is both rewarding and exhausting (see the expressions on our faces).
For those who are about to embark on great adventures with their DSLR, here are a few tips I've found particularly useful:
- Be prepared for the unexpected: I've been caught unaware by rain showers at Beijing and they ended up corroding one of the contacts of my D90's buttons. I was a tad pissed because I had researched the weather beforehand and it said that precipitation during that month was unlikely. Lesson learned - I keep a plastic bag in my bag just in case.
- Make a list of things to shoot: It helps control the trigger finger if you have a general idea of what you want to shoot, and it helps you remember those must-have shoots when you go to a certain place.
- Choose your focal length/s: I was trained with an all around zoom, and during my first few weeks of using a nifty fifty, I had my share of headaches particularly when asked to take group photos of my fellow travelers. Good thing I brought two lenses! For travel, it really helps to have a lens with a good wide and long end (you just can't foot zoom into a lion's pit) for day time, and a fast lens for night time. I highly recommend the Nikon 18-105mm and the 35/50mm for any future adventures.
- Bring a "safe" bag: Focus on function. Carrying around a bag with your gear's brand emblazoned on it can make you a target for unsavory characters, and you probably won't need extra, EXTRA padding if you won't use your camera bag as a weapon. Choose an incognito bag where you can slip your camera into when going into unsafe places. Extra space for your wallet and other essentials is a huge plus, but you might not need it as you're probably going to keep your camera around your neck.
- Bring an extra battery: While DSLR batteries nowadays can yield a couple thousand shots per charge, Murphy's Law will almost always kick in and leave you with a flashing "low battery" sign in your viewfinder. Get an extra one and charge it as soon as you can.
- Keep a microfiber cloth with you: This is really helpful when it's rainy (you can wipe off any droplets from your body or lens), and when you are in transit (it can wrap around your gear and prevent scratches). Just make sure to wash it separately from your clothes to avoid picking up the lint.
Hope those tips help you in your future adventures with your own DSLR! I have not yet perfected the art of traveling with one, but I think the above six items can really make a difference.