Travelling is exciting – research, planning, packing and preparing. Who doesn’t love the process? But as photographers, whether your trip is international, domestic, interstate or down the road, there’s 5 things we can forget to do just because they are so boring!
Clean your gear.
Lenses, sensors, filters, screens and viewfinders will get grubby – especially if you regularly shoot in sandy or salty conditions. A few spots aren’t an issue, but the longer we leave it the worse it gets. And you don’t want to ruin a shot by having smudges or spots in the way.
Remember that coarse substances like sand, salt and dirt are abrasive and can be disastrous to glass, and not only is cleaning regularly best practice, but careful cleaning is key to lasting gear. Don’t forget that salt will make metal rust, so any tripods, lenses, filters or cameras made of metal need to be cleaned after those seascape sessions!
Wipe your memory cards.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll plug your SD card into the computer straight after a shoot, import all those juicy files and get stuck into editing. It could be months before I delete those files from the card itself (and no, I don’t “delete after import” just in case). So, what’s wrong with that? Why can’t I just delete them at a shoot if I need to? I’ve actually got 3 reasons:
- If you’re shooting something time sensitive (like waves or birds) and you run out of space, you’ll miss your shot
- You could end up deleting something you haven’t imported, forgetting that you “would do it later” and never did
- If you mass delete by date, you could accidentally delete all of your current day’s shots (I’ve done this twice in the past month)
Taking the time to review your memory cards and deleting everything you have already imported or no longer need can be the key to not ruining your trip.
Update your software, firmware and OS.
Are you guilty of clicking “Remind me tomorrow” on all your updates? Has that little red numbered bubble on the App Store been sitting there for too long? It’s time to update your camera, phone and computer.
Updates exist for a reason. And yes, while some can actually be terrible “upgrades” on things that didn’t need fixing, if you run into any trouble on the road without access to internet to perform those updates you could be in a sticky situation. Some apps and programs simply won’t work until they’re updated, which could stop you from getting the work done that you need.
Besides, faster and more responsive technology? Uh, yes please!
Charge your batteries.
All of them. Camera, laptop, phone, power bank, mouse, headphones, iPod, shaver. Don’t have the “I charged them last week, they’ll be okay” mentality. Make sure everything you need is juiced up, because you never know when something could go wrong, or when that dodgy motel only has one working outlet.
Match cable to gear.
This doesn’t just have to apply to cables: cases, caps and cloths all need love. The problem is when you assume that all your gear is in your camera bag already. If you forgot you took out that charging cable or lens cap, you could be in for a world of discomfort early into your trip.
Lay out all the gear you’re taking and put the required accessory next to each item. You’ll be able to see at a glance if you have everything. This is also a great tip to see if the amount of gear you’re taking is overkill.
It also helps to run through the “evolution” of your gear. Take your camera as an example: start with the charger, then line up the batteries, the memory cards, the body, the sensor cap, the rear lens cap, the lens, the front lens cap, and the microfiber cloth. That way you’ll never leave something behind!
Are you bored yet?
There’s nothing exciting about these things, but they’re essential to make sure the exciting times never get away. It’s really easy to slip into the “It will be fine” or “I don’t need to worry about that” frame of mind, so force yourself to check off each and every one of these tasks to make this your best photography trip yet!