So I mentioned the other day how I was gonna head out to Berkeley for the day and poke around, my original plan was to hit up Tilden Park and get some nature shots, maybe some sunset shots over the bay…and then I realized…how often do I actually get the balls to drive out to SF for a day? Not very often. How many things have I yet to do in the city even though I only live an hour and a half away? Lots. Visiting Sutro Baths has been on my to do list forever it seems like (totally overrated by the way), and up until last year I had never been to Golden Gate Park, it had been over 15 years since I had seen the Palace of Fine Arts, and very rarely do I actually STOP to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. So I said what the hell and made my way into SF.
Being the solo type of girl I am when I travel and photograph stuff I realized how challenging it can be at times. First off, I truly believe no matter how many places you’ve been, how talented an artist you are, you NEED the typical tourist shot in front of a landmark. Seriously I don’t care how cliche it is, you earn the right by traveling in the first place- even if its somewhere close. This belief brings up its own set of problems like… whos gonna watch my crap while I go get this shot that’s hella [yes I really just said hella, thats my NorCal kicking in] tricky to get? How the hell am I gonna ask these tourists who don’t even speak the same language as me to take my photo, oh and have them NOT rip off my stuff? What happens if I attract the wrong kind of attention? These are all very real issues us girl photographers have to deal with.
I think there are a few key things a girl needs to have with her to be able to successfully photograph and travel alone, 2 of these things I have been lusting after for the past couple months.
1. An extendable handheld monopod… for taking those touristy photos without having some stranger run off with your camera.
2. A really good camera backpack, because shoulder bags swing and can seriously throw you off balance. Let me tell you a story, once upon a time I was climbing across some boulders holding an ice chest in one hand, I lost my balance for a quick second and accidentally over-corrected, resulting in me not only breaking my foot trying to regain balance, but falling backwards straight onto a jutting?jetting?whatever, it was sticking OUT rock, ready to break my spine. Now replace the ice chest with a camera bag and you have a very expensive photo trip with broken bones and lenses. Not ideal. The moral of this story? Splurge on a good backpack. This one may not be as
cutegirly as this red one I saw, but it has a built in camel pack, side access so you don’t have to completely remove the pack, and its super sleek and lightweight- perfect for your womanly body.
3. I’ve mentioned before how you can use a tripod as a weapon if you must (yes I was totally serious), but if you’re cameras already attached to it I highly doubt you’re going to want to whip that in someones face. Walking around SF by myself I decided since I was alone and with expensive (read: attractive to thieves) equipment that I’d have my pepper spray close by just in case- cause you really never know, and this is where my moms overprotection my whole life kicks in. I have a carabiner I use as a keychain and I clipped my pepper spray to my bag so I could easily unclip it and have it ready. Seriously, women, you never know, always be ready to defend yourself because yes, it could happen even to you.
I originally meant to just tell you about my change of plans for the day but I got seriously sidetracked once I realized how much of a hassle it can be traveling alone sometimes (but totally worth it, especially the part about being on your own timetable). ANYway, I hope I helped you gals with your photo travels out there.