Last minute thoughts about the gear

I knew that. I knew the choice of the lenses was going to keep me awake at night. And it did happen!

So, after last minute thoughts, this is the gear selected for the trip:

  • Canon 5D III DSLR
  • 17-40mm f4 24-70mm f2.8
  • 50mm f1.4 85mm f1.8
  • 100mm f2.8 macro
  • Spare camera batteries x2 + charger
  • Memory cards
  • Rocket blower
  • Lens cloth
  • Canon G1X
  • External flash YN568EXII
  • YN-622C E-TTL Wireless Flash Trigger x2
  • Spare flash batteries x2 sets
  • Light tripod

..and the first 7 items fit in a relatively small and handy (not very light I’d say) bag.
Ah, my lovely 70-200mm is going to be missed. No, actually not, because the best lens/camera is always the one you have with you.

Well, at least this is what they say. 😉

Packing time, here I am!

“On a long journey even a straw weighs heavy.”
So true!

packing

When you’re making your final decisions on your travel packing list, the key question to answer for yourself is:

“When it is 30 degrees and you are running for a train/plane/taxi/tuk tuk/elephant, what do we want on your backs?”

Definitely not much! :)

So in this post you can find what I’m bring with me. As mentioned before the very tough part for me (as usual!) is the photography gear: how to find the right balance on what to get with me and what to leave home.

My Travel Packing List for Uganda

  • 65 liter backpack
  • 30 liter daypack

Clothing

  • Sandals
  • Walking trainers
  • Underwear x 7
  • Light socks x 6
  • Trekking socks x 2
  • Trousers x2 (with zip to turn into shorts)
  • Shorts x1
  • Swimming shorts x1
  • Long sleeve top x2
  • T-shirt x5
  • Polo shirt x2
  • Fleece Jacket x1
  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Hat

Electronics

  • 7 inch Nexus 7 tablet (for work, blogging and keeping in touch)
  • Smartphone
  • Earphones
  • Universal adapter
  • USB External Battery Charger Power Pack
  • Phone battery charger
  • Head torch
  • Watch (I don’t use one since 15 years)

Photography

  • Canon 5D III DSLR
  • 24-70mm f2.8
  • 85mm f1.8
  • Spare camera batteries x2 + charger
  • Memory cards
  • Rocket blower
  • Lens cloth
  • Canon G1X
  • External flash YN568EXII
  • YN-622C E-TTL Wireless Flash Trigger x2
  • Spare flash batteries x2 sets
  • Light tripod

Useful things

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Swiss Knife
  • Carabiner x2
  • Tape
  • Duct tape
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses
  • Daily contact lenses
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothesline
  • Lock
  • Ear plugs
  • Small waterproof bag (for electronics/documents)
  • Plastic Bags
  • Lighter / Matches
  • Elastic bands
  • Resealable plastic bags
  • Neapolitan cards :)

Toiletries

  • Nail cutter
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Marseille Soap bars (for shower and clothes)
  • Tissues / toilet paper
  • Cotton swabs

Medicine

  • Mosquito repellant (DEET 50%)
  • Fucibet cream (for treating insect bites)
  • Malaria tablets (Malarone)
  • Analgesic (Paracetamol)
  • Antipyretic (Ibuprofen – Aspirin)
  • Anti-diarrheal (Imodium)
  • Dioralyte (rehydration powder)
  • Azithromycin (antibiotic to treat food poisoning)
  • Motilium (for treating nausea/vomiting)
  • Thermometer
  • Plasters
  • Disinfectant

Admin

  • Passports
  • Credit Cards
  • Health Insurance
  • International Certificate of Vaccination
  • Flight confirmations
  • Driving license
  • Documents photocopies x2

Stationery

  • Books (on tablet)
  • Uganda Bradt guidebook
  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Marker

As you can see, I opted for the second and heavier (and better) option for the photography gear. Photos and tiredness will say if it’s been the right decision! :)

 

Almost time to hit the road: to bring or not to bring?

weight gearWell, this supposed to be a blog mainly about photography, right? :) Let’s talk a bit about that for what concerns the trip to Uganda.

When you are more than an amateur photographer, you always have a big problem when packing your bags. You don’t think anything else than what kind of gear to bring with you with one main goal: I need to travel light!

Packing anything else it’s very easy and it does not require much space and weight (at least for me!), but when it comes to camera(s) and lenses.. here you got THE problem.

– Which lenses to choose?
– Am I going to use the 70-200 2.8? Such an heavy lens is worth the weight? (It’s my favorite!)
– Where am I going to store the gear while not using it?
– Am I going to carry 4-10 Kg all the time? (What a pain :-/ )

It’s often the case: on one hand, when you carry a lot of lenses and you don’t use them you regret it for the weight you have constantly on your shoulders. On the other hand when you don’t have a particular lens or camera you wish you had them with you.

It’s also true the best camera you have is the one you got at the moment of shooting and not thinking what you left home.

Recently I got the Canon G1X. A part small issues with the autofocus (hey, when you are used to the 5D Mark III you are going to have some issues using any other lower end camera!), it’s a great camera for traveling: low weight, you don’t need to carry any additional lens; the sensor is huge compared to standard compact, it’s about 80% the size of an APS-C sensor format; great image quality at high ISO.

Anyway in cameras like this you also have to get some compromises: slow autofocus, low macro performance, slow lens.

So, DSLR (and lenses) or not DSLR, that’s the question.

Let’s see it in a practical way. I have 2 options:
A) Canon G1X + external flash + light tripod.
B) Canon 5D Mark III + 17-40 f4 + 50 f1.4 + 100 f2.8 macro + external flash + heavier tripod. (As you can see, I’m excluding all heavier good lenses, what a pain.. SIGH!)

Or both? 😮
I still don’t know what to do. Another sleepless night ahead thinking about that. 😛

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5 Tips for the Budding Travel Photographer

Let’s have a look at these five key points provided by Richard I’Anson author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography.

1. Get your hands on a digital SLR.
Digital SLRs will help you take high quality images with a high level of creative control and you’ll have access to a range of lenses. Previously prohibitively expensive, there are now a number of lower-cost options that will give you nearly all of the flexibility of a pricier SLR.

2. Plan ahead and research.
Before you shoot, scout out key vantage points in a city or landscape and try to pre-visualize what you want to achieve in your images. A list of what you want to capture is good; a list of how you want to capture them is even better.

3. Simple, bold compositions work best.
Move in closer to fill the frame or try placing your subject off center for a more interesting image. Avoid multiple subjects pulling the eye in different directions, and try not to clutter your shot with extraneous objects that will detract from your main subject. You might be able to ignore power lines, parking lots and garbage cans in person, but they stand out in photos.

4. Use light creatively.
Try photographing in the earlier or later parts of the day when the sun is lower and less harsh, shadows are longer, and the sky takes on interesting colors. Shooting into the light can also create interesting lighting effects and silhouettes when used properly.

5. Incorporate people into the shoot.
Be it classic portraiture, candid snaps, or cityscapes, people will liven up your travel images. In urban settings people are essential to convey the energy and story of the city. Even in rural areas, a landscape can be lovely, but a person in a landscape tells a story.