This year I’m taking a new approach to travel: I’ve written a list of destinations I don’t believe I can live without visiting in my lifetime and I’m ticking them off one by one. This year my adventures kicked off in Alberta, Canada, a destination that has been on my travel list for as long as I can remember. Although this destination is more popular in the summertime, I was determined to make it a winter trip as the concept of snow is still quite foreign for this Tasmanian native!
Another new approach I am taking this year is to spend a lot more of my time capturing video content to help inspire journies of your own. For the past five years I have really side-lined video content and focused more on imagery, but this year I want to make my Youtube Channel my main approach.
Switching to more video content means investing in new gear and upgrading some of my old and faithful gear. After much deliberation and way too much time watching review videos on Youtube, I’ve found the below equipment to be the best for me to capture my solo adventures this year in both photos and videos, and think this will help fellow solo travelers learn how to capture great content on your own.
Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II
It was a few years ago when I made the switch from a heavy DSLR camera to a mirrorless, upon suggestion from a photographer I met on location in Belgium. He said that “mirrorless is the way of the future” for cameras, and it was either his professionalism or the fact he shouted me a hot chocolate that led me to believe him. Fast forward to today and I’ve been using the Olympus OMD for 3 years and haven’t looked back. This camera is super lightweight and still packs a lot of quality, is really great for travel photography and easy to use for video.
This guy is my secret weapon. Tiny, compact, and with really high video quality (I use it for most of my vlogging to camera). Its a great little camera to take with you everywhere so that you’re always armed and ready to film, though I would recommend upgrading to your own microphone with a wind protector (below) as the sound suffers in windy situations. Inside it manages just fine!
GoPro Hero 6 Black
The other camera I use is the newest version of the GoPro; the HERO 6 BLACK. I’ve always been a big fan of GoPro for their innovative little cameras that are perfect for capturing adventure sports, though it isn’t until now that I’ve believed in the quality. After taking the 6 for a test drive I think it is leaps and bounds ahead of any previous model and I’m excited to take it with me skiing, on safari, in the ocean and just about anywhere this little guy is willing to go.
GoPro Selfie Pole
Being a solo traveller means taking your own photos, so be sure to invest in one of these bad boys! I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan (or user) of a selfie stick, but I do love the GoPro pole to help me take photos with a wider perspective and myself in frame (facing away from the camera, of course!)
This year I’m focusing more (much, much more) on video content, so it was time to re-invest in a Rode microphone. I previously used one of the battery-operated mics and after one too many fails, decided to purchase this plug-in AUX cable microphone that requires no batteries and less headaches.
Zhiyun Crane v2 Stabiliser
This is a newbie to my travel bag but a very welcomed one. In 2018 I want to spend a lot more time creating video content, so I invested in this stabiliser to help keep my footage smooth and cinematic. This particular crane suits a mirrorless camera, which is perfect for my Olympus OMD. If you do happen to have a bigger camera, you’ll need the next model up.
This bad boy is integral to shooting vlog-style videos if you are travelling by yourself. Not only is it a great extension pole to fit more in your frame when speaking to camera, but it also doubles as a flexible tripod that can be placed just about anywhere to capture your solo photos and videos.
Because I’m often out for really long days without connection to power, I also purchased a mini gorillapod for my phone so that if all of my batteries die, I’ve always got a backup device. This is also great for making better Instagram stories, as it makes for smoother video content and the gorillapod can be wrapped around just about anything!
Manfrotto BeFree Tripod
As a solo traveller, a good tripod is just as important to me as the camera that sits on it! If you’ve ever wondered how I take my solo travel photos, nine times out of ten this is the secret. I re-invested in a new tripod this year as my previous (cheaper) one wasn’t sturdy enough in extreme weather conditions. This bad boy is just what I need without being too expensive and it comes with a carry bag making it easy to cart around.
Manfrotto Mini Tripod
Sometimes you just can’t lug around a huge tripod around for a whole day and these cases (believe me, it happens almost every day!) I take my mini tripod. This mini tripod will carry the weight of both my Olympus PEN and my OMD camera, so it is a great alternative to carrying a full-size tripod around for the day.
After my Olympus OMD took a hit in check-in luggage last year, I promised myself to only carry gear in my carry-on and thus invested in a proper camera backpack to keep my gear safe. Although this felt like money I didn’t really need to spend, I consider it as a sort of insurance policy for my gear and know everything will stay safer if packed properly.
Lifeproof Phone Case
You’re either one of those people whose phone is smashed to the core or you’re in the club of having a Lifeproof case. Recently, I made the switch. A few years ago I was using Lifeproof cases but found they would reduce the amount of light let in to my camera and my phone photos would suffer as a consequence. However after one too many trips to the phone doctor for a new glass screen, I’ve decided to revert back to a Lifeproof case and stick to taking almost all of my photos on my camera and AirDropping them across at the end of each day. This also means I can answer emails in the shower which, as odd as it sounds, is actually really handy!
This is my main lens I use when I travel and I would say 90% of my photos are taken with this lens.
This is my wide-angle lens I use when photographing hotel rooms or trying to fit a lot more in frame (i.e. inside a car to show my location, rather than just the windscreen).
This lens I use for bokeh as it has a maximum of f1.2 Aperture and is really good for portrait photography.
This is my core lens for my Olympus PEN camera, which is always my first choice for vlogging to camera.
I’ll be honest: I hardly ever use this lens as I’m not a huge fan of the “GOPRO” look in photos. Cases where I do use it are usually when photographing a close-up subject to distort the reality, like the photos I took in Cambodia at Angkor Wat.
Other Bits and Pieces
I also travel with: GoPro attachments for various viewpoints, gaff tap (comes in handy on so many occasions), a “selfie light” to vlog at night, a BackUp USB to keep all my photos and videos secured, a plug-in remote for my camera to start time-lapses or long exposure shots, my Timberlands that I don’t think I’ve taken off since buying in a Boxing Day Sale and a couple of polaroids of my pooch!
I hope you found this post useful when considering the camera gear you might invest in this year! For the past few years I have been an ambassador of Olympus Australia as I use solely their cameras and lenses to capture my adventures. All opinions remain my own!