“Things to Bring” a Top Ten List for Your Next Photo Adventure

There’s something always exciting about planning your next photo adventure. Whether it’s that weekend getaway to your favorite location or a once in a lifetime trip on the other side of the world, having everything we need is the key to happy photography and successful images!

 So in the spirit of David Letterman (remember him), this is my top ten for “Things to Bring” on your next great photo excursion. 

 1. Back up camera body  “It would be like going horseback riding without a horse”. Accidents happen, electronics aren’t foolproof and thieves will never return the goods. You may think none of these things will happen to you and they may not, but if and when they do you’ll be one happy camper when a stand by is ready to stand in and allow you to continue to work. The replacement doesn’t necessarily have to be as expensive as your pride and joy. In fact, many full frame professionals own a cropped sensor camera body as a back up to take advantage of the perceived increased in focal length too. For more information regarding sensor size vs focal length, click here.

 2. Carrying case   Whether it’s a backpack or shoulder bag made specifically for photo gear make sure it’s comfortable, protective and easy to use! If your adventure takes you through in New York City don’t forget to stop by B&H Photo/Video to see and try on nearly everything that’s available on the planet.

 3. Spare batteries and memory cards     “Murphy Law” states that “what can go wrong will go wrong”, that covers a lot of stuff and your batteries and memory cards are not exempt. Carry extras and keep them in a safe place, because loss and failure are written in this law. 

 4. Bulb Blower   Believe me you “Do Not” want to get back from your shooting vacation and find dust spots on all your image files. Yes, software can assist you in cleaning this up, but its takes time and depending on how long you been gone and how many images you’ve taken the processing can be daunting. Yes, all DSLR and mirrorless cameras these days have an auto clean mode built in, but this function isn’t always successful. The simplest cleaning accessory to bring with you is a professional bulb blower and brush. Click here for a great video tutorial that Forest Chaput de Saintonge on how to use the blower and other tools for more stubborn sensor dust.

 5. Polarizing filter   If you only have one filter in your bag it should be this one. Polarization provides so many great enhancements to your landscape and architecture scenes it can’t be underestimated. For example the filter can darken pale blue skies, remove haze and reflections on surfaces like windows, foliage, metal and rock etc. These filters can also function like a neutral density filter too by allowing longer shutter speeds of up to 2 stops. This is super sweet when shooting moving water like streams, waterfalls or the geysers in Yellowstone National Park and Iceland. Here’s a good buying guide from

6. Remote shutter release  If you’re photo adventure includes any landscape or architecture photography a remote shutter release is one of the most important little tools in your bag. You can shoot exactly when you want without touching the camera and as a result, tack sharp images will fill up your memory cards. I’ve seen plenty of these fail too, so don’t forget a second one.

 7. Gaffers tape (high class duct tape)   G.M. Wellacher (some smart guy) said it best “One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go and gaffers tape to make things stop. Gaffers tape has saved my rear end and others during workshops, temporarily fixing everything from tripods and lens hoods to sunglasses, backpacks and hiking poles. The tape even worked on someone’s heel blisters one time! Amazing stuff so don’t forget it!

8. PhotoPills App  It’s 10 buckaroos and worth every penny. Here’s just a short list of what the app can assist you with; exposure, depth of field, time lapse, sun position, moon position and phases for any time… and oh there’s so much more! Click here to go to the PhotoPills website.

9. Good Food and water  Your physical well being depends on it and emotionally no one likes to be hangry or dehydrated. If you’re happy, everyone is happy!

10. Good friends   Sharing the experience just makes everything that much more awesome!

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 What would a Top Ten List be without a bonus!

 11. Glass half full attitude  No matter how much you plan, things can go awry… whether it’s Mother Nature that throws you a curve ball or something else out of your control… be flexible, adapt and smile… your photographs will show it too!

 Cheers to a happy and great next adventure!

 Doug Johnson