Category: Travel

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Get Inspiration By Taking a Trip to Australia

When it comes to visiting Australia, there are a number of incredible places worth exploring. From the skylines of Sydney to the wild beauty of Tasmania and the incredible coastlines found around Queensland, Australia as a whole has a lot to offer every kind of traveler and photographer. However, after visiting Australia multiple times over the last 10 years, it is safe to say that the Northern Territory (often called the NT for short) has quickly become one of my favorite destinations in the land of Oz. Covering a vast array of land (1.421 million KM), the NT contains some of Australia’s most impressive sights and experiences. With amazing wildlife opportunities around World-Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and impressive waterfalls and wading pools at Litchfield National Park – and with the historical and spiritual significance of places like Uluru in the Red Centre, the NT is a photographer’s paradise that shouldn’t be missed. That is why I have put together this extensive guide to help you plan your own photographic adventure! When to Visit Trying to decide when to visit the NT is not as straightforward as one might think. This is because the Northern Territory is large, covering ground from Uluru in the Red Centre all the way up above the city of Darwin in the far north of Australia. In order to truly be accurate, we must break the NT into two main sections, the Top End and the Red Center. The best time to visit either region can vary, even if just slightly, depending on the focus of your trip and what you hope to experience. Top End When compared to the Red Centre, the Top End is certainly the more tropical of the two. It is home to the bustling northernmost city of Darwin, incredible national parks (Kakadu, Nitmiluk & Litchfield) and neighboring Arnhem Land which, which is protected Aboriginal land, full of some incredibly rich Aboriginal cultural sites and experiences. The Green Season From November through April, you will find the Top End in the “wet season”. With its tropical climate, you can expect a good amount of rainfall and humidity. Temperatures range from 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, along with a relatively consistent humidity of 80 percent and above. However, with the rains, you will also find incredibly lush landscapes, waterfalls at full-flow and impressive lightning storms that would make any adventurous photographer smile. Most roads are still open but you should check local reports for any road closures because of the weather. The Dry Season From May to October, the Top End experiences its “dry season”. Here you will find temperatures from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but a much dryer heat. Because of this, you can expect the dry season to be the busiest months of the year to visit this part of the NT, especially from June through August. Here you will find plenty of festivals, events, and outdoor activities to keep you busy, such as the Darwin Festival, Mindil Markets and Deckchair cinema. The shoulder season of September and October typically offer smaller crowds and more lodging availability as schools in Australia begins to start back up and domestic tourism starts to slow down a bit. The Red Centre As the heart of Australia, the iconic Red Centre is home to deserts, mountains, gorges and incredibly beautiful spiritually significant sites. Popular locations within the Red Centre include Uluru, Kata Tjuta (both of which lie within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park), Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, West MacDonnell Ranges and Alice Springs (the second largest town outside Darwin in the NT). What About the Temperature Swing? While you often don’t have to worry about rain in the Red Centre, the temperature swing can be pretty incredible. In the summer, you can see temperatures rise above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees C) while winter nights can often dip below 32 degrees Farenheight (0 degrees C). Humidity can also swing fairly heavily with 18 percent in September and up to 35% during the winter months of June and July. The Best Time to Visit When I asked locals, I was consistently told that April through September was what I should plan for when it came to planning a return trip. It is warm – but not too warm – and the weather is a bit more predictable. That being said, seeing a lightning storm over Uluru in January would be pretty incredible! How to Get There The vast majority of land found within the NT of Australia is uninhabited, known as “the bush”. This is the true Australian Outback you have read about. With its vast stretches of open space in the NT, air travel is the faster and more direct mode of transportation I often recommend. That being said, self-driving between the Top End and the Red Center is pretty popular, especially considering that NT has some of Australia’s most epic tourist driving routes. The three main airports in the NT are… Ayers Rock (AYQ) Nearest to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Ayers Rock Airport is essentially located in the heart of the Red Center. This relatively small regional airport is well built, comfortable and a great starting point to visit some of Australia’s most iconic and import rock formations to the Aboriginals, such as Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Alice Springs (ASP) Alice Springs is the second largest town in the Northern Territory with a population of more than 25,000. The town itself is surrounded by deserts and mountains, including the famous MacDonnell Ranges, making it an ideal location for those keen on exploring and getting outside. The airport is small but spacious and allows for a number of daily flights in and out from a number of Australian destinations. Darwin (DRW) As the only international airport of the three, the Darwin airport is fairly large and full of just about all of the amenities you might need. If you aren’t planning on flying into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth first,...

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Best Products and Services For Traveling When Gathering Inspiration

One of the most overly romanticized genres in the photo industry has to be Travel Photography. There are a lot of people out there that think travel photographers simply get paid to travel to beautiful places all over the world and that our lives are simply a cake walk. However in reality, most of us have to hustle just like any other entrepreneur…and do so while dealing with jet lag, food poisoning and increasingly hostile airlines when it comes to bag fees and weight restrictions 😉 That being said, I wouldn’t trade my career for any other, especially after doing this for the last 12 years. Over that time, I have learned the value in finding products and services that make my life easier and more enjoyable as a travel photographer, which is why I wrote this blog post. Here you won’t find advice on what camera or lenses to purchase, but rather a mix of some of the most helpful tools I find myself using on a daily basis while I travel all over the globe. I hope you enjoy! My Favorite Apps for Booking Travel Logistics One of the biggest expenses for any trip usually comes down to the cost of airfare, hotel, and vehicle rentals. It can cost thousands of dollars to travel around the world, depending on where you are flying from, where you are flying to and when you want to travel. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few of my favorite Apps/Websites that constantly help me save money when I am booking flights. Kayak As one of the longest running online travel services, Kayak is a great way to compare flights, check out hotels and rent vehicles for your adventures. You can research various different itineraries and save them to your account so that you are notified of price fluctuations. While other apps tend to do this better, it is a nice addition to what is probably the most well-rounded option available. Hipmonk As an alternative to Kayak, Hipmonk is one of the best ways to not only find the best prices for a flight, but also the flight that is the least stressful. You can sort flights by “Agony” where the service helps you balance finding the cheapest flight with the ratings of the airlines, the duration of your layovers and much more. In addition, price alerts for saved flights are more aggressive and accurate than Kayak, letting you know when you should buy a specific flight. At times it has told me to wait a few days and low and behold prices dropped. Can’t recommend it enough! Booking.com While there are many options for you to choose from when it comes to booking hotel rooms, one of my favorites is Booking.com. The more you use them the more discounts you get when booking a room. They have solid IOS & Android apps, great customer service and tend to find the best deals for me when I am looking to book a trip. My “Genius” discount for booking so much with them is usually 10-15% off the lowest prices I find other places, which adds up over time. Project Fi/T-Mobile Easily one of the best services I use as a travel photographer is wrapped around my cell provider. These days I use Google’s Profect Fi cell service that uses a mix of T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular networks when I am home in the US, but switches purely to T-Mobile’s international partnerships when I travel abroad. In most countries (170 to be exact), I simply turn off airplane mode when I land and instantly connect to the local cell provider via T-Mobile’s business partnerships. No buying local sim cards or paying extra for international data as it comes right out of your standard data allotment each month…the service just works! Currently, Project Fi is only available to people that use Google’s own cell phones (such as the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL) but at some point, they will probably expand. For everyone else, you can sign up with T-Mobile and get this same international travel service, with one caveat. Project Fi doesn’t regulate the speeds you get when traveling internationally, so LTE means LTE. With T-Mobile I believed you are capped somewhere between 2g and 3g speeds. Headphones and Ear Plugs One of the most important things every traveler, let alone travel photographer, needs in their carry on bag is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. Nothing can make a long flight, train ride or even car ride more enjoyable. While the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 has historically been a favorite among travelers, the new Sony WH1000 XM2 is the new king of comfort, sound quality and battery life (30 hrs via a rechargeable battery). Technophiles and casual travelers alike have been giving this pair of headphones rave reviews, so feel free to do a Google search to back up my findings. My pair has been in my bag with me ever since I picked them up, replacing last year’s model, the Sony MDR-1000X. Can’t recommend these enough! Speaking of noise, a crappy night of sleep can easily ruin a day on the road, which can be a big deal if you only have a few days in a new location. You already have to deal with an unknown bed and pillow, why add noise to the mix? My sure-fire solution is two-fold… LeCrut Portable White Noise Machine At home, I have an awesome white noise machine that helps me sleep at night, but it is way too big to bring with me on the road to help drown out a noisy hotel neighbor. Luckily I recently found a super portable white noise machine from LectroFan that has a battery life of 16 hours (rechargeable via micro USB) and even doubles as a portable blue tooth speaker. It is so small that it easily fit into a pants pocket if needed. Soft...