Tips for mountain backpacking photography? Himalayas! (Nepal!)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ironsidephoto, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. ironsidephoto

    ironsidephoto TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,
    I'm going to Nepal this summer for a month and will be in Kathmandu and other small villages, as well as trekking in the remote Dolpo region in the Himalayas. I decided to start a thread to get some tips for taking some great pictures of mountains, landscapes, etc., that i may have overlooked, as well as tips for things such as being in the cold/snow with a DSLR, tips on memory cards/batteries (e.g. my D200 takes an EN-EL3e rechargable, but i won't have access to electricity most of the time. . . ), tips on photographing while hiking in a group, or just general advice. Any help?

    You can reply to this until the end of June, since that's when i'm leaving.


    Thanks in advance!

    (and check my website in august if you want to see the results of your advice!)
     
  2. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    well to solve the power issue I would see if you can buy a fuel cell that can charge your batteries. I am pretty sure you could find a small one with enough power.
     
  3. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    my advise is to get a Nikon FM2n body off ebay. (or a similar mechanical camera)
    Or in the very least, bring this camera as a backup. the D200 is an awsome camera, but it has limitations, mainly being battery life. I dont know how well it will work in the snow and cold. I buwould imagine that the electronics arent going to function very well in extream cold. ive read that the FM2n opperates in -40C to 150C. the wikipedia entry claims that is the camera most often brought to the top of Mt Everest.... it only uses batteries for the light meter so you dont have to worry about that problem. If the batteries die, you can still shoot. lastly it should work with all of your D200 lenses minus autofocus and VR....
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Your lenses will need aperture rings if you're going to use it on an F2.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The D200 should work fine in sub zero weather. Look into a solar battery charger or two. You can affix one to the top of your back pack and charge a battery while hiking. Self charging flashlights (the kind you shake) would be handy. I don't know your budget but a sat phone and a very rugged/waterprouf laptop w/uplink http://www.terralogic.co.uk/news.php?id=21
    to the sat phone would both be very handy as well.

    Don't forget GPS (with a compass backup)and a map! ;)

    mike

    P.S. Plenty of socks and Vaseline!
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The D200 I will say works very well even at -10 to -15. It is one of the reasons I bought it because I travel in wildly different weather conditions (it also works when it's 45 degrees outside not that this is a issue where you are going :) )

    The biggest problem I had while in the Austrian alps was my battery freezing. The camera will work for about 15-20 minutes top. I worked around it by keeping the battery in my pocket and whipping it into the camera to take a photo and then straight back in the pocket.

    Also remember to introduce it to warm temperatures slowly. If condensation forms on your sensor the camera is toast. I suggest leaving it in your bag and bringing the bag back inside camp and letting it sit for an hour first, depending on the temperatures.
     
  7. ironsidephoto

    ironsidephoto TPF Noob!

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    a note on the cold factor--it's not going to be that cold--it's summer there, too. 30-40s at the coldest, at night, when i'll have it in my sleeping bag.
     
  8. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    poor you, backpacking with a dSLR ;)

    I am a backpacker from time to time as well, and have been in the last 15ish years ... especially in the mountains the weight of SLR equipment will be a pain, and you cannot carry it on your back since there is the 20-30 kg rucksack with all the gear and food to survive already. Hence the only option is to attach the tripod and maybe a telephoto to the backpack, and attach the remaining camera plus lenses in a bag to your backpack belts on your front.

    I am currently looking for a new bag myself since I will most likely be hiking in the Sarek Massif in Northern Sweden this June... will be the first longer hiking trip with a dSLR for me, before it was always film only.

    On shorter trips in bad weather and with cold nights my digital did cope very well when sleeping with me in my tent, and so did the batteries. If the trip exeeds a week, you need a solution for power as mentioned above.

    I have ben told harddrives can be in trouble in high altitude due to low air pressure, but I have no personal experience with HDs up there yet. some people take a portable DVD burner with them ;)

    take a sort of tripod or wlking stick with you, to rest your camera on it. in particular when hiking with heavy loads in the mountains, you will be amazed how shaky your hands may become!
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    oh, and currently i carry a collection of 4GB CF cards (e.g. sandisk extreme).

    for outdoor (in-tent) sensor cleaning i use a speckgrabber and some alcoholic wipes to clean the grabber-tip.
    ... if it is a dry evening, start sensor cleaning sometime after you unrolled your sleeping bag ... let the dust settle down ;)


    Be aware of streams you have to cross without bridges. wrap your camera gear in dry plastic bags before crossing. It is best to cross twice if you are unsure, first with your backpack, then with your camera gear.
     

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