Finally managed to go through my pictures from a glorious two weeks in Thailand. We visited Koh Yao Noi island just off Phuket and then Khao Sok National Park, north of Phuket. Both are stunning and somewhere I’d love to return.
Travel photography is always a hard one to crack. Getting the balance of equipment to weight and practicality is very tricky. If it’s a commission then I err on the side of taking a lot of stuff. I’m off tomorrow to Nepal for a shoot and for that I’ll be taking three bodies, many lenses, laptop and strobes. However, if it’s a holiday then you (or your friends and family), don’t want to be lugging around 30Kg of camera gear. Maximising the use of the kit is key, and I haven’t found anything better than the D7000 as a starting point (D800 hadn’t arrived by the time I went to Thailand). The D7000 is light, great resolution, brilliant in low light when needed and runs on one battery for ages. The pixel pitch of the Sony Exmore sensor in the D7000 also lends each picture a great look with a superb dynamic range. In terms of ROI, it’s hard to beat. Then it’s a matter of picking lenses. Very wide, and very long are normally the two I use the most. I love fisheye especially now because it can be undistorted in post turning it into a massive wide angle instead. Suddenly it’s a great, non-gimmicky lens to have. Then it’s just a flash that you need. Nikon’s creative lighting system (wireless TTL to you and me) is probably the most useful feature on any camera. The D7000 can trigger any of Nikon’s upper-end strobes wirelesses and faultlessly (no Pocket Wizards needed – unless in direct sunlight) and you can get creative…even while dangling out of a speeding boat!
I was travelling really light for this, just one body (Nikon D7000) and 24-70mm f/2.8 as the main lens, then moving to 12-24mm or 10.5mm. I opted not to take the 70-200mm f/2.8 for space and weight, but it’s the one lens I really could have done with. To power the timelapses I used one IDX battery which managed to keep the camera going for probably about 4 days in the end (mostly overnight star shots, so the shutter was open for 30 seconds at a time). Tripod was the new Giottos VGRN Vitruvian – great tripod but smaller – double edged sword, small if great for travel but harder to work with. First time I went abroad without a laptop, and what a joy that was. It all packed down into my ancient LowePro Nova – must be 15 years old and heavily used and still going strong! All the shots were graded up in DXO.
Apart from stills, I shot quite a few timelapses and they’ll be online in the near future.
To see more, visit the gallery here.
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