More from Gwaii Haanas

In Images, Postcards From..., Travel, Wilderness by David19 Comments


I’m heading to Bali tomorrow but I’ll do my best to drop a line. In the meantime, here’s a few more postcards (didn’t see the first ones? You can find them here), and some shop talk about packing logistics, from last week’s trip to Gwaii Haanas.

Like the Ocean Light II trip to the Khutzeymateen, I was limited in what I could bring because of the strict weight limits imposed (randomly) by the float planes. I left my 300/2.8 at home and focused on putting all my gear, including rain gear, knee pads, and tripod, into my Gura Gear Bataflae backpack. I’ve learned that my best shot at having what I need when I need it, instead of back on the boat, is to have it with me, so it all comes with me on every excursion, no exceptions. Weather changes fast on the ocean, so having rain gear accessible – in my case it’s always the sizeable outside front pockets of the Bataflae, along with lens cloths – is a must. I still insist on two bodies, knowing that changing lenses exposes my sensor to salt spray, and I cringe each time I need to put the teleconverter on. Even still, I needed to sit on my bunk for an hour and do a thorough cleaning of both cameras about half-way through the trip.

Gwaii Haanas-2 Gwaii Haanas-3 Gwaii Haanas-4 Gwaii Haanas-5 Gwaii Haanas-6
The list looks long but really it’s 2 bodies, 2 lenses, some filters, a tripod and the minimum I needed to stay warm and dry. The rest just doesn’t matter and only weighs me down. Here’s what I took:

Nikon D800
Nikon D3s
2x Teleconverter

Lee filter holder
3-stop solid ND filter
3-stop grad ND filter
10-stop solid ND filter

2 x Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia rain covers
Gitzo Ocean Traveler
Cleaning kit
Lens cloths

Batteries,chargers, cables
11″ MacBook Air, cables
6 x 64 GB CF / SD cards, card reader
Kindle, iPhone, iPod
Moleskine notebook, pens

Black Diamond knee pads
Patagonia rain pants
Patagonia rain jacket
Icebreaker toque and gloves
2 x Patagonia guide pants
1 x cargo pants

2 x Icebreaker t-shirts
2 x Icebreaker long-sleeve shirts
1 x Icebreaker sweater (thin)
1 x Helly Hansen sweater (heavy)

4x Icebreaker underwear
4x Icebreaker socks

Personal toiletries
MEC down sleeping bag
Travel towel
Water bottle
Black Diamond head lamp

Muck Boot Co. neoprene boots (Style be damned, I love these boots!)

Everything went into thin dry sacks and then into a North Face Base Camp duffle and one of my Gura Gear Bataflaes. My Gura Gear bags have been the world over with me and so far nothing has come close to them for lightness, durability, and comfort when doing this kind of work.


  1. Amazing Picts Dave – do you stack you filters – polarizer AND NDs for these? is it also a long exposure?

    Also thanks for sharing your updated list – Im always trying to get just that right-light mix! Im using an Fstop bag (Guru for light and Loka for a big more gear). Also a long time fan of Icebreaker! amazing stuff! looking forward to your Fiji work!

    1. Author

      Hey Tom – Yes, I stack filters – up to 3 together: ND grad, full ND, and polarizer. When stacked the NDs tend to give a little magenta cast to the skies, but it’s easy enough to dial that back if you don’t like it.

  2. As usual, the images you post from places like this are beautiful, but it’s that last image of the ferns and the rock that is absolutely stunning. I am drawn to the simplicity and intimacy of it. It strikes a chord within my soul.

  3. Ahhhh! I hate myself!

    I read every post. I’ve bought every book. I’m subscribed to Photograph magazine. I agree about Vision being better. But by jove if there’s one way to get me here quicker than a bowl of plums through a baby it’s a good packing list or Emily post!

    I feel dirty. But, ya know, kinda good too……

    1. Author

      Plums though a baby? LOL. Life’s too short to beat yourself up. Take a shower, you’ll feel better 🙂

  4. Hi David

    I’m a passionate Indonesian traveler (and hobby photographer). In my option Bali has become too Touristic in the last years. I suggest to visit Flores which is almost untouched and offers a lot of culture and nature. Belitung Island is a beautiful place for Nature photography. In my favorite list is also Sulawesi and Sumatra.

    Anyway enjoy your trip. Can’t wait to see Bali and Indonesia with your eyes.


  5. Have a great trip. Overall nice images – but I really dig the colors that you were able extract on your 3rd image from the top.

  6. Hey David,

    I was in Bali 2 weeks ago and had horrible weather (or maybe my poncho was of bad quality as it was raining through it) but looked like it was improving when I left… But wonderful place and wonderful people, what a good time I had there!

    I’m going to be ashamed of my holiday pictures when I see your work (well I was not proud of them in the first place so does not matter haha) but I am really looking forward to see your images from such a beautiful place! 😉

  7. Great description of our week of wonder and the photos are gorgeous. Cheers Linda

    1. Author

      Float plan weight limits are keeping my gear to a minimum and for this project I didn’t want to have only the Fuji, so I left it. Horses for courses, Alan. 🙂

  8. You make the place look so magical…. my faves are top and bottom, but they all radiate a sense of peace and tranquillity.

    What a beautiful planet we inhabit. Thanks for reveling so many special parts of it.

  9. Can’t believe you’re going to Bali! i wish i could see you there, as i am currently in makassar, sulawesi selatan – a plane ride away from Bali.

  10. Have you had any size restriction issues with the Gura Gear Bataflae 32L? I currently own the 32L, getting ready to travel to North Africa and don’t want to risk having my gear checked. Thanks for the gear lists. It helps as a reference point.

    1. Author

      None yet. Recent flights on small planes have forced me to put it under the seat but it fits fine. You’re at more risk of having them check it if you’re over-weight, but I’ve not met a plane yet that won’t take these bags either overhead or under the seat. I’ve been all over the world with this thing, never had an issue.

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