Daniel Hurtubise is doing a series on his upcoming trip to the Alaskan Wild. Hopefully this will help you learn what you need to prepare for a huge expedition. This week he will be discussing his gear. Then next time he will discuss what else he is taking with him.
Like everybody else, the first question I had in mind was … what equipment do I bring?
One thing to keep in mind when choosing your equipment is the walking. We will be walking roughly 2 to 3 miles every day so carrying extra gear is a no go.
Should I bring a Full Frame or not. I decided not too since I could really use that 1.5x crop factor. For those who are not aware, all DX body have a crop factor. It’s basically how many times smaller is the captor versus a traditional one (24×36). That also means that if you attach a lens to it, the focal distance gets multiply by that factor. So a 70-200 actually ends up being a 105-300 on that body.
So I decided to get another D300 body. Worst thing that could happen is a body that fails while out there. It’s a great body that behaves very well at high ISO. It packs 12.3 Megapixels and can shoot up to 8 frames per second.
I’m also bringing batteries… a lot of batteries. So far I have 8. Even though we will have the ability to recharge using solar power, I would rather not take any chance.
The first one that I’m putting in my bag is my beloved Nikkor AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED. I never go anywhere without that lens. If you never worked with a VR lens(Vibration Reduction, IS for Canon) it basically adds roughly 3 stops to your lens. So you can take images in lower light conditions or at a faster speed to freeze the action.
The second one that I’m bringing is the brand new AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED. Obviously I needed to bring a wide angle, I decided to get that one since it’s specially designed for DX format. But I was amazed by the range, 10-24, believe me that’s a lot. It’s not an f/2.8 but that’s not a big deal when getting a wide angle. You don’t really shoot panorama or landscape at that opening anyways.
I’m also thinking of bringing the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED but I’m undecided yet. This is a very sharp lens and it would bridge the gap in my focal length.
But on the other hand I’m not sure I need it. If any of you have any opinions, please feel free to tell me.
And I’m finally bringing a Point & Shoot to document the trip. I’ve waited a long time before getting one of those because I wanted the ability to shoot full manual or with any priorities. But I also wanted the ability to shoot RAW. You can definitely use RAW format when shooting nature photographing since …. lighting a mountain might be a hard task ;-). So since I’m a Nikon guy, I decided to go with the Coolpix P6000. Hard to believe that such a little body can pack 13.5 Megapixels.
That’s a great little camera to carry around. It also works with most of my Nikon equipment but be aware that past ISO 400 you need to be careful with noise. Nothing dramatic but you need to get rid of it at post-treatment.
On the next post I will talk about what other things I’m bringing. In the mean time if you have any questions or comments of course go ahead and ask.
Below are answers to questions from the last post I did:
1. Michelle wrote: I think the obvious question I have (from looking at that picture) is how to not get eaten by a bear. 😉 We were just in yellowstone and I really could’ve used some tips for wildlife/nature photography since it’s not really “my thing.” 🙂 Looking forward to your series! (06/06/09, 10:05 am)
Hi Michelle, for the security thing…. Jim will have a gun but in 20 years he only had to use it twice. Hopefully he won’t have to use it a third time while I’m around.
I like the idea of wildlife/nature photography tips. I’ll make sure i write a post on it.
2. Johnna wrote: Daniel, thanks for taking the time to provide us with your assistance. I know it will be valuable. When you list your gear, please include the type of camera bag/backpack or whatever you use to carry it when you travel. Also, it would be great if you would list the image data for the images you share with us (ISO, f-stop, shutter speed, lens type/mm setting used). One more thing–RAW or jpeg?–but you don’t have to go into great detail. Thanks again. (06/06/09, 12:07 pm)
Hi Johnna, i will get in more detail about gear and stuff i carry for sure. As for the images exifs i will make sure to post them too so you have an idea of how it was done. RAW or JPEG…. i will live and die by the raw format (which i convert to DNG as soon as it’s out of the camera). You just gave me an idea of a post about workflow, thanks.
3. Kansas A wrote: I’m really looking forward to this! Can you tell us how you store your images until you get home? Size of your memory cards? Any photo editing in the field or nothing until you get back? How many batteries do you pack, I’m assuming you have no power for recharging? Do you lay and wait for the animals to come to you or “hunt” them down and use a huge telephoto lens and stay way back? Oh so many questions! 🙂 (06/06/09, 1:51 pm)
Hi KansasA, it’s funny enough that it was one of my first questions. I will actually store the pictures on an Epson P6000 every night. I also reformat every card once i put them back in the camera (which it could be part of My Menu on the camera).
I will be bringing at least 6 batteries, still unsure about bringing the battery grips or not, i will keep you posted.
We actually will have recharging ability with solar panel. It’s a preserve wildlife area and we’re fortunate enough to have access but to one condition…carbon 0. We cannot leave ANYTHING behind. So only rechargeable batteries
I don’t plan on carrying anything more than a 70-200 (more in a gear post) and a 1.7x multiplier. The bears get close enough and carrying anything bigger while we walk about 2-3 miles every day will not be an option for me.
4. Wendy wrote: I can’t wait this looks so fun and interesting!! (06/06/09, 5:29 pm)
You have no idea how excited i am. Actually one of the most fun thing to do is … to plan the trip.
5. Margie wrote: This is coming at a great time for me! I’m going to Alaska next year, and I am anxious to read about your preparations and experiences. (06/06/09, 8:42 pm)
Where are you going exactly?
6. Beth @ Pages of Our Life wrote: Really looking forward to hearing more! Thanks for sharing Daniel. I’m really interested in your workflow after you get home. As a newbie in photography, I am quite daunted by the amount of time it takes to edit and process a trip like this. Any quick edit tips for making that part of it easier and less time consuming? Anying you share will be great! (06/07/09, 8:11 am)
A good start is always a good shot but…. You’re at MCP Actions, you’ll find a lot of actions to speed up the post-processing.
7. Kristal wrote: How fun! My question is can I come? Can’t wait to find out more. (06/07/09, 10:50 am)
Too bad we don’t have another open spot…