sure to take a closer look not only at your surroundings, but of those you are traveling with observing the surroundings. After spending 6 months in Australia I came home with hundreds of pictures – but all of my favorites are those that show not only the beautiful places I was lucky enough to visit – but the mood and enjoyment felt by all of us who were experiencing it for the first time. Looking at and sharing those images helps me to not only share my experiences with others, but also remember why I love to both travel and shoot.

  70. Jeremy Wade Shockley December 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Pack light, keep an open mind, always take the time to understand, engage, and build good repore with your subject and then get close!

    Travel photography is about destination on one level- but ultimately it is about the people, their culture and way of life- respect this and your images will shine!!

    May the journey be long & rewarding….Cheers, Jeremy

  71. Penelope December 31, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    I’ll admit this isn’t my original tip, but it is something I’ve considered, especially when I know that the commercial aircraft is one of those express jets where the overhead bin holds no more than a shoebox. Scott Bourne suggests shipping your equipment ahead to your destination (heavily insured, of course). His post yesterday, in light of recent air travel developments, is food for thought and a sad comment on the state of the world: http://photofocus.com/2009/12/30/traveling-better-get-a-ups-account/

  72. Aileen Ah-Tye December 31, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    *Look backwards. Don’t concentrate so hard on what looks great in front of you, that you miss what the light might be doing behind you; i.e., moving cloud formations, the last of the sunset’s rays, the pink of morning dawn. This is true – especially w/winter landscapes.

    *Fog/mist evaporates quickly. Once the sun comes up, it’s gone. Shoot first – ask questions later.

    *Know your equipment & break down how to handle it step-by step, pretending you’re a fireman or rifleman on the job. Never do you want to “lose a picture” because you had to fumble with a piece of equipment. I remember actually falling over the legs of my tripod once in my eagerness to get a picture (ouch – battered lens). Rehearse at home before the Big Trip, before trying out any new technique. Dont’ wait till you get there! THIS will force you away from the computer into the field – an unexpected pleasure.

    Happy shooting!

  73. Mike Morse December 31, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    location, location, location

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