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Pro travel photographer Erika Valkovicova shows us her essential camera kit

Landscape
(Image credit: Erika Valkovicova)

Born in Slovakia, Erika Valkovicova, graduated in management and marketing and later gained her MBA degree in Berlin, yet has now lived in Prague for more than ten years. Her work reflects both her passion for travel and her hobby of photographing World Heritage Sites. 

She hopes to raise awareness to protect and preserve natural and cultural heritage and has had her work published on the UNESCO World Heritage website. Her favorite place in the world is always her next destination.

• Read more: Best Canon wide-angle lenses

We recently sat down with Erika to find out how she got into photography, learn her tricks for photographing landscapes as well as the essential camera kit that she couldn't live without. 

"In 2012 circumstances allowed me to escape corporate life, and I followed my dream to travel. So I bought my first Canon DSLR camera and began to document my travel experiences. I later attended some workshops to improve my skills and learned a lot from YouTube and photo magazines, too!"

"I specialize in landscape photography. I feel drawn to the beautiful Arctic as well as to tropical islands. My passion is to photograph seascapes, natural phenomena and unusual geological formations."

(Image credit: Erika Valkovicova)

"I’ve fallen in love with night photography – the Aurora Borealis, an eclipse, and even the beautiful Milky Way make for magical photographs."

"Since my first Canon 450D back in 2012, I’ve been a happy owner of a Canon EOS 6D, Canon EOS 5DS R, and a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which I recently replaced with the mirrorless Canon EOS R5. The latest addition is the incredible Canon EOS Ra for astrophotography. I am gradually replacing my EF lenses for the RF series. I never leave for a landscape shoot without a sturdy tripod and a set of ND filters. I usually carry a few spare batteries and cards as well as a head torch, a compass and hand warmers."

"I rely a lot on photo apps when planning, such as PhotoPills, The Photographer’s Ephemeris, Stellarium, and Long Exposure calculator, for the ND filters and various weather forecast applications on my phone."

"I started running photo workshops in 2020, which was not the ideal year to do so, but hopefully life will be back to normal again soon."

01. Canon EOS Ra

(Image credit: Canon)

"What makes the EOS Ra unique, compared to regular cameras, is its sensor has extended infra-red sensitivity and increased 30x magnification for pin-point focus checking. I had my old 6D body modded for astro a few years ago, and when I purchased the R5, I was hoping for a mirrorless astro option to appear. I'm super excited by its astro performance!"

02. Canon EOS R5

(Image credit: Canon)

"I bought this camera in the summer of 2020 – and didn’t regret it for a second. I kept my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body as a backup camera, but once your fingers get used to the R5, there is no escape from this mirrorless beauty! I love the vari-angle touch-screen display and the incredible performance when it comes to the in-body image stabilization! Combined with my favorite Canon RF 15-35mm lens, this combo in my opinion is unbeatable when it comes to landscape photography!"

03. Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)

"This lens replaced my previous Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens. The zoom range is perfect for landscape photography, as it covers ultra wide-angles at 15mm and standard wide-angles at 35mm, with a wide max aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. Since I travel a lot, I appreciate zoom lenses for their versatility, and if I only had to choose one lens – this would be it. It is exceptionally sharp!"

04. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM

(Image credit: Canon)

"The most recent addition to my kit is this very affordable nifty-fifty. I sold my EF 50mm f/1.2 lens a year ago, but purchasing the Canon EOS Ra made it clear that a 50mm lens will come in handy again. I’ve started shooting with the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini star tracker, where every gram of gear counts. This lens is small and light so it’s perfect for capturing the Milky Way and panoramas at night too."

05. Spare Canon LP-E6N batteries 

(Image credit: Canon)

"When shooting at night I have to rely on batteries. I usually carry six spares with me and keep an extra one at home for the sunrise the next morning! Using Live View and shooting in low temperatures drains them quickly. You can check the condition of your batteries and their ability to supply power in your Canon cameras menu. I mark my batteries with stickers so that I know which are the best performers. I use these first!"

• Best camera batteries

06. VFFoto filters

(Image credit: Erika Valkovicova)

"As a landscape photographer, I use ND filters extensively. A year ago, I became an Ambassador for VFFoto Filters. Their new range of magnetic filters is easy to use. I primarily work with the ND 64x (6-stop) and ND 2000x (11-stop) filters and a polarizer. I am eagerly awaiting the new range of filters for ultra-wide-angle lenses too."

To find out more about Erika, visit her official website. You can find more of her beautiful work on her Instagram.

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Canon EOS R5 review
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Dan Mold

The Technique Editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, Dan also brings his technical wizardry and editing skills to Digital Camera World. He has been writing about all aspects of photography for over 8 years, having previously served as technical writer and technical editor on Practical Photography magazine, as well as Photoshop editor on Digital Photo


Indeed, Dan is an Adobe-certified Photoshop guru, making him officially a beast at post-processing – so he’s the perfect person to share tips and tricks both in-camera and in post. Able to shoot all genres, Dan provides news, techniques and tutorials on everything from portraits and landscapes to macro and wildlife, helping photographers get the most out of their cameras, lenses, filters, lighting, tripods and, of course, editing software.