What to take with yourself on a photo expedition and what to pay attention to.


Are you planning to go on a photo expedition to an exotic country? Are you planning what to take with yourself, what vaccination, what clothes? I always take following things with me.

Before every photo expedition, it is necessary to plan profusely. It is important to check what vaccination you need, what kind of climatic conditions is there, what is the traffic like or what animals do you plan to take a photo of. Nowadays, it is a big advantage that we have things like Google Maps or Google Earth. Thanks to those we can see almost every corner of the Earth in advance from our living room. That way we can make the idea of the local conditions, check some hotels as well as check usual weather in the period of time in which you plan to visit the specific country. 
Concerning vaccination, I have recently been using the services of vaccination centre Avenier that has branch offices in Prague as well as throughout the whole Czech Republic. This company specializes in vaccination for tourists and will always advise you what vaccination is obligatory for the specific destination, which of them are recommended and what medicaments you should have along. For example, to go to Borneo or Thailand, it is good to have a vaccination against Hepatitis A+B, Typhus and Tetanus. Then there is a voluntary vaccination against Rabies (can be obtained after being bitten by an ape) or Meningitis. Surely it is good to take Antimalarial drugs (medicaments that are being used before/on/after the trip).
How is It with photo equipment inside the plane? I have never encountered some kind of problem concerning the weight. I always take my photo equipment in a bag pack intended for these purposes (in the times of Nikon around 17kg). I put tripod and laptop in a big luggage on the lower deck. I put the laptop in the middle so it is wrapped up in clothes so by that the risk of damage is minimalized. According to regulations and transport conditions of almost every air company it is necessary that all batteries are stored in the luggage, at least it was like that in the transport conditions that I have read. In case you have an overweight luggage, at least you have to pretend that its weight is within limits… :) I am rather concerned about the one under the deck, as it can possibly happen that if you fly with more airplanes, that the second/third will have lower weight limits. Be aware of that.
Another obvious thing, when doing some kind of expedition, are travel documents. It is necessary to find out in advance whether you need the visa, what has to be the minimal expiration date of your passport, whether you are obliged to have some kind of vaccination. Otherwise, at the airport, you might be asked to return back to your country.
Personally, when I travel somewhere, I always save all of the addresses and telephone numbers of Czech Embassy in the certain destination, telephone numbers of ambulance or police. It is also good to find out what kind of religion prevails in that destination so that a woman tourist would not have a problem with clothing in an Islamic country.
Since I like to have internet connection wherever I go, it is not a bad idea to check the offer of SIM cards provided by local carriers. In most cases, it is more convenient to buy a SIM card of local carrier, where the tariffs are much more convenient than if you were about to use Czech SIM.
And what do I take with me?
  • A flashlight with better luminosity to brighten up the scenery during night photography, optionally small LED panels (headlamp is not a good idea to take into rainforests as your face will be full of mosquitoes)
  • A scarf or a hat for the head – it will protect you from strong sunlight and from annoying insects
  • Clothing that is suitable for certain location, ideally fast drying one, for the rainforests long and light pants because of insects, bloodsuckers, and other vermin. Also, you do not have to fear that if you lay somewhere that your leg would be damaged by some plant or insect.
  • Raincoat for photo equipment and photo bagpack in cases of adverse weather.
  • First aid kit – I always take with me a first aid kit where I have Ibalgin, Paralen, Animal Charcoal, bandages, patches, thermal blanket
  • Knife – I always have with me a sharp knife of good quality, it is useful almost everywhere
  • Powerbanks – to charge GoPro camera, drone, cell phone or camera batteries or tablet (because electricity is not everywhere)
  • Earphones – if you travel with a bigger group of people you just need your own solitude from time to time
  • Laptop and a disc for photos – I always have a laptop and external USB storage. The laptop is usually stored in the big luggage and the USB storage inside the bag pack with photo equipment, therefore I have two independent photo backups in case I lose one of the luggage.
  • More batteries – it proved oneself to take at least 5-8 camera batteries. It is because during the day I take thousands of photos and it is not really possible to charge the camera in the middle of nowhere.
  • Tripod – 95% of the times I take photos from the hand but sometimes you just have to wait for several hours for an animal, or you want to take a photo during the dusk or dawn or at night and the tripod is pretty necessary in those cases
  • Lenses- you always have to take appropriate lenses adequate for your trip or photo style. Personally, I always have a static 300mm, teleconverter, zoom 40-150mm, wide angle lens and solid glass such as 45mm or 105mm. I think that I am not so demanding when it comes to these.
  • Spare body – when you fly through half of the world to do some photos, it is not a bad idea to have second spare body along, in case primary one gets broken or sunk. In outlying parts of the world getting a new camera isn’t really a simple task.
  • Flash – I use it rarely but I always take it with me since I know that if I don’t take it I would possibly need it
  • More memory cards – I learnt to use 32 GB cards and rather change them over time. If you used a card with bigger capacity but without the possibility to make a backup, it could also happen that you would be taking photos for three days in row and then you would lose all of your photos. Bodies that dispose of 2 memory card slots are also an advantage as you can perform backup while taking photos simultaneously.
  • Socket reductions – for sure don’t forget to take reductions for European sockets and also find out whether all of your chargers support the voltage, for example 110 V, in your destination.

Certainly, I recommend you to pack your thing up few days in advance, let the luggage lay, for example, in the living room and during those days you will often realise what you forgot to pack up. It is not advisable to pack up for such trips in the nick of time, for example forgetting to take batteries or chargers is not a good result, especially when you realise it in the destination.





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