My Travel Photography Kit

I made this image on the trail at the western portion of Saguaro National Park. Shot with the Nikon D5500 and the AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm f/4.5-5.6, it has a lot of detail, and just a bit of flare and ghosting.
I made this image on the trail at the western portion of Saguaro National Park. Shot with the Nikon D5500 and the AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm f/4.5-5.6, it has a lot of detail, and just a bit of flare and ghosting.

My readers might recall that I spent spring break in Arizona, hiking and exploring. One result of this was that I missed covering one of the biggest news events of the year in Ada, a huge hailstorm.

Nevertheless, I had an amazing time. I visited Chiricahua National Monument, both halves of Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument, The Pima Air and Space Museum, San Xavier del Bac Mission, and Biosphere 2, and had several out-of-the-way drives through Arizona and New Mexico.

The trip exceeded my expectations, and I feel it was a complete success.

Of course, photography is at the top of the list for trips like this, but when I travel, I am definitely not the same photographer I am for my newspaper. Key among these differences is that when I travel, I travel light, and my photographic kit is light and simple as well.

One reason I can do this is because I am not shooting sports and news, which often requires big, heavy, high-performance cameras and lenses, and travel photography requires high image quality, but doesn’t usually require high frame rates, high-ISO settings, or large apertures.

My kits have shifted some over the years, but here is what I used for my most recent trip: the Nikon D7100, the Nikon D5500, the AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6, the AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, the AF-S Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6, the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, and the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8.

I love the combination of the D7100 and the 18-200mm, but together they are kind of heavy, so I worked more this trip with the D5500 and the 18-135mm, which is much lighter, so that’s my news favorite combination for those long hikes.

Some photographers might note that I don’t have any super-telephoto lenses in this lineup, but since I have no interest in photographing wildlife, I’ve never really needed one.

Traveling light means having more fun, and being able to go deeper into the backcountry. It definitely works for me.

Pictured from left to right are the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8, the AF-S Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 on the Nikon D5500, the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, the Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 on the Nikon D7100, and the AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6.
Pictured from left to right are the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8, the AF-S Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 on the Nikon D5500, the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, the AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 on the Nikon D7100, and the AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6.

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