Day trips are great, but taking a weekend trip for photography can be a great experience and a good way to indulge in your photographic passion for a few days. Not needing to worry about getting home in time or thinking about other commitments for later in the day can be surprisingly liberating! A multi-day trip is a different experience than travelling to a single destination for part of a day, and here are some tips to make it a better one.
Carrying your gear
Don’t bring too much, but make sure you bring enough! Since this is a weekend trip, you are going to have bags and a place to stay. Whether it is a hotel room or the back of a van, you’ll have a spot to stash your stuff. I like to bring two photo bags when I travel. One is a larger bag where I keep everything from lenses to bodies, flashes, cables, filters and more. My bags of choice for this are the Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 for when I bring everything, or the Think Tank Rotation 360° for a smaller amount of storage. The second bag to bring is a day bag designed to carry just what you need for that day or part of the day, so it can be smaller and will be much lighter than your big bag. The Rotation 360 has a detachable belt-bag which means it can serve both purposes. Alternatively, a good shoulder bag such as the Think Tank Urban Disguise 30 makes an excellent choice. The second bag doesn’t need to be too large, since it doesn’t need to hold your camera, just anything extra you choose to bring like extra lenses or a flash.
My goal when preparing up for the day is that if I decide I only need one camera and lens, then I don’t need to carry a bag. All the other stuff goes in pockets. You don’t need an oversized photo vest to carry a lot. When going out for a day of shooting, I wear cargo pants/shorts to give me a bunch of places to stash extra equipment. My favorite pants are from 5.11 Tactical. They are durable and rugged but still look nice. The back slash pockets are huge; I have carried a 70-200 2.8 IS in one in a pinch! Coupled with a good outer shell with many pockets like the Ex-Officio Canopy Trench, this gives you a bunch of spots to hold your gear.
Consistency is also important so you can find what you want, when you want it. My back right pocket always holds my lens caps and nothing else, ever. Phone and wallet are in the right leg pocket, gray card or ColorChecker Passport in my front left, Moleskine in my left leg pocket, etc.
You may be thinking, “But I already have a camera strap!”. But an upgraded, quality camera strap can make a surprising difference in your comfort for a day of shooting. I use one of two third-party camera straps depending on the situation. My normal strap is the Kata Reflex E which has a wide, neoprene section for around your neck so it is extremely comfortable. It is designed to be worn diagonally across your back/chest so the camera hangs at your side. The straps on the camera side have clips so it can clip to a camera bag with chest straps when the neck strap is removed. When I won’t be using a tripod, the BlackRapid RS-5 is my strap of choice, however. It makes the camera easy to carry, easy to access, and is extremely comfortable to use all day long. The Kata Reflex E straps can also clip to the base-plate of the BlackRapid without impeding its functionality. This keeps them out of the way and actually creates a temporary wrist-strap. And my favorite part of both of these straps is they have built-in pouches for spare batteries or memory cards.
In part two of this post, I’ll talk about some technical tips and my best practices to ensure you get the best shot and it makes it home safely!
Equipment mentioned in this post: