The wonderful slogan – “Take only photographs, leave only footprints” – is a reminder that most who drive the nation do so in a way that appreciates and admires what is seen along the way. If you take a camera, so much better. Here are some tips for traveling with your camera.
Take along the lenses, filters, tripod, and other accessories that will allow you to make the very best photos you can. You may have just the one chance to get these photos. Be sure to have the equipment you need to make the best of the moment. Take along the right lenses. If you are taking landscape photos, you will want at least one zoom lens, perhaps more.
Plan ahead for the right light conditions. If you know you want a particular look, plan your driving so that you arrive about a half hour before the light is right. Look for photographs of the places where you will be, so that you are aware of what can be done in those locations. Sometimes parks and other locations have late opening hours and early closing hours which could impact your ability to take photos at sunrise or sunset.
Have the best camera bag you can. Make sure it is well padded. If you have a lot of equipment, consider a big bag as well as a day bag. This is such a personal choice, but it makes sense to have the shape and kind of bag that works for the camera and equipment that you like to have on hand. The suggestion is that you select something that is practical and that does not stand out too much, since you don’t want to be a target for thieves.
Remember to put the bag in the trunk and lock it in there out of sight when you are going to be away from it, do not leave it anywhere in the vehicle that it could be seen. Keep in mind that because you are going by car, you do have plenty of room to take what you might need, as well as what you do need.
Make backup photos. Your smartphone can be your friend where this is concerned. No, you will not always have enough time to take photos with both the phone and the camera, but most of the time you can do that. It will also serve as a handy point of reference for what you took with your camera, to be able to look at the photos on the phone. Your smartphone is also ideal for those quick videos and Facebook posts.
Download your photos every day. Without exception. That way you will be sure that you have them. It is a good habit, sometime in the evening before you go to sleep for the night, to download the day’s photographs. We know of several sad situations where the never-to-be-forgotten pictures turned into never-to-be-seen pictures, because of a technical glitch. Don’t let it happen to you. Similarly, consider sending some of your favorite photos home by text or email, so you know you have an additional backup waiting for you.
Clean your camera each day. Or each night. Pack your lens wipes and other clearing supplies. Include cleaning your gear in the same routine as downloading your photos. That way you can have everything pristine and ready for the next day’s shooting.
Be respectful. Some places do not permit photography. Go along with those rules. Moreover, there are particular groups who do not want to have their photos taken, including the Amish and other plain people, and most Native Americans. If you are uncertain, ask politely. And respect whatever response you receive.
Have multiple memory cards. This is the way some people organize their photos from the beginning. It is also a way to ensure that you will have enough memory to take all the photos you wish. Bring along extra batteries. Remember to bring your chargers and adaptors. You want to have everything powered up each day as you set out, so that you don’t have to worry about it.