In less than two weeks, we’re going on a family trip to Germany for an entire month! Kristin has a friend in Germany and her husband just so happens to from here in Texas. So, we’re literally swapping houses with them so they can visit family here in DFW while we explore Germany and a few of the surrounding countries. How cool is that!?
I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to bring in terms of camera gear. This is a family trip first and foremost, so while creating images won’t be at the top of my priority list, rest assured it’s still on the list 🙂 I always like seeing gear posts like this from my photography friends, so I thought I’d put one together to show some new gear and what I’ll be bringing on the trip.
- MindShift Backlight 26L
- I’ve been using this backpack for a couple years now and still love it. I ditched the f-Stop Tilopa for this bag because while I loved the Tilopa, it wouldn’t fit under most airplane seats and when I could, the laptop compartment was too difficult to access from the ground.
- Sony a7Rii (my main camera that I use 99% of the time)
- Sony a7s (my video camera, backup camera and one I use occasionally at night)
- Sony 16-35 f/4 (attached to the a7Rii
- Sony 70-200 f/4
- Sony 55 f/1.8
- DJI Mavic Pro Quadcopter
- This is a brand new addition. I had a DJI Phantom a while back but ended up selling it because it was just too bulky and cumbersome for my travel style. This one, as you can see, folds up small enough to fit in my bag along with extra batteries and the remote (pictured above my a7Rii).
- Formatt-Hitech filters
- I don’t use filters terribly often, mainly just a 10-stop and occasionally a circular polarizer but keep the rest around just in case.
- DJI Osmo Mobile
- Another new addition! Although there wasn’t room for it in the main compartment, it fits nicely in one of the front pockets. I got this for creating silky smooth video. Planning on taking a ton of video of both my family and the things we see and do.
- Really Right Stuff tripod (see my tripod recommendations here with a link to mine at the bottom)
- 13″ Macbook Pro
- iPad Mini
- I use this for my Mavic Pro instead of my iPhone because it’s a bigger screen and doesn’t use up my phone battery.
- Garmin Fenix Watch
- For geotagging photos and navigation on long hikes.
- GoPro Hero Session
My Minimalist Approach To Travel Photography
Earlier I mentioned selling my DJI Phantom because it was bulky. It required its own case, which was a big Pelican hard case that you carried like a suitcase. Sure, there are backpacks out there that can carry both a Phantom and some camera gear, but they’re quite ugly and there’s not much else you can do with them besides carrying a drone plus camera gear. I remember getting to a location in California and having a 1.5 mile hike from my car to the coast. Needless to say, carrying all my camera gear in a backpack and a Pelican case with a single briefcase like handle over 1.5 miles was not very fun.
Over the years, I have gotten rid of all sorts of unnecessary gear. I make 90% of my images with my a7Rii and 16-35mm lens. If I need some reach, I grab my 70-200 every now and again. If I need something in-between or need a shallow depth of field, I’ll grab the 55. If I’m shooting the Milky Way, I’ll switch over to the a7s.
The main requirement I have for my gear is that it needs to fit into a single backpack and fit in the carry on space beneath an airplane seat. I would say that’s no small task, but I suppose it is considering the size of the space down there 🙂
I want everything to fit beneath a seat because I’ve been in plenty of situations where there is no overhead space by the time I get to my seat. And the last thing I want to do is gate check my camera gear. I also like to keep everything beneath the seat because it minimizes the chance of someone ramming their luggage into my bag and it allows me to access my laptop or iPad without having to get up or carry a separate laptop bag.
As you can see, I’ve put a lot of time into this stuff thanks to a lot of trips and a lot of trial and error. If you have any questions about the gear or methods listed, let me know if the comments below!