Is GPS Essential for Travel Photographers?

February 05, 2023

Goat herder, outside Basshi, KazakhstanGoat herder, outside Basshi, Kazakhstan

Goat herder, outside Basshi, Kazakhstan (The Silk Road/ The Three Stans)
Fujifilm X-T3, 
Fujifilm Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/3500 second, ISO 160

Many cameras either have GPS built-in or you can purchase a GPS adapter, allowing the camera to record your precise position at the moment a photo was taken. While this mightn’t show the location of the subject being photographed, it’s certainly within viewing distance and the coordinates will allow you to determine where you were and what the subject is. GPS can be really useful for travel, landscape and wildlife photographers.

For some trips where you’re at a single destination, it’s not going to be too hard to remember where you are, but on other trips, you might travel several thousand kilometres and locations can blur one into another. This isn’t a problem until you want to tell someone where a photo was taken or perhaps you want to write a caption in your photo book.

If you want GPS coordinates, you can certainly use your camera if it has it, or with a GPS accessory. The main criticism I’ve heard is these units can be thirsty on power, but this could be solved with a spare set of batteries. A second option is to take a photo with your phone at each location as invariably these photos will include location data.

However, I generally forget to take photos with my phone, so a third option is to track my progress for the duration of each trip, either day by day or when travelling a particular segment. You can use your phone or watch to do this and, as long as your camera’s date and time are synchronised, it will be fairly easy to determine where you were. Even better, using an app on your phone (like WorkOutDoors or Guru Maps Pro) will let you view your journey on a map or export a map file so you can use it with other mapping applications.

GPS isn’t essential for a photographer with a notepad and pencil (or who writes down locations on his or her phone), but it’s a fun way to record where you’ve been. It certainly makes caption writing a lot more accurate!

Join Peter Eastway on his next adventure to Kazakhstan and the other Stans in September/October 2023, click link below for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-1-20-september-to-3-october-2021-us-7995-detail
 

 


Archive
January February March April May June July (1) August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July (3) August (2) September (1) October (1) November December
January (3) February (3) March April May June July August September October November December