In a few days I jump onto my first flight of 2016 and head to Johannesburg. From there I drive to Lesotho and then on horseback into the mountains to photograph for a couple NGOs working among shepherd children. This will be the first leg of a trip that’ll take me to Namibia, Cape Town, Kenya’s Maasai Mara, Zanzibar, Rajasthan, and Istanbul before returning home just over 2 months later.
For the curious, here’s the gear I’m taking:
2 Fujifilm X-T1 bodies
4 Fujifilm lenses: 18-55mm, 56/1.2, 10-24mm, 55-200mm
Canon G7x, Rode Mic, and batteries (for video podcast)
Nikon SB 910 strobe and 2x Impact PowerSync triggers
12 Fujifilm batteries, 2 chargers (not shown)
12 x Lexar 64GB SD cards
deLorme Explorer GPS / Satellite text communicator
1 GTech 1TB weatherproof harddrive
All this plus meal bars, and a dry-bag for rain in my ThinkThank Photo Airport Essentials bag weighs just over 17lbs. When I think about how heavy my DSLR gear used to be for a trip like this, it’s astonishing that this represents 2 very capable cameras and lenses from 16-300mm (35mm/full-frame equivalent). If I weren’t going into the bush, or for so long, I could reduce this easily by another 4 lbs. (I love this bag, by the way. For mirrorless gear it’s fantastic and allows me a much thinner lighter bag than I’d need if I had the taller pro-sized gear. And it’s got a sleeve for a laptop and decent backpack straps)
I’ll also have a second carry-on, my much-loved Filson satchel (a 24-Hour Briefcase – you can see it in the featured image at the top of this post if you’re reading this on my blog, not the RSS feed), with my 13″ MacBook Air, charge cables, another harddrive, passports cash, sunglasses, headphones, and a novel (re-reading Shantaram)
In my duffle bags (2), aside from trekking gear, sleepling bag, tent, etc., will be the rest of my photo gear: a Gitzo Ocean Traveler tripod, my Mindshift Filter hive with filter system, and a handheld 24-inch hexagonal softbox for my strobe. When the Lesotho assignment is over I’ll send producer/assistant/manager/friend Corwin home with my larger duffle and he’ll take the strobe, softbox, backcountry gear, and one of the harddrives with him, and Cynthia will fly in, bringing my dive mask, Sony RX100II, and underwater housing for the week diving in Zanzibar. I’d love to be able to bring my Nikon D800 and the full dive kit but it’s just too much for such a long trip. That’ll wait until I’m home to dive again with the Stellar Sea Lions here in British Columbia and then head to Socorro in June to dive with giant mantas and hammerhead sharks.
The only other things we’ll bring are 2 of the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 kits to keep charging batteries for the 8 days or so that we’re in the mountains.
I’ll try to remember to do an episode of my YouTube show, Vision Is Better, and walk you through some of my gear choices, particularly where dealing with power issues is concerned but I won’t post it until I’m back from Lesotho. And I’ll try to do an episode about the flash stuff, too; many of you will have heard me say how much I loathe working with artificial light, so this will either be an interesting constraint in my creative process, or I’ll be bitching (again) about how much I loathe strobes, the first chance I have to do so. I impose a new constraint on myself with each trip and this one seemed to make some sense given the possible harsh natural lighting and the focus the Lesotho assignment will have on people.
Stay tuned in the coming days – we’ll be launching After the Camera, a 20-episode video series walking you through my Vision-Driven Workflow – the simplified approach to editing, organizing, and post-production that I use for my own photographs. (Here’s a quick, 60-second rapid-fire teaser video, but don’t get too excited when it says “Available now”. It’s not. January 04 at the latest, Jan 01 or 02 at the earliest.) I’m excited about this one and a little sad I’ll be on a plane when it launches, but I’m pushing my team to squeak it out a little earlier for regular readers. As usual it’ll be on sale when it launches. After the Camera will be $30 (25% off the soon-to-be regular price of $40).
I’m home for a few more days, so if you want to talk gear, the comments are open. I don’t invite you to geek-out too often, so now’s your chance.