If anyone asks me what’s one of my favorites cities in the United States to travel to I’d quickly reply “Seattle!”. I’m super excited to share with you my Seattle experience as I absolutely loved it there! I’m going to split my trip into 5 posts to make things easier.
As for this post, it’s going to be a bit geeky but I know many of you reading this like to know what photo and video gear I use to capture amazing travel photos so here we go…
THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE
As a photographer I always battle with what I’m willing to bring vs how much am I willing to carry. The key is to make sure that whatever I do decide to bring I’ll actually use. So let’s talk about what I took with me…
CAMERA & LENSES
My stills camera was my trusty 5D Mark iii. Its been a workhorse and has traveled with me all across the United States and the world and has never let me down! Hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself.
And speaking of workhorses, bringing my ultra wide 16-35mm f4 lens was an easy choice. It’s one of my favorite travel lenses as I can capture amazing cityscape, landscape and architecture shots. Every professional photographer definitely has this in their bag!
As a quick example I was able to get the entire space needle which is 606 feet (184 meters) from I’d say the distance of 1 city block!
I can even squeeze the 6th tallest building in the world (1 World Trade Center) also from across the street!
Now I struggled on deciding if I should bring my 70-200mm lens as it’s heavy. But sometimes when traveling we have to suck it up as we never know if we’ll be able to go there again.
I mainly brought it to get one shot of downtown Seattle from the vantage point of Kerry Park as it turns out to be the #1 photography spot.
I’m also glad I brought it with me as I was able to get some closeup shots of some birds and animals over at woodland park zoo.
As for (what I though would be) my main lens I decided to bring my 24-105mm lens. The funny thing is I barely used it!
If we take a look at the breakdown – out of 1,934 pictures I shot 831 images with my 16-35mm lens, 183 with my 24-105mm and 780 photos with my 70-200mm lens.
And in case your wondering how much data I came home with on a 5 day / 4 night trip – I took a total of about 4,000 pictures and boiled down to 1,789.
That may seem like a lot – but when it comes to taking photos, never take just 1 and call it a day.
Especially when hand holding the camera and using slow shutter speeds (like in a gallery). You need to take a burst of images and hope that the middle ones come out.
And data wise (including the video footage) I came home with just under 400 gigabytes of data.
And speaking of video I used two GoPros. The hero 6 and 5. I considered renting a gimbal for this trip to get stabilized footage but it would have taken too much space.
I filmed our entire trip but I haven’t gotten around to editing the footage as the time it takes to edit just 1 video takes days. I probably have at least 10 videos I can create but that’ll have to wait for now. I did however edit one so be sure to check out part 3 of my adventure.
What’s great about GoPro’s is I can also mount them to my backpack and get some spy cam footage.
It’s a bit noticeable – but less so as opposed to wearing it on your head – lol!
OTHER ESSENTIAL GEAR
I also took with me a handy dandy portable light called a Lume Cube. I knew there were going to be situations where having a bright light will help out big time.
Like the time we went to check out Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. As you can imagine it was super dark down there! You can see it in action where I lit up the right side.
It’s also great because it recharges with via usb, it’s waterproof and it has 10 levels of manual brightness that maxes out at 1500 lumes – but the downside is that this sucker is pretty heavy.
Luckily for you they’ve updated to a sleeker version 2.0. Click here to see the price on Amazon. Plus now you can add gels to balance the color of light as version 1 is only daylight balanced.
There are a lot of places where you aren’t allowed to use tripods. In situations like these I bring my GorillaPod. It’s super portable and security has never had a problem with me using it (in places where tripods aren’t allowed).
I only used it a handful of times for photos but I was really happy when I was able to get this shot of the Pioneer Square Station.
I was also able to get these shots in previous outings where tripods weren’t allowed…
But it mostly got used as a tripod for my GoPro.
And speaking of tripods – I always bring my carbon fiber Gitzo Traveler series 2 tripod.
Buying expensive tripods is painful – but it’s worth every penny as it’s an indispensable tool. If you take care if them, it can literally last you a lifetime.
As for my laptop, it’s nothing crazy as it’s a MacBook Air that’s also traveled the world with me! Sure I’d love to have a MacBook Pro with a 15 inch screen but the charger alone would be heavy to carry.
I only need a laptop to move data from the memory cards to my hard drives. It also comes in handy if I get a call from a client that needs something. Plus if I get bored I can always start editing photos and share them on social media.
The only thing about MacBook Airs is there isn’t much hard drive space. So I bring my Lacie rugged drive.
The cool thing about these drives is that you can drop them from I believe 6 feet and even run over them with a car and they’ll survive! These suckers are simply bulletproof.
On destination weddings I’ll take 2 hard drives to have 2 backups. But for this trip I opted to only bring 1.
PLANNING THE TRIP
Now before I embark on any journey I always plan ahead of time. If you’d like to see how a professional photographer plans their trips to get amazing photos, I highly suggest you click on the image below to read exactly how I planned this trip…
WALK WITH ME
So now you know how I planned my trip and exactly the gear I used to capture stunning photos and videos! Click on the images below continue the journey with me.
Part 2: Pike Place Public Market, Seattle Aquarium, & Argosy Harbor Cruise.
Part 3: Space Needle, Chihuly Garden & Glass, Kerry Park and more!
Part 4: Boeing Museum of Flight, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour and Some Amazing night photography.
Part 5: My overall review of Seattle and a final stop to the Woodland Park Zoo.
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