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Travel Photography

Lesson 5 of 32

Travel Gear

John Greengo

Travel Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Travel Gear


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:11:45
5 Travel Gear Duration:19:13
6 Health, Safety & Security Duration:11:09
7 Gear: General Advice Duration:06:20
8 Gear: Cameras Duration:15:56
9 Gear: Lenses Duration:12:48
10 Gear: Tripods Duration:15:44
11 Gear: Filters Duration:04:08
12 Gear: Camera Accessories Duration:13:33
13 Gear: Final Thoughts Duration:03:55
14 Camera Checks Duration:04:20
15 Technique: Camera Settings Duration:13:30
16 Advanced Techniques Duration:13:00
17 Workflow & Composition Ideas Duration:07:42
18 Scouting Duration:17:33
20 Locations: Opera House & Dumbo Duration:05:12
22 Details: Buildings Duration:05:15
23 Details: Pattern Duration:14:51
25 People: Street & Candid Duration:08:46
28 People: Environmental Portrait Duration:15:37
30 Wildlife Duration:08:44
31 Events Duration:08:19
32 End of the Road Duration:09:35

Lesson Info

Travel Gear

All right, let's talk a little bit about travel gear. I'm trying not to talk too much about just general... There's a travel class that has nothing to do about photography, about traveling efficiently and safely, and getting the cheap airline flights and cheap hotels. We're not gonna get into that. I am gonna touch on a few things that I have come to learn over my 30 years experience that are just like, that is the perfect item. Every once in a while they finally come along. So ideally, think about everything that you have. It would fall into these three categories. Because, as I said, weight is the enemy. And so, think about everything. The toothpaste, how much are you really bringing? You know, if you run out of toothpaste, I ran out of toothpaste in Mongolia. Oh my god. You know what? In Mongolia, they sell toothpaste. And so, you know, not a big deal that I ran out of toothpaste. And so just bring what you need. Bags of bags. My buddy and I were packing for one of our trips. We put...

everything together and we went, we're overweight. We gotta figure out where this is. And he was going through my stuff. He's going, John, you've got bags of bags of bags, you know. You've got your toothbrush in a little bag that goes in your toiletry bag, which is covered in another bag, which goes in your overnight bag, which is in your bigger bag. It's like, well how many bags are you bringing versus the actual stuff you need? And so there needs to be a balance on all of this. When you go look at luggage, these really nice travel bags with the rollers and stuff, they can weigh over 10 pounds. That's more than 20% of what you're allowed on most airlines. And, you know, if you're going to Las Vegas on business convention and you've got lots of flat, hard surfaces to roll it, totally understandable, that's exactly what I use. But on some cases, I'll just use a duffel because they're super lightweight, they can be crammed into smaller spaces, they can be reduced if I'm not using them, and I can put more weight in them. Now, granted, I've got to carry it around, but it depends on the type of trip that you're taking. One of my worst fears is leaving home having forgotten something really important back at home. Don't we all fear that? And that's why I am dutifully working over a checklist. And so I have a checklist for every trip and I go back to the previous trip, and I see what I took there, and I try to remember what worked out and what didn't work out. And so if you want to make your own checklist, these are the four main categories. Clothes, health, technology, and photography. And then I have subgroupings in there of the types of things that I need to bring in there. And, if you think about it ahead of time, and you're pretty strict about not just throwing in a bunch of stuff at the last minute, you can travel with just what you need. Now, the other type of trip is a road trip where I might be camping out. Then there ends up being a whole camping category. And if I'm doing my own lunches and dinners and things like that, there's another category in there where you get all of that. But I've made like an Excel spreadsheet where I can just add all this up, put it out a couple weeks ahead of time. Oh, yeah, I want to take this one thing. Put it on there. And then when you're on the trip you kind of have a nice little manifest of everything that you have with you in case something should go missing, or you're trying to wonder did I bring this or not. It's just so that you're well thought out and planned for these things. Think about the total number of items you bring. Because I think on any particular trip that you travel, you are constantly thinking, okay, I've got my toothbrush, my toothbrush. I need to wear my pants, my shorts, my swim suit. I've got this, I've got this. I've got my wide lens, telephoto lens. And you're trying to like keep track of the 150 different items, and that just gets harder when it's 250, and 350 items that you're bringing. Just can you reduce the number of items because things get lost and that's how you waste time. And I talked about this at the beginning of class. Being efficient and organized. Bring only what you need. So there's a lot of different apps. And we could probably do a whole class on different travel apps. Here are a few quick ones that I really like. Instagram for sharing your photos. I got my photos at @john_greengo, so you can check me out there. There's a couple great ones for celestial navigation, so if you want to find out where the stars are, what time does the sun come up, where is it on the horizon, which is really good. One of my favorite, by far, is is fantastic because I love maps, and this is the digital map that you don't need to be online with. And so I usually don't activate my phone when I'm traveling. So when I was in Mongolia, I downloaded the when I had wifi access with my phone and then when I was offline in Mongolia my phone picked up my GPS coordinates and showed me exactly where I was. And I could find restaurants and all sorts of things. It's a little out of date because it's not live right now and there could have been a restaurant that closed down last week that it's not keeping track of. But it does a very good job. Google Translate. That's kind of freaky, but it's fun, because you point it at something and it starts changing it to English, and sometimes it gets it right and sometimes it doesn't. But it's getting better. A currency one, and finally, Visited. Not useful at all, but kind of fun, because you get to point to all the countries that you've been to and you get to count up all the places you've been, and then you can kind of indicate all the places that you want to go to. And it tells you how much of the world you've traveled to and how much you have yet to travel. And so that one's just kind of a fun log of where you've been on that. And, as I have this up, and I see some of the students in the class scribbling things down, there is a PDF that comes with this class that has all of my top 10 lists, and all of these types of lists. And so this comes with the purchase of the class. And so don't feel like you need to mark all this stuff down because this will be part of the supplied materials when you purchase the class. All right, so when you're thinking about what type of clothing, obviously environmental protection, whether it's sun or cold. Culturally appropriate, where are you going. We all know that there's certain places that require head covers, or they don't allow shorts, or you can't have short sleeves. Be aware of those things so you're not caught off guard, and I'm sorry you can't come in because you're not dressed right for this particular venue. You want maximum versatility. I think women are great at this. They're like, oh, this will go with this, or it will go with this, or go with that. They can mix and match everything it seems like. But you want things that can be used for going out for a walk, going out for dinner, being used for multiple different things. Of course you want it lightweight and packable. Easy to wash. Nice to be able to do that out in the field so that you can have clean clothes. And so I will never bring a pair of blue jeans with me. They're just way too heavy, and hard to dry, and heavy, and bulky, and stuff. And so there's much better things than that. And something else to consider is the color. And this is for different types of reasons. I took a trip with my buddy. We rode our bikes across Alaska. And we wore these black fleece coats, which is kind of like a black hole in photography. And we came home and it was just, there was just, like, there's no information there. Dark coats that did not look good. So on the next trip, which was a road trip down to the south, we went to Wal-Mart and just purchased some $5 cheap, colorful tees, with no graphics on them. We just wanted some nice, bright, happy colors because we were shooting photographs of each other. If you're photographing pictures of each other, you probably don't want graphic shirts that have a bunch of text, and type, and pictures on. Just simple colors are nice, and they're timeless as well. Other times you want to blend in to the environment that you're going to. You don't want to stand out, so you don't want to be the person there in the gigantic red GORE-TEX coat. You want something that's subdued, and blends in, and doesn't draw any attention to what you're doing. And so just figure out what's important for the type of trip that you're gonna do and bring the right clothes for that. Okay, we're gonna go through some fun stuff now. This is just general stuff. This is not photography stuff, but this is stuff that I think it's important for anyone traveling to be aware of. And I don't know that I'm recommending this stuff. I'm saying, this has worked really well for me. Number one thing is you need to have a rock solid alarm clock in the morning. Phones are really good because they're really loud alarms and I like that. Because, you know, when you want to wake up at 4: because there's that special bus going to the sunrise shoot you wanna get into, you don't want to miss that bus. And so you need something that you are absolutely positive will wake you up in the morning. I'm still a little bit traditional. I still like taking notes on traditional notebooks. And these Moleskine ones are really nice because they stay together for quite some time. I don't bring all these zip lock bags, but zip lock bags can be just very handy for putting your toothbrush and toothpaste. It's something if you're going river rafting, you need to bring an extra memory card, you want to make sure it doesn't get wet. And so just a few extra of these bags can be very handy. A lot of photographers know about gaffer tape, not duct tape, because it doesn't have the stick residue. But a big roll of it is really cumbersome and hard to pack, so what I do is I tear it off and I have it all in this little flat bundle here. Now, the fact of the matter is, it's the last 10 inches I can't use. But everything else is small and super easy. You can pack something like that almost anywhere. You know, you don't need to bring 17 pairs of pants. You know, you can bring three, and if they get a hole, or rip a button on of them, be able to fix it. So just a little small sewing kit has saved my butt literally on some trips. Okay, this I am gonna say is definitively the dumbest slide that I have ever put in any class I have ever presented. It's here for a reason. I have dealt with crappy travel toothbrushes for my entire life. You know, the ones that kind of fall apart, and the bristles are like, did these come from 1950. They just don't work very well. I got this one from my dentist. And it folded out, it had a comfortable hand grip on it. It stayed open, locked solid. It closed right. I'm like, this is the best thing ever. And then I went online and they were like $1.50 a piece. And I bought a six pack. So I've got them for life now I think. This, another kind of one of those dumb things. I have been struggling with one thing or the other. And if you think, what's wrong with just a hat? Well, the problem is, as the photographer we're holding cameras up to our head and that means the hat has to come off or it's gotta have a really soft bill to it. And if it's a really soft bill it's kind of falling down in your face and it doesn't look right. And this is the first hat I've found that has just the right amount of stiffness so that it kind of stays out there, protects your head in front of the sun, but you can cram your camera up against it and it doesn't ruin the hat as well. And so it's just a perfect mix there. Okay, this one's for my folks over 40 out there. I need a little bit of help reading the small print on the map and stuff. Glasses break because they're awkwardly shaped. These things are flat. They look a little goofy. But they're a great emergency backup pair. If you know you barely might need them, they're lightweight, they're small, they're practically crush-proof because they're flat. They work really well. I talked about bags and bags. But, the lightweight bags, these packing cubes, are really nice, because when I'm looking for pants, I'm looking for a big blue bag. When I'm looking for shirts, I'm looking for a big orange bag. And I have different types of stuff in each bag. And so when I go in my stuff, I don't spend a lot of time shuffling around my stuff. My stuff stays organized as things are all in the bag. Something like this I didn't really buy until not that long ago because it just seemed like that's a lot of money to spend on a bag. I'll just use a grocery bag or something. But these are compressible, so they can help compress your stuff so you can get your stuff in a smaller space. I like this brand, but I think just sandals in general are really nice, because when you're out shooting photos, as I said, the best way to shoot photos is just a lot of walking around. Your feet get tired, and it's really nice to breathe with some sandals. There are many places where sandals are totally fine for going out to dinner, and they just feel good after wearing shoes and walking around all day long. I am not very much of a fashion-conscious fashionista. And to be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of cargo pants, the way they look, and cutoff pants. But, you know what, they are so practical. It is so nice when it gets to be 90 degrees and I zip off those pants and everybody else looks at me like, ugh, I'd like to wear shorts right now. I'm like, I'm fine. They look a little goofy, but you know what, they're keeping me comfortable. They're making me feel good in that regard. Plane flights, motel rooms, campsites. We can't close our ears like we can our eyes. And so ear plugs, I don't always use them, but they are lifesavers when they're needed. This was a bit of a splurge for me a while back but I have ended up doing so much traveling that when I'm riding on the airplane, I ride with noise canceling headphones. And I've found that the higher the noise level, the greater the stress level that you have. And 17 hours of kind of a high stress level is not a great way to begin your trip out. And so, I bought a pair of these. They're kind of expensive. And now I've found that, as I've started to record video and audio, they work as audio monitoring. And so now multi-purpose. And so they are more useful to be now. As I say, it's not necessarily for everyone. You can just use ear plugs. But it is a nice thing to have on the airplanes. I like doing a little bit of laundry. I know places will do it for you at times. Sometimes they don't do it quick enough, or they want to charge too much that I don't want to pay, or maybe it's just not available and I want to wash clothes. And, you know, as I was young growing up I learned the experience that a lot of you have already learned, which is bar soap in the bathroom does not do a very good job at cleaning clothes compared to a little bit of powdered detergent. And while it might arise a little bit of suspicion, this white powder in a jar that I am bringing, I've always been able to get through security and I've never had a problem with that. The neck gaiter here is just a multi-purpose type of headwear, neckwear. I've used it as a face mask in the desert. I've used it as a hat when I didn't have a hat. It keeps my neck warm. It keeps air from flowing down in a coat. I've used it in hot environments, cold environments. And it's not the worst lens cleaning cloth ever. And so it serves multiple purposes, which is what we like on the items we bring. Obviously you can't bring something like this on the airplane with you because it's got a knife, so you'd have to check it. But having a little multi-tool for doing a variety of little fix it things have been very, very helpful out on the road. A head lamp is good, and I'm very particular. It is this brand, this model of headlamp that is good, because of two reasons. Number one, it's got this metal cable system, and it's spring loaded, so when you're not using it, it is really compact. It is about the most compact light you'll get. But if you've ever tried to do something with two hands, assemble a tent, look for your clothes, having one hand on the flashlight and using the other hand isn't nearly as good as having two hands available. So the headlamp is very, very valuable in that. The other thing that's really nice about this is that it had a very bright white light, but it also has a red light. And so anyone who is interested in shooting nighttime photography, the bright light is gonna throw off your night vision and the red light is gonna enable you to keep your night vision when you're out there shooting. These are some of my favorite items. Now, a few other things that I bring with me on a daily basis in the camera bag besides camera equipment. Toilet paper. This is because I'm traveling in interesting locations that may not have toilet paper. Hand sanitizer is a good one to have. A little bit of gaffer tape. Sunscreen, lip balm, and then an energy bar. You don't know when you're gonna miss your next meal. And so these are things that I have in my camera bag that fit in a fairly small pack. So, we're gonna take a look at some of these items I just talked about real quickly because I want to show you what they actually look like and some of the benefits to them. So, let's start right here with the big old hat. The idea with this company, it comes with like a four page instruction manual. And they sell it in just tiny little increments, so make sure it fits your head right. It uses this because they say it's better to use a string than to have your hat fit too tight all the time. And so when I'm shooting photos and I have to get this up here, I know that the hat can move out of the way pretty easily and then flips back into place nice and quick. The light here has red light, hold it, has a nice, bright white light. And that's super small. And then it's got this spring loaded so I can wear it. Now, if I was climbing a big mountain, I wouldn't want this, because it puts a little bit of pressure on your head here. So it's nothing something I would wear for three or four hours. But for 10, five minutes, it's perfectly fine. The notebooks right here are really nice. I like it because you can take a pen and put it right on top like this. That's your whole package right there, which I think is very convenient. I talked about the gaffer tape. So this is what the gaffer tape looks like once I've flattened it up. And if I need it, I just pull off a strip. And there's all sorts of reasons why a little bit of gaffer tape might be handy for different things. And so, that weighs next to nothing right there. The buff here can be used in many, many different ways. I'm not gonna put it on right now. But you can make it into a hat. And I like it probably most for cold weather for stopping the air that's going down the front of your coat right here. It feels really nice. And these just feel really soft and comfy. As I say, not the worst thing in the world for cleaning a lens with. These cubes here are expandable, and they're compressionable. So, you can expand them if you have more stuff. And then once you've got stuff in them, you do the one zipper and it gets it all down to a lower size. And so I have no two that are exactly the same color and the same size. So if I pick up the small orange one, I know exactly what is in this one. And that's just about staying efficient, staying organized. How quickly can you go up, take a shower, get ready for dinner? Can you do that in 15 minutes? Can you do it in 10 minutes? And so part of that helps you do that out. Talked about bringing the zip lock bags. If you ever get these really small ones, they're nice to have sometimes for memory cards, or other little things you have. And here is the toothbrush, folks. This thing is amazing. Folds out. And then this locks it in and gives a nice, firm grip on it. And I know it's stupid, but, you know, if you want to shoot photos like John Greengo, this is how I brush my teeth.

Class Description

Are you going on a once in a lifetime trip and want to have photos that you can share with friends and family? Do the decisions of what to bring, where to shoot, and what to capture feel overwhelming? Travel photography can feel challenging, time consuming, and expensive. But with the right tools you can plan and prioritize to come home with images that you treasure.

Join photographer, educator and author John Greengo, who has photographed all over the world, as he guides you through all of the steps that you need to capture the photos that you want during your travels. This class will offer different plans of what to bring, and how to create a realistic agenda based on your priorities, whether it’s documenting your trip, telling a story through photographs, or simply capturing great images.

John will teach you:

  • What gear to pack based on your goals.
  • How to create a media storage plan and workflow while traveling.
  • Best practices on how to find and scout the best locations to photograph.
  • How to approach locals and build trust before taking their portraits.
  • Camera techniques and settings for different shooting scenarios.
  • Different types of travel photos, such as The Walk Away, The T-Shot, and Environmental Portrait.
  • What to do with your photos once you’ve returned home.

Don’t let the challenges of travel photography keep you from capturing images that will provide you with lifelong memories. Join John Greengo to learn the best techniques, tools, and technology to capture great photos no matter you limitations in time, money and resources.



As usual John has been an awesome instructor. He is so energetic and fun. I love taking his courses and this was no different. I absolutely loved it. I have learned so much by taking his courses. Thanks John for all you do to help us beginners out.

Melissa Maxwell

So inspiring! This class is so comprehensive and I look forward to applying all of Greengo's tips. He is a wonderful instructor and the example photos are breathtaking.

user 1399347749726793

John is fabulous ... and so inspiring! I can travel the world and live vicariously through him! I've watched John for years and always find that he teaches me something new every time! Thanks John and CreativeLive for another awesome class!