In this article I am going to discuss travel photography accessories because there are always some items you think you might have forgotten or wished you brought.
There are a few items products that are well worth bringing on your travel photography adventures.
So let’s talk about them.
SSD USB Drive
The first item is a SSD drive. I have two that I use on a regular basis. One usually travels with me more than the other. The first method is purchasing an internal SSD drive and then combining it with an external 2.5″ enclosure for that SSD drive. Mine is a Sandisk SSD drive and an OWC enclosure that is powered by USB 3.0.
The other option is to pick up a portable SSD drive that’s already built. If going that route I highly recommend G-Technology. Their drives and enclosures are the highest quality and their mobile drives come in USB3.0 and Thunderbolt.
The beauty of going with SSD is the minimal weight and slim footprint which makes it optimal for travel.
Lexar CF/SDHC Card Reader
My next recommendation is a compact flash and secure digital combination card reader. I personally prefer the Lexar CF/SDXC reader that uses USB3.0 speeds and is compact enough for travel.
Why Lexar or Sandisk or any other brand? That’s fairly straight forward. I’ve always had success with Lexar brand products over the others. Some photographers might disagree and say go with Sandisk, but it really comes down to experience and performance. I have experience with Lexar and they’ve never let me down.
Although the MacBook Pro has a built-in SD slot, it’s not the fastest reader and my Nikon D800 uses both a CF and SD card. I have the camera set to use the SD card for backup and video only. So for me, the combined card reader is ideal.
Strips of Gaffers Tape
Gaffers Tape is inexpensive and fairly easy to come by. It has similar qualities to painters tape except it’s black which will not reflect light. The glue is not strong enough to leave residue when removed, but definitely strong enough to hold things when needed.
There are many ways you can store gaffers tape when traveling. One popular way is to break a pencil in half and then wrap gaffers tape around it. I use an emergency bracelet and do the same thing. The advantage of the bracelet is that it’s strong enough to hold a lot of weight, has the benefit of being unwrapped and used in an emergency and also holds the tape well.
I first head of what a friend maker was in an interview with Chris Brogan. He also mentioned the friend maker in an article on Open Forum.
In summary, a friend maker is an outlet extender. I’ve noticed some travelers using the squid style or a full surge protector. I much prefer something else, a product from Belkin. The Belkin SurgePlus 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports is compact, and can charge your laptop, tablet and phone all at the same time. Even with all that charging there are still two more ports available for a new friend to use.
If you’re in the airport waiting for the plane and happen to see someone using the only outlet in sight, ask them if you could share.
Recently while traveling, my wife and I were sitting in the Atlanta airport for a long time and split the outlet with a solider in the army. We had a blast talking with her while our devices were charging.
Extra Batteries & Chargers
This might sound odd but you’d be surprised how many photographers forget extra batteries and/or chargers while traveling. When I travel I typically make a list of the gear I’m bringing. I will then have a list of all batteries and chargers go with that gear. For my Nikon D800 I will usually bring 3-5 batteries and 1 charger. That way I have enough juice constantly and have the ability to charge when needed. Thanks to the friend maker, charging is even simpler and more convenience.
Mobile battery backup
Going along with the idea of having battery backup, this one is important. You can’t always find an outlet and when your phone battery is depleted that can be a major problem.
In the past I had a Mophie charger specifically for the iPhone. But now that the iPhone has a lightning plug rather than the 30-pin style, I decided that my battery backup would have a USB port and that’s all. So that’s what I did. This time I went with the Anker battery backup and the Bolt which was a Kickstarter project.
The advantage of the Bolt battery backup is that it doubles as a wall charger. The Anker battery backup also contains a flashlight for those times when you really need one.
Think Tank Photo Rain Cover
When I teach photographers about landscape or long exposure photography I always tell them to have an OP/TECH rain cover for emergencies. I say that because they’re inexpensive and effective.
However, if it is in your budget I highly recommend picking up a professional rain cover. One that isn’t designed for one-time usage. For example, I love my Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia. It protects my camera and a lens up to a 70-200mm.
As noted, these are not inexpensive but you buy one and with the lifetime warranty you never have to worry about replacing it again.
Trigger Trap / Trigger Happy
I always carry my Nikon intervalometer cable release when traveling. I use it for HDR photography, landscape photography and long exposure photography.
Because the cable release cannot be shut off the battery is constantly being drained. That’s why Trigger Trap and Trigger Happy come in handy. If you are an Android or iPhone user it is well worth picking up a cable from one of these companies. It’s worth noting that I have a cable from Trigger Happy because I was a Kickstarter backer for their project. Trigger Trap came out later on Kickstarter and although I enjoy their app more, I can still use the Trigger Happy cable with the Trigger Trap app.
When I travel knowing there will be no landscape photography involved I will leave my cable release home and rely on the apps instead.
So there you go… 8 things you need to not forget for your photography travels. Of course, I always recommend bringing a tripod but even if it’s a compact one.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,
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