A peep inside a Travel Photographer’s Bag.


I have been asked several times on what equipment I bring for all my photosafari trips. Over the years of travelling especially on photosafaris, I have learnt the art of packing the minimum equipment that is required for a photosafari or any photo trip that lasts for more than 4 to 5 days. I think the equipment that you will bring is very much up to your style and comfort level of what photos that you will like to capture during your trips. A bit of research is usually required to size up whether you need special equipment for that particular trip. For instance, if you are trekking up Mt Everest Base Camp trek, you may want to alter the photography equipment that you may want to bring.

I have just got back from a Photosafari to Tibet. The 14 days journey took us from Chengdu to Xining where we board a chartered bus to Lhasa. The road journey was about 2,500km. However, we had the luxury of having an extra seat so that we can bring slightly more equipment than other trips.

The main consideration on choosing what equipment or camera set boils down to your own physic. Personally for me, my main considerations for choosing camera equipment are summarised into the following main criteria.:-

  1. weight of overall camera system
  2. weather resistant properties
  3. high dynamic range of DSLR sensors.
The argument of a bigger system lens and accessories support did not apply in my case as I only chose those lenses that I needed to for my style of photography. At the moment when I had to decide on a camera system for travelling, Pentax K20 and later K5 series offered the best balance in terms of weather resistance, weight and high dynamic range sensor.
You may want to know why I chose the above 3 criteria. The weight factor is because of my age. The weather resistant is that I often abuse my equipment in the name of a good capture. I would shoot in all sorts of weather conditions like under the rain, sand storms, snow and dusty environment. Black and white pictures are my favourites and hence a high dynamic range sensor is a very important consideration. This property was only surpassed by the Nikon D3s that was introduced way after the Pentax K5.
Here is the listings of the camera equipment in my camera bag for the Tibet Photosafari with a bit of explanation on what it does:-
  1. Pentax K5 body
  2. Pentax K5 IIs body
  3. Ricoh GXR with an A16 lens kit – spare body
  4. Pentax 17-70mm f4 DA SMC AL IF SDM lens
  5. Pentax WR 50-200mm SDM DA f 4 – 5.6 lens
  6. Pentax SMC DA 10-17mm f3.5-4.5 ED IF (fisheye) lens
  7. Metz 20 C2 Travel Flash
  8. Phottix Ares wireless trigger
  9. LED light – multi purpose for fill-in light and torch light.
  10. Torch light – for sunrise and sunset shots
  11. GND filter set
  12. CPL filter
  13. SD card holder with SD cards
  14. Air blower
  15. Lenspen
  16. Mini Lenspen
  17. Lint free cleaning cloth
  18. Spare batteries
  19. Velbon Ultra Stick M50 monopod – one of the most useful for all sorts of situations, very handy and can be carried in my camera vest.
  20. Gitzo 1541T – travel series with a Markins Ballhead
  21. 11″ Macbook Air
  22. External Hard Drive
  23. iPhone – very useful for taking notes, GPS tracking, surfing net etc.
  24. Disposable raincoat – you can get this from Watson for a few dollars. This is more for the photographer than the camera.
  25. Tamrac Evolution Messenger 2
Note: The Gitzo tripod was carried in the main suit case for checking in.
I hope this will give you an insight of what I bring to a PhotoSafari Trip.



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