Canadian Rockies - Deciding What Photo Equipment to Take

Okay, all arrangements have been made and we’re ready to leave on our Canadian Rockies and coastal British Columbia adventure. Right now I’m going through my usual pre-trip crazies deciding what to bring. Actually, the big problem is deciding what not to bring!

You’d think that after 30+ years I’d have this down to a science, and I probably would if the damned field didn’t keep changing every 6 months! New cameras that include functions of 2 other devices (think multiple exposure meters and GPS devices), macro rails, a new 5mm-1,000 mm zoom lens that takes the place of 6 others (hey, I’m just kidding about that one, so please don’t write asking me where I got it). I hate packing!

My photo closet is always a mess. I’m either coming from an assignment or heading off to one, or grabbing a camera and lens to test something that popped into my head. So when I get down to packing I start frustrated and go downhill from there. My wife has learned to give me a minimum 10 feet of clearance when I’m readying for a trip.

As you can see, today I’m packing my wheeled carry-on, made by ThinkTank. I like this bag because it is their international size, meaning it fits either the overhead bin or under seat storage of nearly all airlines, although it pays nowadays to double check before heading to the airport battle zone.

I’ll also take my ThinkTank Rotation 360 bag for hiking the trails. Since my wife and granddaughter will be accompanying me, and our baggage will be seriously curtailed by the realities of the Canadian wilderness, I’ll have to sacrifice certain picture-taking opportunities. I’ll leave my macro equipment, since that takes a long time to set up and use and even though I’ll have two very patient women with me, I don’t want to push it. Also, no extra-long lenses, since my space is limited.

So, after too much agonizing, here’s what made the cut.

  • Nikon D700 (FX) and D300 (DX) bodies
  • Nikkor lenses (17-35, 24-70, 70-200, 24mm PCE, 85mm PCE)
  • Nikkor 1.4 tele-extender
  • Lee graduated soft ND filters (.3, .6, .9)
  • Singh-Ray graduated soft ND filters (1,2 and 3)
  • Polarizers
  • Hoodman LCD screen loop
  • Gitzo 3541 tripod with Really Right Stuff BH55 ballhead
  • Wimberley gimbal head
  • Nikon SB800 flash
  • Camera/lens cleaning kit
  • 12, 8GB storage cards
  • 500GB Western Digital portable backup drive
  • 15” MacBook Pro laptop (extra battery, cords, mouse, etc)
  • Assorted adapters for the graduated filters
  • Waterproof bags
  • Tons of batteries
  • Chargers
  • Digital tape recorder (for notes and interviews)

Some of the non-breakable stuff, like adapters, bags and cleaning kit I’ll pack in my checked bag.

Gotta go. Down to the wire now. Did I already mention how I hate packing???

Les Picker

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