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Travel to Scotland: Photography Tour & Gear

Edinburgh, Christmas, Scotland, Bus stop
Hustle and bustle at Christmas time in Edinburgh.

I daydream about traveling...weekly. I think about where my next vacation will be, who will come with me and what we will do. It’s always an international destination… I’m not sure why. There are so many places in the U.S. that I haven’t seen yet.

I suppose it’s that the world is so big and I feel as though I must see some of it before I die.

This past December, I travelled to Scotland — the country I was born in, where all of my relatives still live.

My mum moved us to the States when I was 7 and I have only been back a few times to visit. The most recent was 12 years ago! So it was time to go back AND I brought my husband with me this time.

He hasn’t been on an international trip (for leisure) EVER! In fact, I helped him get his first passport 😋.

So, the decision was made — we were going to Scotland for Christmas.

Travel to Scotland: Journey There

Getting there was an absolute nightmare. So much so that I wrote a separate post on what-not-to-do-when-traveling.

[Picture me smiling awkwardly and blinking a lot.]

I made a MAJOR mistake when booking my flight and I know that I can't be the first that has made this mistake and I probably (and unfortunately) won't be the last. So, check out that post and learn from my mistakes.

Sigh. Moving on...

Travel to Scotland: The Trip

We had an absolute blast!! Once we were there, the mistake I made (which cost us an arm and a leg) didn't matter anymore.

It was so great to be with everyone, be in Scotland, revive my memories a little and make new ones! And to top it off my mum surprised us by flying out too!! She arrived a day after us.

A Christmas miracle!

Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland, Harry Potter inspiration, historic marketplace, cobblestone street
My mum and I walking through the historic Grassmarket in Edinburgh.

I love Christmas time anyway but to be in Scotland which has a special place in my heart and with my aunts and cousins who I never see made it that much more special.

We flew into Glasgow as it was the cheapest route for us. One of my aunts picked us up from the airport and we drove an hour to Edinburgh to stay my other aunt.

We saw a lot of Edinburgh and it was beautiful with the Christmas lights and Christmas market. We partook in a ghost tour through Greyfriar's Kirkyard, which also is where J.K. Rowling took inspiration for some of the Harry Potter characters. We also went to a special "The Snowman" performance by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

We also went to Troon (on the West coast) to visit the town I remember the most and I drove! Driving a my aunt's manual Fiat on the left side of the road was a riot and extremely stressful. Haha.

My mum took over as soon as we got to Troon. She was brought up there so she knows more than I do and I like hearing her stories.

We also visited Glasgow one day, Dundee another day, and took the train to Pitlochry, a cute little town in the Highlands.

We jam-packed it in!

Travel to Scotland: Photography Travel Gear

What did I bring with me?!

With this trip in mind, I purchased a new camera bag — a wonderful little incognito street photography bag.

It worked perfectly! It’s stylish AND you can’t tell that it’s a camera bag which are two things I love about it. It was also on sale. NO BRAINER.

The entire inside is padded and it comes with a 3 padded inserts to give you separate compartments. I took one out to fit my Nikon D750 (with a lens attached) so that it was a simple grab when I needed it. I carried a separate lens in the other compartment.

Standing in Edinburgh with incognito photography crossbodybag.

Click here to see the ins and outs of the bag on the website. It's called the Granada. I also have the Wyndham Street bag to carry EVERYTHING when I need it but I didn't bring it on this trip.

Lenses I brought with me:

  • 35mm Nikkor 1.8 prime lens - this is a great photojournalistic lens. It captures a lot in the frame and doesn’t have much distortion. I have the DX lens and use it on my full-frame camera. I has vignetting when you close down your aperture but I usually shoot open so it has been a great little lens for me. Check out this video or this one for more info on using the 35mm DX lens on FX camera bodies.

  • 85mm Nikkor 1.8 prime lens — this is my portrait lens and I love it so much so I had to take it.

I didn’t feel like I missed out on any shots due to equipment restrictions so it was a good combo to take. However, we didn't spend much time in the Highlands. When we go back, I will bring my wide angle lens and a travel tripod to shoot some landscape up there.

Travel to Scotland: Decisions over Daydreams

Upon reflecting on this trip, I realize that I daydream a lot about traveling and don’t do enough of it.

Before this trip, I had been thinking I’d like to go back to Scotland for years but it wasn’t really a serious thought until one day it was.

What holds me back? It could be the expense to get there or the vast number of other places on my list, or both!

Either way, I’ve decided that I need to make more decisions about travel instead of daydreams because it is exhilarating, exhausting, expensive and, oh, so worth it.

Follow my travels on Instagram @bomzeaway.


Photography Tour: Edinburgh, Leith & Pitlochry

Photography Tour: Edinburgh's Christmas Market

& Christmas day

Photography Tour: Glenkinchie Whisky Distillery

Photography Tour: Scot Rail & Troon


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