Turkey and Europe Travel and Photography Planning / by Steven Johnson

It's only a week and half now till we (myself and my wife Mandy) leave on our trip to Turkey and Europe and last minute preparations are now in full swing. I thought I would let you in on some of the pre-trip planning I have been doing. The itinerary for the trip is as follows.

  • 5 nights Istanbul
  • 4 nights Oludeniz (with a friend's wedding to attend)
  • 2 nights Datca
  • 2 nights Selcuk / Ephesus
  • 1 night Assos / Behramkale
  • 2 nights Eceabat / Gallipoli
  • 4 nights Paris
  • 5 nights London

We're flying from Istanbul to Dalaman (near Oludeniz) and then hiring a car. We will then be self-driving for the rest of our time in Turkey, from Oludeniz along the coast back to Istanbul via Datca, Selcuk and Gallipoli. I was a little hesitant about driving on the Turkish roads as I've heard some horror stories but hopefully with some awareness and defensive driving we'll be just fine. We won't be driving in any of the major cities either (apart from the main highway into Istanbul International Airport) so hopefully the traffic won't be too bad! Having a car will be so much more flexible for us though and let us do some exploration at our own pace. It will be helpful for some early morning shoots too.

I've been using Stuck on Earth to do some pre-trip photography planning. This app was put together by Trey Ratcliff and the Stuck in Customs guys and is a fantastic way to virtually scout locations using a map based interface. Using the app I've been able to find some fantastic locations and areas that look ripe for photographic opportunities. Along with the Stuck on Earth app I've been doing the usual Flickr/500px/Google searches as well. If you're travelling to a new location and planning on taking photographs I would thoroughly recommend some pre-planning using Stuck on Earth, along with the usual Flickr/500px/Google.

I still haven't decided exactly what equipment I will be taking on the trip. I've got my Thinktank Shape Shifter backpack which I will definitely be taking. I love this backpack as it can fit so much inside within the many different compartments it has. The bag is comfortable to carry and can zip up once I arrive at my destination to make it a little slimmer for day trips and walking around the city etc. In terms of actual photographic equipment that I will be taking it will most likely be the following:

  • Camera Body.
  • Sigma 10-20mm lens - My favourite lens, especially for landscapes, but this will also be useful for wide angle shots in the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia etc.
  • Nikkor 18-105 - While not the best lens it is a reasonable lightweight walk-around lens for general purpose stuff.
  • Benro Travel Angel Tripod - I love this tripod as it is super light, folds up small and yet is still quite sturdy. It can also convert to a monopod which is a great bonus feature to have.
  • Lee Filter holder and filters, including a couple of GNDs and a 3-stop and 10-stop ND.
  • Circular polarising filter.
  • Various SD cards - I like to use many smaller SD cards (e.g. 16 & 32 GB) rather than a few larger cards so that if I lose a card or have a card failure I don't lose too many images.
  • Spare batteries, charger, shutter remote, lens pens, rocket blower etc.

I don't want to be taking too much more than this as anything more starts getting a little unwieldy. This is also a fairly lightweight kit that won't break my back. I feel that with this I can capture the landscape images I want along with some general travel and street images.

I will also be taking the iPad with a camera connection kit. I am planning on using this as a backup device on the trip. I haven't used the iPad for this purpose before so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I will also be using the Photosync app where possible to backup my images to Box. I like to have my images backed up somewhere so that if the SD cards get lost or fail I don't lose my images. Once I have my images backed up onto the iPad and/or Box I will leave them on the SD card so that I have at least two copies of the images, after all a backup isn't a backup if it's the only copy!

I don't usually bother with any post-processing on the road so I don't really have a need for a full laptop. The iPad should be fine for a backup device and will also give us something to use for general web browsing etc. while we're travelling. Having some books on the iPad for the long haul flights is very useful too!

I'll keep you posted during our journey so stay in touch for updates and some snapshots along the way.