backpacking throughout Asia - what would you bring?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by cgennoe, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. cgennoe

    cgennoe TPF Noob!

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    Hi there!

    As per my previous post, I am planning to travel throughout Asia as a photographer/backpacker extrordinaire.

    What would you bring to ensure that you are totally prepared to capture the full spectrum of photographic opportunities?

    I currently own the SlingShot 200 AW; use the EOS 30D, and plan to purchase the 24-105L f4 & 70-200L f4 IS (any advice on the best combination of lenses is greatly appreciated) as well as the 50 f1.4.

    What other gear would you take with you aside from a tripod?

    The 'mass storage device' i just read in a recent post seems the most practical method to store images.

    What else :)?

    Eg. How to keep everything dry in a tropical climate over an extended period.

    Thanks for reading! As always, you guys (and gals) rock!

    -Colin
     
  2. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    I hope to take a trip in south America next year and i need to get ready for that too.
    I think that you should look into a wide angle lens (the 30D is not full format right). What i know of Asia is tiny streets and lots of places where 24mm just might not be wide enough.
    As far as storage, get a few memory cards and something like that: http://cgi.ebay.ca/NEW-iomega-Porta...yZ116258QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    Those things are small, light, they are USB powered and you should be able to store more than 12000 RAW files. I don't know how long your trip is, but it should be enough.
    As far as keeping stuff dry, a couple garbage bags, if used well, can be magical. Of course, it is not very convenient to get stuff in and out quickly, but for the rainy days when your gear won't see the outside world, it should be enough.
    This is about how far my reflection has taken me right now, but i still have about a year before i take off...
     
  3. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Oh yeah... Condoms!
     
  4. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    Personally, I would use film. Less weight, no batteries or chargers or storage to worry about. A zoom in the range of 18-70 and maybe a monopod. Unless you are going hostel to hostel, weight would be of utmost importance to me, considering fuel for stove, food, tent, weight will add up quickly without having to haul all kinds of photo gear. I would have the camera strapped to the front loops on shoulder straps.
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If used for camera gear, get the non-lubricated type, however for personal use....whatever floats your boat.

    I would also consider a good poncho for the wet times. You can completely cover your gear with one and they can pack up small.

    I commented on my camera bag in the other thread.

    While I was in Europe backpacking and before I got my own compatible chargers, I would pop into a local camera shop and have them to charge my batteries. That way I didn't have to worry with another item in the bag or concern myself with having to worries of different power grids.
     
  6. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    Consider a flash also. If you forgoe the 70-200 f/4L IS and get the f/2.8 version, you can get the 1.4x TC for more zoom. I really do not reccommend it on the f/4's though. Dunno if you ara considering a wider angle lens. the EF-S 10-22 is nice for the panoramic vistas, landscapes, etc. 24-105 really is not that wide on a 1.6 crop sensor.
     
  7. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How is that relevant to a photo forum???:er:
     
  8. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I have 'backpacked' through SE Asia 5 times. For those who have not traveled in Asia; backpacking generally refers to the way one carries stuff rather than the place you will be sleeping. Except in Nepal or northern India, there is little sleeping out.

    I carry the following photo stuff. Primary and extra body, choice of lenses, several extra cards, extra battery, charger (camera stores are few and far between out of the cities), polarizing filter, portable hard drive, plug adapter (transformer not needed; all camera stuff is 110-220), lens brush and cleaning stuff, silica drying packets, ziplock bags. I keep all stuff not used every minute in ziplocks with drying packets.

    My last trip I took 2 bodies, 18-200vr and 50 mm. My next trip, I will carry Tokina 12-24, Nikkor 24-70 and 20-200 VR and 2 bodies. I will consider taking a light monopod (never a tripod, too heavy, slow and bulky) - but probably won't take it.

    (The Slingshot 200 will not fit any 70-200 2.8 lenses so think that through.)

    In a separate bag, I carry clothing and personal stuff. I usually take 2 pair convertible pants, good sandals (Teva-type), athletic shoes, hat and then buy more shirts in Asia. I take fleece jacket and hat but buy poncho in Asia.
    Read lonelyplanet.com/thorntree forum for best info on travelling.

    Asia has distinct seasons and the only real humidity worry is in Monsoon seasons. There is generally lots of dust the rest of the year.

    You will be traveling a lot by Bus and so prepare to carry your camera bag and all vital personals with you. (Luggage usually goes on top of buses and that's not where I want my camera bag to go.) I've traveled lots of hours in hugely crowded buses with my camera bag on my lap.

    Don't expect any support for high-end camera stuff outside major cities. Fore example, in Thailand the only camera stores as we think of them are in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai. In other countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, the chances for service are small to non-existent, thus extra body is important.
     
  9. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Also, I scan all my travel docs - passport, etc and send the images to my gmail account so copies of originals are available
    if originals are lost.

    I also make a color copy of primary page of passport, laminate it and use that in hotels,etc. I don't like to leave my passport with anyone.

    If you are staying in budget hotels and guesthouses, the wall sockets are often very loose and won't hold the weight of the small transformers on rechargers. I carry a short extension cord and a small roll of gaffer's tape to tape the plug in the socket and thus I can sit the heavy transformer on the floor. This may sound strange but I have used this method innumerable times.
     
  10. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    It's not. Neither is a smiley face. Sorry it was a joke. I didn't think that it would offend anyone.
    I will try to be more of a computer in the futur and forget about everything that makes me human (sense of humour, subjective point of view, opinions, values, culture).
     
  11. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Coals to Newcastle.
     
  12. God knows...

    Anyway, lots of sensible advice here.

    I disagree with The_Traveler on one matter though - pending your genetic source code (I'm Hungarian Jew, with some Hugenot thrown in) it can feel pretty hot and sticky year round. It really depends on you predisposition.

    As such... don't bring a lot of stuff. You're also going there to see and enjoy. You're not on assignment for National Geographic. I love my photo hobby as much as everyone here... but I felt really bad for all those guys I saw huffing around with 30 pounds of gear. Half the time you're at the perfect spot... at the wrong time of day. Don't make yourself crazy. Remember - it's o.k. to miss a shot.

    Think about what NOT to bring. Do you really need a tri-pod? Do you REALLY need a laptop? Do you really need a 200mm lens? I never did... If you don't use a flash as part of your style, leave it at home. Can't use them in temples anyway, and photographing people out in the day-to-day life is odd.

    I'll tell you what you absolutely DO need (photographically) - you need something wide. If you're going into market places - which I consider the most fun - you will want something around 21mm or 24mm, on a cropped sensor like your 30D that means a 16mm lens. Think about the 16-35mm instead of the 70-200mm.

    You also should have something really fast - the 50mm 1.4 is perfect. There's a lot of great shots at night, don't miss them.

    Bring a back-up, something that uses the same batteries and has the same lens mount. Or bring your mom's P&S. Or bring both.

    LOL, of course my advantage is that I can fit two Rangefinders and four lenses into a tiny Slingbag 100... SE Asia really made me feel bad for the SLR shooters.

    Traveler is right about a lot of other stuff. Scanned documents on Google? A must! Shirts there? Easy. Get good shoes. Bring a hat - not a baseball cap, the brim gets in the way of shooting.

    LOTS of small bills. $1, $5, $10 is all you'll need in Cambodia and Laos, whereas Vietnam and Thailand only take their national currency.

    If you're going to wear shorts and t-shirts (instead of light longs) bring some bug spray for the evening.
     

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