Going to Montana and need help with gear

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jhcolli, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. jhcolli

    jhcolli TPF Noob!

    Jan 30, 2005
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    I'm going to Montana in November to accompany a hunting expedition into the Missouri Breaks near Lewistown, MT. My wife's Uncle is one of the hunters and invited me on this trip, so I've been told what to expect as far as weather is concerned. He says the temperatures could change from 40F to -40F in one day. I have a Nikon D100 with a 28-85mm Nikon lens and an 80-400mm Nikon. I am trying to decide what type of gear would best be suited for a trip like this. This is what I'm looking for now:

    1. Some type of camera carrying system for hiking into the wilderness from the base camp. Mind you this must protect from extremely cold elements. I'll also need to carry other personal items in a backpack for safety reasons. I was thinking of the LowePro Topload 75 AW to carry on my chest. Anyone familiar with this product and its durability?

    2. A tripod. I need something light and storable on a backpack, so I guess carbon fiber is the answer here. Not sure what brand is preferred by most, or why. What type of head should I consider for a trip like this?

    Any other recommendations for this type of trip are greatly appreciated. Again, please keep in mind I need products that will operate at very cold temperatures. I know I must keep my camera from building up condensation, but I'll be out in the wilderness for a week, so there probably won't be any sudden temperature changes.

    Oh yeah, my main objective will be photographing the landscape and wildlife. Go figure.

    JC :headbang:

  2. WimFoto

    WimFoto TPF Noob!

    Jan 18, 2005
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    chelsea, quebec
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    Hi JC,

    Sounds like a great adventure, good for you ! Up here in canada i shoot a lot in cold temps, i am happy to share my experiences with you.

    1. Bring a large pack that you might be able to leave somewhere and a smaller one for little outings, the one you describe sounds perfect for that.

    2. If you are going to purchase a tripod for this trip you might want to consider a monopod, a lot lighter and likely enough stability for what you want. A tripod is obviously better, but more to carry, you might be tempted to leave it behind. A little sand back will do in a lot of situations as well. For the head I like the joystick type, but that's mostly personal. Also tape some insulation on the legs of the tri/mono pod, it'll be more comfortable to touch with bare hands. brrr..

    Other than that focus on warmth, for you and your gear. Keep batteries(bring many) warm at all time, put them in your mittens or close to the skin in a little waist pack. Speaking of mittens, carry the kind where you can expose your fingers and leave the rest on. Also bring thin gloves to put under your bulky mittens.

    If you shoot film keep that warm as well, it will get very brittle in the cold, be carfefull when rewinding it'll be easy to break. If film does break in your camera be prepared to take it out on location, you can purchase special lightproof bags for that. In the latter case you'll also need light proof canisters to put your broken film in.

    When you sit there at 5 am to catch that sunrise or the perfect deer shot bring a winter sleeping back, thermarest and a thermos with a hot drink. Also take lots of shots of your uncle and friends hunting, those images can come in handy for stock photo's, naturally get them to sign model release forms and give them some prints. Happy (Picture) hunting !

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  3. Rogue Monk

    Rogue Monk TPF Noob!

    Jan 18, 2005
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    Vancouver, Canada

    WimFoto is right.

    Stay warm and keep extra batteries close at hand.

    I usually put my camera inside my jacket until I'm ready to shoot. Then, I take the shots and return the camera to my jacket. That way, its always ready.

    If you're going with a tripod, get a quick release. Then you can set the tripod up while keeping the camera warm.

    Don't forget memory. I find its easy to take images of anything when you aren't limited to film. Its unlikely that you'll be returning to basecamp for most of the day. Be sure you have enough CF cards so you can keep shooting till the end. (and a place to put them when you do turn in for the night.

    I don't know what your experience is with hunting, but remember that they're there to kill stuff. Big game is colour blind...not deaf. If you spook an animal while trying to get that perfect image, you won't make many friends. On the other hand, if they decide to move to a different location, you have to be ready (leave anything you don't need in your pack).

    Blood...where there's hunters, there's blood. It can smell, but more than that, it can splash and spray. If you're shooting the kill (and possibly the cleaning), watch your distance.

    Have fun.

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