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What’s In My Bag: See The Gear This Travel Photographer Packs For A Tropical Journey

Phil Yoon (@phil.yoon) is an artist that credits photography for jumpstarting his creative journey eight years ago. When his friend and fellow Alpha Collective member JN Silva (@jnsilva) said, "Twenty to thirty years from now, we'll look back at these photos and appreciate that we have these moments forever," that perspective alone changed everything for him. “From the mundanity of everyday life to the most epic experiences around the world,” explains Yoon, “photos are immortalized with the feelings of qualia that encapsulate every person's completely unique experience. How we interpret and experience art is never the exact same for each individual.” This is why the pursuit of creating is a lifelong commitment for Phil.

How a Sony Alpha 1, a classic zoom and a pair of primes enabled Alpha Collective member Phil Yoon to capture each memorable moment of a special trip.

Phil and his wife, Jen, were set out to venture to Bali for their honeymoon in 2020, but circumstances delayed those plans until this summer of 2022. Filled with the excitement to explore everything that comes with visiting a new culture, they share pieces of their celebration and the process behind the gear chosen for each moment. Read more as Yoon shares what was in his bag for his trip to Bali below.

Phil Yoon' travel photography kit

Camera

Sony Alpha 1: Traveling is always a physically demanding excursion so I usually like to bring one main camera body. The Sony Alpha 1 is the perfect beast that lets me be efficient when switching between photography and capturing footage. I've customized my camera to feasibly switch between the two mediums, adjust picture profiles, take self-portraits, and so much more. It has truly become an extension of me so I don't risk missing an opportunity to capture any significant moments.

Lenses

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master: With efficiency in mind, my go-to lens during the daytime is the 24-70mm f/2.8 G-Master. I don't have to worry about switching lenses when I want to capture a wide or tight perspective. The more I focused on shooting, the more moments I was able to capture on our honeymoon. With over ten thousand images and hundreds of videos captured, I really put my favorite lens to work. Sony even released a newer version of the 24-70mm f/2.8 by packing all of that versatility into a lighter weight product.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/200-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/200-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

During our travels, we stayed at five different locations with this being an eco-friendly treehouse community. It was a cultural beauty with architecture built by locally sourced materials. I was drawn to this particular composition with the stairs leading to the path that revealed a sliver of the jungle beyond. Jen wandered curiously only to find herself in a magical moment of discovery.

We were fortunate enough to visit the Uluwatu Temple where they were celebrating Tilem (Dark Moon) Ceremony. These two photos were taken on opposite sides of each other. On one side, the vast Balinese landscape was beautiful during sunset. On the other, peaceful prayers and chants filled the air with a feeling of gratitude for the kind and loving people.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/800-sec., f/2.8, ISO 800

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/800-sec., f/2.8, ISO 800

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/8, ISO 8000

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/8, ISO 8000

We always wanted to visit mountainous rice paddies like these, and when we arrived, it sure didn't disappoint. There's something about having a single tiny subject in a massive location to show scale. I wanted to ensure that the subject was recognizable so I pushed the 24-70mm to the max and let the rest of the colors and environment speak for itself. Of course, it helped that there was a farmer wearing their rice hat to complete the story I wanted to tell. It was truly an unforgettable moment for me.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1000-sec., f/2.8, ISO 200

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1000-sec., f/2.8, ISO 200

If you've been to Bali, the traffic there is a creature of its own. With what seem like little to no traffic laws, the flurry of cars and motorbikes are a sight of beauty in the way commuters move almost symbiotically. They communicate cohesively by honking their horns and sharing kind gestures of affirmation. I had to capture a moment depicting speed and busyness in an image, but chose to single out a lone rider as she hurried to her next destination. The soft light of sunrise made the environment evenly lit with splashes of flare peaking through the buildings behind. This photo will always remind me of how hectic yet calming Bali's roads were.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/8, ISO 800

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/8, ISO 800

This day, we weren't able to find a taxi to our intended destination, but we committed to going with the flow and making the best of whatever happened - after all, plans change and what's important was that we were finally on our honeymoon together. We pivoted and stumbled upon Seseh Beach where the sands were dark gray and black which we've yet to encounter. We were amongst a variety of natives, ex-pats, and tourists enjoying sunset's glorious golden light. I saw the dark beach sand illuminated by a sheet of golden light and took in the layers of activity that filled the camera viewport. From the foreground of rocks to the surfers in the distance, this moment was filled with the spirit and energy of Seseh Beach on that spontaneous evening.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 100

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 100

Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master and Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master: Whether it's for a super crisp shot with lots of depth and creamy bokeh or needing a faster lens for night time shots, the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master and the Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master are my favorite prime lenses. A lot of times, I like to venture out and challenge myself to shoot with one lens for a certain period of time. I set my alarm for a few hours and try to capture as much as possible until the alarm sounds.

This evening was special because it was our anniversary dinner. My wife and I have been together for 13 years and married for six years. On the way to our intimate dinner, I lagged behind in order to photograph her in two particular locations we scouted earlier that day. I waited for her to cross the exact spot I knew I wanted to freeze time with her in frame. It didn't matter that we were late to our dinner. All that mattered was that we had these special photos.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/1.4, ISO 10000

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/1.4, ISO 10000

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/1.4, ISO 10000

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/1.4, ISO 10000

Jen has always supported my creative journey ever since I first picked up a camera. Throughout the years, I've always been behind the camera, and she's always been one of my favorite subjects. We realized that we're rarely in photos together unless they're selfies or there are others with us. So this honeymoon trip, we made the effort to take self-portraits using Sony's remote control settings. Using the Imaging Edge app, we set up our tripod and experimented with different compositions and poses. Foreign to having my photo taken, it was a challenge, but with her creative direction, we loved how these intimate images came out. It also helps that this estate was beautifully decorated in all white with trinkets and accents that really completed the vibe of the photo.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/2.2, ISO 160

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/2.2, ISO 160

Later that day, Jen changed into a long bohemian dress that matched perfectly with the rest of the villa so I changed from the 24mm to the 35mm f/1.4. The blinds leaked light from outside to make for an intriguing pattern on her face and body. She leaned in and closed her eyes to bask in the moment for our honeymoon collection.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 100

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 100

Just outside our door, there was a path enveloped by greenery that led to more white architecture filled with intricate designs. There was a patch of light shining in the walkway, and the contrast of the light colored dress in the dark surroundings allowed her to stand out, drawing the viewer's eyes directly to her.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 100

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 100

This last image depicts our relationship in such a deep and meaningful way. We've always made the best out of a situation no matter what life throws our way. It started pouring when we finally settled at the bamboo treehouse, but we didn't let it stop us from being creative. I made sure that the shutter speed was just fast enough where the raindrops would streak - with Jen stretching and embracing the downpour.

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/1.4, ISO 100

Photo by Phil Yoon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/1.4, ISO 100

Accessories

Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise-Canceling Headphones: One absolute must have accessory that I recommend when traveling are noise canceling headphones. It took us 20+ hours to get to Bali, and during our flight there, there were multiple babies crying around us. The Sony WH-1000XM3 noise canceling headphones let me enjoy the flight undisturbed. 

Batteries, Battery Pack & Memory Cards: All necessities that I don’t leave home without.

I appreciate you letting me share a piece of this special trip with you. I hope it's helpful for your next trip!

See more of Phil Yoon’s work on Instagram @phil.yoon.

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