#55597 - 07/28/0607:44 AMPhotography on the trail.
As I'm sure most of you know from my other posts I'm new to backpacking. One of the many reason I was attracted to backpacking was the photography opportunity. I do photography mainly as a hobby. I was wondering if anyone had good avise for carrying thier SLR on the trail? It's not a small camera so I'm debateing on the best way to pack it. I was considering getting a pelican water/air tight case that would be big enough just to fit the camera and lens. Do any of you guys have any other ideas/methods for packing out your camera?
I also planned on packing out a tripod but it's added weight I'd really like to do without. I've heard that some of the trekking poles have a camera attachment when the hadle is unscrewed and it can be used as a bipod. Have any of you had any experience with one?
Thanks again for being so helpful with all the questions I've had!
I donít see the advantage of a pelican case on a hike. Too rigid and bulky. If itís stowed in your pack itís hard to get to. So carry it like a briefcase? No, thatís as practical as one of those hybrid backpack/rollerboards on the trail. I recently went digital (possibly the last person on the planet to see the light), and I keep the camera (a Canon Rebel and a wide and a long zoom lens) in a fanny pack I wear on the front. (Sort of like Albert Brooks stylishly did in ďThe In-Laws.Ē) The pack is cordura with a rubberized interior liner; Compass is the brand. I keep two gallon baggies folded up inside to put the camera stuff into in case of heavy rain. I use neoprene beer-can coolies over the lenses for lightweight protection. The waist pack gives me easy, front access to the camera while hiking. If weíve got a camp set up and are dayhiking, I carry a backpack and ask my wife to wear the camera bag for the mobility. The joy of digital is that my 2GB Ultra II card holds 580 large quality images. Thatís 20-something rolls of 24-exposure film! On a recent 6-day backpack, I had the items listed above, plus 2 polarizing filters and an extra camera battery. When we got back to the trailhead I still had 30 images and ĺís of one of the batteries left (at the price of not doing much editing in the field). Plus no more worries about getting the film thru badly tweaked airport x-ray machines. Main thing is that the container for the camera needs to be soft and light, yet offer some protection.
I just bought a Marmot Dry rib bag for my last trip. Puts the camera, where you can get to it, without adding another belt to deal with. I had tried the backwards lumbar pack in the past, but was pretty unsatisfied.
#55603 - 07/28/0611:13 AMRe: Photography on the trail.
As a Wildife photographer I can speak with experience there is no substitution for your tripod and no easy way to reduce weight....However all is not lost,,,There are Packs available for us photogs that also hike...yes you will still have the added weight of your equipment plus your hiking gear but it will be well organized and easily accesible...I would first start by checking out Tamrac and Lowepro for their adventure series backpacks...Depending on whether you are daypacking or going on extended trips a pack will set you back 150-nearly 600 bucks....but will be well worth the money paid....All these packs also have convienient lashing for your tripod and other added items....If your still worried about the weight of your tripod,,,Look into getting a lighter one,,,Gitzo offers several ultralight versions in their Mountaineer and Explorer series of Tripods....I've used the Manfrotto Monopods/Trekking poles and was rather disapointed with the performance both as a trekking pole and as a steadying device for my DSLR...
Another thing that is always a big help is find a partner to Hke with that doesn't mind sharing some of the load...My 9 yr old Boy has become incrazed about the outdoors and wildlife,,So he gladly treks along packing the less fragile equipment and gear..
One last thing is clothing as a Photographer clothing is really important and many choices are available especially made for photographer with tons of pockets and hidden storage space and also breathable and light to wear...One of my Fav's is from Swiss Gear...( The Army Knife people )
#55604 - 07/28/0612:42 PMRe: Photography on the trail.
I have fanny pack that is padded and divided. It doesn't weigh much and fits under the top flap of my backpack when I'm packing. It is very old and probably no longer exists. But I'm sure you can find something else out there. Another trick is to get a cheap evafoam sleeping pad and glue and tape pieces of it into a fanny pack to provide padding and shape.
For protection from the wet I always carry heavy duty zip lock bags big enough to hold the various pieces of equipment.
Alas,there is no simple solution to backpacking with photo gear. Tripods & photo backpacks add xtra weight. But you need to determine the tradeoff.
When I want to go light I use a walking stick rather then tripod, made by Tracks & sold by Campmor. Top unscrews to a 1/4-20 screw mount for your camera. Not as good as a tripod but whatever is with you is best. It will assist down to about 1/8 sec.
For the camera, use a Lowe or Tamrac toploader of a suitable size & possibly mount it onto the SIDE of your hipbelt. A bag hanging in front of you will interfer with uphill walking. I own Gitzo CF tripods, medium format stuff, a Nikon D2X & all the lenses, but use a D70 w/18-70 for backpacking or older Nikon FM. Also consider a P&S either film or digital. I also carry a Olympus Stylus(film, 5 oz.) most of the time.
My pack is an old Korean-made Compass fanny pack. I searched the internet and their logo is still on a few cheap backpacks on ebay, but no fannypacks. But there are others, such as a Kelty Cardinal or North Face Mountain biker lumber that might work, or you might try discount stores and army/navy places for some cheap off-brand that will hold your stuff. I liked the idea of that Marmot Dry Rib Bag that MMendell had, since it's one less strap and not pushing down on your hip belt. But Marmot doesn't list it as one of their current products and the net retailers I looked at said they're sold out. My questions on it are: at 250 cu. in. for the large can it hold a DSLR and a second lens, filters and extra camera batteries? And how does it work? On every site that said they had it when I googled it, they only showed the same half-picture of it, so that was no help. Is it attached to the pack itself and worn behind? Or is it attached to a shoulder strap and worn in the front?
Like photohiker I use poles by Tracks. I think they are great. I use an Olympus digital camera and carry it in a Pelican, however, my camera likely is smaller than some of you photo buffs would have. I use the Pelican because I fear that should I take a spill on the trail and wreck the camera my wife would kill me. I feel it is worth protecting, and my Pelican case is just a little bigger than the camera. I hang it around my neck or sometimes I have it in a bag strapped to my chest.
#55610 - 07/29/0601:50 PMRe: Photography on the trail.
The only real thing I can say is that unless you are using a really light bodied Slr and lens,,,Monopods and Trekking poles do not make good stablizing devices no matter what the brand...For people with small point and shoots or a small slr with nothing more than a 50mm lens they may work fine,,,I have used many versions in the past and trying to hold both the pole and the camera still at the same time proves to be more trouble than it is worth....I typically Backpack with 3 slr bodies and lenses ranging from 18mm- 800mm everything from about 300 mm up is just simply too large for a monopod in my opinion and I have never gotten good results out of one and I have been shooting for more than 15 yrs...My ultimate advice is look into the ultralight Titanium tripods....Manfrotto and Gitzo have some really nice ones that you'll never know is there....Also take a bit of cord so you can tie a rock to the tripod to weight it down when shooting in windy conditions,,,They are so light they will blow away...
i shoot with a beautiful nikon fm2n, and a 50/1.8. i've found that usually i can use a fast enough shutter speed and also a good aperature, (f/8-5.6) to the point that i dont need a tripod. all this with 100 speed slide film. slide film beats digital for one reason only. you get slides. they are so fun to look at and simply sparkle.
the other necessity i have found is a polarizing filter. it allows all the pictures of mountian peaks to look that much better, because you can darken the ski, while leaving the clouds white and fluffy, and the mountains not darker
#55613 - 07/29/0608:31 PMRe: Photography on the trail.
It does if your using a camera that is lightweight such has a point and shoot or a low end slr with smaller focal length lenses,,,,But when you put a camera body on one that weighs nearly 3 to 5 lbs with batterypack and a combine that with a lengthy lens that can be anywhere from 1.5 to 5 lbs or more for the 500-800mm group.... You get the Idea!! they are hard enough to try and hold let alone hold and balance on a monopod...Some people will say it is better than nothing but with my experience the more weight you put on one the harder it is to keep balanced and steady,,,,Plus you don't get the camera angles you can with a ultralight tripod and ballhead....
#55615 - 07/31/0603:02 PMRe: Photography on the trail.
There is a major problem using a timer....Wildlife doesn't wait for timers by the time the timer ticks down it has either walked off the frame or stopped doing what you wanted to capture in the first place...Shooting Scenery sure this might work,,,But try catching a Red Tail hawk swooping down to get a cottontail or field mouse with a timer!!! Not gonna happen....And trying to hold a cable release or infared trigger in one hand and steadying a 8 lb plus camera on a monopod in the other doesn't either.....
I'm sure with time, one can acquire that level of skill. I was never that good. Of course, I'm just an amateur.
When I shot sports in my younger days, I found the largest lens I could free hand was 135mm (Leitz Tele-Elmar on M-3 body). Shooting in dim light, I usually opted for 90mm (Tele-Elmarit) or 50mm (Summicron). For some reason, I always preferred a rangefinder over SLR for shooting action. I think it was because I could use it with both eyes open. Of course, anything longer wouldn't work with the stock M-3...
The Dry Rib fastens onto one shoulder strap with two fasteners, on the webbing below the padding. There is also another fastener that attaches to the opposite shoulder strap that has some webbing that attaches to the Dry Rib via a quick release buckle. If you get one, make sure to take the webbing out of the two fasteners on the same side. The way it ships makes it look impossible to put on.
If you're having trouble visualizing that, or I did a poor job of describing it, picture a fanny pack with one end of the actual fanny pack attached to one should strap below the padding, and the belt of the fanny pack attached to the other shoulder strap below the padding (with the quick release buckle somewhere near the very bottom of your your sternum).
As far as size, I carry a Canon 20D (without grip), with a Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS mounted on it with the hood reversed, an Op-Tech strap and filter case, with an extra battery and CF case in a Dry Rib. I could fit a lens with a little more length to it (easily 1 more inch, maybe 2 inches longer), but it might be tight to squeeze a second lens in there. A full-size body with vertical shutter release might also be a little tight, especially depending on how large of a lens. The Dry Rib is not padded, so it can take the form of whatever you're putting in there, but I think you'd need a smaller lens (Canon 50/1.4 or something similiar) if you wanted a pro-size body to fit in there with a lens mounted.
Another option if you need to carry a second lens could be the Wet Rib. AFAIK it's a Dry Rib with a water bottle holder (aka second lens holder).
Both the Dry Rib And Wet Rib look to be available at Moosejaw.
Loc: Newtown Square pa
Wow, I am not rich, or anything and my digital Olympus let me down on the next to the last trip. It was a 3 mega pixel from last year and bulky. The camera got wet. the chip held out in the end. We got the pictures in salvage. The small dry bags that fold over do not work under any kind of pressure and all failed at some point. It was easy to find as you only had to put a paper towel in the bag and submerge it. I replace the camera with a Walmart puchased FUJI and it was even better! the system was wrapped in a Pelican box and off to Canada! oops all the Pelican boxes I tested after the trip leaked. I lost the camera and recovered the pictures. test your boxes!.
Grease yer' O rings on them boxes and they'll be watertight above the lake <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> What the heck kinda' trail were you ON if you were under water taking pics? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!