By the way, you’ll find many DSLR zoom lenses labeled “Macro”. While these lenses can allow you to focus up close to your subject, they are not true macro lenses because they don’t offer the level of magnification that is, by definition, macro. Now that’s not to say that a macro zoom isn’t a worthwhile investment. I have a number of macro zooms and I find that they are great, all-purpose lens especially since I like having the flexibility of shooting from a short distance. But true macro lenses are always prime—single focal length—lenses. So you’ll want to keep that in mind if you are interested in shooting images that capture tiny subjects in nearly life-size proportion.
And here’s one more thing. Most point and shoot cameras now feature a Macro shooting mode. So check out the manual to see if it’s available on your particular model.
A good quality and low key camera bag
A good quality camera bag is especially important when you’re traveling because you want to keep your equipment safe and protected from the elements as you haul it around. And a good bag will help you keep your equipment and peripherals organized and in one place so that you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.
So look for a bag that fits all your stuff but isn’t overly cumbersome or bulky.
And consider getting a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag. Most camera bags scream, “I’m a tourist!” or, worse yet, “Expensive stuff in here!” A number of companies—Kelly Moore, Jill-e, Ona, Jo Totes —make fashion camera bags that don’t look like what they are and most don’t show a brand label on the outside. They’re perfect for times when you don’t want to be too obvious.
A lightweight tripod, monopod or camera support
A full size tripod is an essential piece of equipment for me when I photographing at home. But it’s a bear to travel with.
Luckily a full-sized tripod isn’t the only option available for stabilizing your camera. Here are some alternatives:
A monopod (also called a unipod) is a lot like a tripod, but instead of having three legs, a monopod features a single telescoping leg. Since a monopod is smaller and more lightweight than a tripod it’s a more portable alternative. Yet, this type of single leg support can give your camera enough stability to eliminate camera shake with longer shutter speeds. And, using a monopod will sometimes allow you to situate your camera in places and positions that aren’t accessible with a tripod.
Another option is a mini tripod or a tablepod. These small tripods are compact and lightweight, usually measuring from 6 to 12 inches in height, and can slip easily into a pocket or bag. Although a mini tripod probably won’t get your camera to the required height- – you’ll need the top of a wall or a table top or the roof of your car for that — it will serve to steady your camera and hold it at the desired angle to allow you to get your shot.
One example of a mini tripod is the Joby Gorillapod, a camera support that features flexible legs. The Gorillapod can be used as a short standing tripod or its flexible legs can be wrapped around objects like tree branches, fence posts and poles to hold and secure your camera.
Finally, a beanbag camera support is another small and portable option for stabilizing your camera. Beanbag supports feature a camera mount attached to, you guessed it, a beanbag. You can set these up just about anywhere –on the ground or on a large rock or on top of a fence or a wall. And beanbag supports are very flexible, allowing you to steady and secure your camera on top of irregular and uneven objects and at a variety of different angles.