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Travel photography

Travel photography




We love beautiful images. And we also love taking pictures when we’re traveling. Our Instagram displays some of our favourite snaps of everything from food to scenery. If you’re an aspiring photographer or just want to capture your memories, we’ve provided the tools of the trade and the secrets to taking great travel photos.

GoPro and accessories

Yes, we do own a GoPro, and essential travel photography tool.

 
But beware, the camera alone is not enough, the accessories are essential to make the most of it. Think about which situations you will be using the GoPro in and then buy the accessories that adapt to that. We mainly use it underwater, for diving, to attach to flat surfaces like car rooftops, and to place on tripods. And we use it to capture all sorts of day to day footage so we need to make sure the video is stable.

Remote controllerDiving filterAccessoriesDiver wristbandTime lapse rotating timerMicrophone for GoProGoPro Karma GripGoPro Underwater Dome

A remote control is essential if you don’t want weird and shaky selfies. We use it for group photos and videos. It is very easy to use so you just place the GoPro to frame the photo or video you are looking to take and then put yourself in the frame without having to rush for the 10-sec delay of the timer. Just make sure everyone is ready then press the button.

Ever wondered why your underwater diving footage is coming out blue? This is because underwater, in such depths, you lose light and the colour red so what is left is just grey and blue. To get it back you need this filter which you just attach to your GoPro lens. There is a safety latch you can attach in case you are afraid the lens will drop into the bottom of the ocean. Only use it at depths of more than 5m or you will get reddish footage instead
 
 

Forget about buying individual accessories, order this kit and you will have everything you need. It comes with poles, a floating yellow one for when you go in the water (so the GoPro doesn’t sink!), a case, a few chest and wrist harnesses, several of the sticky red pieces to mount the GoPro on any surface – for example, the window, or the top of your car, or a table – and various other mounts for all positions and angles. This is all you need at an unbeatable price. 
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If you are a diver, this will be extremely useful. Carrying the camera around or trying to hold it steady in currents is tough, with this wrist floating device you’ll make sure you don’t lose your camera under water while swimming. It attaches to your wrist so that you can use your hands for other things. In case the GoPro drops, it will float to the surface and the bright orange colour will make it stick out.
 

 
This ingenious piece can be used with your iPhone and regular camera too for those incredible time lapses. It can go on for 60min turning a whole 360 degrees. This is awesome for moving time lapses. For example, we used it to take shots of the sunset on a time lapse at the beach so that we could not only see the sun going down but also the comings and going on the beach sand 
 

If you want to record sound properly, this utility is what you need. We use it to interview people or to record the sounds of the waves, as it is even waterproof. You can place the GoPro somewhere on a tripod and then place the mic under the interviewer, even if the GoPro is far away 

GoPro Gimbal
So now you are kitted out with everything. But, you still need a gimbal (stabilizer) because nobody wants shaky or completely unstable footage that cannot be used for anything. Instead, get this Karma Grip gimbal, an official GoPro accessory, which you can attach to other accessories and to tripods thanks to the bottom screw. Or simply hold it with your hands as you walk or move. Magic.

One more essential item for divers is an underwater dome for GoPro. This ingenious item allows you take over-under photos and also improves your underwater shots drastically.

You will also need some more basic things like a memory card that is compatible and fast so that you don’t have to sit and wait for processing, and which can shoot in the HD 4K of the GoPro Hero 4. You should also get some of the drying inserts that you can place inside the housing to avoid blurry or fogged shots. Trust us, in tropical climates with constant AC and outdoor shooting or underwater changes in temperature this little piece is essential.




Cameras (not GoPro)

Mirrorless Cameras

If you’re not into GoPros or drones and prefer to have a more authentic point and shoot experience, then you’ll need one of these cameras. Mirrorless cameras are all the rage among travellers these days as they are lighter and more affordable than their DSLR counterparts. While the body is lighter, the overall weight will depend on the lens you purchase. Mirrorless cameras take some stunning pictures, but the main downfall is that they are not brilliant in low-light settings.

Want to learn the more about mirrors and how they are used in cameras, read this technical, yet well explained article.  And here are the 10 biggest differences between DSLR and mirrorless.

There are so many cameras out there that you can choose from, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to our best 3. We’ve also added a zoom, wide angle and macro lens option if you don’t just want to use the standard lens that the camera comes with. Remember, you can purchase the body of the camera, you don’t have to get the fixed lens. So depending if you’re mostly shooting wildlife (from far or up-close), photos for restaurant reviews, portraits or architecture and scenery, you’ll need to consider the right lens for your needs.

Here are our picks of the best mirrorless cameras:

Fuji XT-1

  

This is the flagship of Fuji’s X series. It is super tiny and light, has a great and intuitive user interface and is weather resistant. It can even get to temperatures as low as -10 degree Celsius, so it’s perfect for colder climate travels. You can buy it with the lens here or without it here and add it on later.

Lenses

Zoom – Fujinon XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Wide – Fujinon XF 14-mm F2.8 R

Macro – Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

 

This offering from Olympus is for the explorer. It includes rugged rubber body that is splash proof, dust proof and freeze proof. It has a rotating touch LCD display, so it is definitely selfie friendly. One of the best features of this camera is its super fast auto focus and silent shutter for when you’re trying to capture wildlife. You can get it in silver or black.

Lenses

Zoom – Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6

Wide – Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f/4.0

Macro – Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8

Sony Alpha a7II

 

Sony is one of the leaders in point and shoot photography. We’re sure that some of you will still own a PowerShot. The Alpha a7II is our mirrorless pick for the Sony option. The Alpha series was one of the first high resolution full-framer in mirrorless cameras market, so it does come with a bit of wisdom. While the autofocus does need a bit of work to perform as well as the Olympus, it is compact to carry but take amazingly huge high-res images.

Lenses

Zoom – Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Wide – Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8

Macro – Sony FE 90mm f/2.8

Camera Accessories

Backpack – Pacsafe Camsafe V25 Anti-Theft Backpack

 

First, you’ll need a good back that has enough padding to keep your camera body (and lens!) safe. We love the Pacsafe Camsafe V25 Anti-Theft Backpack – because, well, it keeps your cam safe, in more ways than one. A lot of thought has been put into this backpack, including 5 anti-theft technologies, for example, Slashguard straps and mesh and RFIDsafe Blocking Pockets & Material so that all your cards and passports with an RFID system aren’t damaged. Even the zipper has been thought through so that allows for more security from pickpockets.

Oh yes, and it’s very well padded and fits most DSLR with mounted lenses, plus 2 more lenses. So your mirrorless camera will most definitely fit. More nifty features include adjustable shoulder straps, a padded carry handle, adjustable/removable waist strap and sternum strap and a super comfortable EVA moulded back support with air flow channels for those hot safari days.

Tripod – Gorillapod

 

Travellers and explorers don’t want to lug around massive tripods that are heavy and difficult to clip onto a backpack. They also need something versatile so they can wrap it around braches, place it for selfies or just need something steady for low light shots. The answer – Gorillapod. We love this adaptable, lightweight and all-round cute piece of equipment. It bends, grips, and is sturdy – and the head optional ballhead also tilts. Note that it does only carry a lens weighing up to 3kgs (6.5lb).

Underwater housing

 

Your mirrorless camera should allow access to all the important camera controls easily. More upscale housings do not have a built-in lens port, but rather use interchangeable ports. This means you can change the lens you want to use, allowing for flexibility and quality.

When you consider housings, you’ll also need to know what material it is made of. Aluminium housings are more expensive, robust, and can go deeper. If you’re not going super deep and just need a housing for scuba, you won’t need an aluminium housing.

Still not convinced on the mirrorless camera option, read this article with 5 reasons why you should convert, especially for underwater photography.

You will have to select the correct underwater housing for your camera, like the Sony Alpha a7II will take the Sony Alpha a7II underwater housing. The same goes for Olympus and Fuji.

If you’re not a serious diver, opt for the DiCAPac waterproof case for mirrorless cameras. Please note that this will not fit all lenses. But this is a great option for travellers seeking tropical destinations that reach high humidity, where cameras can easily malfunction if not protected. Best option, test the product at home in the bathtub before placing your camera in to get a feel of how well it will hold up underwater.




Drones

They say that the camera is not what makes a good photographer, but we still think it helps. We use the following items:

DJI Phantom Drone

We will be honest, drones aren’t super easy to use but the Phantom 4 promises to make flying for dummies a reality. If you loved playing video games when you were a kid, you will find this a walk in the park. Else, just practice in your backyard or on Sentosa for that perfect 360 rotating shot.

The Phantom 4 is intelligent enough to return home if the signal is lost or battery is low and it is capable of avoiding obstacles on the way – trust us, you want to make sure of that, we have managed to crash it through the trees in Bintan when we once lost signal. It made for great footage, but it was not pretty. Get your Phantom with all the necessary accessories. You will need a bag to carry it, this is essential to be able to take it places (you didn’t buy it to fly it in your garden).

The nano memory card needs to be able to shoot 4K fast and also have the specs for the drone. It also needs to be needs to be 64GB or less. The Phantom can only take smaller memory cards. I also recommend you get an extra battery because each will give you 20 minutes of flying time. We have a total of three batteries but you should at least get one. And if you are a little prone to crashing, get an extra set of propellers, just in case. They are cheap so might as well.

DJI Mavic Pro

 

The Mavic is a much smaller version of the phantom 4 and is a great alternative for travel. While the Mavic has an impressive camera, it’s not as powerful as the Phantom 4. The Mavic also has a narrower field of view. It is said that both have the same level of accuracy when it comes to steady hovering. You also have to tap the screen to focus, as there is no fixed focus. But the Mavic is both more portable for easy travel and more affordable.

Mobile and quick photos

Believe it or not, we also use our mobile phones to take photos in a few occasions. At night when we go out for impromptu group shots; at sunset, for time lapses, as iPhone 7 has the best (and easiest) time lapse option; and for selfies. Yep, that’s right, we take selfies too. Hence why we also have a selfie stick. This one is quite good because it extends a fair bit, making it look almost like it is not a selfie, and it has a remote control for non-wobbly photos and for when you want to attach the stick to a tripod. Did we say you can use it with any phone, GoPro and even with a regular camera? It comes with a mirror so you can see what the camera sees. Genius.

Here are some tips from Highsnobiety to turn your not-so-great iPhone pictures into truly fantastic and professional shots! And some awesomely brilliant photography apps that you must get for your iPhone 7. And what else can make your iPhone pics better than attachments, this HD camera lens kit and zoom lens (this one is also for Android) are must buys!