How to not forget anything | How I plan for my photo trips

February 24, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

This blog is going to be different and just a walk-through of how I prepped for a photo adventure I had several years ago.  Preparing for a photo trip away from my home (even if it is a local trip) means I have to plan for all scenarios.  I need to bring everything with me that I need and plan how I am going to carry the equipment.

So, I am sharing some of my experiences and how I try to have successful photo trips.  First, I think about what type of photos I want to capture.  I enjoy landscaped photography, street photography, wildlife, bird (yes, bird photography is different than most wildlife requirements), event photography, and more.  I have different lenses, filters, and other gear that goes best for each genre' of photography.  Carrying all my gear is not an option.

Let me break down one such trip that caused me to think through what I would bring.  This trip was riding on a kayak on a flooded oxbow with very still water.  Some have questioned my willingness to risk my equipment in a kayak.  But my kayak is very stable and difficult to flip over.  Also, the water was not moving.  The flooded oxbow covered between 2 and 4 square miles of space to explore and allowed us to wind through the trees caught in the flooded area.

With that in mind, I set my target for bird photography because eagles are known to be in this area.  Here was my approach:

  • I need my backpack to protect my equipment from splash damage.  Splash damage was my biggest risk to water damage in my opinion.
  • Several small towels to dry off hands or wipe off any water as needed
  • Several lens cloths to keep my lenses clean (kept in zip lock bag to keep dry)
  • I need my longest lens to reach the eagles
    • If I have room bring a short lens to sneak in other shots (but only after everything else is packed)
  • I need 2 or more batteries for my camera (fully charged)
  • I need several memory cards (formatted) so I can shoot as much as I want without worrying about storage

Non-camera-related details need to be thought of as well.  In this case, it was not cold so I could get by with light clothing meaning I will have exposed skin.  So, here is that list:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Drinks (large 24-ounce water bottle)
  • Snack food that is wrapped - protein bards are a great option here
  • Waterproof bag for my phone
  • Small battery brick and phone cable to charge my phone if needed
  • Life jacket

Finally, two tasks to cover anything I missed.

  • Call my photographer partner to find what he is bringing and compare notes
  • Sit down and just visualize/think through the process of getting in the kayak and taking photos

That's it.  Do the same for any trip you take.  Whether it is a local trip or a faraway trip.  Get into this practice so you seldom go on a trip missing a key piece of gear or personal item behind.



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