A travel photography trip to African safari or any other location is always interesting and full of thrills. You will get to explore new locations, each of which will have its own stories and specialties which you might want to show through the photos that you capture. For this, you need to prepare meticulously and plan out everything very well. Though your energy and enthusiasm will play an important role, always keep in mind that careful planning will help the most. The amount of study and research you put in on the places you are travelling to is one important factor. Study the location and the uncommon things that it has to offer, which you can highlight through your photos. Also, before you leave, you should have your entire gear ready in prime condition. Here are 5 things that are a must in your list of travel photography gear.
The first and most important thing, naturally, is your camera. Carrying a professional or at least mid-level professional camera is advisable. Use the camera that you are most comfortable with, whose settings and accessories you are completely familiar with. The Canon EOS 70D SLR is a very easy camera to work with, even for beginners. You may also try the Nikon D810. Do not carry heavy telephoto lenses as they only add to the weight you will have to lug around. An important thing which travel photography beginners often overlook is that the most interesting aspect about any place is its people. Photographing people can be done even with 50 mm fixed focus “pancake” lenses. If you are planning to visit the African safari to photograph lions and rhinos, take high-range telescope of yours. Carry a low-range or mid-range, say 70-300 mm, lens if you feel you can’t do without one. Ensure that the camera and lenses are working properly and seamlessly. Also make sure that your camera has a durable and weather-proof body.
Having said that you should not carry huge telephoto lenses, it doesn’t mean that you should not carry any equipment that allows you to see far. A Good Binoculars come in handy if you want to spot birds or animals, or even nice scenery that you might want to photograph. Make sure that the optics cover a wide range and field, and a reasonable magnification factor, say about 7X-8X. While packing a binocular, make sure that you carry one which is light weight and easily accessible, and produces a sharp, clear image. This last aspect will also depend on your ability to handle the binocular well; assuming that you are good with it, make sure that its mechanisms are in perfect condition. Consider the pros and cons of each model which you have available. You can try the Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 Binocular or the Nikon 16002 PROSTAFF 7S 8×42 Inches All-Terrain Binocular.
3.) Spotting Scope
A spotting scope will prove to be the best equipment especially if you are on a bird watching trip. Go for a scope with reasonably high magnification power and one which you can mount on a tripod. Carry a spotting scope which has a magnification power of about 15-60x, or 20-40x. However, an increased magnification power also needs a bigger objective lens diameter. Typically, the best objective lens diameter is a value between 50 – 80 mm. However, a bigger objective lens will obviously increase the size and weight of the spotting scope – and this will ultimately hamper your own mobility. Also, try to select a spotting scope that works well in adverse weather conditions – for or rain. Go for a model that is actually waterproof. You may try checking out the Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope which has the ideal objective lens diameter and a multilayer anti-reflection coating on it, which gives you a clear image.
4.) Camera Accessories (Tripod, memory cards, etc.)
When capturing long-exposure photographs or sceneries, or any photo which you feel is special (ideally, every photo of yours should be special to you!), you would not want it to get destroyed because you were not holding the camera steady, or losing the photograph itself because you did not have enough space on your memory chip or hard drive to store it. That would be the stupidest thing to do! You should be carrying a sturdy but lightweight tripod (or a monopod if you can handle it), and multiple memory chips as well as hard drives to store your photos in. Try the Safari Tripod R1100 which is a carbon-fibre tripod with a fluid-action head. It is considerably light in weight and has a quick-action mounting point which accepts your camera readily. It also typically comes with a waterproof carrying bag that makes it easy to carry. The memory cards that you will carry should be of large size (say 32 or 64 GB each). However, check that your camera supports it without glitches. Also carry a waterproof camera bag to securely carry your precious gear.
5.) Battery Bank
Any standard battery pack powers your camera for a limited amount of time, and you might not always find a charging point or even enough time to charge your battery each time it gets drained. Also, carry one or more chargers. This will let you charge multiple battery packs simultaneously. If you are using a Nikon DSLR, use the EN-EL 15 Li-ion rechargeable battery which gives your camera an extended working time. When using a Canon camera, try having one or more Canon LP-E8 battery packs which have a capacity of 1120 mAh. Qi-infinity’ quick charge portable Battery with 10,400 mAh is a great choice to carry in your daypack to charge not only your camera but also your other mobile devices like smartphones, Kindle, MP3 players like iPod.
Keep these points in mind when going on a travel photography trip, to any location, anywhere. The most important thing you need to remember is that you are the deciding factor of the outcome of a photography excursion. Having the required quality and quantity of gear is important, but all that is inconsequential if you do not know what to look for or what to gear to use in a given situation. Happy Clicking!
This is a guest post from Gunjan Murarka.
Author Bio: Gunjan is the founder of Travoge- African Safari Marketplace. Travoge is one source for all things Safari -to book an awesome adventure tour to East African or to plan and prepare for the safari trip. You can follow the company on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.