The Academia Bridge in Venice is bustling with tourists from morning until night. At any given point you will find hundreds of people taking selfies and photos of the iconic Santa Maria della Salute church. Considering how often this vantage point is used, it’s challenging to create something unique. Yet, as John Lennon sang, “There are no problems, only solutions”. In order to make an image that was truly original, I setup my tripod and waited for dusk. Once the sun went down the artificial lights illuminated the domes of the Salute in the distance. Meanwhile, water taxis, vaporettos and gondolas navigated the channel below. Each boat had its own head and tail light on it. I knew a long exposure could render these as long colorful trails. 

This is a 12 minute exposure shot on an Olympus OMD EM1 using the live composite mode. This feature is similar to the bulb setting but has a major advantage. By only recording new light onto the frame, overexposure is not possible. As defined by Olympus, "Live Composite seamlessly composites images in lighten mode so that it can capture images without over exposure unlike normal bulb shooting." The amazing thing is you can actually watch the picture develop right before your eyes on the LCD screen. Once the desired effect is created, you end the exposure. While it sounds sophisticated, the mode is actually simple to use. The hardest part of the shot was trying to keep people from bumping into my tripod.

In checking google images for "salute church venice" about 500,000 results come back. This includes shots taken at all different times of day in various seasons and weather conditions. No other image however shows the heavy boat traffic seen here. This is a good representation of how tourism has overtaken Venice. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's estimated that over 60,000 people visit each day. Many are from massive cruise ships that flood the city with tourists for a few hours before returning to sea. 

AuthorChris Corradino

The best view can often be found just beneath your feet. If you're not careful, you'll stomp right over it. In this tutorial, I'll reveal how to expand your potential choices by simply lying on the ground. Why limit your compositions to the traditional perspectives? Prepare to get your jeans dirty and capture some compelling images.

In New York City, it's tempting to crane your neck towards the massive skyscrapers. After a soaking rain however, the better opportunity is actually found in the street. The standing water provides a mirror like reflection of the surrounding buildings. Just as no two snowflakes are equal, the same is true with puddles. To find your shot, get down and explore it from all angles.

If you walk up to an animal in the wild it will likely flee in fear. By crawling, you become far less threatening. Working from this bug's eye perspective, the photo takes on a more revealing look at their habitat. To add more impact, use a wide aperture like f4. This will turn foreground elements such as grass and flowers into soft washes of color.

While on the ground, try holding the camera in both portrait and landscape orientation. Setting up the vertical frame may initially be somewhat awkward, but the results are worth it. When you get home you'll be glad to have more options to choose from. I've had instances where I like the horizontal composition better, but a client prefers the other. To cover all possibilities, shoot it both ways.

There are occasions when placing the camera on the floor will yield the best photo. This was the case at the very dimly lit cathedral in Siena, Italy. Tripods were not permitted, and a long shutter speed was necessary for a proper exposure. In order to photograph the Gothic interior, I rested the camera on the floor using my camera bag to angle it upwards. The two second timer was used to trip the shutter and record the photo. The security guards didn't hassle me for this, and I got a sharp photo of the impressive structure.

You'll be amazed at just how much beauty can be found on the ground. Sometimes it happens when you least expect it. My favorite find actually came in the parking lot of a shopping center. A light mist had just fallen, turning the pavement inky black. This rainwater mixed with the motor oil from a leaking car. The result was a brilliant pattern of vibrant colors. It was a reminder to always keep a camera nearby.

AuthorChris Corradino
CategoriesPhoto Tutorials

1) For the secret of how to find artistic fulfillment, you have to go all the way back to Hamlet. In those pages you'll find these words from William Shakespeare, "This above all, to thine own self be true". While feedback can certainly help your growth as an artist, trying to appease the critics can stifle one's creativity.

2) A camera's image quality is only as good as the person controlling it.

3) The lens you choose is often more important than the actual camera.

4) Things will not always go according to plan. In fact, they rarely do. The key then is for you to have the ability to make the best of all scenarios. If you prepare for anything that could go wrong, you'll be able to handle unexpected mishaps in stride.

5) RAW files are like your digital negative. No matter how many copies and edits you make, it's always possible to go back to this original file and start over. The file is uncompressed, meaning it contains all of the beautiful resolution your camera is capable of.

6) The moment you point a camera at someone, they get self conscious and alter their natural behavior. Engage them in conversation for a more relaxed appearance.

7) Photography is  a lot like riding a bike in that you never forget how to do it. Don't worry if you're feeling a bit rusty. You'll find your balance with a bit of practice.

8) We've become programmed to quickly search for answers on the web. In art however, it's the questions that often lead to new growth.

9) The most complex ideas are best expressed through simplicity.

10) Extensive travel is not a prerequisite for creating great photographs. Often there are wonderful and willing subjects right in front of you, or just a short car ride away.

11) Recent studies show how one's level of grit and determination can predict success more accurately than an IQ score. And so it is with photography as well. It's those who can find the courage to keep going despite the continuous challenges that ultimately succeed.

12) Say NO to the things that detract from your goals, and YES to those that enhance it.

13) In the Cubist style of painting, it's not what you see, but how you see that matters. This is also true for photographers looking to further develop their eye. Look beyond the obvious and you'll find a deeper truth, not only in your subject, but yourself.

14) The ingredients of any spectacular photo are only one part technical. Sure, the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are important. Yet, as any great chef will tell you, recipes are meant to be tinkered with. Today, we have more control over images than ever before. From in-camera settings to the digital darkroom, our pantry overflows with possible options. Rather than settling for the same tried and true formula, keep pushing yourself to learn new methods. Be bold in your experiments, and you just may stumble on a new recipe for success.

15) Avoid categorizing yourself with labels, or engaging in debates that seek to define terms such as “professional” and “amateur”. A good photographer is not concerned with these phrases, but rather focuses on their craft. The word amateur is often does not imply a lack of skill. The actual definition is "to do something for the love of". This is the spirit that all professionals should strive to retain throughout their career.

AuthorChris Corradino

While it may seem counterintuitive at first, the most sophisticated compositions are often the simplest. For this reason, ultra wide angle lenses are not typically the ideal choice for outdoor images. By including too much information, you risk losing the subject to visual clutter. This creates a unique challenge for landscape photographers. While it's tempting to include the vast expanse of a splendid horizon, a stronger image may only contain a small portion of it. This is where a telephoto zoom becomes an invaluable part of your kit. 

1) Eliminate Clutter

It's rare to come upon a landscape that doesn’t require decluttering. Common sights include power wires, fences, trailhead signs, unsightly dirt patches, and dumpsters. You can try to compose with your feet at first, but what about those situations when you can't go any further? Where a wide angle lens falls short, a telephoto in the 70-300mm range will be very useful.

With it, you can pick the precise area where all of the essential elements come together, and work to eliminate everything else.

2) Isolate Your Main Subject

A telephoto lens gives you the ability to pick a single part of a larger landscape and bring attention to it. Of course the increased reach isn’t the only part of the equation. You’ll still need to consider various methods of composition like the rule of thirds and a strong foreground element. Try shooting from a low vantage point through flowers or grasses for added depth. At wide apertures foreground elements will become a nice wash of color that lead the eye to the subject.

3) Expand Your Horizons

The potential for subject matter multiples with a longer focal range. For instance, wildlife that would appear very small at 55mm become much more prominent at 420mm. No longer are you just shooting landscapes, but possibly wildlife as well. Just remember that good technique is essential for sharp telephoto images. Even the slightest bit of camera shake will be magnified if your shutter speed is too slow. When handheld, try to set an exposure no slower than 1/500th of a second. Image stabilized lenses and camera bodies do absolutely offer some flexibility here, but it’s best to err on the side of caution if your goal is to make tack sharp enlargements.

4) A Different Perspective

If you look at the front cover of many photo magazines, they often encourage the use of ultra wide angle lenses for landscapes. While it’s true that certain scenes absolutely come to life at 16mm, it’s the exception rather than the rule. For those looking to create a unique representation of a scene, a greater focal range can help you find it. At a time when it seems just about everyone has a camera, going beyond the reach of a normal kit lens can lead to extraordinary results.

5) Finding Patterns

By searching for organized patterns and repetition with a long lens, you can bring order to the world around you. This method of seeing will help to further develop your eye and strengthen your compositions. Rather than looking at the bigger picture, you're choosing to focus on the smaller details. While this particular method of composition doesn't require any overly technical methods, it does require a different approach. The trick is to zoom in and carefully scan the landscape through your viewfinder. Patterns don’t always reveal themselves right away, so take your time and compose carefully. You may be surprised at where you'll find these unique photo opportunities as they can appear just about anywhere.

AuthorChris Corradino
CategoriesPhoto Tutorials

I recently put a request on social media for your photography questions. This was under the premise that no inquiry was too basic or advanced. Many of you had similar questions, and I picked the top 9 which I thought would be helpful for everyone to read.

Question 1:  I have tried to achieve showing a sense of motion by "Panning" my camera and just have not been successful in doing so. The image was almost completely washed out. What am I doing wrong?

Answer:  When you choose a slow shutter speed to pan and show motion, it will allow a great deal of light into the camera, potentially resulting in overexposure. To counter this, you can use a lower ISO like 100, and/or a smaller aperture such as f11, or f16 which would both allow less light in and correct the exposure.  Also, to capture quality panning shots you often have to shoot many photos to create the desired effect.  Much of it has to do with the speed of the shutter in comparison to the subject's speed.  For example, a cyclist riding at 25mph could be panned at 1/60th while a car at 50mph would be a total blur with the same shutter.  Of course those are just examples, and you'll need to keep experimenting.  Remember to swivel your hips and follow the subject with the camera during the exposure. 

Question 2: I set my camera to the AV mode and try to change the aperture using the mode dial but it wont let me get wider then f5.6. It's an 18-55mm lens and I cant figure out what I'm doing wrong. Any ideas?

Answer:  Your lens has what's called a variable aperture. This is a common trait on many kit lenses, like the 18-55mm. At 18mm you can open the aperture all the way to f3.5, but when you zoom to 55mm, you will only be able to open up to a maximum aperture of f5.6. Despite these limitations on the maximum aperture, you can still shoot with the whole range of small apertures like f8, f11, f16, f22 regardless of the focal length.  

Question 3: No matter what I do I can't seem to get close-ups of birds, from my patio to a hill in the backyard about 20 feet away. I have a Nikon DSLR with a 100-300m lens.

Answer:  I do a great deal of bird photography and you are correct, it's not easy. Birds are skittish, and you often need to use a lens of 400mm or longer mounted to a tripod. Like most wildlife photography, it's helpful to remain patient and wait for the right moments while observing quietly through the viewfinder. You may also want to consider looking into a portable blind.  This will allow you to get closer without scaring them away. Finally, be sure to wear muted colors, and refrain from making any sudden movements.  Once the birds understand you are not a threat, you'll have a better chance of photographing their natural behavior.

Question 4:  I have a silly question about photo umbrellas. When setting up the flash stand, should I ever shoot through the umbrella, or should I bounce the light off the umbrella back onto the subject?

Answer:  I actually prefer shooting through a white umbrella as it's perfect for creating nice big catch lights in the eyes. Essentially, it's very similar to using a softbox as the quality of the flash will be quite diffused.

Question 5:  I recently got an umbrella but don't know where to find the right brackets to attach it to a stand.

Answer:  The piece you are looking for is called an "Umbrella Bracket Adapter". It will fit on almost any light stand, tilts and swivels to make aiming the light or flash easy. At just under $20, it's an inexpensive, but extremely helpful accessory.   

Question 6:  I have a quick question.  Do you have any suggestions for factors to consider when selecting compact flash cards?  Are some brands more reliable or better quality than others?  

Answer:  Memory cards are an important consideration as it's essentially your "film", and needs to be 100% reliable.  I have always used Lexar, and haven’t had a single issue so I only purchase their cards.  Several photographers I know also speak very highly of SanDisk.  Any other brand is a gamble. Considering how the price of memory has come down dramatically in the last 12-24 months, you are much better off with the name brands I mentioned.  Also, I prefer the 32GB and 64GB sized cards, but don't usually recommend anything larger. Remember the old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.  If a card should get damaged, lost or stolen, you won’t lose all of your work.  

Question 7: Would you recommend an extended warranty on the camera?

Answer: I only purchased an extended warranty one time, for a super telephoto lens. For about $300, the store added 3 years to the standard 1 year warranty provided by the manufacturer.  After 3 years and 2 months, the tripod collar broke. The estimate for the repair was several hundred dollars. I found a $6 replacement part on eBay and have been using the lens with no problem ever since. That was the last time I purchased an extended warranty.

Question 8: What kind of flash do you recommend?

Answer: Believe it or not, the pop-up flash on most DSLRs is quite useful if you learn how to work within its limitations. For certain genres of photography, like portraiture and events, you will want a more powerful "external" flash. I strongly encourage you to stay away from third party brands like Vivitar, and stick with a dedicated unit. By dedicated, I'm referring to the same brand that makes your camera.  The current line of flash units are incredibly sophisticated without being overly complicated to use.

Question 9: What do you think is the definition of a Pro Photographer?

Answer: Avoid categorizing yourself with labels, or engaging in debates that seek to define terms such as “professional” and “amateur”. A good photographer is not concerned with these phrases, but rather focuses on their craft. The word amateur is often does not imply a lack of skill. The actual definition is "to do something for the love of". This is the spirit that all professionals should strive to retain throughout their career.

AuthorChris Corradino
CategoriesPhoto Tutorials

It was one of those nights when the cloud cover was nearly complete. There was a chance that it would not be a colorful sunset. The forecast only called for a 25% chance of rain though, so I decided to take a chance and head out. I picked up a large coffee and headed over to Astoria Park. Just off of Ditmars Street is a little rocky outcrop that offers a spectacular view of the Hells Gate Bridge framing the RFK bridge. In the distance is the NYC skyline, and on this particular night (September 10th) the tribute in lights was shining towards the sky from lower Manhattan.

I shot this with a 60 second exposure on the Olympus EM1 with the 12-40mm lens on a tripod. 

During the evening I also had a chance to mess around with some creative in-camera effects including this. Taken with a 15 second exposure, I counted to 10 and then slowly zoomed from 12mm to 40mm. Here's how it came out.

AuthorChris Corradino

There are turning points in everyone’s life that remain vividly clear long after they occur. I’ll always remember the precise moment I decided to apply myself and learn how to take better pictures. I was passionate about spending time outdoors, and loved the act of taking photos. Yet, after picking up my film from the lab, the images did not come anywhere close to matching what I had envisioned. While this failure was exasperating, it was the catalyst for taking things to the next level. 

Fast forward ten plus years and I’ve learned how the occasional misstep is not only necessary, but essential to artistic growth. They force you to take personal inventory, find what you need to move forward and reach your goals.

I've spent these years searching for the perfect image. On a few occasions, I have even came close. Yet there's always one nagging aspect of a frame that irks me. Maybe the depth of field was a little too shallow, or the sky wasn't as ideal as I would have liked. "Next time" I think, it'll be just right. And so it goes, the ongoing pursuit of the elusive flawless image. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe it's still out there waiting to be captured. The craft of photography can be humbling like that.

The more I learn about photography, the more I realize how much more there is to know. This is one of the things that makes it a worthwhile endeavour. It challenges me to work harder everyday, get better, and study new techniques and technology. The web is certainly a great resource but I find something more serendipitous about the photography section in a bookstore or library. To spend a few hours reading and looking at photos can fill your inspiration bank in a  hurry.

"Wow, the perfect picture!" reads a comment on my Facebook page. It's funny how art is subjective like that. You can look at other people's photos and think they've achieved perfection, but rarely give your own work the same credit. I know I've been guilty of this. I'm learning though that it's more productive to only compare yourself with yourself. Do you see improvement over this years captures compared to those from last year? How about five years ago?

There is no overnight success in any artistic medium. Anyone who achieves success does so by showing up each and every day and putting in the work. Without mistakes, perfection wouldn't exist. As Victor Kiam said, “Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward.”

Every day holds the potential for a spectacular image. This is what springs me from bed early each morning. Whatever you decide to do today will have an effect on tomorrow. Whether or not you achieve perfection is subjective. The important thing is that you have the courage and ambition to try.

AuthorChris Corradino

When I arrive in Italy for a two week photo shoot, I won’t have a full frame sensor, nor will I carry an APS-C camera body. I traded these in long ago. What I will have however is a micro four-thirds system and a deep understanding of how to use it to my advantage. Yes it’s true, I believe it’s possible to take better landscape photos with a smaller sensor. There, I said it; but before you rant in the comment area, allow me to explain why I make this claim.

1) Bigger is Not Better

When it comes to great depth of field, a bigger sensor is not better. In fact, it’s easier to achieve great depth of field with a smaller sensor. For example, an aperture of f5.6 on a micro 4/3 camera provides the equivalent depth of field to f8 on an APS-C and f11 on a full frame model. This provides the micro 4/3 user with 1-2 extra stops of light while still creating sharp focus from near to far. Since you’re not stopping down the lens all the way, the image doesn’t suffer from diffraction. If this theory of depth of field equivalence is new to you, you’ll want to read this educational article.

2) A Head to Head Comparison

For the same exposure and equivalent depth of field, here is an example of how the sensor size would affect the settings.

Micro 4/3: 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

APS-C: 1/125, f8, ISO 400

Full Frame: 1/125, f11, ISO 800

This is summed up nicely by Cambridge in Colour who note, “...if you wish to maintain the same depth of field, larger sensor sizes do not necessarily have a resolution advantage.”

3) In Practice, There is No ISO Advantage

Since you are achieving more depth of field with wider apertures, you can use a lower ISO. This is important to understand as it means your overall image quality improves. This essentially erases any benefit the full frame sensor offered with regards to noise levels. Where a micro 4/3 user can shoot at ISO 800 and f4, the full frame user has to shoot at ISO 3200 and f8. Couple this with in-camera image stabilization and the advantage is further increased.  

4) You Can’t See the Difference

If it’s good enough for the most demanding stock agencies, looks great in large prints, and shows up well on the web, it’s good enough for me. A larger sensor is not going to make your photos better just as expensive golf clubs won’t make you a pro golfer. This simple reality doesn’t stop camera companies from trying to sell you on the idea that bigger is better. Now, for pixel peepers, and those who shoot charts, you may be able to claim otherwise. In reality though, the results are clear. We’ve reached a point where image quality is great across all sensor types. Go to my website and try to see which images were taken with what camera. It’s impossible to tell the difference even though I used a plethora of camera bodies and sensor sizes.

5) They Are Less Portable

With a full frame camera, the lens needs to be large in order to cover the sensor. This means the lenses are heavier, and harder to carry around all day. Portability is what’s made smartphones the most popular cameras on the planet. They are with you all the time. The same is true with a smaller sensor. You save about half the weight, making it possible to hike further and shoot longer. This can be the difference between getting the shot, and missing it altogether.

AuthorChris Corradino

The self help section of my local library is overflowing with titles dedicated to leading a happy life. A few aisles over in the photography area however, the topics are mostly limited to ways to control your camera and process digital files. There's little on the practical skills needed to sustain a career and maintain one's joy of photography. Photography is a rewarding profession, but it's also abundant in potential traps and pitfalls. To avoid falling victim to these, it helps to have a code of values to lean on. Over the last decade, these are the methods which have consistently guided me in times of uncertainty.

1) Don’t waste your energies comparing yourself harshly against other photographers. Instead, focus on creating your best work and making it original. If you see a particularly spectacular photo, use it as an educational tool. What techniques did the photographer use that you might be able to adopt in your own unique way? Their success is likely the result of a long sustained effort. With patience and persistence, you too will create head-turning work.

2) Accept jobs not solely for the money, but agree to only those that are artistically stimulating or provide an opportunity for creative growth. This is easier said than done, especially when we all have bills and pressing responsibilities. Yet, as the writer Anais Nin noted in 1941, “There is an ugliness in being paid for work one does not like.” By filling the calendar with unfulfilling tasks, we lose the opportunity to nurture more rewarding projects. Sometimes, we have to walk away from one job in order to find something even more rewarding.

3) Avoid categorizing yourself with labels, or engaging in debates that seek to define terms such as “professional” and “amateur”. A good photographer is not concerned with these phrases, but rather focuses on their craft. The word amateur is often does not imply a lack of skill. The actual definition is "to do something for the love of". This is the spirit that all professionals should strive to retain throughout their career.

4) Do not profess to have all the answers. Those with true knowledge understand how much more there is to learn. This path to learning is not limited solely to photography content. Inspiration can come from any number of disciplines including science, literature, and music. Today, there is so much information available at our fingertips. The challenge is not where to find it, but how to save it. I use a service called "Pocket" to save intriguing articles for future reference. Synced with their app, one can even read offline on a phone or tablet. This simple solution provides the ability to tune out all of the social noise, and focus on more thoughtful content.

5) Face issues head on, putting fear and uncertainty in their proper place. When I'm asked if photographing strangers on the streets is intimidating, the answer is "YES - and that's why I do it." Rarely is the path to success found along the unobstructed road. When we overcome obstacles, it makes us stronger. This kind of growth benefits us personally and professionally. Dale Carnegie said "Inaction breeds doubt and fear, action breeds confidence and courage."

6)  Act not in haste, but with thoughtful deliberation, never quick to draw conclusions or join pessimistic company whether online or in person. The internet has given everyone an equal voice. In many cases, this has extremely beneficial. Yet, there are countless forum threads and blog posts that are sharing misinformation. For example, I've seen dozens of people claim a high quality camera or lens was producing blurry images. When pressed for more factual details, their technique was clearly at the root of the issue. Photographing a moving subject with a shutter speed of 1/15 without a tripod will make blurry photos every time, even with vibration reduction or image stabilization. With proper technique, the same products are capable of professional quality results. Always check the source and cross reference with independent research.

7) Take all constructive criticism thankfully, as it holds greater value than superfluous compliments. At a time when many business owners are paying for more "likes", it's easy to lose sight of this. Yet as author Anna Quindlen notes, “If you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.” To truly stand apart, seek real engagement with your audience. Their feedback may contain the kind of insight that we, as the creator of the work, can't see. As the artist, you have the option to embrace or ignore it.

8) Recognize that shortcuts will only cause you to miss important mile markers, ultimately postponing your arrival at the desired destination. If one wants to enjoy long term success, a strong foundation is key. This starts with a solid knowledge of manual exposure, the important camera features, and the language of photography. Buying more expensive gear won't result in leapfrogging the competition. No matter what piano an untrained musician sits at, they still can't play it. The effort you put in now will be rewarded later. This is echoed by writer Henry Miller who said "In this age, which believes that there is a shortcut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest."

9) Many photographers fall victim to "GAS" (gear acquisition syndrome). The truth is, your success has very little to do with what tool you're using, and more to do with your unique vision. Great images can be made from a phone to a DSLR and everything in between. Statistically speaking it's actually rather simple. By carrying a camera at all times, your photo opportunities increase, and with it, your success ratio soars. Remember, a camera's image quality is only as good as the person controlling it.

10) Before reaching any breathtaking vista, you must first climb, sweat, and navigate around thickets. This type of persistence is equally important on the path to good photography. Even the greatest photographers of all time had outings that were less than ideal. Perhaps no finer example than this story from Ansel Adams. He just spent a frustrating day with "several exasperating trials." Yet Adams wasn't discouraged, noting that "defeat comes occasionally to all photographers, as to all politicians, and there is no use moaning about it." He got back in the car, started driving, and soon found a majestic scene that would become one of his most famous works, Moonrise, Hernandez. Whether you're just starting your photography pursuit, or are exploring new creative avenues, you never know what treasures will greet you around the next bend.

AuthorChris Corradino

This will be my second all-mirrorless trip since switching from Canon to a lighter Olympus micro four-thirds system. The first adventure in Iceland worked out very well with over 8000 images captured. This particular journey includes a week in Tuscany and a week in Venice. I expect to come home with close to 10,000 images. That’s a lot of shooting, so my gear choices are very important. I don’t want to carry any unnecessary items. Here is the specific gear I’m bringing along with explanations for each item.

Olympus OMD EM1

This is my go-to camera; it’s weatherproof, fast, and fully capable of being used in the most demanding of situations. It’s also about half the weight and size of a DSLR making it easier to carry, and less obvious to shoot with. The image quality is superb, making it an easy choice for my main body.

Olympus OMD EM10

Ok, so this camera might not technically be weatherproof but it can take a beating and keep on going. It handled pretty heavy spray from Iceland’s largest waterfalls with no problem. I also keep a third party grip on it for better ergonomics. As a second body, the EM10 is a real winner. The image quality is equal to the EM1, and it’s a quiet stealthy little camera.

Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8

If I could only take one lens this would be it. With an effective focal range of 24-80 and a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, it’s perfect for landscapes and street photography. The lens is razor sharp and focuses fast even in low light. As a bonus, it offers surprisingly good close-up capability. This comes in really handy while traveling for smaller detail shots. For more on why this is my favorite lens, check my article here.

Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8

Put simply, this is one of the best telephoto zooms I’ve ever used. The effective focal length is 80-300mm making it perfect for tighter compositions. It features a fast f/2.8 aperture with beautiful bokeh. Like the 12-40, it also has close-up capability. What’s also nice is the built in lens hood, making it ideal for shooting in the rain. As for those m43 naysayers, they’ve likely never seen what this lens can do when used properly.

Gitzo 1325 Tripod and Kirk BH3 Ballhead

Forget the gorillapod, I need a full size tripod for the type of landscape shots I’m seeking. While all my camera gear is a carry-on, I check my tripod in the suitcase. Not only does the tripod give me the ability to shoot long exposures at sunrise and sunset but it also helps with composition. By working with a tripod, the whole photographic process is slowed down. Compositional choices become more deliberate.

Hoya Polarizing Filter

Anyone who says you should pack your camera away midday is doing you a disservice. Contrary to what many suggest, the light is good all day, even at high noon. The trick is to best match the various qualities of light to your subject matter. A rolling green landscape can appear lush and vibrant with the simple twist of a circular polarizing filter. I have one for each of my lenses.

Lots of Extra Batteries

The one weak spot of mirrorless camera is the battery life. The easy fix is to pick up extras and I typically have no issue at all with the less expensive third party Wasabi batteries. To keep things neat and orderly I use these battery holders.

Electrical Adapters

In countries outside of the United States, electrical outlets have different size inputs and power requirements. In order to fit a U.S. two-prong plug into their outlets, you need an adapter for the specific country you are visiting. These are relatively inexpensive, and easy to find online at places like I’ll bring a handful of these.

Laptop and External Hard Drive

In keeping with the lightweight theme, my laptop of choice is the super slim Macbook Air. I’ll be working with Lightroom and Alien Skin Exposure X for image processing. The external hard drive is ideal for backing everything up.

Memory Cards

Since starting with digital cameras I’ve always used Lexar memory cards. They just work and I trust them. I like the 64GB cards that hold about 3500 images.

For me, this kit is the perfect combination of image quality and portability. The ability to carry my camera with me at all times increases the likelihood of capturing fleeting moments. All in all, my bag weighs half that of my old DSLR set up. At the end of a long day of shooting, my back and shoulders won’t be nearly as sore. This means I’ll be more apt to walk further, climb higher, and ultimately get the shot that others may pass on. 

AuthorChris Corradino