Sunday, August 9, 2015

Packing for a Big Photo Trip

I've started the process of going through my collection of camera gear and trying to deciding what to take on our trip to Alaska and what to leave behind.  It's not always possible to take everything when traveling by airline.  

First step is to get everything out.  This is important because in the past I've packed at the last minute and  forgotten things that I wished I had.   I've laid out almost all my gear.   Add one more lens, a compact waterproof camera, a tablet computer and a laptop computer to this.

In the past I have carried everything except the tripod, including the computer, in the big bag on the right.  It is designed to fit under an airline seat and has always worked great.   Once at our destination I move essentials to the middle bag, which is what I take when hiking.

Realistically I know I will not be able to bring everything on this trip.  With the addition of one more lens and the waterproof camera I'll be out of compartments in the bag.  I'm going to have to decide what to leave at home.   How do I decide what takes the trip and what is left behind?

Packing camera gear is a simple prioritization process.  I'll figure out what I need and what I can live without.
17-40 mm

The photos on this trip are going to be pretty much all outdoors.   I'll be shooting my favorite subjects - mountains, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife, flowers, and other subjects God has created for us to enjoy. Scratch the flash.

300 mm

300 mm + 1.4X Tele-Converter
I hope to see some of Alaska's wildlife on this trip.  The National Park rules say we must stay 300 yards from bears and 100 yards from most other wildlife.  That's a long way to shoot!  I will have my longest lens (300mm), plus a 1.4x Teleconverter, plus my cropped sensor Canon 7D body.   That combination is going to give me an effective focal length of 672mm.  I just hope that's enough.

If the weather cooperates we'll have great views of some of Alaska's majestic mountains.   That means a 17-40 mm wide angle zoon lens and my Canon 5D body.  I don't go anywhere without my favorite 24-105 mm zoom lens so it's on the list.   I'll need something between 105 and 300 mm so I'll bring my 70-200 mm zoom.   I love taking macro photos so I must bring my 100 mm macro lens.

70 - 200 mm

This year I'm renting a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens for taking photos of the night sky.   I'm hoping the Milky Way will be clear and spectacular while we are there.

That's five lens and two cameras.  My back is starting to hurt just thinking about it.

This trip has also thrown a special challenge my way.   We will be flying into Denali National Park on a small plane.  The plane is small enough that I'm limited to 25 pounds of luggage, including camera gear.   I guess June is going to have some of my clothes in her bag for those 4 days.  

Just going through this planning exercise has gotten me thinking about the trip and I'm getting excited!   I made some of our reservations in January.  Being 9 months away, it didn't seem that real at the time.  Now sure it does!

Now that I have figured out the important stuff, it's time to figure out what clothes I'll need on this trip.
24 - 105 mm

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