Travel photography? / by Phu Qui Nguyen

Pictures are different for everyone.  Please take this post with a grain of salt if anything.  My personal photo journey has led me to a not-so-simple, but dedicated set up.  You might not feel the same and that's okay.  It takes a few travels to find what you like for yourself.  As long as you're able to capture what you want for your use, that makes me happy! 

Current gear
Canon 5D Mark 3
Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC
Canon 50mm f/1.2
Canon 85mm f/1.2

I decided to nix the zoom lenses unless I'm in studio or on a job.  Unfortunately they are too much to carry daily.  Don't get me wrong.  A 135 or 70-200 might really capture a great portrait, but try carrying that, along with my backpack.  It's not happening, but I commend anyone that is willing to go through the trouble.  Also shooting for night time conditions is an absolute must.  Even going indoors, an extra stop of light can really help with your exposure or even keep you from missing a great shot. Something my phone camera can't always capture.  It's just impossible due to sensor size capability. 

My holy trinity of primes: 35/50/85.  
35mm is one of the best wide angle primes to consider having in the arsenal as it makes every scene look perfect in a cinematic way.  Any wider, may grab a whole scene, but tends to look overly distorted.  It's just the nature of the lens design. 35mm happens to be the perfect length for myself.
50mm keeps everything in perspective.  It's nearly similar to what the eye can see. Thus it makes one of the best lenses to convey what the photographer is feeling.  The $100 nifty 50mm 1.8 was and still is one of the best buys that anyone can have in their gear arsenal.
85mm is a medium telephoto.  Without going any longer and having such a long lens to carry, The 85mm can do double duty by nailing a portrait or taking a step back to take a landscape. Although these days I carry around the f/1.2 which is heavier, but I can shoot in near darkness.

What I would do differently:  Sometimes finding that sweet spot for a lightweight set up.  I don't want to preach on why to shoot prime lenses.  I'm sure there's enough of that on the internet.  I think the practicality of not having to search all over between a wide range.  You're bound to miss a shot here and there.  Partly why I find it hard to watch when others trying to find the perfect focal length while the scene is unfolding, firing off 20 shots in a prayer that one of the focal lengths just matches.  I know that's a real pain and I know that you can just choose the "perfect" shot later.  But try this, simplify.  Look at the various shots you chose and at what focal length.  You'll often see patterns of what works best.  Eventually I'll change to fixed camera, similar to a phone camera (because digital zoom *cough* don't do it).  Since traveling and shooting is necessary to my end goals, it's something I've considered thoroughly. Well, you don't have to take my word for it...

 

Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity