Australia Adventure: 3 Vacation Photo Tips!

Fun Info, Inspiration

Queensland, Australia

Call me the opportunist traveler - have passport, will travel!

When my husband's job needed him to travel to Australia for a couple of weeks in August, we decided I would join him for a vacation first. This found us having an amazing trip and provided him space to acclimate to the 17-hour time difference before going into the office.

While I only had 9 days to explore, we had a variety of areas to enjoy from the city of Brisbane to the island of K'gari and a few others places between them. I filled my photographer's heart with delight seeing so many new things, and joy being on an adventure with my partner.

Along the way, I used 3 different cameras: my iPhone 11, my professional camera - a Canon 5d Mark 4, and Fuji film XPro1. Why these cameras? Really it came down to ease of use. The iPhone seems self-explanatory, it's easy to have in my pocket. The Canon enabled me to capture things that required more control of settings like my starry night photos, and the Fuji film, because it fits easily in a day bag while traipsing around the city, plus it's smaller and lighter in weight than the Canon.

The hardest part of coming home from the trip wasn't so much the jet-lag (which is very real), but the photos! What to cut, what to keep, what to really share. From social media to a printed photo album to remember this trip, I was able to take 1,098 photos and trim them down to 268. It all comes down to what you want to show and share your story of your trip. And, it helps to keep this in mind during your vacation so that you're not so busy photographing everything that you miss the joy of just being present. Yes, you don't need to photograph all the things.

Here are my top tips to offer while you're on your next vacation (examples from our Australia Adventure):

  1. Choose the camera or cameras that are most appropriate for your travel and what you wish to photograph. For example, I knew I wanted to capture some stars and night, which required a camera with the capability to have a long exposure. That meant my Canon 5D Mark 4, set up on a tripod, with a remote trigger for the shutter. Night photography is not something I've had a lot of experience with and I knew it would stretch me a bit. I'm sharing the first two examples, one that has better clarity for the billions of stars visible from K'gari Island, and one that is not as sharp but has some context with the tree line.
  2. What matters to you? If you're a fan of birds, for example, Australia is a wonderland of bird varieties. And, to photograph birds, you need a lens and camera with the capacity to zoom in and take a photo quickly. For my bird photographs, I used my Canon 5D Mark 4 as well. But, if you are a beach lover, and want something lighter, easier to carry around to photograph the details of the beach, the Fuji Film was my go-to (also used this while visiting the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, like a Zoo). And, then for our Waterfall Hike, I used my iPhone 11, because it was even lighter and I knew I wanted to focus on the journey.
  3. What to do with your vacation photos? For me, this was truly an exceptional opportunity that I wasn't expecting to have this year. I'll be putting together a photo album we can enjoy looking back through to remember this trip. I may also print up one or two photographs and frame them for decorating our home. I've also narrowed them down from too many to enjoy to 268 photographs that really show the story. But even that is too many to print. So, I've chosen an online album platform to back them up, and an additional cloud storage space to archive them. This way, if I want to find more to use somehow, I can, and have them organized. Long story short: organize and back up your photographs.

iPhone photo of me taken by my love!

Fuji Film camera snap of the Kukaborra at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

View of the city from the pedestrian bridge over Brisbane river with Canon 5d Mk4.

K'gari Island (formerly Fraser Island)

This is was an adventure that pushed me out of my comfort zone a few times! We needed to rent a 4x4 vehicle and take a barge-like ferry to get there. It is a World Heritage site, and an island made entirely of sand that hosts a rainforest and several rain water filled lakes. It's also home to a large population of Dingos! We didn't see them inland but did on the beaches around those fishing.

Starry Night Sky view

Looking up from K'gari Island off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

Night Sky through treeline

Looking up through the tree line at the night sky. The depth of the stars isn't as strong, but the context with the tree line is good for the memories of the experience..

Brisbane, the city

A highly walkable and pedestrian friendly city! From gardens to museums, I had a lovely list of places to visit thanks in part to wonderful suggestions from our friend Connie who lives there and some of my husband's co-workers. What impressed me most about the city was how much nature is incorporated in the growth and landscape. I enjoyed learning more about the city's history (built along the Brisbane River, used to be home to 5 Aboriginal tribes, and they named it not as a whole but named each part and bend). Thankful for all of the free museums, the art and history on display at the State Library, and time to see so much in just 3 days. These photographs below are a mix of iPhone 11, Fuji Film X-Pro 1, and my Canon 5d Mk4.

Exploring outside

We adventured outside Brisbane to visit a few other places between destinations. First, we enjoyed the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary! It felt a lot like a Zoo here in the United States, except their focus is to care for over 100 Koalas and other creatures. Then, we visited Rainbow Beach, which is the last town to stop at before taking the Ferry to K'gari Island. It's such a great stop and lovely town as it's own destination. Last, we worked in a waterfall hike at Buderim Forest Park as a break from the drive back to Brisbane. There's a mix of Fuji Film and iPhone photos to share!