Recently our DIGS (Digital Photography Club of Saddlebrook) group had a guest speaker who spoke about his experiences as a travel photographer. It was obvious that travel photography is a major part of his life and his presentation covered a lot of ground (Ok, bad pun). But one of the main takeaways for me was “Travel Light.”

Now, “Travel Light” can and does mean different things to different people, but I am in total agreement with this point. We do a fair amount of traveling and it amazes me how many folks we see carrying enough equipment to stock a small camera store! I suspect many of these folks are so tied up with using all of this hardware (assuming they actually do) that they have to look at their photos when they get home to see where they have been!

Personally, when we travel, our intent is to enjoy the trip, experience new areas of the world, meet new folks and learn about their culture. And we can’t forget about sampling the food! I carry one camera with several spare batteries, a couple of battery chargers (in case one dies) and at least a half-dozen memory cards. For a backup camera, I have my SmartPhone, which is a darn good camera in its own right. I also carry a pocket-size battery pack which I can use to power or charge the SmartPhone while we are out in the field.

Now, which cameras are best for travel photography? I would refer you back to my April column, “What’s the Best Camera for Me – Revisited.” In that article, I discussed four cameras that would make great travel companions. Several of these cameras are pocketable, yet are capable of taking great photos, with zoom lenses and large image sensors. You can find the April column, along with other back issues of “Saddlebag Notes” on-line at

Personally, I travel with a Sony a6500 camera equipped with a 6X (magnification) zoom lens. Note this is not a “superzoom” lens (lenses in the 20-30X range), but I find the zoom is a good compromise between magnification range, physical size and weight. Although the a6500 is an interchangeable lens camera, I only travel with the one lens.

Because photography is probably a bigger part of my life than it is for most folks, my choice of camera and lens is a bit bulkier than I would recommend for the average traveler. But in return, I find it a good compromise for the shooting I do and my photography gear doesn’t get in the way of our enjoying our travels.

Space constraints make it difficult to include detailed information in this column. If you want more info on any of the topics covered in this column, have general questions or comments, or an idea for a future article, please send me an email at And don’t forget to visit the “Saddlebag Notes” photography web pages (

Jim has a Fine Arts degree with a major in Photography and more than 50 years experience in a wide range of photographic disciplines.