I’m going to be traveling soon. I’m going to Paris for a project documenting the city, its people and exploring its intangible nuances that emit emotion. Travel photography. I enjoy traveling, and I love photography. Can we put these two together? Yes. There is no other reason but the enjoyment of moving though the city that's got me excited.
I’ve been doing the research on the gear I’d need. I don’t have my Canon 5D Mark III anymore; I’ve passed it on to my wife who shoots fashion and beauty with it. In my opinion, the camera suits this use better. When it comes to my photography, I’m on the move. I want as little between me and the subject as possible, and I must have almost no effect on the environment as I pass through it. When I’m going out to shoot urban street shots, the camera is in my hands, but not really there. I don’t draw attention to me or the fact that I’m shooting. When I’m shooting landscapes, I need the kit to be as light and compact as possible, while still giving me top-quality images.I enjoy shooting natural landscapes; yet the urban city environment has been pulsing through my body since the first time I went to New York. I remember getting on the subway from the airport and reaching Times Square Station and walking up stairway into the city, its energy hitting me hard. It was pumping fast and with force. Since then, I’ve been doing whatever I could to go travel, mostly to cities. I’ve been to Paris, London, Shanghai, Beijing, and Berlin, to name a few. I love the city landscape, the urbanites, and the moments between the actions. I need to be there, looking from the outside in. For me, it’s the best place to be. I’ve been to Paris a couple of times. It’s a beautiful city, and the people are very proud of their city, country, language, and the city's place in history. They don’t like speaking English, but that’s part of the experience. Don’t think the train driver will take the blame when he just parked the train for the night and you’re still in your seat because you didn’t understand the announcement informing everyone that the previous stop was the last stop. The imperfect makes it experientially and visually beautiful.
I like taking photos and exploring the cities like anyone would. But it's the actual taking of great photos, ones a client can use for their purposes, where I need to improve upon. I'm constantly trying to learn as much as possible about post-processing techniques and to develop my own style.Enter Elia Locardi. He is one of the guys whose images have inspired me. And luckily for me, he has just launched his second video tutorial series on Fstoppers. It covers cityscape photography and post-processing. For me, having this as a resource to devour and take in is a massive boon for my passion for photography. He gets to spend time in the most beautiful places in the world and documents them in such a gracious, magnificent way, which is why I bought the tutorial video pack. I want to be able to do that. From the start, he covers all the gear he uses.
Elia is a guy who travels most of the time. He doesn’t really aim to call any place home; the world out there is his home. He’s in constant motion, exploring, visiting, and shooting cities and places around the world, and I want to do that. So, what does he have in his bag? What tools does he use to make the images he makes? We’ll go through the gear he uses.
He uses two cameras. He travels with a Nikon D810 and Fujifilm X-T1 kit. In the first videos of the tutorial, he mentions that he uses the Fujifilm Kit most and states that in future he might move to only Fujifilm. The only place where it’s lacking in capability when compared to the Nikon D810 is in low-light environments. The advantages of the Fujifilm Kit are firstly in weight and size. It is also weather-sealed, so he can take it anywhere, and when it comes to the cost of one, it's considerably lower than the D810. For me, the best part of the Fujifilm XT-1 is the digital viewfinder that mirrorless cameras offer, with the ability to see the shot you are capturing before you take it. It allows for a what-you-see-is-what-you-get photography style that makes it fun and teaches you what settings have which effect on a photo. It's great for pros and photographers just starting out.
We’ll focus on the Fujifilm kit, and based on his list, build a starter kit from it. You can see the whole list, with his comments on each piece of gear.
It’s not full-frame, but Fujifilm doesn’t believe you need it. The images are great, and the lenses are sharp, top-quality glass.
The lenses he uses are for landscape and cityscape photography. He doesn't really focus on portraiture and doesn't need the lenses best used for that type of photography, although he does have the 56mm f/1.2, which gives beautiful bokeh, but doesn't use it too often. The lenses he mainly uses are:
- Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS Lens (equivalent to a 15-36mm lens for full-frame sensors)
- Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle Lens (equivalent to a 21mm lens for full-frame sensors)
- Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Lens (equivalent to 84-305mm for full-frame sensors)
You can view the other lenses he uses here.
Tripods make the multiple exposures style of shooting that Elia uses possible. Even in the harshest environments with wind and water, these are the ones that have stood the test of time — exactly what a tripod is supposed to do. He makes it clear that when it comes to tripods, it is best to buy the best. Tripods are mainly carried on the outside of the bag, and the material used to make them needs to have longevity. The tripods he uses have outlived the time he thought they would, and he travels to the harshest places in the world. In other words, tripods you can trust will deliver. The list can be found here.
Elia wants to get the shot in camera. He controls the natural light, especially when the sun comes down hard. He does this using the ND and polarizing filters. It's all part of a kit you can get here.
The ones he uses are:
You'll need the adapter ring and 100mm filter holder. These filters have a 15-layer coating and are scratch resistant.
He's a ThinkTank fan, and I can surely identify with him due to my ThinkTank bag saving me in Venice. His advice is to have one backpack, as it isn’t as noticeable when checking in for a flight. Although the weight might be above what it should be, the check-in staff don’t really pay attention to that. But, you have to get the tutorials to see how he packs. Check out the bags he uses.
We are lucky to have these resources available to us as Fstoppers readers. The resources and tutorials offer you the best in photography. I highly recommend them. There are great travel photographers out there. Elia is one of them. I've made the decision: I'm going Fujifilm. I'm getting the lenses and filters Elia uses. It just makes sense. With regards to tripods, I'll stick with the ones I have. They seem to do what's needed for now. I already have my ThinkTank bag, which I think is great, because it also takes a laptop.
Follow him on Snapchat and Instagram, check out his site, and get the Astrophotography and Cityscape tutorial and the Landscape Photography and Post-Processing tutorial. They're the most in-depth step-by-step tutorials from shoot, to post-production, to delivered you can get on the web.