What photography equipment to take on a trek

I’ve received many requests for a video on what kind of photography equipment to take on a trek. The key to choosing the right gear for a trek is to plan your photography out in advance. Deciding whether you want to shoot landscape shots, portraits or wildlife will help you decide what kind of gear to take. That will in turn help you minimise the weight you carry!

Watch the video to understand what kind of gear to take.

Accessories you can take: If you’re a serious photographer and plan to take filters for your lenses, I would recommend neutral density (ND) filters because they are colourless filters. They reduce the amount of light passing through your lens, making it possible to shoot still-shots and videos at wider lens openings. They do that without affecting the shutter speed or colour-rendition of the image.

Here are some tips that you can use for portrait photography on a trek.

Stay posted: Next week I’ll tell you how exactly to pack your camera kit while going on a trek.

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Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is a journalist from Bangalore. She heads the content team at Indiahikes and runs a video show called Trek With Swathi. Writing, reading and trekking are up there on her list of favourite things!

15 thoughts on “What photography equipment to take on a trek

  1. I have had to shift from Har Ki Dun to the Kuari Pass trek due to denial of permission from forest authorites. While I had chosen the lighter, wide-angle lenses for HKD, I will now have to carry the heavier zoom lens for Kuari Pass to capture the various mountain peaks! 🙁

  2. hi swathi
    I am kishore. my trek is on 30 dec(Deoriatal – Chandrashila Peak Trek).

    i have nikond 5200+one nikon battery+2 spare (third party batteries)+50mm prime lens+90mm macro lens+18 to 55 mm kit lens+55 to 300mm lens+one tripod+one amzon camera bag.
    1) which lens should i pack with camera?
    2)how many photos i can take with 3 fully charged batteries?
    3) is there any option to charge my camera batteries in sari location?
    4) Deoriatal – Chandrashila weather will affects my camera?
    5)how to pack my camera and lens?
    6) give some tips to use my camera in Deoriatal – Chandrashila trek.

    1. Hi Kishore

      It’s wonderful that you’re going to Deoriatal in winter! 🙂 I’ve answered your questions below.

      1.Carry Nikon 5200+ with 3 batteries. Take the 50mm and 18-55mm lenses. The tele photo lens (300mm) weighs around 530 g. So only if you really want to do some wildlife photography or shoot pictures of mountain peaks, then take it. If you take the zoom lens, you will likely need the tripod to get steady shots. So really think if you want to trek with all the weight. Otherwise, just go for 50 mm and 18-55.

      2.You should able to click about 500 ±200 shots per battery (original nikon battery).

      3. There is electricity at Sari. So you can charge your camera battery there. After that, there is no electricity though.

      4. As long as you take precautions around moisture, ensure that you have some spare batteries, then you shouldn’t have problems with shooting in the cold. Just expect your battery to drain faster. Keep your batteries in a ziplock and wrap it in something warm.

      5. This video on how to pack your camera gear will help you with this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UHSShcSVd4&t=1s

      6. Deoriatal has lovely forest trails. So far, not many photographers have been able to capture it too well. Do see the best compositions to capture forest trails before you set off on the trek. Apart from that, ensure you save enough battery for your summit climb – maybe keep one battery specifically for this. The views from the summit are outstanding! The sunrise and sunset at the Deoriatal campsite are things to watch out for! Try to capture the alpine glow on the mountains at Deoriatal. 🙂

  3. Hi swati,
    I’m going to Kedarkantha Trek.
    I’ll be carrying a Nikon D5300 along with my 18-55 mm lens and 70-300mm lens and a tripod. I want to make a travel video of the entire trek with my D5300. I’d like to know how many batteries should I carry if I want to shoot for around 2-3hrs video each day.

    Thank You in advance.

    1. I wanted to speak to my cinematographer before I wrote to you.
      He went to Kedarkantha two months ago to shoot some videos.
      Here is what he has to say.

      1. 70-300 lens itself is heavy. If you can, try and take a lighter lens.
      2. A tripod is again added weight. If you’re carrying a tripod, carry a light one.
      3. 4 batteries will last you the whole trek. Reduce the brightness of the screen. Before hitting record, frame your subject so that you reduce bad shots and save battery.
      4. Offload your bag so that you can carry your camera equipment.
      5. Camera bag should be light and portable
      6. Memory card it is small so carry how many you can. I took 100gb card but only used half. So I wanted to keep back up.

      So this is what he has to say. If you’re offloading your backpack, then the camera weight shouldn’t be an issue.
      Just make sure it doesn’t exceed around 5 kilos.

  4. Hi swati,
    Very nice blog and video.
    I am planning for valley of flowers. in July2018.
    I have canon 70D,18-55 kit lens,100-400mm, and 100mm macro. I am planning to get 50mm and 55-250 from my friend. But i am confused which to choose of treak and will be helpful as allrounder lens.Please suggest me which lenses will be helpful for me in VOF for flowers and landscape. Would you recommend any specific power bank ?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Vyankatesh! It’s wonderful that you’re going to Valley of Flowers. With respect to your lens, take your 50mm if you are planing to click flowers shots. Also I would recommend you to carry wide angle lens so that you can capture the lush green valley. Considering it’s monsoon, you wont be able to capture far away shots so I wont recommend the 100-400mm lens. It’s unnecessary weight.

      As for power, if you have an adapter to charge your DSLR batteries, then carry one power bank (above 10,000mah). There’s intermittent electricity on this trek at the lodges. You cannot depend on it totally but you may find electricity.

      Also, if you are planning to shoot videos then your battery will drain faster. The best hack that I can recommend is to reduce the display brightness to save your battery.

      And carry water a proof case if you have one because it tends to rain quite a bit in July. And carry silica packets so that you avoid moisture in your camera bag.

      Hope this helps you! 🙂

    2. Hi! Swati, Is there an option to offload your backpack during an Indiahike trek. If so, it will be wonderful, as I would be able to carry my complete camera kit and tripod. I plan to do the Goechala trek this October.

      Also do you have any feedback on the battery life of GoPro 6 in high altitudes, which I intend to use instead of a wide angle lens.

      1. Hi Amol,
        It is possible to offload backpacks on our treks at an additional cost. The bags should not weigh more that 9 kg.

  5. Hi Swathi
    Thanks for the guidance. I am going to the Dayar Bugyal trek in May. I have a Sony A7R mirrorless camera with 28mm prime and 70-200 lenses. I am planning to carry both lenses with a tripod. Although 70-200 is a heavy and slightly big lens I am thinking to take it along for the peaks and a few portraits as i do not have any other lens for the purpose and 28mm for landscape and night photography. I do not have a small camera bag but only a camera backpack, what should i do??
    Thanks

    1. Hi Karan,
      You seem to have quite some fancy gear, quite expensive too 🙂
      So make sure you carry your camera backpack with you and take both your lenses. You’ll get some good views on the Dayara Bugyal trek of big mountains. So you’ll need a zoom lens if you want to capture that.
      As for your main trekking backpack, I’d suggest you offload it. While you’re trekking, just carry your camera backpack and tripod.

      1. Hi Sneha
        Thanks a ton for your prompt reply. But the confusion lies here that if I am not wrong I need to carry a warm cap, poncho, fleece, tiffin box, cup, light snacks and medical kit in my day pack, which will not fit in the camera backpack and its not water proof either.
        What if I keep my bigger lens in offloaded backpack? Will it be safe ? Is it ok to carry camera with only 28mm prime during Trekking time ?
        Kindly help
        Thanks

        1. Hi Karan,
          You can keep the bigger lens in the offloaded backpack. Make sure you cover it in bubble wrap and cloth so that it does not get damaged.

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