Tag Archives: Traveling Photographer
So I just recently returned from a six week trip through five countries (four of them being in Africa) with all my high-end Nikon gear, and thought I would offer my thoughts about traveling internationally as a photographer.
- Insure your equipment. Honestly it is a lot easier and more cost effective than you think it might be. It takes a big burden of fear off, when you can get all of your gear replaced for a $250 deductible. Don’t get me wrong, it would really suck to get my gear stolen, but it could be replaced without to much of a problem. Believe me, this takes a huge burden off of you when you traveling in difficult places.
- Get a nondescript camera bag. Crumpler is my current camera bag of choice, I own two of them. When I originally heard Crumpler’s mantra, I was a fan instantly: make very functional camera bags that don’t look like typical camera bag. My Crumpler (currently the Whitney and Cox) backpack. It holds my two camera and four lenses doesn’t look very different than your normal backpack. I felt safe walking through slums with my gear, because most people would not guess that I have over $5000 of camera gear in my bag.
- I find that my gear is much more durable than I think it is. I remember the two times my Nikon D40 (Nikon’s cheapest and least durable camera) was dropped, I had always feared the worst, but found that the camera was fine both times. I still shot thousands of pictures, after this experience and it has continued to work fine. My Nikon D700 is a tank compared to that camera and has even been used by storm chasers (click here for a fun article about the D700’s durability.)
- Think through your backup strategy. On this trip I thought through things on a worst case scenario basis. I asked myself: “What would happen if I got both my bags stolen with all my gear, would I have a backup of the images?” On this trip I had a fairly well thought through strategy that looked something like this:
- I kept my two Nikon’s in separate bags. I kept my D700 in my Crumpler backpack. Then I kept my D90 (w/18-105 lens) in a small Crumpler bag (Four-Million Dollar Home) which I could then fit inside my Tinbuk2 Medium Messenger Bag. So if one of my bags got stolen, I would still have one camera that I could use.
- I had two external hard drives and a Macbook Pro. I would keep them all in separate carry on bags. I would keep the Macbook in Tinbuk2 bag, and one external in my Crumpler backpack, and then would give one my traveling companions my second external hard drive to keep in there carry on bag. I could have taken a extra precaution and burned the images to DVD and left them with friends in Africa. I figured if I got both cameras and my laptop stolen (which would be insured) I would still have the second external hard drive with my precious images.
- Use wisdom when you use your gear. While I was willing to take my gear out in almost any situation, I felt that there were times when it was not best to bring out my gear. I would ask myself the question: “Is it worth it right now to have my camera out right now?” While there were some sketchy places I would take my camera out, there were plenty of places where I would leave my camera in my bag.
So there it is, there are my tips for traveling photographers, and some of the things I learned on this last trip to Africa. Hope that helps in your travels.