I like to take a camera with me when I walk. Sometimes it’s a comfort blanket in case I come across something that I just must capture and share. At other times, I need a camera to take pictures for a new iFootpath walk or perhaps to gather some more snaps to add to an iFootpath walk Gallery.
In the early days of iFootpath, I took a compact camera or just used the camera on my phone. I took some great snaps and was happy with the results. But then I wanted a little more. You may be the same. Whether you want to capture landscapes, architecture, industrial archaeology, people, wildlife, plants, weather or the changing seasons on your walk, using a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (DSLR) might meet your needs better. In short, a DSLR gives you the ability to take better quality pictures (and utilise RAW format) so that you can use your digital images for any use from social media to large printed images. I wanted great pictures for iFootpath and I also wanted to be able to upload them to microstock sites like Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Adobe Stock. More recently we have been asked for high-resolution images for magazine articles about iFootpath walks – a DSLR fitted the bill.
But it’s not without its downsides as I found when I invested in my Nikon D7000 a few years ago. When you go walking with a DSLR you soon come to realise that your expensive DSLR is heavy, fragile, complex and cumbersome. With the exception of cost, it is the opposite of a phone camera.
I, therefore, embarked on some research and came up with some pieces of kit that, I believe, make life a little easier and means I can enjoy walking with a DSLR camera in the same way that I had enjoyed walking with a phone camera or compact camera in the past…. Here are my five essentials for walking with a DSLR camera. (I have also added some links to Amazon so you can read more about my recommendations)
Add a UV filter
Whatever budget you have left over get yourself a good UV filter. A UV filter has two functions; the first, I guess, is obvious in that it cuts out UV light. This is a little controversial as many people think that modern high-quality lenses do not need a UV filter and it may even degrade the picture (by a very small amount!). The second use is to protect the lens. You can clean the UV lens easily and stop moisture and dirt coming into contact with your lens. Some people use a lens hood but I prefer the UV filter. If you are walking in the rain you can keep the lens free from droplets with a wipe of a cloth without having to worry about damage. When buying a UV filter make sure you get the right size for your lens – and if you but a new lens, get a UV filter at the same time.
Put it in the right bag
Everyone knows what a camera bag is, right? You see lots of tourists & professional photographers with elaborate bags that snugly house your precious camera. For me, none of them worked. When I am out walking I like to take my camera quickly from its bag and capture themoment. I can’t be doing with zips and buckles and worse still taking my bag off my back and laying it down. I need a bag that is robust, able to carry more than just my camera (I am partial to a snack on the way round), waterproof and easy to use. I have been using a shoulder bag designed for carrying a laptop for more than six years now and I would not go back to a conventional camera bag.
Strap it in placeTo help make the camera and the bag more usable, I have also invested in a camera strap that differs considerably from the normal neck strap.Carrying your camera in front of you or having to take it on and off your shoulder can just make the whole thing too much trouble and make it all too easy to bump and scratch the camera. I also like to make sure my camera is tucked away when it rains and from prying eyes in less salubrious parts of the UK. I have found the camera strap/sling I use to be practical, safe and comfortable. But please do make sure that you have secured it safely to your camera (you may need to buy an additional bolt).
Wrap it in Silicone
Even with a great bag and strap, you may still want to protect your camera a little more from the inevitable bumps that happen when out walking
. For this reason, I purchased a silicone case for my camera. The silicone jacket covers the camera and is left on to protect the camera from scratches, bumps and wear. You can still use all the features and get access to the cards and battery, etc.
Stay with a single lens
Last, I just wanted to mention something about the lens I use with my DSLR. Changing a lens in the field is not ideal and so I purchased a lens that had, for me, the right balance of quality, cost and focal range. I chose a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 and have only swapped lenses a few times in the last few years. It costs a lot but I have never regretted the purchase – I also bought a UV filter at the same time of course.
Above all go walking with your DSLR
So, there we have it, whatever reason you want to take a DSLR camera with you when walking and hiking those are my suggestions. I very much hope that you will find some of the suggestions useful whether you take pictures to share with friends, add to websites and iFootpath walks, submit to microstock sites or just for the pure fun of creating something special and remembering the moment.
- Nikon D7000 Digital SLR Camera Body Only
- UV Protection Filter
- The Big Laptop Bag
- OP/TECH Utility Strap Sling
- Silicone case
- Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4
You may also like to check out:
Get the Right Software, Create the Right Image…
Are Your Walking Photos Good Enough to Sell?
When it Comes to Microstock put Copyright and Quality Before Composition
More Walking and Less IT - Submit Your Images to Multiple Microstock Sites