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  • Adonis Villanueva
  • March 26, 2017 07:02:58 AM

A Little About Us

Always Wanderlust is an alternative travel photography blog focused on inspiring others through amazing photography and inspired stories around the world. Adonis Villanueva is the photographer and writer behind Always Wanderlust, follow him on his adventures in and off the beaten path. Find inspiration in amazing photos, travel and budget tips, and funny but real stories. Travel more now!

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    What’s in my Camera Bag? A Photography Gear Guide!

    Gear. Whether we admit to it or not, we are obsessed with camera gear as photographers. I get asked the “What camera or lens are you using?” question often enough that if I had a dime for each time I’ve heard it, I’ll be able to buy the Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS Lens! As every other photographer will tell you, gear doesn’t matter that much (and it’s true!), but I would be lying to you if I didn’t get excited about the thought of getting the latest and greatest Sony EF lenses. I...

    Gear. Whether we admit to it or not, we are obsessed with camera gear as photographers. I get asked the “What camera or lens are you using?” question often enough that if I had a dime for each time I’ve heard it, I’ll be able to buy the Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS Lens!

    As every other photographer will tell you, gear doesn’t matter that much (and it’s true!), but I would be lying to you if I didn’t get excited about the thought of getting the latest and greatest Sony EF lenses.

    I don’t always get the most expensive gear you can find. I tend to be all more cautious in my purchases and always factor in the ROI of a gear purchase as well as the price to performance ratio.

    backpacking with camera gear in the pacific northwest

    Backpacking with camera gear in the pacific northwest.

    In short, you’ll probably be surprised by my gear choices. It’s catered to my personal preference and I would recommend that you get gear that will cater to your own style as a photographer.

    Useful Camera Gear and Guide:

    If you didn’t find answers to any of the guides mentioned above or are just curious to see what gear I use, read on!

    Camera Backpack

    First, let’s talk about my camera bag. I’ve had over a dozen dedicated camera bags over the years and my current one, the Pygtech OneMo 23L Backpack, is my favorite so far.

    what's in my backpack onemo pygtech

    My OneMo camera backpack with the Tamron 150-600mm (on its lens pouch) attached.

    onemo backpack partitioned

    Partitions of the OneMo backpack

    I got this backpack because I’ve added a drone to my arsenal – the Mavic 2 Pro to be exact. The modular bag allows me to compartmentalize my gear to any set up I want.

    The built-in pouch can house a drone or a point and shoot and converts into a shoulder bag for quick access.

    The 25L size with multi-fold dividers can carry all the gear I need and can even carry my 16-inch laptop.

    There’s also a nifty expandable storage space that allows the bag to expand to 35L – it’s useful for carrying an emergency tent, jacket, or whatever else you might think of.

    The tripod can mount directly on top of the bag with a modular strap or you can strap your tent or sleeping bag on top with the various hooks and straps designed unto the bag.

    The bag can fly with you wherever you go because it’s well under the carry-on international size restrictions for a carry-on bag; in some cases, it can even qualify as a personal item (please check with your airline).

    Other Awesome Features of the backpack:

    onemo backpack pouchThe built-in pouch mode allows you to hold your camera and lens independent of the pack. In my instance however, I use store my  Mavic 2 Pro with an extra battery and the remote controller. The pouch itself will fit inside the backpack in a compartment.

    OneMo also has dedicated battery pockets where you can stash your camera batteries that have a switchable indicator you can set to let you know which batteries are spent.

    The material used is sleek and also functional. I practically drop the backpack on swamps and muddy locations and it’s still dry and cleans really well.

    The ergonomics is good too. So far, I’ve used the backpack on several 8+ mile day hikes in the Pacific Northwest. My shoulders never felt better and I’m able to grab my camera out of the bag for quick snaps without taking the backpack off completely.

    Now that we’ve talked about the backpack, here’s all the stuff that I’m able to carry on it:

    Camera & Drone

    I don’t dwell too much on camera features. I prefer to invest in lenses. Having a versatile system that can use lots of different lenses is the most important criteria in my camera selection.

    sony a7iii is the main camera in my backpack

    The Sony A7III is the main camera in my backpack.

    Sony A7III

    I’ve had the Sony A series since its second inception, much more improved this time especially the battery life. Read my guide above about Mirrorless cameras and why you should consider it.

    One of the benefits is the myriad of lens adapters you can purchase to use other lens systems! As you will see from my lens choices most aren’t even native Sony EF mount.

    Check Price in Amazon

    GoPro Hero 7 Black

    gopro hero 7 black

    GoPro Hero 7 strapped to my backpack’s shoulder pad.

    My GoPro is a generation or two behind. I’ve found no need to upgraded the newer versions.

    I attach this to a shoulder strap on my backpack for long hikes, to a body strap when I snowboard, bike, or go paddleboarding.

    I love the versatility of the GoPro and its ability to be mounted on just about anything allows you to capture action/adventure at will.

    This version has Image Stabilization the images don’t come out blurry during fast sequences.

    Check Price on Amazon

    DJI Mavic Pro 2

    dji mavic pro 2 in lake tahoe

    The DJI Mavic Pro 2 in Lake Tahoe

    I didn’t get into the Drone game until this came out.

    Professional quality imagery is the reason why I did. The Hasselblad camera captures details that can match my Sony A7III.

    Excellent features like auto-stitch panoramas allow you to capture even more details surpassing 50-Megapixels or more.

    The great thing about the drone is the ability to control the exposure values manually, unlike lower cost drones on the market.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Lenses

    I have an unconventional lens collection. I have always favored using adapters to be able to use the glass I want. With a mirrorless camera like the Sony A7III, doing this is even easier.

    Sony LA-EA4 A-Mount to E-Mount Adapter

    This amazing contraption allows you to attach Sony A-Mount lenses to your E-mount cameras like the Sony A7III above. You can find Sony A-Mount lenses that are a fraction of the cost of a similar E-Mount lens. The autofocus and autoexposure work as well.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Tamron 15-35mm f/2.8 Di VC

    This is my go-to Superwide angle lens. It’s not a native E-mount lens, it’s actually a Sony A-Mount that I use on the A7III via the LA-EA4 mentioned above. You would be hard-pressed to find a Superwide Angle lens for under 1k that’s as sharp and as fast!

    Check Price on B&H Photo

    Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5.0-6.3 Di USD G2

    tamron 150-600mm g2

    Tamron 150-600mm G2

    This is not a native Sony E-Mount lens.

    It’s made for the A-Mount which can be used using the LA-EA4 adapter.

    This lens is massive but a joy to use!

    The E-Mount counterpart is the Sony FE 200-600mm, which would cost you half as much more.

    You’re giving up on fast autofocus so if fast-moving subjects is what you’re trying to capture, I recommend going for the Sony instead.

    Check Price on Amazon

    This is a huge lens so it has its own pouch, mentioned below:

    JJC DLP-7 Deluxe Water-Resistant Lens Pouch

    mount baker seattle space needle

    Compressing Mount Baker and the Space Needle

    Great pouch for the Tamron 150-600mm, it has an independent shoulder strap which allows me to carry it by itself.

    Otherwise, I attach it to the bottom strap of the OneMo backpack with the dual wrap-around strap system.

    As mentioned, the Tamron 150-600mm is massive and very heavy, so I typically don’t take it with me on long hikes.

    It is, however, great for compressing scenes – great in the Pacific Northwest where you can include Mount Baker or Mount Rainier in the backdrop.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3

    The 24-240mm Sony is my walk-around lens. It’s got great coverage and while it won’t win MTF charts awards, it’s plenty sharp and very versatile.

    The best lens isn’t always the fastest or the sharpest, it’s the one you will use the most! If I’m going to have only ONE lens in my bag, this lens would be my pick.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Tripods & Stabilizers

    I’m a bit of a tripod fanatic. It allows me to take things slower and more methodical with my photographic approach. I can study the compositions better while I’m not hand-holding the camera.

    you can always find a tripod in my backpack

    Tripods always go with me on photo trips

    K&F Concept Aluminum Tripod w/ Ballhead

    This one is a lightweight aluminum type tripod with flip-lock legs for fast set up. I use it some times for when I want to capture multiple angles of the same scene during fast-changing dynamic lighting. It’s also very cheap and reliable.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Davis & Sanford TR654C-36 Traverse Carbon Fiber Tripod

    This tripod is my go-to for long hikes and travel. It’s very lightweight and sturdy. Unlike the above, it’s utilizing a twist-lock mechanism for the legs.

    Davis & Sandford isn’t a name brand you’re likely familiar with but the quality and build are great – I’ve been using it for years without fail in and out of the sand, water, dirt, mud, snow, cliff, and everything else in between.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Filters

    I always use a filter whenever there is an opportunity for them. Polarizing filters are a staple in my backpack.

    Circular Polarizers

    Circular Polarizer in action

    Lens Filters for DJI Mavic 2 Pro Camera

    One of the great features of the Mavic Pro 2 is the ability to attach filters to the camera. This filter set is amazing – it has polarizer and ND filters combined.

    Check Price on Amazon

    B+W 77mm ND 1.8-64X

    This variable ND filter is useful for slowing down the shutter. Great for slowing down motion (like a waterfall) on clear and bright days. You can also use to get that surreal look from moving clouds, etc.,

    Check Price on Amazon

    B+W Circular Polarizer Kaesemann (Xtra Slim Mount)

    Great polarizer that won’t cause vignetting on wide-angle lenses. The glass is topnotch and won’t degrade the image quality of your lenses.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Photo Editing Hardware/Software

    My photo editing tools are fairly standard. However, my workflow might be a little different. I use Lightroom to do a majority of the editing and then do the final touches on Photoshop.

    Lenovo Thinkpad P50

    lenovo p50 laptop

    The Lenovo P50 is an old laptop, but it’s one overpowered machine for photo editing

    I know this Laptop is outdated and old, but it handles any intensive photo editing I throw at it. I’ve upgraded it to the max – 64 GB Ram, SSD Dual Drives.

    The built-in Pantone color calibration is a godsend for photography – saves you lots of money from having to purchase a separate color calibration tool and software.

    You should be able to get the newer models of laptop, just make sure it has the Pantone feature and can expand to 64 GB Ram.

    Check Price on Amazon

    Adobe Lightroom

    Since 98 percent of my images are shot in Raw format, I use a raw editor and viewer. Lightroom is more than a raw file editor. It’s also a catalog to keep track of your images. There’s a slew of editing features built into the tool and for most photographers, it’s all they’ll ever need.

    Check Price at Adobe

    Adobe Photoshop

    After doing some basic or semi-advanced edits on Lightroom, my images get further touch-ups through Photoshop. I personally like to work with non-destructive editing through layers – which Lightroom lacks.

    Check Price at Adobe

    Conclusion

    my backpack gear on a hikeWhat’s in my backpack, my gear choices, cater to my style and needs as a photographer.

    I’ve gone through a bunch of cameras and lenses throughout the years and I’m sure it will continue to change as I progress.

    I don’t have a massive collection of lenses and gadgets like most photographers.

    Every single gear I have gets nearly every time I go out of a photography excursion.

    So far, I’m loving the OneMo backpack with its versatility and capacity. I also think it just looks darn cool, Lucky the Corgi seems to think so :)

    What’s in Your Backpack?


    This post contains affiliate links that in no way influence the opinion of the article. If you purchase an item from one of the links you clicked on, I will earn a small commission that doesn’t affect the price of the item.


    The post What’s in my Camera Bag? A Photography Gear Guide! appeared first on Always Wanderlust.


    Six Stunning Destinations to Visit where it’s Not Crowded

    One of the reasons why people travel is to relax and get away from the daily stresses of life. Unfortunately, visiting famous tourist destinations can be such a hassle and stressful sometimes due to the throngs of tourists. Thankfully, there are many places in the world that are stunning, but without the crowds. Besides, social distancing shouldn’t be an issue in these places once we’re allowed to travel again. Stunning Destinations to Visit: 1 – New Zealand Given New...

    One of the reasons why people travel is to relax and get away from the daily stresses of life. Unfortunately, visiting famous tourist destinations can be such a hassle and stressful sometimes due to the throngs of tourists.

    Thankfully, there are many places in the world that are stunning, but without the crowds. Besides, social distancing shouldn’t be an issue in these places once we’re allowed to travel again.

    Stunning Destinations to Visit:

    1 – New Zealand

    Given New Zealand’s massive land area and with only 4.5 million inhabitants, you do not have to go far to seek complete solitude. Most of the population is concentrated in Auckland and other major cities, leaving plenty of open spaces to explore in the country.

    The best way to discover its stunning landscape scenery is to go on a road trip. You can start in Auckland and drive your way to the Bay of Islands or take the East Cape route for a more exciting adventure down the road.

    2 – Indonesia

    When going on a holiday in Indonesia, people will immediately think of Bali. But this world-famous island getaway is often filled with tourists. If you want to escape the crowd, then venture off-the-beaten-path on an exciting private Indonesian tour and get to see the things most of the regular tourists don’t.

    Rent a motorbike and look for remote beaches and spots where you can enjoy some peace and quiet without the throngs of beachgoers. Book luxury accommodation at less-touristy areas on the island such as in Nusa Dua, Canggu, and Uluwatu.

    View from Sachaca District, Arequipa Peru.

    The Sachaca district is one of Arequipa’s district in Peru.

    3 – Peru

    While most travelers to Peru would visit the large Peruvian hubs like Arequipa, Lima, and Cusco, venturing to the less popular destinations can leave you pleasantly surprised.

    For instance, the city of Tingo María is perfect for nature lovers wanting to go on a trek to the Amazon jungle. Dubbed the “Door of the Amazonia,” Tingo María summons travelers to explore its stunning caves and caverns. The nearby rainforest and mountain ranges are also perfect opportunities for nature discovery.

    Vernazza is one of 5 villages that make up the Cinque Terre.

    Vernazza is one of 5 villages that make up the Cinque Terre.

    4 – Italy

    Italy is often overcrowded with tourists, but you can always get off the usual tourist trail and explore less crowded places. When visiting the Amalfi Coast, one of the most beautiful Mediterranean summer holiday destinations, skip the busy Ravello and Positano. Head further along the coast to the mountains and remote beaches of Cilento.

    It also makes a big difference what time of year you travel to Italy. For example, you’ll not only find the weather more palatable but visiting popular regions like Sicily in October over the summer months can help you escape the crowds. In Tuscany, trek the panoramic hill of Arezzo or explore the medieval hill town of Murlo. Rent a villa at the quiet village of Santa Fiora or stay at one of the charming stone houses in Montefioralle.

    A cold morning in Moraine Lake. Banff National Park Canada.

    A cold morning in Moraine Lake. Banff National Park Canada.

    5 – Canada

    Exploring the scenic natural beauty of Canada is something that most travelers would ever dream of doing. The Canadian Rockies in Alberta is the perfect place to visit when it comes to discovering impeccable scenery. Whether it’s the stunning blue waters of Lake Louise or the bighorn sheep of Jasper National Park, the Canadian Rockies are truly full of wonders. Just make sure to schedule your visit after the summer when there’s less crowd of tourists.

    6 – Slovenia

    When visiting Slovenia, most tourists would go to the famous sights of Ljubljana, Bled, and Postojna Cave. But if you want to venture off-the-beaten-path, check out the Hell Cave and Pokljuka Plateau instead.

    Lake Cerknica is also one of the best-kept secrets of Slovenia. It’s an intermittent lake that’s fun to visit at any time of the year. The spring of Krupa in the town of Semič is also worth checking out. This small spring emerges from a 98 ft rock surrounded with a lush green forest.

    The post Six Stunning Destinations to Visit where it’s Not Crowded appeared first on Always Wanderlust.


    Photo of the Day – Seattle Space Needle & Mount Baker

    It took some detective work to get this shot. First, Mount Baker is roughly 88 miles away from Seattle so you’ll need a very clear day for it to be visible in the city – which, in itself, is rare in the Pacific Northwest. On the flip side, the air tends to be very clean when it does clear up! Second, you’ll have to be a location where you can line up the mountain with the Space Needle. I had to study the map of West Seattle then drive around the neighborhood along the coast...

    mount baker seattle space needle

    It took some detective work to get this shot.

    First, Mount Baker is roughly 88 miles away from Seattle so you’ll need a very clear day for it to be visible in the city – which, in itself, is rare in the Pacific Northwest. On the flip side, the air tends to be very clean when it does clear up!

    Second, you’ll have to be a location where you can line up the mountain with the Space Needle. I had to study the map of West Seattle then drive around the neighborhood along the coast and up the hills to see where it would all be visible.

    Third, you need a very long lens to compress the mountain backdrop to the city skyline. I bought the Tamron 150-600mm just for this purpose.

    Category Travel
    Exposure f8, ISO 100
    Camera Sony A7III
    Lens Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
    Filter Polarizer
    Location West Seattle, Washington

    The post Photo of the Day – Seattle Space Needle & Mount Baker appeared first on Always Wanderlust.


    Photos of the Day – A Man and His Best Friend

    Here’s a collection of photos from my adventures (so far) in the Pacific Northwest – mostly Washington State. I got a remote gig that allows me some freedom to pick and choose where to live and work and I’ve gotten a bit tired of the arid and fire-prone climate of California so I picked one of the wettest places in the West Coast! Working at home can get draining and I’m sure a lot of people can now say the same because of the Pandemic. However, having a dog around...

    Here’s a collection of photos from my adventures (so far) in the Pacific Northwest – mostly Washington State. I got a remote gig that allows me some freedom to pick and choose where to live and work and I’ve gotten a bit tired of the arid and fire-prone climate of California so I picked one of the wettest places in the West Coast!

    Working at home can get draining and I’m sure a lot of people can now say the same because of the Pandemic. However, having a dog around certainly beats the daily doldrums of remote work. I always wanted a dog – a Golden Retriever or a Labrador in particular but I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I also like to travel and a bigger dog will become more of a hindrance than say a medium-sized dog. So when my birthday came around, I asked my wife for a dwarf version – a Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

    I named him Lucky – it seemed like a fitting name because out of the breeder’s litter nobody picked him. He was the last pup in that litter and we’re the lucky ones to get him. Since then, I’ve included the pup in most outdoor adventures I’ve tackled in the Pacific Northwest. He doesn’t let his short legs be his handicap. He can hike just as well as bigger normal legged-dogs :)

    Heather Meadows with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Here’s Lucky and I by Heather Meadows in the Mt. Baker wilderness

    Wenatchee River with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    We’re at Wenatchee River in the fall around the Bavarian Town of Leavenworth

    Mount Shuksan Winter with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Mount Shuksan in the winter

    Rosario Beach with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Watching the sunset at Rosario Beach in Deception Pass

    Picture Lake winter with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Another shot of Mount Shuksan in the winter

    Hiking in the wilderness with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Little Tipsoo in the fall

    Picture Lake with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Picture Lake in the winter

    Picture Lake Fall with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Picture Lake in the Fall

    Diablo Lake with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Diablo Lake sunset

    Tipsoo Lake fall with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Rainier in the Fall

    Bagley Lakes with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Hiking along Bagley Lakes in Mt. Baker wilderness

    Mount Erie with Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Checking out Mt. Erie summit

    Little Tipsoo lake in winter with Lucky the Corgi
    Mount Rainer in the winter

    Lucky the Corgi Dog
    Luck the Corgi

    Category Travel
    Exposure Various, ISO 100
    Camera Sony A7III
    Lens Sony FE 24-240mm
    Filter Polarizer
    Location Various, Washington

    The post Photos of the Day – A Man and His Best Friend appeared first on Always Wanderlust.


    Photo of the Day – Tirana (Albania) Skyline

    I spent a few days in Tirana, Albania. The capital city is surrounded by mountains. Well, Albania is mostly mountainous. One of the least popular European destinations and that’s too bad, I kind of liked it and I bet you would too! It reminds me of Bolivia – a bit dingy and mountainous. One of the most unfortunate things I’ve noticed there (like Bolivia) is the trash. Trash is everywhere even all over century-old structures and relics. I didn’t have a drone with me...

    Tirana Albania Skyline 1
    I spent a few days in Tirana, Albania. The capital city is surrounded by mountains. Well, Albania is mostly mountainous. One of the least popular European destinations and that’s too bad, I kind of liked it and I bet you would too! It reminds me of Bolivia – a bit dingy and mountainous.

    One of the most unfortunate things I’ve noticed there (like Bolivia) is the trash. Trash is everywhere even all over century-old structures and relics.

    Tirana Albania Skyline 3

    I didn’t have a drone with me during this trip so I went to a bar with a view at the top – it was worth the overpriced cocktails just for the opportunity to take these photos. Tirana is a colorful place!

    Tirana Albania Skyline 2

    If you’re thinking about visiting Europe, do check this place out. It’s got a different vibe than other places in Europe – like East meets West sort of.

    Category Travel
    Exposure f16, ISO 100
    Camera Sony A7III
    Lens Sony FE 24-240mm
    Filter Polarizer
    Location Tirana, Albania

    The post Photo of the Day – Tirana (Albania) Skyline appeared first on Always Wanderlust.


    Photos of the Day – Rousanou Monastery of Meteora

    Meteora is an unusual rock formation where some Eastern Orthodox Monasteries are built. It’s located in the town of Kalambaka in central Greece. The monastery here is called the Rousanou Monastery, which was founded around the 6th century. Here’s a panoramic view of the same monastery if you follow the road up as it wraps around to the top. The rock formation isn’t composed of hard granite but, nonetheless, lots of rock-climbers make it a prime destination for rock climbing....

    Meteora floating monastery Monastery of Rousanou
    Meteora is an unusual rock formation where some Eastern Orthodox Monasteries are built. It’s located in the town of Kalambaka in central Greece. The monastery here is called the Rousanou Monastery, which was founded around the 6th century.

    Meteora floating monastery panorama
    Here’s a panoramic view of the same monastery if you follow the road up as it wraps around to the top. The rock formation isn’t composed of hard granite but, nonetheless, lots of rock-climbers make it a prime destination for rock climbing.

    Meteora floating Monastery of Rousanousunset
    No one really knows where the monasteries were built and with what primitive means. There’s only nets and ladders to haul people and material up. Somehow, they still managed to build these magnificent structures!

    There are actually six monasteries in Meteora. I’ve just been more fascinated with Rousanou to pay attention to the other ones. Perhaps the next time I visit Greece, I’ll explore and take more photos of the other ones.

    Category Travel
    Exposure f16, ISO 100
    Camera Sony A7III
    Lens Sony FE 24-240mm
    Filter Polarizer
    Location Kalambaka, Greece

    The post Photos of the Day – Rousanou Monastery of Meteora appeared first on Always Wanderlust.


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