Tips

My cameras have dual memory card slots and I always use the second slot for backup. Always bring more than you think you may need. Remember that the camera defaults to the maximum speed of the slowest card.
Attending festivals or recording the low drone of Tibetan Monks playing the Dungchen, do not leave home without a digital recorder. The recordings are incorporated into videos and slideshows. The recorders that I use are the hand-held audio recorders by Samson Tech and their line of Zoom recorders. The H1 Handy Recorder is the latest product and all its functions are at your fingertips, such as track marker, auto record, low cut filter, level and volume controls with on-board buttons… No menus required! The H4N Representing the next level of professional recording performance, the H4n delivers superior audio quality and dramatically improves the user experience. 

 

 
 
I always travel with a way to purify water in case of an emergency. The device that I carry is the SteriPEN Journey. The Journey is light, weighing in at just 4.5 ounces (128 grams). And like all SteriPEN models, it’s fast, 48 seconds to purify 16 ounces (0.5 Liter).
I also use a Naglene BPA free widemouth container to allow access for the steripen to filter the water.
SteriPEN products use ultraviolet (UV) light technology to purify water, destroying more than 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts such as giardia and cryptosporidia.

 

 

 

 

 

 A portable reflector is simply an item that reflects light onto an object, but is compact enough to take anywhere. They are very useful in photography because you can easily give yourself more light to experiment with on a subject. Different coloured reflectors assist with changing the mood of an image.  You may often see shadows on the face, but with the reflector you can reflect light onto the face, especially the eyes to create the all important catchlights and instantly improve an image. I use a 22 inch size that is collapsable, with gold on one side and white on the other.It will fit easily into your camera bag.

 LiteDiscs happen to be the ones I have   are one example of two-sided material on a collapsible round frame for reflecting any light source. Includes carry bag. 

One of the first things I will do after booking my trip is to copy all of my documents including flight itineraries, tickets, passport and visas, credit card information including phone numbers if the card is lost or stolen,  hotel confirmations, trip itinerary, camera serial numbers, travel insurance, important telephone numbers.  I then reduce the size down to fit inside a small notebook and paste the documents using a glue stick. This fits in your top pocket of your photo vest or jacket. I will also put small photos of ideas for photography from the areas I have researched. This can be shown to your guide to explain the kind of photo you want to achieve or location that you would like to go to. The highlights of instructions about my cameras and other devices such as my digital recorder and water purifier are also entered into the notebook. The other important thing that I do is have copies of prescriptions that I take, as well as the generic names.
 
The other way for me to retain the information that I may need is to send the important phone numbers and prescription information to my email account. At some point in your trip you should have access to this. This has worked for me in the past when I needed to provide information to a health provider.  

Neutral-density filters are a mainstay of landscape and travel photographers desiring long exposure for specific effects like the motion blur of water. However, outside their utility with outdoor photographers, the ND filter has immediate uses for anyone shooting portraits and working with flash photography.

The Vari-ND makes it easy to achieve slow shutter speeds of one or more seconds to "blur" the motion of falling water, passing clouds, flying birds, busy people, or any other moving subject within your scene.

Singh-Ray's Vari-ND Variable Neutral Density Filter offers 2 to 8 stops of added density.

The GorillaPod is as comfortable hanging on a tree branch or sitting on the floor of a tribal hut. It's flexible legs bend and rotate 360 degrees to wrap/grip around almost any surface. I use mine mainly for my flash.

               Changjiao girls Guizhou China

                                    Kalash girls Pakistan

I always travel with gifts for the people I photograph. Canada pins were used as ear rings by the Kalash girls, while mirrors and bears were a hit with the Changjiao in Guizhou. I collected dozens of broaches to give as gifts in Bhutan as the ladies use them to fasten their garments. Fishing hooks and lures as well as swiss army knifes to thank the Waura men in Brazil. Sewing kits and dental supplies are also well received. Bring photos of your family and country to show to your new friends. Try to visit a school and bring needed supplies.

 

Apatani GrandmotherApatani GrandmotherTinned tobacco is a welcomed gift for this grandmother. Apatani LadyApatani LadyIt was customary for women to have holes in the sides of the nose, which they closed with plugs. The nose plugs and tattoos were once intended to protect daughters and women. In the past, the tribe’s enemies, the Nisi, often abducted young Apatani girls. By mutilating their daughters, Apatani mothers hoped that the Nisi would lose interest.
WANDERLUST PHOTO OF THE YEAR 2006 - PEOPLE SECTION
Tinned tobacco opened doors to the Apatani ladies in Arunachal Pradesh India. This grandmother was very reluctant to come outside. I had to entice her with three cans of tobacco the cost was trivial compared to the photo opportunity. She later invited my guide and I into her humble home and thanked me for the generous gifts.

 

 


 

Travel by yourself or with a friend, this gives you complete control over what you want to do. This is not always possible due to the high costs of travelling as a single. Research your chosen destination, perhaps look at what some of the photography related tours are doing, then modify their ideas to your liking. Give yourself as much extra time as possible, there is nothing worse than finding an excellent location and then having to leave because you did not build flexibility into your tour. I will sometimes base my exploration around a local festival. The crowds are usually overwhelming and there are lots of photographers and tourists.

                                              Crowds of people at Lusheng Festival in Guizhou China

If you do not want the same photos as everyone else or do not like having the spectators in your photographs then find yourself a good local guide, or have one pre-arranged to meet you at your location. I find the festivals are a good overview of the customs and dress of the local people. With my guide we may pick out certain individuals who we feel are very photogenic and may be willing to spend sometime working as a model. This is where your guide is invaluable. I have found that it takes a little time to train your guide as to what you are trying to achieve, as customs are different everywhere. My interests are to photograph the chosen models at the time of day for the best light. I also am looking for a particular background or local interest. A car and driver will be required to travel to your chosen location or the house of the individuals. Usually you will be taking the person away from their daily activities and compensation is a must. The other point I like to stress is the need for a chaperon, especially if someone may be underage or female. A mother is usually proud to do this. They are also very helpful with fixing hair, makeup and clothes. I have spent quality time in peoples homes during and after a session that has led to many personal stories and friends.

                                                 A mother adjusts the veil on her daughter - Ladakh India

Red veil Veiled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                             

                                                            Ringchen Angmo

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had talked to "Yangchen Lhamo" the day before at the Leh Festival and she agreed to be photographed the following day. Stanzin picked this quiet and scenic location away from the city. The Brokpa are a small community of Dard people residing in the Dha-Hanu valley about 163 km southwest of Leh in Ladakh. They are thought by some to be the purest descendants of the ancient Indo-Europeans. Dha and Hanu are two villages situated in the Dhahanu valley where they are found. They are also scattered in other parts of Ladakh. Part of the community are also located in the Deosai plateau just across the LOC in the Baltistan. Like the people of Gilgit, they speak an archaic form of the Shina language unintelligible with other dialects of Shina. They are originally said to have come from Chilas and settled in the area generations ago. They are predominantly caucasoid in contrast to the Tibeto-Burman inhabitants of most of Ladakh. They are nominally Buddhist, however animist and Bön rituals still survive. Rigorously protecting their culture the Drokpa enforce a strict policy, prohibiting their people to marry outsiders. As is their tradition in this strange and wonderful 'Garden of Eden' women and some times even men adorn their hair and head-dresses with the flowers they grow, although recently, plastic flowers have become the norm.

 

 

 

 

        " Stanzin Takpa helps Yangchen Lhamo across the stream."

 

 

 

Yangchen Lahmo Yangchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                 Yangchen Lhamo

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 My young guide "Kinga Pem" helps "Jambay Dorji" in Bhutan

Leaping sengyeLeaping sengyeThe mask he is wearing has a ferocious gesture and is worn during the festival to imitate the snow lion, representing both real and mythical animals. In the Bhutanese tradition and custom, the sengye or snow lion is considered one of the four supernatural animal guardians of the four directions. Leaping monkLeaping monkThe Guru Dorje Drolo baup is worn by monks to represent the Dorje Drolo which is one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rimpoche while performing the Guru Tshengye Cham or the Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rimpoche in Bhutan during the Tshechu, an annual event of mask dances and festivals which is held all over the country to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche.
                                           Nineteen year old "Jambay Dorji"  performs a "Leap of Faith" - Bhutan

   Stanzin Takpa helps in obtaining a model release - Ladakh                         Pedro Paulo holds a reflector - Xingu Brazil