What’s in My Bag?
As you will see below, my travel kit is built around the Olympus OM-D system. In addition to reading my thoughts below, you should check out Olympus‘s website. The information on the Olympus website will give you a good sense of the benefits of that benefits of that system.
Currently, my go to camera is the Olympus EM-1. It is compact, well built and weather sealed. Basically, I can walk around with just the camera on my shoulder and not worry about rain and other weather that’s not supposed to happen while on holiday but invariably does. At 16 megapixels, I get all the image I need without having to carry around a data centre to hold files and video footage.
These days, this fast zoom lens is on my camera all the time. Its 35mm equivalent is 24-80mm. This provides an excellent range for those wide open landscape and city shots, to those tight portraits in front of that really cool backdrop. The bright f2.8 aperture means I can shoot low light in buildings without dialing up the ISO settings. Great for those museums, cathedrals, castles and other fun holiday places.
MeFOTO RoadTrip Aluminum Travel Tripod
I used to travel with a large tripod until our most recent trip to Kauai. Before we left, I was informed that the suitcase no longer had room for ‘that tripod’. After going through all the reviews and asking some of my travel photography friends for their advice, I settled in the MeFoto RoadTrip. Its not much bigger than a banana so it fits well in the suitcase, but it also works well as a tripod. Keep in mind that I use an Olympus micro 4/3 system so my camera is pretty light. If you have a beast with really a heavy lens then this might not be the tripod for you. Its important to make sure your system works together in all respects.
While I don’t take my external flash unit on all trips, it is in my kit for those ‘holidays’ that involve family gatherings like weddings, reunions and grads. This is a surprisingly powerful but small and easy-to-use, external flash unit with a wide LCD display and wireless control capabilities. It also has a built-in LED light that can function as an AF illuminator for still images or as lighting for shooting for movies.
I also carry a specific but limited number of accessories that either help me to do things more easily or more quickly, all as cheaply as possible.
I travel with 3 filters only, all of which are circular and screw directly onto the lens. These types of filters are less expensive than the square filter systems and also much less obtrusive for those trips to the Christmas market with the family. If your vacationing and you need to keep your family thinking you are focused on them only, I recommend avoiding the bigger more complicated systems like the Lee filter systems although these are likely much better for pros (or so I am told). Right now I use B+W filters, and I carry a 10 stop neutral density filter; a 4 stop neutral density filter and a circular polarizer.
One of the important accessories to have on vacation is a cable release for the camera. As you will learn from later blog posts, a cable release is great tool for helping get those super sharp long exposure shots you will be taking while enjoy all those crazy sunsets you finally have time for. I recommend a cheap, generic release. There is no need to overpay for brand names here.
The final piece of gear I use on holiday is an L-bracket. I just keep this on my camera all the time and it really makes it easy to change my camera position on the tripod from landscape to portrait. Sometimes you have to shoot fast cause the family is waiting impatiently and an L-bracket will help you work through your flow to get those shots.
Click to get a more detailed description of what’s in my bag!