19 mar. 2009

Photography: What to take on a trip?

When you have a whole arsenal of lenses for your SLR, the task of choosing the right lenses to take for a field outing is an extenuating and painful one. Leaving that beautiful 50mm F-1.7 lens seems inhuman, but what use could it have when you're going hiking alone?

Take my case as an example. I usually spend 20 minutes preparing my backpack to go downtown (yes, I take a backpack. Don't judge me!). Of those 20 minutes, at least 15 were taken trying to choose the right photo equipment for the job: Should I take a tripod? (stupid question: of course you should take the tripod, you ass!!) Should I take 5 lenses? Should I bring a bigger bag? etc.

For those of you who've found themselves in my case, Fear no more! I've made a list of all the essentials to take on those short (and not-so-short) trips to the outer world!!

  1. A spare camera. Semi-Pro and Pro cameras are sturdy equipment. But that doesn't mean they're indestructible. If, by any chance, your camera were to, let's say, break down, you should always take a spare.

  2. Lenses. We all love our lenses. We take care of them, put them in hard cases to keep them nice and protected, brush the dust off, use relatively-cheap filters to protect them. It's expected that parting ways with them is a hard step. But a necessary one.

    You should always take a wide-angle, for shots of Churches, Mountains, Big Fat Tourists, etc.

    A portrait lens is always a requirement. Trips are always filled with chances to take people sleeping in the subway, a guy with a beard that may have it's own fauna, or even your loyal companion. Make sure it's nice and long (75 to 135mm, ideally) and with both a big aperture (2.8 and bigger) and also a small one (16 and lower). And a telephoto lens, for nice closeups of birds, drifting gondolas, and people, perhaps some mountain views.

  3. Miscellaneous: polarizing filters, lens brush, air syringe, lens tissue, your cameras instruction booklet, spare caps, hard cases.

May this list help you in the difficult task of choosing your equipment. Of course, we didn't include the tripod in the list because IT'S OBVIOUS you should take it! But you know that already, right?

Until next time!