Travel Like An Architect (My Habits)

See how I travel as an architect from the gear I bring, to my sketching and photography habits. This simple process for observing and documenting your trips – near or far – will make you a better designer. (Be sure to stick around at 4:46…wait for it…!)

My travel kit is as lean as it’s ever been, just a sketchbook, a few drawing tools, my camera gear and a small laptop. You don’t need an expensive camera or special tools to follow this process. The DSLR is an intentional choice for me as it forces me to slow down when I’m traveling. It makes me think about lens selection and composition, the subject, the lighting. It’s probably the single best investment I’ve made in the past 10 years (aside from travel). Use whatever you have with you.

For lenses on this trip I brought a wide zoom, a medium zoom, a telephoto and a macro. And this was way too many. Lenses are heavy and to lug these things around in a backpack in the tropics is…well, sweaty. Of the four I brought along, I used the 24-70mm and the 100mm most of the time. The zoom is great because the 24mm end on a full frame camera is wide enough to capture landscapes or interiors, the 70mm is perfect for details and right around 50mm is great for portraits. So this one lens covers a lot of situations. An interesting challenge is to limit yourself to one focal length for a day and see how creative you can get with it. It’s especially helpful for forcing you out of a rut.

The laptop is super portable and light, it’s a stripped down MacBook Air which I use to edit my photos + video and for writing a little each day.

You’ll learn why I reject guidebooks in general, my process for observing, documenting and then cataloguing my travels and you’ll see what I do in the downtime between destinations.

Time Stamps:
0:22 Start Now. Don’t wait until you arrive at your destination to start taking photos or sketching.
0:42 Follow 30by40 on Instagram:
0:49 Travel Essentials.
1:28 My Routine (Shoot then Sketch)
1:55 Subjects. Not everything has to be architectural.
2:53 Details + Materials = Experience. Learn to observe the world this way.
4:46 Wait for it…
4:55 Has this ever happened to you? Relaxing on the beach and out of nowhere…!?

The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, NY was designed by the London Architecture Firm: Michaelis Boyd and completed in 2017. We actually had no plans to stay here, but we arrived in NYC to an early season snowstorm and our connecting flight back to Maine was canceled. Our flight the following day wasn’t due to leave until 10pm, so at my better half’s urging, we traveled from JFK airport to Williamsburg in Brooklyn and spent the next 24 hours exploring the neighborhood and staying in this fantastic hotel. Completely worth the little bit of extra effort to get there from JFK.

Links (**):
Camera Gear:
White pen:

#architecture #architect #travel

**Affiliate links cost you nothing extra, but they send a small commission my way to help cover the cost of making these videos. A sincere thanks for helping support my work!


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