Photography + Travel, What I Use

I’ve been in love with the art of photography since I was about 16 (and I’m not that good). My very first camera was a Pentax K1000; which I loved. I took that camera everywhere. Shooting black and white shots of old barns and whatever else was within a 20-minute drive of my house. It was how I stayed calm and relaxed. I use to love the days I could borrow the car and drive through the countryside, speeding along winding dirt roads and praying there would be no cops around.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that photography is a big aspect in my travels. My camera is always with me, and I am always looking for something interesting, colourful, or both, to photograph. It’s a way of recording my travel memories and sharing my experiences with my friends, family, and you guys.

My Camera Gear

My camera gear varies depending on my trip and what I’m doing. As I am currently travelling in and around Mexico for an unknown length of time, the gear I have with me is a little larger than normal. Okay, it’s a lot larger than normal.

My current camera of choice is a Nikon D3100 – which I bought after my Nikon D60 was stolen in Zanzibar – and I absolutely love it. It’s aDSLR with both automatic and manual capabilities, has a guide mode (which was helpful when I was trying to figure it out!), records HD video, and came with an 18-55 mm f 3.5-5.6 lens. I also picked up a Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G Zoom Nikkor Lens. If I were to do it all over again, I would probably buy a Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and save myself the hassle of having to change lenses all the time. Oops! I’ll definitely be adding that puppy to my wish list for this year!

Aside from my DSLR and my GoPro I also use my iPhone 4S(like a lot) so I can instantly share photos on social media. The one piece of equipment I carry with my iPhone is an olloclip iPhone 5 3-IN-ONE lens system, which I absolutely LOVE! Seriously. I think almost everyone I’ve spoken to has run out and bought one. OlloClip has three lenses in one that clip over the camera on your iPhone. It comes with a fisheye, wide angle, and macro (although you have to be real close for the macro to work properly). Love, love love.

I also carry a LaCie Rugged 1 TB USB 3.0 Mini Disk Portable Hard Drive 301558 when I travel. I take A LOT of photos when I travel, and having them all on my Mac slows things down. I use the LaCie Rugged hard drives because if I accidentally drop it, I don’t have to have a heart attack!!

The last piece of gear I’m travelling with (and it’s a rather heavy one) is a collapsible Manfrotto. I almost never travel with a tripod, but I want to focus more on my night photography so I bit the bullet and bought one. It’s a tad heavy, but because it’s collapsable I can put it in my 55-litre backpack and not worry about it (I pack my clothing around it to keep it from breaking. Why a Manfrotto? It’s sturdy and came highly recommended by a couple of photographers I admire. I’ve had a couple other tripods in the past, but they all broke within a matter of weeks. This baby is durable and I love it. Which is why I don’t mind the added weight.

Learning Tools

I don’t think there is a photographer out there who does not need to improve their craft in one way or another, and since I am nowhere near professional standards my room for improvement is quite large!

I use a mixture of books and websites for learning about how to improve my photography, and for finding inspiration. Some are really useful and others are kind of so-so. An eBook that I enjoyed (and recommend) is Getting Out of Auto by Bethany Salvon from Beers and Beans. In her book Bethany (who has a masters degree in photography) covers things like ISO, Aperture, shooting RAW vs JPEG, lighting, composition, and more. It’s a very well-written and well-rounded guide. Love it.

I’ve also used Pinterest to pin various tutorials and photographs. I use this board for tips, tricks, and inspiration. If you’re on Pinterest, I would recommend you do the same thing. It really is a great way to generate ideas and keep a finger on your favourite photographic websites.

I also have an eBook version of my camera manual (Thanks to my friend who got tired of my asking questions, downloaded it, and emailed it to me as a not-so-subtle hint). As I travel with an iPhone and iPad mini, having an eBook version is super handy.

Featuring My Work

As I take travel and take more photos I am looking for different ways to highlight my photographs (and hopefully sell a few in the process). I’m doing this by creating a photography portfolio on this website, as well as featuring some of my photos on 500px, and Redbubble. It’s a little extra work, but I think it will definitely be worth it in the end – or at least I hope so!

What kind of camera do you travel with? Is photography an important aspect of your travels?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which I make a small commission on.  Products have been recommended based on my personal use, and because I know they are good quality. Thank-you for supporting Savoir Faire Abroad.

About The Author

I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

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7 Responses

  1. Kieu ~ GQ trippin

    I’d love to go back last year and pack a gopro, but I have the worst luck with them too – I keep breaking them. LOL. I didn’t know Bethany has a book! Love those guys..

    • Pamela MacNaughtan

      She does and it is FABULOUS! Only like $10 and there is SO much useful information in it. You should totally check it out. Reading mine again later this week on the bus to San Cristobal.

  2. ChinaMatt

    I need to upgrade my camera. Just checked the D3100 out on Amazon and it looks good. Not a bad deal with the whole package with lenses and memory card. Still not sure if it’s the right size for my kind of travel–I’ve been looking at all the mirrorless cameras. Time to do some comparison shopping.

    • Pamela MacNaughtan

      It’s really come down in price. I paid $750 and got the camera, 18-55mm lens, and 55-200mm lens, which was a good deal last year. 🙂

    • Pamela MacNaughtan

      Maybe try the new Nikon 1? It’s small, but you can buy lenses for it. I admit, I kind of want one.

  3. alicia-joy pierre

    This post is perfect timing for me. I need a new camera. I am upgrading from a basic/standard cam which I bought at Target a few years ago. I have been trying to find the “right” one without breaking the bank. Many of them you have to buy the camera plus the lens and the 2 together are pricey.

    Think I’ve found what I am looking for now.

    Thanks Pamela 🙂

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