What’s in My Travel Photography Bag?

Now I know you are probably wondering what camera and equipment I use when travelling.  Throughout this blog I have used a variety of cameras, all from a point and shoot to a more specialised prosumer DSLR.  They have all done me well and all have their pros and cons especially when it comes to travel photography and having to lug your equipment around.  If you are chasing just a easy to use point and shoot then I can highly recommend Panasonic’s Lumix DMC range.  It takes great quality jpegs (drawback is that it does not shoot in RAW so it is difficult to get the most out of your pictures in post production).

I know there’s alwasy the temptation to get the latest and greatest upgrade out there, but it is always cheaper to get a superceded model off Ebay.  I have bought all my gear off Ebay, and made sure I do my research re pricing and read all of the feedback for the seller before committing to buy or bid.  I have never had a bad experience (touch wood).  Remember at some stage your baby was the latest and greatest on the market and photographers out there took some pretty damn good pics with it.  Besides I always live by the mantra that it’s not the camera that takes good pictures, it’s the person behind the camera!  A living testimony to this mantra is this picture I took with my very first basic point and shoot digital camera, bought when digital was starting to take off.


There were no filters or anything fancy, although I did ‘stitch’ several photos together in Photoshop and submitted it to a national photography competition and won a trip to Canberra as well as $4000 (that was 10 years ago).

My workhorse over the years has been a Canon 30D with a wide (Tokina 16 – 50mm f2.8) and zoom lens (Canon IS 55 – 250mm) which I have taken overseas in the past.  However, since the advent of micro four thirds I have now opted to leave these at home when going overseas.

My new camera which is fantastic for overseas travel due to it’s light weight and unobtrusiveness, is a Olympus E-M1.  There are a variety of lenses you can buy, but for travelling I go with a Tamron 14-150mm, f3.5-5.6 (28-300mm equivalent) as the wide and zoom range is so versatile without compromising sharpness.  I do find the 14mm end a little restrictive for landscapes so am currently investigating buying an Olympus 9-18mm f4.  I took this picture with the Olympus E-M1.

Sapa Papa

OK now that I have a new camera, I now had to rebuy all the accessories that go with it, or did I?

Filters – I can not live without these. Nothing makes up for them even if you have the best software on the market.  My kit has a UV filter for each lens (a very cheap insurance policy which always stays on your lens unless you are temporarily using another filter), a Circular Polariser, a Variable Range Neutral Density filter and a Graduated filter. They don’t take up much room and rather than keep them in the individual containers they come in when travelling, I bought one of these filter keepers/caddy off Ebay.  No need to rush out and buy a whole heap more filters because your lens size is now diifferent on your new camera.  Just buy some step up or down rings off Ebay or do my totally revolutionary technique, hold my old filter (which is bigger than my lens) and hold it there by hand!

Off Camera Flash – I try not to use the flash because I hate it.  I hate it for several reasons. One, I find it hard to get my head around the technical aspects of it.  Two, I have lugged it half way around the world, used it once and it weighed a tonne.  Three, natural light is much better to work with. One look at the subject and what you see is what you are going to get in terms of light.  I only use a bit of fill flash with my on camera flash in back lit situations or at night if required.

Buy some spare lens caps and even better, buy a lens keeper off Amazon so your cap never strays far from home.  Bring several lens cleaning cloths.  Pack a shower cap – great for covering your camera in the rain!  Don’t forget the spare batteries.  When you are out all day and drain the first one, the second one is in your camera bag ready to go when the first runs out and the third is back at the hotel or in your hire car being charged.

Travel tripod. I have a Velbon PHD-31Q. It’s nice and compact but still a bit heavy to be putting in your carry on luggage if you’re tight for weight. I always pack it in my checked luggage.  If that goes missing, then it’s not the end of the world because you’ll still have your selfie stick for those silly family shots with your mobile phone!


Top 5 Places in Namibia


Africa holds a very special place in my heart and after travelling through almost every other part of Southern Africa, Namibia has to be my favourite.  Its ruggedness reminds me of the harshness of my own desert state, yet it has everything else that the rest of Africa has in terms of wildlife and a rich culturally diverse nation, but more importantly I felt completely 100% safe.  On this trip I went solo, but it’s a place I would not hesitate to take young children or teens.  It’s easy to hire a car and stay in cheap accommodation or hire a 4WD with all the camping gear and hit the road. Continue reading

Stirling Ranges Blog Post

Retro Retreat into the Stirling Ranges

Stirling Ranges Blog PostFollowing on from the haphazard adventures of my last April school holiday post, “A Mother’s Survival Guide”, where the very word camping still finds me in the foetal position rocking back and forth, I have become the very proud owner of a 1986 Viscount caravan called Lillian.  Low cost cheerless camping has now morphed into low cost captivating caravanning capers, Chevy Chase style… Continue reading

10 Symptoms of a Travel Tragic

  1. When doing the family budget, the holiday has first priority, food and household bills are second and third respectively. If we eat baked beans every week until we depart, that will pay for two nights accommodation somewhere.

    Eating baked beans to afford buttery croissants for breakfast on the rooftop of The Hotel Majestic in Ho Chi Minh City was worth it!

    Eating baked beans to afford a luxurious breakfast at The Hotel Majestic in Ho Chi Minh City was worth it!

  2. When buying clothes all you can think of is how well it would pack and how long it will take to dry.
  3. When buying that new couch, you look at the price tag and think ‘that’s a return airfare to London,’ you walk out empty handed and tell yourself the ‘black hole’ in the old sofa really isn’t that bad after all.
  4. When your inbox has at least 50 emails a day advertising specials from all the airlines that fly out of your nearest international airport.
  5. Wrestling with your conscious about taking the kids out of school again, but the devil always wins.
  6. When you are three years behind on all the holiday photo books you are ‘gonna’ make.
  7. When you know the exchange rate of all the major currencies off by heart.
  8. When you have visited at least ten countries in the last week….online.
  9. When you own no less than 5 cameras and 10 suitcases and backpacks of varying sizes, shapes and designs.
  10. When you can count to ten, ask for a toilet and a train ticket in at least ten different languages.

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A Mother’s Survival Guide

A mother embarks on an adventurous four day mini camping trip and explores a plethora of National Parks in the South West of Western Australia with her intrepid two teenage sons in a bid to keep them off the XBOX and to keep active.  A humourous approach to her mishaps into the mundane will delight anyone who dares to read on… Continue reading

Vehicle Rental and Insurance

Vehicle Rental PinterestIf your are seriously into independent travel then having a car ‘to do what you want when you want’ is paramount.  This will often mean it’s more cost effective than going organised tours especially when travelling as a family and often cheaper than the cost of airfares in getting to your destination if you are travelling as a group.  Whenever I am in need of car hire I always explore the best option to match the occasion.  For instance, Continue reading

7 Days in FNQ

7 Days in Far North Queensland

I just love exploring this great state of ours but every now and then, the urge to go beyond the borders and venture further into this great nation of ours becomes too much, especially when there are some great deals out there from a variety of budget airlines. Continue reading

10 Facts about?The Nullarbor Plain

10 Facts about the Nullarbor Plain

Eyre Highway from Eucla Scarp

Eyre Highway from Eucla Scarp

Crossing the Nullarbor via National Highway One is the quintessential experience of the outback and crossing it is a rite of passage for any self respecting Australian, yet it is a path few Australians follow. The Nullarbor Plain is famously known as the longest stretch of straight road in the world. Consequently, it also has the nickname Nullar-boring so when the few Aussies and international tourists who do make the journey, they consider it a chore and something to be achieved as quick as possible. Contrary to popular belief, if you have the time explore, then it’s as interesting as you are prepared to make it as I have outlined in the following facts and details. However, with my recent experience of the crossing, it is infinitely more interesting on the way over than it is on the way back.

Nevertheless, the Nullarbor crossing is a once in a lifetime drive which is recommended to road enthusiasts worldwide. Road trips in Australia are just as popular as they are in New Zealand or the USA and crossing Australia through the desert to experience its total vastness and awesomeness should be on everyone’s bucket list. Continue reading