Filters and Bags


Travel Photography


Lesson Info

Filters and Bags

There's a few filters that travel photographers need to be aware of and probably have with them the first and most important one is the polarizing filter it looks like a very dark filter that's blocking a lot of light and it is blocking light out and so polarizing filter works in an unusual way because you screwed on your lands but then you rotate it to change the way the light is being let through the lands and so start the little illustration here and so this isn't an exact technical example of how it works, but the idea is is that you're gonna be able to rotate it and it's going to change what types of light are being led into the lance let's go to horseshoe bend in arizona and we have a poor eyes are on there but we have it set to its minimum polarizing so it has minimum effect and you could just turn this put it on your camera and you can turn it on see it now keep your eye on the water okay watch the water as we turn the lands and you'll notice that we've completely gotten rid of...

the reflections of the clouds let's go ahead, turn it back to minimum polarising and you can see how much it can transform this image by just playing around with the polarizer now where's the best place to put it well, it depends on what your aesthetics are and what you like, but a lot of people will set it to the maximum polarizing effect. Any time you're around water and you want to see into the water, the polarizer is going to be a good lens to use. And so if you're working from a boat, definitely want to have one of these here's an example of using a polarizer to show you what it does with a blue sky. This is a video clip, and I am just rotating the filter on my cameras, cameras, recording video, and you can see how much of a difference it makes in the blue sky and that's. One of the main reasons people are buying this lands is to get that really intense blue sky, all right, a building without a polarizer and with a polarizer, and you can notice how the building really hasn't changed at all it's just the sky in the background, and so it takes a little bit of experimentation with the polarizer to realise win and where to use it and how it will impact your subject down in sion national park, you can see it just looks very washed out. The polarizer really darkens that blue sky now one of the key things to know about the polarizer is it has the strongest impact. If the sun is ninety degrees to where you are and so if the sun is off to the right or off to the left it's gonna have a big impact if you're looking at the sun where the sun is directly behind you, it's not that big a deal now. The most extreme case that I have seen where it helped out was down in monument valley, and this is honest to goodness just straight raw images. This is without a polarizer, and this is no photoshopping, just a straight rye image, and so it can really help out give you those more vibrant colors problem with these polarizer is that they only polarize the sky ninety degrees to where you are. And so in this example from arches national park is a a good example of a bad use of a polarizer. I have polarised the left part of the picture, but not the right part of the picture. And so, in this case, for an actually good photograph, I would probably not use a polarizer, or I would try to reposition myself so I could get more polarizing in there. And so it's a little tricky on how to use it, and I've always thought it should only be used on bright, sunny days no, no, no, no. You can use it in the forest on cloudy days on the left, we have a lot of reflections of light coming through the forest and on the right were using a polarizer. Here it is, here's, another shot with out a polarizer and let's add a polarizer to it notice the green vegetation were eliminating the reflections off the leaves and racine, the true colors of it. And so in the forest, if you see this really lush greenery that's a good time for probably using polarizer the other filter that very, very helpful is thie graduated neutral density filter. And so the problem that travel photographers have is we're photographing landscapes and things, and the sky and the sky is too bright, and we want to darken the sky down so that we can see the colors and the saturation a little bit better, and you're going to do that with a graduated neutral density filter if you want to do it out in the field now, technically you can do two shots and put something together in hdr. I like to do things in real time as possible, and so using this filter, I get to see it and it's done out in the field, so the way that you are supposed to use the filter is by getting an adapter ring, getting a holder. And then sliding the filter end and you'll notice these they're square filters so that you can slide him up and down to move that great asian depending on where the horizon is now this sometimes takes too long for me so I will do the shortcut and just simply hold it in front of the lens and that's what a lot of photographers do when you just need it for a couple of shots so here's what it does out here in the olympic mountains in washington we got some nice wildflowers and we have a beautiful sunset do you all see the beautiful sunset there? All right, well let's try a different exposure to show you what's going on with the sunset so it's a nice some nice clouds in the sky and I being the greedy person that I am I want the best of both lt's okay? I want the clouds and I want the flowers so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna set my camera up for the flowers and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take my neutral density filter and I'm gonna slide it down and darken the sky and leave the flowers nice and clear and I could get this all in one shot. I can see it right there in the camera. Yes, I could shoot two shots and compile it later in photo shop but it's nice and it's good to do right out in the field and so any time you see pictures with very distinctive clouds with texture, chances are that there was a split neutral density filter used for this now this one I did had to go back in and in light room I had to touch it up a little bit because you notice there's this flagpole right here in the middle well, it got a little too dark, so I went back and I lightened it up just a little bit to make it a little bit more normal because the filter the dark the top part of it darkened it up too much. Sometimes you can use a polarizer and a split neutral density filter at the same time, but any time you're shooting the sky and dark landscapes that helps out any time you're shooting sunsets, the split neutral density filter can help out quite a bit in this case I'm in the forest and this is completely unfiltered we're going to add a polarizer to the right hand side the background is a little bit brighter than the foreground and I would like to keep your eyes on the foreground so I'm going to take a split neutral density filter the grad filter as it's known and I'm going to darken up the back and so here we can see three different versions of the same image each you see that filter I think brings it to a slightly better place alright next little section will go through is bags beg zahra very personal choice it's sometimes hard to recommend recommend a bag for somebody else as much as I love shopping online I got to go to a store I have never bought a bag online I have got to be in person to see a bag because it's something that you carry with you know obviously there are available sizes that you can take on different types of airlines check with your airlines to see what size of bag is available there is usually a size requirements for most of the united states for many parts of the world but not all twenty two inches by fourteen inches by nine inches is the common size and so I could carry this on I would probably wrap this in a pair of pants and a shirt and put it in my check luggage you'd have to check to see and I don't think you can take tripods on most airline flights it's still considered a long stick that is a bit of a problem for your check bags you're obviously going to be dealing with about fifty pounds if you do need to check something like a tripod I do wrap it in shirts and socks and whatever else I have to keep it well padded and try to keep it in the middle of everything on travels to the edge we often had to carry an extra hard case full of all the important stuff and what we would do is we would fill that up with us much as we needed and we would stuff it in a duffel bag so that way when it was going through the conveyor belt and all of that it just looked like a duffel bag that was making a lot of strange noises the last thing you want is a perfectly pristine shiny new case that says nikon right on the side of it we might as well just say something that says steal me and so you want to kind of scuff things up I have heard of a lot of people that have put unusual stickers on their photographic gear like human waste or bio specimen or something like that just to make people know what kind of touch that one nothing interesting in there you could put on skateboards skid stickers maybe that would be good so the fast pack three fifty what you see on the left side of your screen is what I'm using here so this is the low pro fast pack three fifty and what I like about this let me go ahead and just put this on for a moment and just for reference I do have my computer in here and this is something I will travel to my destination with but when I'm out shooting I'll leave it obviously back in my luggage in the hotel room so I don't normally take that this weighs about twenty one pounds so that's about ten kilos on you could be a judge as to whether you think that's heavy this is why it's nice to be in shape microphone here and what's nice about this as a number of bags out there is that if I want to get my camera I don't have to take the bag off I can simply come in here and I could grab my camera now if I want I got other lenses in here and I could switch lenses pretty easily and it's kind of nice because I found some places that I work I just don't want to set my camera bag down whether it's for theft reasons or it's I'm standing in a little bit of a river area or something like that but I can switch between telephoto you can put it back in here, close it up and then I'm not gonna put it back on right now but you can travel around with something like that pretty easy I really like that when I was working on travels to the edge I had to take maur equipment and it was a little bit harder to shoot so I had to put the camera bag down but if you need to carry more equipment there are larger camera bags there's some other roller bags and hard cases. Take a look around, go into a camera store, see what they have. Find something that you like. You need to consider what type of trip you're going to be on. Are you gonna have a lot of room to spread your stuff out? I've been fortunate enough to been on many different types of trips. This is great. This is a kenya, and I could spread out on the whole roll of seats, and I could have everything right where I wanted it. One of the more unusual trips I took was in foldable kayaks up in alaska on the yukon river. And so, if you're not familiar with foldable kayaks, they fit into these blue bags here. And so my buddy has one kayak and one bag, and I have it in the other bags and let me show you a time lapse. Another little thing will talk about here of putting the kayak together. So part of stelling telling this story, and here we are getting the whole out and putting the framework together and assembling the boat take about took about thirty five, forty minutes or so to put it all together and weird, I was just shooting a picture about every ten seconds to show the process, and there we were, ready to go. Up on the yukon actually were upon the porcupine which leads into the yukon and you can see around my neck I'm wearing my buff okay that's to help keep the mosquitoes off my neck now on this particular trip and we're going to diverge from learning stuff into storytelling here hope you don't mind uh we were travelling there was three of us and we were going to be gone for about five weeks and we had to take all of our own food you know what food looks like for three people for five weeks well, we spread it out on my living room floor and you'll notice lots of peanut butter in there and they lots of eminem's and chocolates and lots of dried things that will add water too and heat up at night and in the morning and there's three big blocks of cheese and they're a swell so that's what we took and we had to be very careful about our food planning on this kayak trip had to customize my gear for the trip once again I'm traveling with two cameras I had to waterproof bags that I would keep on either side of my legs as I was cocky in one camera bag is my basic camera with a basic white angle lands and a few little accessories in the other bag is the telephoto system with a few more accessories back in my clothes bag I'm going to keep the extra batteries because I didn't have any solar chargers with me on this trip and all the other accessories that I might need if I'm back at camp but I'm unlikely to need out in the day to day travel. I've done a number of bike tours writing by bike travelling for days and weeks on end and I always want to have my camera ready so I have a special bag right on my handlebars with one camera and a basic zoom lens and it's some accessories and then mounted on the back rack of my bike and I have my telephoto camera with more accessories and strapped to the pan year on the side of the camera on the side of the bike is my tripod want to be ready for that for the more extreme of the group you can't take quite as much and so some of the day rides I will only take one camera two maybe three lenses and just the basic accessories backpack is a great way to carry a fair amount of gear and stay very, very comfortable it's a little bit harder to shoot this is a slightly different back back you do have to stop and kind of open it up to get the stuff out of it, but I'm able to carry it very securely while I mountain biking and fairly tough terrain if I'm climbing mountains I have uh I developed my own harness system there's other harness systems that you can buy that are already made for you and in this case I may only be taking one camera and one lens going through slot canyons down in utah cameras right ready maybe the the most I've been able to trim back is when I did some rock climbing and climbed devil's tower in wyoming I had one camera one lands, one battery, one memory card and one cleaning cloth uh just attach it with a carabiner to the back belt for a lot of the more typical traveling where I'll be using a backpack here I am in egypt I'm wearing the backpack I just showed you right here and what's nice about this is that I can store camera gear in the bottom usually one or two cameras two to three lenses maybe four lenses if they're small lenses in the top part I can put all my other stuff that I'm going to put and I will take a computer with me on most of my trips I won't carry it around on a day to day basis I'm gonna leave that in the hotel or wherever I'm staying and in that slot I'll stuff like a coat or other things that are flat and soft because that goes up against my back I want to make use of every inch of space that I have and so in there I've got my camera with white angle ends, the telephoto zoom, the fast prime, the basic accessories that were already talked about. And then I've had to modify the side of this and reinforce this so that it handles a tripod because it was originally designed just for a water ball and that's. One of the things I love to do is to modify something to make it right for me. You know, it's designed for water bottle I started to rip through it cause it's just thin mash, and so I just ableto fix it up for myself, so feel free to sew and customized cut do things the way you need to be done. We'll go ahead, make through the accessories and kind of get to the end of this section here. So there's a number of little accessories were going to kind of move through this because it's not really the most important thing in the world to travel, but let's, talk about flash the first option, and this is the option I have done more than anything else is just no flash. All right? I'm shooting natural light the whole time and it's a way to go lightweight and it's very, very simple some of your cameras have built in flashes, which have limited range, which can be a little bit helpful for shooting portrait's up close if you don't have a flash and you want just a little bit of help, the compact flashes from all the manufacturers will do an okay job. If you want to get into more flash. It really depends on what you're doing and where you're going for some people. It's absolutely necessary. When I was working on travels to the edge, it was critical that I had this because we were working in some terrible locations that were terribly dark, and I needed it. For most of my personal stuff, I often forgo the flash and just don't even take it. Most of my trips, I don't take it if there's something very particular, I need to dio I really want to do, then I'll bring the smallest flash that'll get the job done. If I do take a flash, I'll probably take one of these offshoot cord so that I could get the flash off the camera at least a few feet off the camera, so that it will why're wirelessly triggered the flash or, in this case, it's a wire trigger. But it is ti tl flash, so it is fully automated. If you're going to be shooting from a tripod, you need a way of triggering your camera without touching the camera, and so there are a variety of remote there's. Usually some very specific promotes for different types of cameras. The one that I use a lot is a more advanced cable release, and this allows me to do interval ometer work so I can shoot a syriza pictures to make a video like the putting together of the kayak. Sometimes I'm a little lazy, and I don't want to pull this out of the camera bank, and so the shortcut trick if you have your camera on a tripod, is the two second self timer, so you just said two seconds press down on the shutter released let the vibration settle out and we're done len's hoods are good for blocking sunlight from hitting the front of the lance and ideally, it's good to have a lens hood with you so that it doesn't, so the light does not hit the front of the lance and this is going to prevent flare and ghostie, having said that, I often don't take the lens hood for my wide angle lands because the white angle lens hood's don't have very much coverage and they don't do very much good, and they spread out so much they don't fit in a lot of bags real well, and so sometimes I'll just forgo the lens hood. And I'll try to remember to get my hand out in front to block it off without actually getting in the shot itself. I'll pretty much always bring it for the telephoto because they reverse on more easily, so it depends on space, but if you have to, you can forgo the lens hood. One of the big issues that digital photographers had to worry about at the beginning was memory storage, and I've dealt with a lot of different scenarios while traveling if you could do it on just memory cards, that's the simplest way to do it having to carry the full computer and we're moving into an era where we're getting a wider to write variety of devices with microsoft surface and apple ipads, and we're gonna have smaller computers in the future where you could bring a miner computer and still haven't do it. But for right now, if you could just travel with memory cards for a week or two that's what I would do, I've gone for a cz many as five weeks on just the memory cards that I could afford to bring with me that's the best way to go well, maybe not the best way, but that's the simplest way to go memory cards in a portable hard drive and there's a variety of types of hard drives everything from a jump drive to a hard drive maybe the hotel you're staying at or the friend's place you're going to stay out, you can use their computer to transfer things to another device, so you don't actually have to bring the computer there's lots of computers in the world if you could just get time on a computer to transfer it, that is one option. There are also devices out there that you can actually download straight to they tend to be kind of pricey for what they are ah lot of photographers who are quite serious about what they're doing will bring kind of the full set up, which is the full computer with external hard drives, and this is what the serious photographer wants to do because they can back up their images they comte check what they're doing out in the field that way, you know you're getting exactly what you want. Occasionally you'll go to a location and you get two chances. You can check your first chance to see how you did, and if you didn't get it, you can go back in and get it again and storing it on two separate hard drives allows you to store your pictures in two different locations in two different bags so that they're less likely to be damaged or stolen or self something wrong with him. The area to keep your eye on is in the future cloud storage and I say in the future, because it it is available right now, you can go to an internet cafe and you can download your pictures and upload them to the internet. Okay? It technically works. The problem with that is, is that this little connection right here from your computer to the internet is very slow in a lot of situations, and I know I was down in south america, where they were advertising super fast internet speeds. You would be lucky to upload one raw image every five minutes, and if you're shot a thousand pictures it's just not gonna happen. But as time goes on, the clouds going to get bigger and faster and better and better choice for doing it. And so I would like not to travel with a computer, but for most of my important trips, I will, for instance, I'm going up to alaska in about two weeks. I will definitely be taking the computer with me because I'm on a boat there's a plug in right there, next to the bed, and I have power twenty four hours a day for it and it's really easy to break for backpacking trips, not going to bring it for most things where it's just short trips, I'm not going to bring it. But if it's a really important trip I want to bring it I wantto check I'm not going to do a lot of photo shop type work I just want to check to make sure things air coming out right and backing him up on hard drives if you do bring a computer you want to have some sort of software to use in the go to software for most people is adobe light room and so adobe light room is a great program organizing your images it's pretty easy to use there's some great classes here at creative live on light room I also teach my own class is here in the northwest area it's versatile you khun organize all your pictures and really check off road quickly what's going on what's good what's not so good all right, so five tips on gear let's go back and once again I gotta reiterate things that are really important take only what you really need know how to work your gear don't buy a brand new camera in route to the airport at least try not to that's not a good technique. Make sure all your gear is totally ready before you go, so check it clean it tested sensors or clean all of that makes sure that you're ready to go inventory all your gear know whatthe serial numbers are know exactly what you're bringing make a copy of that email it to yourself occasionally in some countries they don't like you they're suspicious of anyone that brings in too much gear or takes out too much gear there in some cases they don't want you selling gear in their country in some cases they don't want you buying year and taking it out of the country so if you have proof that you are owner of that or some sort of evidence that may help you out of a jam in some occasions don't put all your pictures in one place this is the reason why just taking memory cards is a little bit sketchy if you can't have a computer you back up your hard drives and you carry him one goes in checked luggage and one goes and carry on sometimes things happen to carry on sometimes things happen to check luggage, keeping them in separate locations a few other things to think about here batteries keeping a charge on the battery is it depends on your access to electricity if you are going to be around electricity be aware of when and how often they will have the power on you're going to want atleast two batteries make sure to pack your battery charger if you're traveling by vehicle and a car you can have an a c inverter that way you can plug your charger right into this as well as your phone and other devices if you're going into an area without batteries and a lot of this, you're probably gonna want three batteries or more totally depends on what you're shooting, you're gonna have to keep a little bit careful, more careful, I on how often your cameras turned on, how much you review your images and things like that. The solar charging systems. I am not real happy with the little tiner chargers right here. They're fine for iphones and ipods and little tiny devices, but they generally don't have enough charge to charge a full camera battery. What you need for that is you need this big layout panel and a battery that you charge, and it ends up costing a lot of money, and it ends up taking up a lot of space, and so I find it's just easier to buy a couple of extra batteries and charge him winning where you can. If you haven't left the country where you live, just be aware that the plug ins are different around the world. It would be nice if they were all the same, but you're going to need to buy some adapters to fit the different types of plugs around the world and beyond the plugs being shaped differently, there is different voltage running through the wires, and so you need to make sure that your camera gear can handle the local voltage that you're going to be in now most camera gear this day can handle anything around the world but if you take a look on the back of the camera you'll see what sort of inputs that it can accept and as I say you probably won't need to tohave an inverter in that case but you will need the plug adapters for all the countries that you're you'll go to and there are some countries that have multiple standards depending on what part of the country you're going to be in and so just be sure to check that out there's lots of good places on the internet and if you have lots of devices if you carry your ipod your ipod your ipad your iphone your computer you have multiple cameras you're probably going to need some sort of power strip because sometimes you get into these lower and hotels they only have one place to plug it and so power strip if you do need to get everything charged all at once a lot of little cleaning stuff to think about you want to keep your campus clean ready to go the micro fiber cloth something all photographers should have a couple of at arm's reach at any time if you're going to be around rain or wet situations bringing a soft how and then having a little soft brush for cleaning off dust if you're going to be in a dusty bad environment I'll often bring not a full roll of garbage bags but a few garbage bags to stick my entire camera bag in or pieces of equipment either for rain or for dust and dust. Dust on the sensor could be a major problem, so let's talk a little bit about that if your images look like this, you've got dust on the censor all right and there's a number of things that you can do to alleviate this problem step one is to get a rocket blower these little air blowers put your camera into the manual cleaning mode, take the lens off and you blow some air in there to clean the sensor off step two not everyone is comfortable with its taking a swab and liquid, putting a couple drops of alcohol on the swab and swiping the deck, swabbing the deck clean. And so what you're gonna do is you're going to swap off any of the dust, and as I say, not everyone is comfortable doing this. You can have professionals do it, but if you're out in the field and you really want to make sure that you have a clean sensor, that is one step that you could go too if you don't want to go to this camera's now offer a unique third step, and this third step goes by different names according to what camera company have cannon calls it dust delete data goes by different names from different companies. Check the menu in your camera as to exactly where this is and how it works but here's the idea you got dust on your image you photograph a white sheet of paper your camera khun then see where the dust iss it can then clone it out and fix it on subsequent photographs. Now I'm not a big fan of cloning pixel over pixel, but it is a last ditch effort that can save you out in the field from having too much dust on a photograph because I would rather not clean it up later you can clean it up later but it's nice to have a clue his answer and this oh, this is a good step to go through before you even leave to go out on your trip. All right, so five more tips just general gear idea first pack your bag the same way every time so that every day that you get going you know exactly where everything is and if something is missing, you kind of always wanna have a spare memory card and battery and cleaning cloth with you. Even if you don't have your whole bag with you, you're just going out to dinner just kind of keep those in your pocket maybe make it get a little bag for them, so you always want to have those ready watch out for extremes and heat, sunlight, cold and rains leaving car leading cameras in cars could be really dangerous anyplace that it's going to be exposed to a lot of sunlight or any place that mike rain, you know, sometimes you'll have a convertible and you like, we'll just leave it there for right now. It's. Fine, you've got to really be thinking about what could happen, what's, the worst that could happen if you're gonna be going to an extremely moist environment. A lot of humidity there are silica gel is that you can pack in with your equipment as well, and so that might be necessary, and some situations and once again, just don't carry two hard drives in the same location. They go in different bags, they go in different piece of luggage, they have it, they're going with different people. If you travel with a buddy, maybe you swap hard drives when you check on the airplane.

Class Description

Travel photography is a wonderfully rewarding experience, but travel itself is a whirlwind in the best of situations. The mix of new landscapes, cultures, and logistical challenges can be difficult to navigate. Being an effective travel photographer requires careful planning and shoot preparation, but also the flexibility and openness of mind to take unforgettable photos.

Join pro photographer John Greengo for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to research and plan a trip around great photography

  • How to tell what gear you’ll need, and how to travel with it safely

  • Shooting tips and some of John’s favorite locations