Road Trip to 15 National Parks, what do I need?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Tbini87, May 10, 2010.

  1. Tbini87

    Tbini87 TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys. This summer I am going on a month-long road trip and visiting 15 national parks. We will be seeing much of the western half of the US including the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier, etc. I have a basic Nikon D40 with the 18-55 kit lens, along with a 55-200 lens that also came with it. I also have a monopod and basic camera bag that holds both lenses and camera.

    I am wondering what kind of other gear you guys think I will need to get some great shots on this trip. I was thinking about a tripod, but that may get heavy on longer hikes. Also thought about a fanny pack to be able to easily carry and switch out lenses. Are there any lenses that are a must for getting good pics of nature, landscapes and possibly animals we see on our trip?

    Any other comments or questions are welcome! If any of you guys have done a trip like this and have tips or info that would be great. Thanks a ton.

    Travis
     
  2. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A tripod is a must. You might think now it's going to be heavy and get in the way but it is truly essential. If you want those awesome waterfall/river shots where the river is nice and smooth and dreamy you will NEED a tripod. If you want nice sharp landscapes at f/11 iso 100 and tack sharp you will need it. I am so thankful now that I brought it on my recent trip to north carolina. A monopod won't allow for 5second shots either.

    For a bag you might want to look into a sling bag or something. You will really want to check out the Lowepro Slingshot bags. They are absolutely amazing for traveling.

    18mm should be wide enough but also remember if it's within budget you can always rent a lens. Lensprotogo.com and lensrentals.com are great sites to rent lenses and the prices are pretty good. You might also want to check out a Polarizing filter and maybe a ND or something. GL and enjoy your trip!

    TJ
     
  3. Tbini87

    Tbini87 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks TJ. I will definitely be buying a tripod then. Looking forward to finally having one and being able to get some cool shots with it instead of always saying "dang, wish i had a tripod to get this shot". I don't know what ND is, but will look into a Polarizing filter (I think i have used one before on a friend's camera when shooting friends wakeboarding). Thanks for the info!
     
  4. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    the biggest SD cards you can get a hold of.

    Extra batteries.

    Sensor cleaning kit, This is the kit I keep in my bag. Had to use it once so far.
    http://www.green-clean.at/en/camera/sensor-cleaning-system/

    lens cleaning wipes. I keep the [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-Moist-Lens-Cleaner-Cloths/dp/B000LC5V9M"]nikon brand[/ame] in my bag.

    Car adapter for your batteries to let you charge them while driving. Even a power converter to let you plug in a laptop computer.

    Netbook instead of a laptop at least to allow you to download your pictures off the cards and view on something other than the LCD on the camera. Gives you a better way of seeing your pictures is all. Not the best, just better.

    Rain cover for the camera and the bag if it didn't have one.

    Bulb blower for the lenses. Lets you control the dust a little better before having to use wipes on them.

    Tamron 1.4X teleconvertor

    Go to your library and sign out "Understanding Exposure" from Bryan Peterson. If you want, buy it. I seem to get it about twice a year to review it.

    GND filter - Seriously here. Especially if you are going to be taking landscape shots. Even if it's a Hoya GND (Graduated neutral density)

    CPL (circular polarizing lens)

    Just some of the things that cross my mind.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  5. Breaux

    Breaux TPF Noob!

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    The graduated neutral density filter is half gray, fading to clear. You commonly use it to darken the sky so it's closer in exposure to the ground part of the image.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good suggestions so far. I'll strongly second the need for a tripod.
    Circular polarizing filter would be on my list as well.
    I would consider and ultra wide angle lens, something like the Sigma 10-20mm.

    For a month long trip, memory will surely be an issue.
    I did a week in a few of the mountain region national parks up here and I filled up all my memory cards and then some. It would certainly be handy to have a laptop/netbook to dump your photos onto.
     
  7. Breaux

    Breaux TPF Noob!

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    I advise you to learn to properly use any new equipment before the trip.
     
  8. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    These guys have covered the photo parts of the trip.

    CAR:
    Carry extra water for the radiator
    Carry extra oil
    2- tire inflator kits - check your spare before you leave
    good snacks, extra water to drink (or what you drink) - a small cooler

    first aid kit, with a smaller one for your hiking pack, including moleskin, bug spray, suntan lotion, TP (toilet paper);)

    good shoes, comfortable clothing, extra pair of sunglasses.
    Maps - good maps, maybe even a compass - if you know how to use it.


    I spent 3 summers traveling the lower 48. It was a blast, something never to forget.
    The west is huge, have lots of fun!!!
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    tripod, duh, and DON'T SKIMP ON THIS blow serious money on it, $60 isn't serious money. And extra batteries/memory cards. That's about it.

    Maybe a 10-20 if you're going to go hiking, otherwise skip it. Your kit lenses at f/8 and f/11 look great anyway, so i wouldn't bother buying new lenses.


    I'm guessing you're not intending to do anything wacky like long exposures at night or something, which is why the kit lenses will be fine.
     
  10. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  11. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    1) I echo the tripod requirement.
    2) You may want something wider than that 18mm for those incredible landscapes. I love my Sigma 10-20, but there are other options too.
    3) Circular Polarizer
    4) Tons of memory
    5) I don't know your budget, but a longer lens would be nice for wildlife
     
  12. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    i do a fair amount of travelling with work on business, i use them as "free" vacations by giving up my weekends to fly in early and sightsee.

    if i could take any two lenses with me on my d90 its as follows;
    nikkor 18-200mm
    sigma 10-20mm

    and i have pro lenses to choose from. i've got 50mm f1.4, 24-70 + 70-200mm f2.8's and other long sharp primes.
    The reason i pick those two time and time again, size, weight and cost.
    the 18-200mm is a bit of change, but its not a $2000 pro lens.
    that lens is decently sharp, and has a great focal range. it seriously is on my camera 90% of the time when travelling cause its sorta the swiss army knife of lenses. its long when you need it to be, but can do wide as well.
    the sigma is a great lens, wider than the nikon, decently sharp, and costs 1/2 of what the nikkor equivalent costs.
    the two lenses pack up well, and are great to carry around.

    i had a 16GB card, and 2 8GB cards along with some 4's and 2's from a while back. it gives me 2000+ photos. My grip while adding a little size to the camera ensures i have enough batteries with me all the time.

    i second the tripod and polarizer. ND filters are good, though you can try and replicate a lot of the effect in post if you know how to use gradients in PS. i know its not perfect, but it does save you carrying around an extra filter, and those photos where you just cant get a filter on in time.

    get a good bag. one thats easy to access stuff including spare lenses. tripod holder would be a plus
     

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