Best camera gear

How to Choose the Best Camera Gear for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

What’s the best camera gear for a hike? It’s likely equipment you already have.

While quarantine rages on, it’s no surprise that hiking is gaining popularity. With that, the number of people who are getting back in touch with nature and the beauty it shares with us. In the last month, I’ve had a number of family and friends reach out asking about the best camera gear to buy or what equipment they should use when going on a hike or just a walk around their neighborhood.

So I decided to make a list of the essentials that you should bring on a hike for photography! While there are many different accessories for many different types of photography, I’m going to cover some basics that will help you get some above average photos you can show off to your friends and family.

Sunset in Death Valley [Photo by Sean O’Donnell/ArtisticFuel]

Don’t forget: the camera

First and foremost is the camera. I am not going to dive deep into this because there are a million variables in buying a camera from budget to what you want to take pictures of to video quality, etc.

Whenever I go out to take photos, my top concerns are: are my batteries charged and do I have empty memory cards? I would absolutely recommend buying a second battery for longer hikes that may take a couple of hours of life. Even if you never use it, the peace of mind instead of worrying if your camera is going to die and you’ll miss something is definitely worth it.

A swing in solitude on the North Fork of Long Island. [Photo by Sean O’Donnell/ArtisticFuel]

Next, pick the right lens and bag

Next up is the camera lens. Sure, these days it’s easy to find the right lens for what you want to photograph with a quick Google search. But I’m trying to save you money and lenses can get expensive quickly. So let’s just work with what you have.

If you only have a kit lens, that’s totally fine. If you have a telephoto lens maybe try framing up some wild life or a beautiful sunset. It’s all about learning to use what you have at your disposal to create the best work possible, so don’t be afraid to try some stuff.

As someone who has done countless hikes, I know how important it is to save weight. There is a great selection of very compact camera bags that can hold just a few essentials so that you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a small child on the trail. I like Ruggard Hunter’s holster bag. It’s light, inexpensive and easy to organize your gear.

Golden hour in Mammoth, California. [Photo by Sean O’Donnell/ArtisticFuel]

Other essentials

Camera strap: One thing that every camera (besides your iPhone) comes with is a camera strap. I personally have never used the strap that comes in the box. They’re typically very ugly and much longer than necessary. Finding a more artistic and different style camera strap is all down to personal preference, but it absolutely gives your camera its own mark. Here are a few of my favorites from Moment.

Rain shield: For the more committed hiking photographer I’ve thrown in this rain shield. I personally stuff it into a pocket of my bag and forget about it until I need it. They cover almost any DSLR and lens. And while you should still watch out to make sure the camera isn’t getting rained on, they do a great job!

Star trails over the Long Island Sound. [Photo by Sean O’Donnell/ArtisticFuel]

Tripod: Let’s say you want to go for a night-time walk and take pictures of the stars. There are a ton of very compact lightweight tripods that can fit in a backpack.

Shutter release: Most lightweight tripods work well with a simple-to-use shutter release. This little accessory connects to your camera and allows you to set your exposure for as long as you want. Two minutes? Five minutes? Three hours? Seriously, it can help you capture whatever you want to get that beautiful night sky.
Want more tips on photography, from the best camera gear to photo editing tips? Check out my YouTube channel.

There are plenty more things you can kit out your photography experience with during this quarantine. But these hopefully offer suggestions that will get you thinking and even inspired to get out and take some pictures. At the end of the day, the world could always use a little more art.

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