Traveling with Photo Equipment

As most photographers will attest to, traveling with photography equipment is a tricky, and occasionally anxiety inducing thing. I’m always expecting extra security searches or worry about somehow damaging my camera. With a few trips coming up both domestic and international, I thought it would be helpful to put together a post about how I keep all of my work equipment safe while traveling and on a day-to-day basis.

I realize it’s vain, but I really don’t want my equipment to scream “I’m a photographer!” and would prefer for the stuff I carry around to mesh well with my regular, everyday style. With that being said, here are my favorites. 

Away Carry-On

Away recently sent me a piece of luggage to try out, and I was really blown away. Firstly, it’s beautiful. I opted for a dark blue, and the color is so understated but striking in real life. Secondly, as every friend and family member I have will attest to, my phone is about to be dead 90% of the time (including now) so a suitcase that can charge my phone is a real godsend for me. Thirdly, the hardshell makes it perfect for keeping photo equipment safe.

The carry-on I have works for domestic and international planes so I feel totally safe putting cameras and lenses into it without worrying about someone forcing me to check my bag. There’s lots of little compartments, and I genuinely feel like my stuff is super secure. I’ve started using it during local shoots that require lots of props, and it’s made things so much easier and more organized.

Caden Camera Bag Insert

Full disclosure, there’s nothing pretty about this thing but luckily, no one will ever see it. This little guy is one of my favorite things in the world because it has allowed me to turn every bag into a camera bag. I throw my camera in this, toss it in a bag, and go. Most often, I put it in my Everlane backpack (my day-to-day camera bag), and it fits perfectly. While traveling, I’ll put it into some of the leather totes I have and it works wonderfully. And it’s less than $20!

Everlane Snap Backpack

Though there are finally some cute camera bags out there, I’d never found one that was quite right. Thus, I decided to turn my Everlane backpack into a camera bag, and it works really well for me. You can easily fit a body and a couple of lenses in it plus a laptop, and any little accessories you may need, and its $65. I love it, and it gets more compliments than literally anything else I own.

Thomas Paul Case

I’ve bought an actual memory card holder on Amazon in the past, and it was not great. It fell apart almost immediately, and I found myself searching for a replacement soon after. My sister gifted me this cute little pouch for Christmas one year, and I’ve found it to be perfect for storing memory cards. I actually keep spare business cards in it too, and it’s way better than any dedicated memory card organizer I’ve seen. I label my cards so I have an idea of what’s what, but your milage may vary if you need to keep your cards separated.

Other photography and non-photography gadgets I love:

Notebooks – I try to always have a notebook on me because no matter how much I utilize notes and to-do apps on my phone, nothing works for me quite as well as a paper to-do list. I’m embarrassingly particular about my notebooks, and have been loyal to Rodia notebooks for a while because they have graph paper. I recently got a notebook from Appointed, a DC-based company (!!!), and I am loving it. It’s also graph paper vs. lined, and the cover is so ridiculously beautiful. They sent me one with my initials embossed in it, and I’ve been carrying it everywhere.

Pilot P-500 pen – This is as ridiculous as being particular about notebooks, but I’m a pen snob too. Seriously, just go buy this pen, and making grocery lists will become 100% better.

Transcend Card Reader – A good card reader really makes a big difference. This one is about a billion times faster than my old one, and it’s under $20 on Amazon. It’s tiny, lightweight, and does the job without issue.

Dulla Phone Bank – As I mentioned, my phone is always dead. I carry this little phone bank with me pretty often, but especially when traveling. A lot of my Instagram photos are just iPhone snaps so I really try to make sure I have this at all times. It holds 4-5 iPhone charges, and it’s pretty cute as far as phone banks go.

That’s everything! I’m sure things will change and get updated as time goes on, but hopefully this is somewhat useful if you travel with equipment and want it to look semi-cute!

Disclosure: I was gifted an Away suitcase; however all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. 

tags studio | 0 Comments

Caribbean Adventures

When booking our trip, we wanted to make sure that we selected an itinerary that included as many ports as possible. We’ve never spent a great deal of time in the Caribbean so why not see as many different islands and ports, right? On our journey on the Carnival Breeze, we had stops in St. Maarten, Antigua, St. John, and the Dominican Republic. In each port, we had a very different experience, but from spotting planes in St. Maarten to kayaking in the Dominican Republic, we had a fantastic time exploring each of our beautiful Caribbean stops.

 It was so incredible to experience all four of these places on one trip. Logistically, I can’t imagine planning a trip to all these separate spots on my own so I was more than thankful we were cruising! It really allowed us to maximize our time enjoying ourselves vs. worrying about transportation, lodging, and how to get to the next location. Easy as can be!

 antigua5

maho1
Today, I’m sharing some of what we did in each port, general tips, and what our favorite spots to explore were on each island.

maho2

For our first stop, we dropped anchor in St. Maarten where there are both Dutch and French sides of the island. Full disclosure: this was the stop I was most excited for, and it did not disappoint at all. Just a 15 minute walk away from the port is a great shopping area in downtown Phillipsburg that we enjoyed walking through, but we had our hearts set on traveling to Maho Beach (on a different part of the island) to see the famous plane landings at Princess Juliana International Airport, located just beyond the beach area.

maho3

maho4

I’ve seen photos of the plane landings online for year, and I’ve always wanted to see them in person so we couldn’t have asked for a better first stop. We took an inexpensive local bus to Maho, and despite our apprehensions about finding the right bus, it could not have been easier. We got to the beach in about 30­-40 minutes, grabbed some snacks and drinks, and found a good patch of sand to settle into.

maho6

Planes flew in fairly regularly, and words can’t even describe what an incredible experience it was. There was so much excitement about seeing the planes all across the beach, and just the idea of seeing a plane fly just a few hundred feet overhead is pretty wild. We made some great friends on the beach, and really had to tear ourselves away to make it back to the boat in time.

After our experience in St. Maarten on the first day, we opted for a more quiet time in Antigua at Dickenson Bay. In contrast with our previous day, Antigua was low key with very few people on the beach, and definitely no plane landings. It was a quick ride from the port, and home to the most perfect turquoise waters I’ve ever seen.

antigua3

On any trip, it’s always good to have a good mix of active days, and more relaxing ones so we tried to make sure we did a good job varying it up. There were a few different local spots along the beach at Dickenson Bay if you’re looking for a bite to eat, and if you’re not one to relax in the sand for more than an hour or two, there’s also the option to take a horse ride right on the shore.

antigua4
From Antigua, we made the short journey to St. John, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are a lot of different beaches in St. John to choose from, and we definitely had a difficult time figuring out which we’d like best. In the end, we settled on Coki Beach which was a quick cab ride away from the ship’s port. We were hoping for a beach that had snorkel rentals, beautiful scenery, and one that didn’t feel too cramped. Though we heard that Coki can get crowded at times, it wasn’t bad at all, and it could not have been easier to rent a chair and get a good spot right by the water. As the day went on, things definitely got a bit more lively so try to get there early if you want to get a good spot.

antigua2

The same person that helped us with the chair rental handled our snorkel rentals (how easy is that?) so after a traditional island lunch consisting of fresh fish, we set off in the water with our gear. At the end of Coki Beach is the Coki Dive Center so we were excited for the sea life we’d be able to see, and luckily there was quite a bit out there to look at. Snorkeling and scuba enthusiasts will absolutely love this spot.

stjohn3

Though we had explored each of the other three ports on our own, for our final spot in the Dominican Republic we opted for one of the planned excursions to La Casa En La Playa, a beachside getaway complete with kayaks, snorkels, paddle boards, a chef and bartender, and plenty of lounge seats. After planning each of our other island trips (which was a fun but at times overwhelming process), it was so nice to hand the reigns over to someone else.

dr1

dr4
The beach is completely secluded, and absolutely beautiful with the most picturesque palm trees lining the water. We fit in some snorkeling, kayaking, reading in hammocks, and walking along the short all in one afternoon which was quite the feat.

DR2

dr3

All in all, our goal was to really seize the chance to see as much as possible, and we were so glad that every stop felt like a completely new adventure for us.

 

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

tags studio | 0 Comments

4 Caribbean Favorites

This time around, I thought it would be fun to share some of the more unique aspects of our recent trip to the Caribbean with Carnival Cruise Line. On and off the ship, there was so much we encountered that was outside of what I had anticipated (in a good way!). Since it was my first time cruising, I didn’t have much to go from aside from what I’d heard from friends and family so it was fun to experience things for the first time. Here are just a few that topped my list.

The Food

tacos

IMG_5307

Food is a big part of just about every trip I take, and this one was no different. I was so pleasantly surprised with all of the food options we had. On the Carnival Breeze, a big highlight food­-wise was Tandoor, an incredibly flavorful Indian restaurant that we frequented on more than one occasion.

tandoor

Other favorites were afternoon tea (who knew they did this on cruises?), and tacos from BlueIguana that I am not ashamed to admit I had at least once a day. Who’s really going to say no to unlimited tacos?

IMG_5317

The Glimpse Into Local Life

local2

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get enough time at each port to really experience each locale, but luckily, there was enough time to get a taste of what each island had to offer. From trying a local beer at each port, to getting off the beaten path to see unique parts of the islands, this was one of the best parts of the trip. We got a chance to chat with locals, see some of the watering holes they frequented, and get a sense of the places we’d like to visit again. local local4

By waking up early (you’ll have time to nap on the beach later!), and getting off the ship on port days early, we were really able to maximize our time to explore. As result, we got to see so much.

local3

Sea Day Brunch

seaday1

On every sea day, a pretty amazing brunch was served up for us. It sounds like something insignificant, but it was such a fun, relaxed part of our trip. Brunch classics like eggs Benedict and pancakes were on the menu alongside some more out­-there options. On most days, we’d ask for a seat by the windows, order a mimosa or two, and tuck in for a long, indulgent brunch. Brunch on land is already great, but brunch at sea is even better.

seaday 2

Details On Board
One of the things I loved the most on the trip was the sheer amount of little details on the ship. From the unique bars to the running track to the spa, there was so many little things that made a huge impact on my trip.

IMG_6092 IMG_5803

details

As someone who tends to make overly detailed plans when organizing trips, I always find that what I love most about my trips are the unexpected details that weren’t planned. In this case, it couldn’t have been more true. From starting mornings running on the track to a lazy brunch, these little details made for the perfect time aboard the ship.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway

state of mind. Head on over.

 

tags studio | 0 Comments

A Weekend in Philly

Earlier this year, we took a road trip to Philly with Madewell as an ode to the art of the weekend road trip. Philly is just a couple of hours from DC, and though I’d been there in the past, it had only been for short stints. I’ve never really gotten to know the city until now but let me tell you; I’m in love. The food, the architecture, everything – it’s one of those great cities that I loved right away. The entire city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. I did a longer recap on the Madewell and Artifact Uprising blogs, but thought I’d share a few outtakes here. Until next time! madewellblog2

madewellblog1

madewell11

madewell6

madewell10

madewellblog4

madewellblog3

madewell7

madewell9

madewell8

madewell12

Where we stayed: 

Loews Philadelphia – This hotel was stunning with incredible views, and cloud-like beds, a must after a long day walking around the city.

Where we ate: 

Little Fish – Absolutely amazing seafood in a cozy, intimate BYOB spot

Hungry Pigeon – A great spot for some good coffee and a pastry before starting your day

Root Restaurant – A newer spot with a beautiful interior and a great menu

Tredici Enoteca- This wine bar and restaurant is amazing! You’ll come for just a glass and want to stay the rest of the evening!

What we saw: 

Race Street Pier – Beautiful bridge views right on the waterfront

Philadelphia City Hall – A historic building that is such an icon in the city

Longwood Garden – This is outside the city, but a must-visit! I could have spent an entire day here exploring the gardens. It’s such a unique and inspiring place.

tags studio | 0 Comments

Carribean Relaxing

Like most people heading to the Caribbean, we were really excited for a chance to relax and unplug for a few days while on our Carnival cruise. We had four different ports to visit during the trip plus a couple sea days so it was important to us to get in a good mix of relaxing all while exploring the different islands (and the ship!). IMG_5809

This time around, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of our favorite relaxing (and in some cases, straight up indulgent) moments of the trip. Take me back to 80 degree temperatures, room service, and mimosas on the balcony, please!

IMG_5255

 We started off pretty much every morning with room service, and it never got old. Waking up to fresh coffee, fruit, and bagels every day was something I definitely miss now that I’m back home. It was such a simple thing, but it really set the tone for a slow and relaxing morning. image4.jpg

We can’t talk about breakfast in bed without talking about the bed though. The comfiest. I slept so well the entire trip, and am about to upgrade all my linens at home, ha! Good quality sheets and a solid mattress make such a difference when you’re vacationing (or am I just getting old?).

carnivaldecks.jpgDuring sea days, we’d try to find a quiet deck to stroll around while getting some sun. Watching the ocean with a drink in hand and the wind in your face ­ the best.

IMG_5963 A big highlight was the Serenity adults only area on the ship. It was much quieter than other parts of the boat, and it made for a good little spot to relax and take a nap. Definitely get ready to snag a spot early though as it does fill up. Best of all, it’s was located right above the spa on the Breeze making it super convenient. I got my hair done one morning, and then popped up to the Serenity area right after.

image3.jpg

image6.jpg

image2.jpg

Some of our ports were definitely more chilled out than others, but Antigua tops the list as most relaxing in my book. The water was the clearest I’ve ever seen, and the beach we headed to, Dickenson Bay, was absolutely perfect. There were very few other travelers around so it really felt like we had our own space to spread out. For lunch we ate at a local restaurant, Coconut Grove, and had some amazing Caribbean chicken and a couple of local beers. The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing around on the beach reading, and needless to say, it was the perfect lazy port day. IMG_5649

IMG_6020

One of my absolute favorite parts of the cruise was relaxing on the balcony after a not­-so-­tough day. I could honestly sit out there, and stare at the ocean forever. A little champagne and cheese to go along with certainly doesn’t hurt either ;). We’d usually sit out there most afternoons reading, and taking in the sunset before getting ready for dinner. balcony

image8.jpg Chocolate covered strawberries? Yes please! IMG_5896

 I feel relaxed just looking at this view. We loved getting back on the ship, and watching the views changed as we sailed away. It was a perspective you’d never see from the land so it was a really cool thing to experience.

For our final port day, we took an excursion to La Casa En La Playa in Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a low­-key, tranquil excursion. Hours of napping in a hammock, walking along a secluded shoreline, and snacking on Dominican treats was a major highlight for me. From visits to the spa to cocktails by the pool, this trip was relaxing, luxurious, and exactly what we were hoping for.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

tags studio | 0 Comments