Take two photographers, four cameras, a stack of field guides, and a spoiled old cat. Put them in a 30 foot fifth wheel trailer, well greased. Mix in 50,000 miles, 1500 rolls of film, a new transmission, 6 tires, 6,000 gallons of gas, a cracked windshield, 14 oil changes, 2 tune ups, 2 sets of spark plug wires, new truck brakes, 1 computer monitor, 3 hard drives, and a motherboard. Pour through 23 National Parks, 26 states and provinces and stir for 22 months. Bake in the Florida sunshine then freeze in the Canadian Rockies.
The end result is two people who still love each other, 50,000 photographs and more experiences and lessons about life on the road than ever desired. We believe in learning from the mistakes of others. If you are planning to hit the road with your camera, we hope you’ll learn from our adventures, bungles and blunders.
Nature photography is more than simply taking beautiful pictures. Before you leave home, you must have some sort of plan, however vague. For day trips and weekends, a full tank of gas and a dozen rolls of film may be all the planning you need. Grab the camera, photograph whatever you see, and come home when you’re done. For longer trips to places you’ve never been, a little work ahead of time can save a lot of frustration.
Knowing what to expect and having a backup plan helps ensure time and money won’t be wasted. How disappointing it would be to arrive in Alaska and discover that you had missed fall color by a month. Or to arrive at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge to find it’s closed on Fridays and you only have two days? Or to find Florida’s Myakka River State Park closed? The whole park underwater. Now what?
Taking Your Camera on the Road is a technical how-to on traveling with your camera. Lorelle and Brent VanFossen tackles all the different aspects of taking your camera on the road, covering each topic in depth in a serious but light hearted tone. Here is a draft of the table of contents.
Table of Contents (Draft)
Planning for the Road
When planning to take your camera on the road, where do you go? When do you go?If time is short, how do you find time to see and do everything you want? How do you stay motivated while traveling? We’ll answer some of these questions which have faced us many times here in these articles.
- Where Do You Go
- Where do you want to go? What are your interests? We look at the two different ways people usually plan their trips and help you decide where you want to go.
- Deciding Where to Go When
- Timing is everything when you take your camera on the road. How do you plan for the best times to be where you need to be for the prime time weather and conditions?
- Deciding Where and When to Go: Seasons
- Photographers are dependent and reliant upon the weather for much of their outdoor and nature photography. We offer tips and information about planning around the seasons.
- Overstuffed Travel Plans
- You have 7 days to spend in a place someone can’t see in a lifetime. You want to see and do it all with the camera. Here are some tips and advice for trying to fit it all in.
- Waiting Arounds
- No matter how hard you plan and structure your trip, there will always be waiting around times. Here is some advice on how to maximize this waiting time for the nature photographer.
- Beeps, Buzzers, and Snoozes – Finding Motivation
- No matter how exciting the place you have planned to go photograph, sometimes it is just too hard to get up and out of the bed and behind your camera. We discuss ways of finding motivation and the incentive to get up and out there.
- Outdoor Photographers Personal Safety Strategies
- Outdoor and nature photographers face obstacles and risks to their activities and photography different from most outdoor adventurers. We discuss how to minimize your risks and maximize your fun on the road.
- Travel Helpers
Taking It With You
You are out in the wilderness photographing wildflowers and a deer walks by. Do you have the right equipment to be ready for whatever comes your way? We have advice on what to take with you when you go, specific equipment for nature photography and the right Writing With Light to get the dream photographs you want.
- Taking It With You When You Go
- Preparing yourself to pack it all up and take it with you when you go.
- 10 Essentials Plus
- The Mountaineers recommend the 10 essentials for survival in the wilderness. We’ve listed this information and expanded it to include your basic camera gear a traveling photographer needs.
- Packing Camera Equipment
- What are you anticipating photographing? How will you be traveling? Can you take it all with you or can you only take a few items? How do you decide what camera equipment to take with you when you go?
- Luv to Lug You, Baby
- What makes a good camera bag? What makes a better one to withstand the rigors of travel? We’ve tried a lot of different camera bags and equipment and have come up with the recipe for the basic requirements in a durable camera bag.
- Packing Your Clothing
- Both men and women debate over what clothing to take with them when they go. We cover some basic categories of travel and list the essentials to cover a variety of weather and activities.
- Packing for Camping
- Each method of traveling requires bringing special equipment to meet your needs on the road. We talk about what to bring for camping on the road.
- Packing for Flying
- There are new luggage restrictions for airplane travel. We talk about the restrictions and how to maximize your packing to bring what you need and stay within the limits.
- The Ideal Photo Vehicle
- Looking for the ideal photo vehicle? We have a recipe and tips to help you find yours.
- The Ideal Photo Vehicle: Theft Protection
- We offer some tips and advice on keeping your vehicle and camera gear safe on the road.
- Gadgets! Gadgets!
- Modern technology mixed with a little flavor of the old makes some great gadgets to take with you on the road. We look at a few helpful ones here.
- Packing Tips and Techniques
- Here are some tips and advice on packing and deciding what to take with you and how to minimize what you take by maximizing the value of what you do bring.
- Travel Helpers
Staying in Touch on the Road
- Staying in Touch on the Road
- When you take your camera or yourself on the road, staying in touch with family and friends, and possibly even business, back home can be a challenge.
- Realities of the Internet on the Road
- Nowadays people want to take computers with them on the road. The Internet is a great resource for planning your trips but how do you get on the Internet from the road?
Taking Your Camera on the Road Full-Time
Deciding to take your camera on the road full-time can mean running a photography business from your motor home or trailer, or it can mean photographing in every spare moment while you work at other jobs while traveling. We examine some of the thing the traveling photographer needs to know when hitting road full-time.
- Working on the Road
- What does it take to take your business and work on the road? Are you up to it?
- How to be a Short Term Worker
- Short term workers, or temporary workers, are part of the back bone of many companies. They rely upon them to step in when times are tough or a specialized skill is needed. Here is some information on working as a temporary worker on the road.
- Excuse Me While I Answer My Shoe – The Mobile Office
- What do you need to take with you in your office on the road? Will it stand the rigors of the road?
- Residency: Where do you “really” live?
- The government requires citizens to have a “residence” somewhere. Where you choose, even though your life is mobile, depends upon what your needs are.
- Is Full-Time Living Right for You?
- We look at what it takes to live on the road full-time and see if you are up to it.
- Choosing a Full-Time Recreational Vehicle
- Not every RV can tolerate full-time traveling. What does it take to be a good full-time RV?
Weather and Photography
- Follow the Rainbow – Planning for Weather
- When getting ready to take your camera on the road, you have to plan for weather.
- Splish Splash: Rain
- The rain shouldn’t stop you from going out and photographing. In fact, it should be the time to jump in the car and head out for interesting subjects you can only find in the rain. We discuss tips and techniques for photographing in the rain.
- Hot Tips for Hot Shots
- Hot weather is a great time to get the camera and you outside. But it does come with some risks. We offer you some hot tips for your hot shots.
- Winter Whites
- Patterns, textures, and shapes are exciting subjects to photographing during the winter when the snow covers the ground. We offer techniques for improving your winter whites.
- Cold Weather Blues
- Working in extreme cold temperatures is a challenge to keep you body and camera going in the cold. We share our tips for working in cold temperatures and keeping yourself warm and your equipment going under extreme conditions.
The following topics may or may not be included in the final book:
- What the experts say
- Interviews with expert nature and travel photographers who spend much of their life on the road, sharing a few of their tips.
- Overseas Travel:
- Taking your camera on the road in North America is different from taking your camera overseas. We will discuss some of the differences and share tips on how to travel overseas with ease.
- Living Overseas With Your Camera
- Just as travel in North America is different from overseas travel, so is living with your camera overseas different. It offers a wide variety of challenges from finding tools and supplies you are accustomed to using, making due with what you have, and learning to work around language and cultural barriers.
- Equipment Inventories
- How to make sure your camera equipment inventory list is up-to-date, and why this is important, not just for insurance reasons but for traveling.
- There are many plans for travelers, but not all include coverage of camera equipment. We will discuss some of the pros and cons of different insurance plans and what to look for in insurance plans for the road.
- Heath and Teeth
- Traveling on the road doesn’t mean you are immune from the hazards of health and dental care. We cover expert advice from medical and dental professionals on how to care for yourself while traveling and what to do in a few emergency situations. We also share tips on putting together a compact but extensive first aid kit for traveling.
- Transportation Out of Your Control
- When you are traveling, you are often forced to take transportation that is totally out of your control, be it a rental car, taxi, or bus. We discuss using various means of transportation and their challenges, and how to maximize your transportation time with your camera and your time.
- Red Tape and Paperwork
- Traveling isn’t as simple as putting it all in a bag and hitting the road free and easy. Nowadays you have to have licenses, passports, visas, travelers checks, cash machine cards, immigration forms, equipment inventory forms, permits, permissions, and so much paperwork you feel more like a traveling file cabinet. We will cover what paperwork you really need for which situation and how to get it.