"The best camera is the one you have with you" - Chase Jarvis
The title to Jarvis' photography book sparked a little debate on social media about gear and how important it was, but while photo aficionados debated the ins and outs of the title, take it at face value and you can't really argue with the concept - you can't take a picture if you don't have a camera with you! This is the idea that drives my packing whenever I travel with everything having to fit into one regular sized messenger bag for ease of travel (with the exception of a tripod, but we'll get to that in a bit). This is especially true in hot countries where there is nothing worse than carrying a heavy backpack full of gear, like who has the energy for that?!
That said, the best advice for any trip is to make sure you know how to use it! Yeah sure gear can make a difference to the type of pictures you can get, but the best way to get good pictures is to know what camera settings to use and how to make the most of the camera so get out and practice. there is nothing worse than arriving to take a picture and realising you have no idea how to set up your camera for a long exposure for example!
The Fuji xt3 is an absolute gem. With significant autofocus upgrades compared to previous models, as well as better image quality and 4k 60fps video, it does exactly what I want my camera to do - let me be creative. Small enough to fit into any bag, Fuji's retro look, complement of dials and customizable function buttons makes it ol' reliable.
DJI Osmo Action + Osmo Pocket
The two Osmo cameras from DJI may be similar, with both able to record 4k 60,but they fulfil slightly different roles in my camera collection. Incredibly durable and waterproof down to 11 metres, the Osmo Action is my go-to action camera for anything water or intense-related, while the Osmo Pocket is more of a daily filming camera. Either way, they can both fit into the same pocket so they're perfect for people travelling with limited space or for people who feel self-conscious filming in public!
DJI Mavic Air
The Mavic Air from DJI is a great drone and has stood the test of time. Having the ability to shoot RAW and record 4k video from the air is great for adding a new dimension to my content. Plus, with automated features and active tracking, it's easy enough to create something awesome without needing someone manually controlling it.
Camera bag - Blackforest's Vinson, Manfrotto Manhattan Mover backpack
I've written a whole post reviewing the vinson messenger bag (check that out here!) so I won't go into too much detail about this gem here other than to say that, with the exception of my tripod, if it doesn't fit in the bag then it doesn't make the trip. The bag is perfect for a day exploring and stands up to rain surprisingly well for a bag that is half canvas. Plus it just looks so so good! Keeping gear to a minimum also means that you tend to use what you have to the fullest, forcing you to be creative with what you have, rather than relying on a lens for absolutely every occasion.
For those longer trips or photo missions where I need something a little bigger though, the Manfrotto Manhattan Mover is my go-to. With space to fit my lenses, drones, camera, accessories, as well as enough clothes for a weekend trip, this fits my needs perfectly.
Lenses - Fuji xf 18-55mm, Fuji xf 56mm 1.2, Fuji xc 50-230mm, Samyang 12mm
With space in my bag a key factor, I usually only travel around with 3 lenses. That said, together they cover pretty much everything I need them to. The 18-55mm is an absolute gem from Fuji and covers about 90% of all the shots you need to take while the 50-230mm covers enough of a focal range to be more than useful when shooting wildlife or for some telephoto style shots. Then, for when you just need something a little wider, the Samyang is great. While the fully manual focus does take a little getting used to, it is a great little piece of kit, takes great pictures, and comes in at a fraction of a price of Fuji's own wide-angle alternatives while still being great for astrophotography. The latest lens addition is the xf 56mm 1.2. Fuji's legendary portrait lens is just that - legendary. Honestly, it's been so great to shoot on it that it's not basically permanently attached to my camera.
Tripod - Manfrotto Compact Advanced/ Gorillapod
As someone who predominantly travels alone, tripods are especially useful to get photos of myself without having to ask passers-by if they could snap a shot or two. That said, i still travel solely with hand-luggage so size and weight is still everything and with these two, i get a good blend of both, without having to break the bank!
Filters - ND 4, 8, 10. Polariser, some coloured ones
I mean if you ever want to do a long-expo, you kind of need to have a filter or two!
Accessories - spare batteries and memory cards, IPad card reader, a lensball, fairy lights, battery grip
While the lensball and the fairy lights make for some super cool pictures, they don't make the cut on every trip as they tend to take up a fair amount of space and that lensball is surprisingly heavy. However, you can never leave the house with enough memory cards and spare batteries. There is no worse feeling than lining up the perfect shot only for your final battery to die (R.I.P that shot of monks praying in Bangkok) or to run out of space!
The card reader is a new addition to the bag, but with a laptop too cumbersome for many trips and IPads now supporting raw files, a lightning to SD card reader is the perfect way to edit those shots in lightroom while on the move!