Mike Corey (@fearlessandfar) is an adventure travel YouTuber, TV host and podcaster. His popular adventure travel vlogs feature epic experiences most haven’t seen before, and they have attracted over 483K subscribers to his YouTube Channel. We recently connected with him to learn more about what he’s learned through his experiences as an adventure travel vlogger. Check out some of his tips below regarding the gear he uses, how he manages it on the go, and how he breaks down barriers by being an active participant in his travels.
Adventure travel vlogger Mike Corey has been to some of the most remote locations in the world. See his tips for managing your gear and being an active participant in your travels.
Don’t Forget About Prime Lenses
While many might think the versatility of a zoom lens is all that an adventure travel photographer or vlogger would need, Corey says not to forget about those prime lenses that can provide a unique look. He utilizes several primes in his kit for adventure travel vlogging.
“I never thought I would fall in love with primes because it just didn’t seem as practical when you’re traveling since you need to be able to capture things quickly,” says Corey. “But the stuff I’ve been able to shoot on the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master – it just looks incredible. I shoot on it a lot of the time now, to the point where I’ll keep it on my camera for most things. It just looks fantastic with the variable ND filter. Sometimes I’ll vlog with it as well. At the end of the day, it’s just a phenomenal lens.”
“I'm also such a huge proponent of a macro lens for traveling, and I love the Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. It’s not one most people would think about but it’s almost like a zoom lens in the sense that you can shoot a lot of different stuff with it. I think for anyone doing photography or videography, it’s a great lens and it’s become one of my go-tos. So right now I travel with the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master, 90mm f/2.8 Macro G and then I do take a zoom, the 16-35mm f/4. Those are my babies.”
Make Sure Your Gear Is Organized & Easily-Accessible
If you’re adventure travel vlogging, you don’t really have time to be fumbling around with your equipment. Corey says it’s important to have your gear organized and easily accessible, and for that he utilizes Peak Design’s Lens Kit For Capture.
“The Peak Design system has clips that you can screw onto your belt or backpack. They've got the Lens Kit For Capture that I've been using forever. It's the best camera accessory I've ever had. I can have the 16-35mm f/4 on my camera and the 90mm f/2.8 Macro G on my hip, and I can change those lenses in a second or maybe even less. And for travel, that is such an important thing. Sometimes things happen so quickly that being able to switch lenses in the blink of an eye alleviates any negative consequences of carrying around multiple lenses.”
“It’s been so integral for my work. If I’m running and jumping and chasing after baboons or something crazy like that, a strap doesn’t work because it flops around and swings back and forth. Especially if you have to climb something, the camera swinging freely could easily crack against something. Peak Design’s clips are the best for any kind of adventure because it's much more secure.”
Keep Your Camera Charged With Extra Batteries & A Power Bank
Corey usually carries plenty of extra batteries with him, but he also brings a solid power bank that he can charge the camera with. “I didn't realize for the longest time that you can charge the camera via USB,” explains Corey. “I mean, I always bring extra batteries with me, but if I forget one or I'm doing a long road trip and I can't keep them charged, that's an amazing way to keep it charged. You know the backup system's there as long as you have a cable.”
Break Down Barriers By Being An Active Participant In Your Travels
Corey travels to many remote locations and runs into tribal groups or other groups who haven’t seen many foreigners. His job is to capture everything as authentically as possibly, but how do you capture an authentic moment when just you being there makes it a bit inauthentic? How do you show these people in their best light, in a friendly way, when you’ve just met each other?
“I'm not really a guy who's afraid to get dirty,” says Corey. “And because I really do think we're all the same, no matter where you're from, anything I can do to eliminate that barrier, I do that. So I don't generally use a camera in the beginning. If I'm meeting certain people for the first time, maybe it’s a tribe and they're going about their daily lives – I sit down on the dirt and I help them with what they're doing. Because at the end of the day, I want to tell their story as authentically as possible. And I don't want myself to be seen as an outsider looking in. I want to be as in as I can be in.”
Corey also makes it a point to write down everyone’s name and memorizes them because, “it's really the most important word in anybody's life – their name.” Then from there, he will start bringing the camera. He always asks first, because he says if you just go up and film someone, you won’t get the reaction you want because even if they're cool with being on camera, it's not a natural moment. He always tries to ease in first by actively participating.”
“I don't want to be a bystander. I want to participate and be an active participant in whatever travel experience I'm doing. And by doing that, you break down 90% of barriers. There's a few places in the world where they don't like cameras, but most people, once they realize that you’re there to interact and showcase and explain and educate and just show the beauty of a people or a location. Who wouldn't want to be part of that? And so for me, I always work on developing that relationship first, then bring in the camera and ask permission to make sure it’s OK. And then I rarely have any friction in places, especially you'd think would be very hard to film, it's because I'm not afraid of getting in there and looking like a fool, making a mistake, getting dirty, whatever's happening. And then from there, I'm able to capture some extremely unique content. Because I really love learning and experiencing, and I really will try anything if it's not going to kill me.”