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Este artículo no está disponible en Español
April 2009
© Julian Love

Award-winning travel and lifestyle photographer Julian Love.

Travel photography has always been a highly competitive field but - as a lover of adventure sports like skiing, hiking and climbing - it was the obvious choice for Julian Love. As a management consultant he had spent much of his time during the last few years travelling the world. Then, a month spent in China convinced him that photography was the way forward in his career and he turned professional just three years ago. Nick Wilcox-Brown found out what Canon equipment he uses for travel photography and why.

Since taking the plunge into the world of travel photography Julian Love has made a rapid, and impressive, impact. In 2006 he won Travel Photographer of the Year and since then he has won the 2007 Wanderlust Professional Photographer of the Year, and was the National Geographic Traveller/Photo District News ‘World in Focus’ winner in 2008.

Julian now has an impressive stable of clients that ranges from Insight Guides to the Jamaican Tourist Board. Others include KE Adventure Travel and a specialist travel picture library that markets much of his non-commissioned photography.

© Julian Love

Julian Love’s main kit includes the EOS 5D Mark II, three 580EX II flashguns and a mix of Canon prime, zoom, and tilt and shift lenses.

Camera bodies

Julian started off shooting with Nikon manual cameras, but made the move to autofocus with the EOS-1Ds Mark II. “EOS bodies were the natural choice when I moved to autofocus cameras - there was nothing else to touch them,” admits Julian.

More recently, he has swapped the EOS-1Ds Mark II for a pair of EOS 5D Mark II bodies: “The EOS 5D Mark II is lighter and more compact than the 1-series cameras. It is the perfect travel camera: resolution is good and it is useful to be able to crop if required.”

Although he is not currently shooting any video footage, Julian feels that the built-in Full HD 1080p video capability of the EOS 5D Mark II DSLR may prove to be very useful in the near future. Of his normal camera set-up he says: “One of the 5D Mark II bodies has an EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens attached to it almost permanently. It is an extremely handy zoom and I was more than happy to sacrifice a stop of light for the flexibility of the extra focal length”

© Julian Love

Shot in Chamonix, Julian knew he had a great backdrop and co-ordinated the shot using handheld radios. Taken with the EOS-1Ds Mark II at 70mm, 1/60sec at f/8, ISO 100.

Lens choices

Because of his diverse client base Julian's camera bag contains quite a selection of lenses. Mainstays amongst this include the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM - the latter is much valued for sports work like skiing and snowboarding.

Julian explains: “Canon is the only manufacturer that makes a range of smaller and lighter professional lenses. Being L-series guarantees sharp images, especially with the Image Stabilization system, and losing a stop of light is a fair compromise for the saving in weight and bulk when travelling. I would say these lighter and smaller L-series lenses provide quite a draw to the EOS system.”

© Julian Love

A stilt fisherman in Sri Lanka. Julian dropped his 1Ds Mark II on slippery rocks before taking this shot. Taken at 200mm focal length, 1/400sec at f/4, ISO 200.

More esoteric choices in Julian’s camera bag include the TS-E24mm f/3.5L, the EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM and the EF50mm f/1.4 USM.

Julian is a firm believer in getting the image right in the camera and the Canon TS-E24mm f/3.5L lens makes architecture and interiors straightforward: “I’m a big fan of the 24mm tilt and shift lens. I use it all the time. If you have a hundred architectural and interior shots to do, it makes sense to shoot them correctly in the first place. It is much quicker to do that, than to 'mash' pixels and lose quality by correcting the images in Photoshop.”

One of his favourite lenses in his camera bag is the EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM: “It is my sharpest lens and its close focus ability (down to 0.31m) is incredibly useful for the many food and detail shots that I have to do.” Capable of 1:1 Macro without any accessories the 100mm is also an excellent and lightweight portrait lens.

For low light work, the image stabilization on the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom is helpful, but sometimes it is necessary to be able to freeze the subject. For such shots, Julian’s EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens comes in handy. Once regarded as the ‘standard’ lens, 50mm provides a good general field of view, and at f/1.4 the lens is perfect for working in extremely low light to freeze movement in subjects. The lens is sharp and extremely light to carry at only 290g.

Light and flash

Light is critical to good photographs and when natural light is not in abundance, well-placed flash can add interest and dimension to otherwise flat images.

© Julian Love

Camel race in Syria. Shot on an EOS-1Ds Mark II at 200mm, 1/1000sec at f/4, ISO 200.

There are three Canon 580EXII flash units in Julian’s camera bag and they are used for much of the work. He explains: “The one shortcoming is their lack of built-in slave, so I have a number of other units in the bag, all featuring built-in slaves. Much of my flash work is done with the units set in manual mode and I use PocketWizards to trigger them reliably.”

Julian also makes extensive use of portable reflectors. He favours the California Sunbounce brand and although they are more expensive than others, they are light, very rigid and pack into small spaces easily.

Camera bags

Like many travel photographers Julian works alone much of the time and only uses assistants when clients have the budget to pay for them. This necessitates careful packing and the right choice of bags for his equipment. Recent travel restrictions have made international travel a challenge for many photographers and hand luggage is critical.

© Julian Love

Tanneries in Fez, Morocco. Shot on his 16-35mm zoom Julian took this on the EOS-1Ds at 19mm, 1/60sec at f/11, ISO 100.

Depending on the type of work, and need for mobility the choice of camera bag comes down to either the Lowepro Pro Roller or the Lowepro Photo Trekker. “Both bags have a similar capacity and the Roller makes life easier with its built-in wheels. The Photo Trekker though is more flexible when the terrain is rough,” reveals Julian.

For shooting advertising work and hotel interiors, Julian will often work with one or more assistants. On his most recent shoot he worked with a crew of five, so baggage allowances become a non-issue and he can afford to take additional lighting to make the job easier. However, it’s fair to say that given his impressive track record over the past three years he has done quite well for himself working alone!


Julian Love’s equipment:

2x EOS 5D Mark II

EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
TS-E24mm f/3.5L
EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
EF50mm f/1.4 USM
EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM
EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

PocketWizards radio triggers
Lowepro Pro Roller bag
Lowepro Pro Trekker bag
California Sunbounce reflectors