Photowalks are a great way to sharpen your photographic skills and naturally you want to travel light but being outside of the studio can lead to the unexpected. What if there was a list of things you could take with you the next time you take off on a walk with your camera. A list of things that would help stave off the unfortunate unexpected. Man-O-man how I wish there was such a list. If only it existed. But who really cares alas, fret no more, fore such a list does exist!
I was on a photowalk with my son when he turned his head and sneezed right into the uncovered lens of my camera. Fortunately, I had item number one of the five must haves on a photowalk, a lens cleaning cloth. Why not just use a shirt sleeve? Well, the first reason is that I wasn’t too keen on having my son’s snot on my shirt sleeve, not to mention that he runs too fast for me to use his sleeve, but the main reason is that a sleeve is not made to clean lenses. Using your clothing to clean a lens opens you up to the possibility of scratching your lens or damaging the special coatings. A lens cloth is specially made for the job and takes up little space in your pocket. In addition to the lens cloth I also carry a LensPen. The LensPen has a brush on one end for knocking dust off the lens and a pad with a special lens cleaner on the other end. If I had to choose between a lens cloth and a LensPen I’d opt for the LensPen. I don’t have to choose so I carry both.
You’re out on your adventure and about to take a picture when you realize that you only have a few frames left because your memory card is still full of pictures from your cousins best friends nephews sister-in-laws Tupperware party. Who in their right mind could possibly delete those pictures. Luckily you had the forethought to bring an extra memory card. So this means that the second thing on my list of five must haves on a photowalk is a great big sack of cash an extra memory card. Memory cards can malfunction and, on occasion, fill up with pictures. Crazy huh? Having an extra one will make sure that a failed or full card won’t stop you from snapping away.
An unexpected rainstorm in the middle of nowhere is not the time to wish you had a cheap plastic bag to cover your equipment. Number three on my list is the plastic shopping or garbage bag. It’s another item that takes up very little space but is invaluable in many situations. You can protect your camera from the rain, keep your butt dry when sitting on the wet ground or protect a model’s knees from getting soiled while kneeling for a portrait. (If you’re an idiot, leave the plastic bag at home. Apparently one of you, sometime during the history of plastic bags, put his head in one and suffocated. Idiot.)
A good pair of shoes seems obvious but it happens to be number four on my list. Specifically, snake skin waterproof boots. Protecting your feet is important and a reliable pair of comfortable boots are good for exploring the underground caverns of the wilderness or of the city. If you don’t have a pair of waterproof boots you can always take a couple of extra plastic bags to use a socks but I will say that boots will make a much better fashion statement.
There is safety in numbers and fifth must have on a photowalk is a friend. Share your experience, teach and be taught. Photowalks are fun and the only thing that makes one more fun is to have someone along who enjoys doing the same thing… granted the person you take likes having fun… and isn’t a nut with a plastic bags on their feet.
So get off the Internet, grab your five things, (don’t forget your camera) and get out of here. Go on! Scram! Git!
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