• Travel Light, Shoot Big: Packing Tips from Landscape Photographer Conor MacNeill

    March 27, 2024

    Conor MacNeill, also known as the Fella, is a travel & landscape photographer.  His biggest passions always was traveling and exploring which actually brought him to photography. Now he does both with a focus on landscapes, cityscapes, and sometimes astrophotography or even Deep Space.  

    Conor's philosophy extends beyond photography; he's also on a mission to greet every street dog he encounters, adding a heartwarming touch to his travels. Filmed at the Pro Hangout in North Macedonia, Conor reveals his minimalist approach to travel photography, showcasing how he navigates the globe with a compact, yet powerful photography kit.

    Traveling Minimalistic: Conor’s approach  

    After a trip in Kosovo Conor visited us at the Pro Hangout in North Macedonia and walked us through his travel kit


    "I am not just here because of the photography and meeting everyone, I am also here to say hi to all the street dogs! "

    His Tilopa houses only his Small Pro Insert with one Nikon Z9Body with a Battery grip and 2 Lenses, a Lens Hood, a Filter case, a Tripod, a few receipts, a memory card case, and clothes. Throughout his traveling and multiple packing occasions, he learned packing light tailored for him without compromising. Conscious decisions about what to bring is his blueprint. Think about what you really need.  

    Which one is more important to you specifically – weight or variety of gear?  

    In the past, Conor had multiple Batteries with him for his Camera. For these, he had also different compartments in his pack arranged so he could know which Batteries were full or which were used. By now he is only using his Camera with the Built-in Battery Grip which gives him enough Power supply throughout the day. At night he just plugs the Camera in with USB C and charges it like this. 

    This Workflow also allows him to save weight and space on Batteries, chargers, etc. He reduced it to the most needed items.  

    Tilopa 50 L on the ground with the Small Pro Camera Insert, 2 Large Accessory pouches, and the Dust Cover

    Efficient Packing 

    A look in his pack shows 4 parts of Cubes/pouches. Conor also repurposes some accessories like the dust cover as laundry bags in which the f-stop packs come shipped in, minimizing waste, and maximizing utility. He also gives the Accessory Pouches Large a different function to transport his clothing and keep it organized. Everyday items like socks, shirts, and undergarments are neatly packed away. The rest of his pack is very straightforward as well. Mesh pouches hold receipts and SIM cards or other items he needs when traveling for business while larger compartments hold his Gym Kit or a Jacket.  

    Heavier items, such as camera gear, at the bottom for optimal weight distribution. His laptop stays in the Laptop sleeve with an additional protective Case as well so he can take it out at airports and carry it around.  

    Camera Gear Setup 

    A well-padded laptop sleeve keeps my device secure, while a custom camera insert houses my essential photography equipment. Conor is selecting a compact kit tailored to my travel needs, including a large camera with a built-in grip and a versatile lens selection. USB-C charging capability further benefits my setup, reducing the need for multiple batteries. Having his items in different Compartments allows him to change, swap, and rearrange or similar quickly.

    If Conor needs to take out the Camera Insert due to having to check in the Camera pack or he just needs to change it over in a different pack he folds up the flap of the insert, zips it up, and can carry it easily through the airport. Photos below show Conor with the Small Pro Camera Insert closed up - as he jokes with a camera Suitcase

    Tripod Attachment Management 

    Handling tripods can be cumbersome, especially during travel. With Gatekeeper straps, he fastens the tripod to the outside of the bag. The Bottom Gatekeeper strap over all three keeps the legs secure and the Top strap through two legs to secure it from slipping down. 

    In case Conor is planning to travel with small planes he makes his packs look more compact by removing the ball head and placing both the Head and the Tripod in his Camera bag next to the Insert. The Tripod without the Ball head perfectly fits in his Tilopa from the Height still, so a conscious decision on a tripod height or being able to remove a ball head is part of his strategy. For him, this is ideal for navigating through airports or tight spaces.  

    “As a conscious traveler, I strive to minimize waste and maximize utility. Making conscious choices that can enhance my travel experience!” 

    Connect with Conor : https://thefella.com

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