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  • Writer's pictureRubber Monkey

Best Camera Gear & Tips For Your Next Adventure

With all of New Zealand’s hiking trails, tramping is a popular pastime to explore the natural world. As locals, we should consider ourselves lucky to be living in a picturesque country. If you plan on getting off the beaten path on your next adventure, then having the right camera gear is essential.

You want to be able to capture the places you experience. The wind lifting the snow-capped- peaks or the tranquillity of a still lake, are the moments you want to capture and remember.

The Gear To Pack

When it comes to travel and adventure photography, you will need a range of great camera gear. Firstly, you’ll need a highly capable camera that is lightweight and compact. The last thing you need is a DSLR and fifteen different lenses – it will sap the joy out of your journey.

By far, the best option for tramping with camera gear is a Sony A7 III with a Sony FE 12-24mm  f/4 G Lens. 

This mirrorless camera kit is the perfect size for carrying without the bulkiness of a DSLR. Plus the Sony a7 III will accommodate native and third-party lenses. It also features manual controls to fine-tune your exposures. If you intend to capture wildlife while out tramping, consider packing a telephoto zoom. You want one of at least 400mm like the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens. Striking out into the bush to get closer to a subject is not always possible. A telephoto zoom lens will do the walking for you and provide great compression in your composition.

When it comes to packing your camera gear for an adventure, you’ll need several boxes ticked. A camera bag must be comfortable, weather-resistant, protect your gear and have room for other items. For adventure travels, the best option is a comfortable and supportive backpack such as the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. It’s available in a variety of colours and sizes – 15L, 20L, 30L, 45L. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is an incredibly well-engineered and manufactured bag. It also has unique storage solutions to cushion and protect your gear from the elements. Peak Design are the experts in travel gear and have taken into account the need to pack camera gear and necessary personal items for a safe and enjoyable trek.

Photographing The Sunrise

Before travelling out on location, you should plan your photo session accordingly. 

Let’s say you are getting up early to photograph the sunrise. Knowing where to park, walk and set up your tripod can make all the difference. You don’t want to have to be setting things up at the last minute as you may miss the golden fifteen minutes at dawn.

To assist in your photographic adventure, we would recommend using the Photo Ephemeris app. This nifty tool will help you visualise where the light will fall on the land. Opening the app either out on location or your desktop can help you map out the direction of where the sun will rise.

 Once known, you can set up your lightweight travel tripod to capitalise on the best composition.

Camera Settings To Use When Out On Your Next Adventure

Sometimes in life, we can come across some tricky environments. It’s the same case when travelling as a photographer. Often the light isn’t kind, so knowing how to control the light in a given environment can be the difference between a good photo and a great one.

Dealing With High Contrast Lighting

Let’s say you have been walking to your location with your gear in your backpack, and you find yourself in a valley or canyon. Within these locations, there is a high contrast between the sunlight and the shadow areas. If you were to turn your camera to automatic and take a photo, the result would be either blown-out highlights or underexposed shadow areas.

To combat this, it is best to take photos when the sun is at its highest. This way, the sun has every opportunity to light all the shadow areas in the valley or canyon.

With this understanding, you can then turn your attention to the camera settings. We would recommend using a neutral density filter on your lens and shoot in aperture priority at either f/8 or f/11. Ensure you are using a sturdy tripod and set your camera to the lowest ISO.

Long Exposure Photography of Hidden Waterfalls

The beauty of nature is it provides the best-hidden gems. Coming across a waterfall in either a known or unknown location is magnificent. Capturing these moments is often a highlight for adventure and travel photographers.

To help you get the best photographs of waterfalls, we recommend putting aside your camera backpack and mounting a wide-angle lens like the Sony E 10-18mm onto your camera with an ND filter attached. Set the camera on a tripod (we recommend the Peak Design Travel Tripod or the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod) and then change your camera setting to shutter priority. Compose your image and then slow down your shutter speed. The slower you go, the more the water will look like silk falling from the sky. For a more in-depth look into long exposure photography, make sure to check out our blog post covering gear and tips! 

Travel Tip

A very simple travel tip that we believe everyone should heed is to travel safely with your gear. Unfortunate accidents and more sinister experiences can ruin your travels and ability to create stunning images. The very best way to safeguard your camera is always to have it connected to a comfortable neck strap or on a clip/harness.

The Peak Design Camera Strap’s are comfortable, durable and feature unique locking mechanisms to keep your camera connected at all times. They can hold up to 90.72 kg of gear and easily support most DSLR and mirrorless systems. Simply slide the strap up to hold the camera tight and safe against your body, and then slide it down to shoot. The Peak Design Capture Clip is a lifesaver when you are travelling as it is a harness system that not only keeps your camera safe but gives you quick access when wanting to shoot on the go. 

Regardless of your destination, packing the right camera gear for your next adventure will ensure you document the best times. And, with a little planning, you can visit popular, hidden and exotic locations to capture stunning images.

A big thank you to Lola Gosling for allowing us to use her images for this blog post. You can find more of her work here

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