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What's In My Camera Bag When I Travel

I'm often asked what photo gear I use when I travel. Here's a rundown of the items I personally wouldn't leave home without:

Camera: Fuji XT-1

A few years ago I made the switch to the Fuji mirrorless system. Mirrorless cameras are generally smaller and weigh less than DSLR's, so they are a great fit for anyone that travels or hikes a lot and wants to lighten the load. Fuji has now come out with a newer version of this camera- the XT-2 which has gotten great reviews. I've been very happy with my XT-1 and find that the image quality is every bit as good as my previous DSLR.

Lenses: Fuji 18-55mm & 14mm f/2.8

If I'm only going to carry one lens, it's most likely going to be my 18-55mm zoom lens. This lens can be bundled with the camera body for about a $300 discount when purchased together. I don't always recommend so-called 'kit' lenses, but this lens in particular is great quality for the price. With a versatile zoom range that spans a wide to medium focal length, it's really become my favorite everyday lens. I also love my Fuji 14mm f/2.8 lens for wider angle landscape shots. These are the two lenses I most commonly carry with me.

Tripod:

I have two tripods. My everyday tripod (for times when I don't mind a little extra weight) is a Manfrotto Carbon Fiber. Keep in mind that a high quality tripod is not cheap. However, if you buy a good one, it's a purchase you'll only need to make once and it will last for many years. I believe that investing in a good tripod is one of the best things you can do for your landscape photography. 

For times when I'm traveling and want to go light, I turn to my compact MeFOTO Backpacker Tripod. The MeFoto isn't as sturdy as my bigger, heavier Manfrotto, but it's a trade-off I'm willing to make when I'm trying to travel light. I think this tripod strikes a nice balance between quality, weight, and price. This tripod also comes with a ball head, but I've swapped mine out for a Really Right Stuff ball head (see below).

Tripod Head:

I absolutely love my Really Right Stuff BH-30 Ball Head. They make different sizes of this ball head, so check the recommended weight limits to be sure you're getting the best one to hold your heaviest camera & lens steady. Really Right Stuff tripod heads aren't inexpensive, but the quality is excellent. Just like tripod legs, if you invest in a high quality tripod head, you'll have it for years and years to come.

Circular Polarizer Filter:

The one filter I always carry is a B+W Circular Polarizer Filter. I have one for each of my lenses. (Check the filter thread size of your lens to be sure you're getting the right size.) Polarizers are great, especially for landscape and travel photography because they take the glare off of reflective surfaces such as rocks, foliage, water, and buildings.

Lens cloths:

I always carry several microfiber cleaning cloths in my pack. They work great to clean lenses or to mop up raindrops from my camera while I'm shooting.

Giottos Rocket Blaster:

Before I wipe my lenses, I always use the rocket blaster to blow off any dust or dirt particles first. It's also great for cleaning my camera's image sensor if I start seeing dust spots on my images (check your camera manual for the proper way to do this on your particular camera).

Backpack: F-stop Ajna

I've tried a lot of different camera backpacks over the years, but the most comfortable and functional by far has been my F-stop Loka daypack (now called the F-stop Ajna.) This pack has a sturdy hip-belt that takes the weight off my shoulders, making long hikes much more pleasant. I also love that the back panel unzips, providing easy access to all my gear. There is a separate top compartment for jackets, lunch, etc... Best of all it is durable and made for outdoor adventures. (Note that with f-stop backpacks, you purchase the internal organizer separately so that you can get the preferred size for your gear. More info on their website here.)

Note: I hope this has been helpful information! These are simply opinions based on my own experiences. Take it all with a grain of salt; it's always a good idea to do your own research to make sure any gear you purchase will be a good fit for the type of photography you like to do. Happy Photographing!

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Announcing Glacier Photo Guides

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I'm very excited to announce that I am now offering private photo guiding in Glacier National Park!

Both one-on-one and small group sessions are available.

If you're looking to learn techniques for landscape photography, there is no better place to explore with a camera than Glacier National Park!

Adobe Lightroom training sessions, camera practice sessions, and image reviews are also being offered in Whitefish, Montana for people looking to work on their photography skills before heading out to the park.

Check out www.glacierphotoguides.com for more details or to book a session.

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