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Thread: What else do I need in my bag

  1. #1

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    What else do I need in my bag

    Hi everyone,

    I have done some pretty extensive searching on the forums so far, and there is an incredible amount of information floating around here. I've got a couple of questions, through, and hopefully you all can provide some suggestions.

    Currently I have a D90 with the accompanying 18-105mm lens. I also got a UV filter and a polarizing filter. I've successfully held off thus far on purchasing anything else until I got a grip on how to use the camera and the lens, but...

    I've finalized plans for a 2 week cruise through Alaska in August, and would like a suggestion for a lens that I can bring on the trip. I'm not positive how close we'll end up to the shoreline, but we do get off the boat and go exploring a fair number of times.

    I haven't had the opportunity to do much work with my camera yet, so any suggestions would be appreciated - both in equipment [I probably need a tripod ] and settings / planning / etc.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Add a wider lens, like the Tokina 10-17mm. I know a person who has one and I was totally blown away by the images that it delivers.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNikon View Post
    so any suggestions would be appreciated - both in equipment [I probably need a tripod ] and settings / planning
    Chris

    Re planning. If you are going on what will be for you a photographic holiday and the purpose is to end up with some important pictures, then, unless you have been in that environment previously and know it, read everything you can get a hold off - find out what the environment is going to be like; look at pictures made by others in the same environment; visualise the images you want to make. In effect, arrive knowing what images you are going to come away with.

  4. #4

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    What about an 18-200mm VR as a walk about lens ? It should cover most needs, apart from longer telephoto for wildlife, so a 300mm or 400mm prime or a 70-300mm or similar zoom.
    Depends how much you want to spend.

  5. #5

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Don - I'm definitely doing as much reading as I can. It's little hard to tell, because the route the boat takes [its a small boat, 40 people] and what they do varies depending on the weather and whats available. I've got a couple of recommended guidebooks and hopefully as we get closer they can nail down whats happening and what sights we may be visiting, so I can try and get an idea of what I'm looking at.

    Mike, I'm hoping to keep it fairly reasonable, under $1,000 would be great. Fortunately I have a couple of months to plan/save/pay off credit cards . I am hoping to stay away from the multi-thousand dollar lenses, though, as opportunities like this one are fairly limited.

    A wider angle lens sounds like an interesting idea, I'll have to look into that a little more. At least with a lens like that I can find interesting uses for it after the trip is over

  6. #6
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Chris. Have you considered the option of renting a telephoto lens (400mm plus) or a telephoto zoom? Would seem a tragedy to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to photograph a leaping grey whale, killer whales or bears and not have the technology to accomplish it. You will probably have to establish a relationship with a local store in order to let them trust you with the gear.

  7. #7
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Quote Originally Posted by tbob View Post
    Chris. Have you considered the option of renting a telephoto lens (400mm plus) or a telephoto zoom? Would seem a tragedy to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to photograph a leaping grey whale, killer whales or bears and not have the technology to accomplish it. You will probably have to establish a relationship with a local store in order to let them trust you with the gear.
    If you do rent a lens you will want a few days to get accustomed to the lens prior to your trip.

  8. #8
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Definitely bring some sort of protection against the elements. I spent ten days on the Kenai Peninsula at the end of July through the beginning of August 2009 and it rained every single day. I successfully used a Kata rain cover but, the inexpensive OPTECH Rainsleeve works great. It is not, however, very sturdy.

    Since I usually shoot with two cameras (with one wearing a flash), I recently purchased this cover also. It seems pretty nice but, I have not tried it in the rain like my Kata cover. http://cgi.ebay.com/Rain-cover-Camer...item415285b737

    Any of the covers I mentioned beat using a trash bag to cover your camera in the rain, although a trash bag can work in an emergency.

    I used primarily longer focal length lenses in Alaska rather than wide angles.

    What else do I need in my bag

    If I needed a wider view, I would simply shoot a hand-held pano.

    What else do I need in my bag
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 4th March 2011 at 03:59 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    I'm not sure how large your "bag" is, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned a tripod yet
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 5th March 2011 at 04:27 PM.

  10. #10

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    I think it depends on what you want to spend time on shooting as well as your budget. Some great people shots on a cruise ship, for example. But generally a long lens makes sense as does a monopod to stabilize it a little and easier to carry than a tripod. I doubt you'll be on shore early or late so you probably don't need a tripod for onshore shots. You might look at a gorillapod for the ship, but it won't hold a really long lens in my experience.

    Also think about images that will be different from everybody else on the ship. Maybe macro will be interesting. In other words don't plan for one form of photography only, maybe you won't see a whale or stand in great light in Denali.

  11. #11
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    A special little spirit level which fits onto the flash shoe is useful and very cheap. It's surprising how one's judgement about levels can be wrong.

  12. #12

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Quote Originally Posted by Sickbaytiffie View Post
    A special little spirit level which fits onto the flash shoe is useful and very cheap. It's surprising how one's judgement about levels can be wrong.
    Good one - I carry one with me all the time and it has saved me more than once from a nasty crop.

  13. #13

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Spare batteries?

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Spare card and a rain hood.

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Oh, I also carry bull clips to hold up backdrop cloths or to hold a twig back...you know, artifically enhancing nature's course.

  16. #16
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Speaking of batteries, carry both the 110VAC charger and the 12VDC charger. There might never be a need for the car charger, but you will use Navy language if you dont have that 3 extra ounces of weight in your bag. (And, don't ask me how I know. )

    If I were setting up for that trip I'd pick up an old, small, light laptop computer with a USB port. I'd add to that one of the $100 Terabyte or 500 Gb external drives. You are not going to be doing any PP on the trip, but you will want to be able to clear your cards at the end of each day or so. Check with the tour boat to see if you have 110VAC available or if they have only DC power available. I have seen and been in situations similar where they had only 24VDC available, which gets to be a real nuisance. If they have only 12 or 24VDC available, contact me and I'll tell you how to get around that.

    For camera equipment, you have received good advice already. When I was shooting Northern Alaska, I was using a 4x5 Speed Grafic, so ...

    Pops

  17. #17
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Get a Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED to go with the AF-S VR 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6G ED you have with the D90. These two lenses will give you 80% of the shots you're ever going to shoot. The remaining 20% will be macro ones - another lens for another day - and extreme stuff like 10mm super-wides and 400mm+ super-telephoto lenses - again more lenses for the future. If your budget allows then I'd also get a Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f1.8G as this is a fantastic little lens to carry every day, it is super bright for low light, hand held photography and the large aperture gives a crackin' short depth of field - as a bonus it is very inexpensive for the performance you get.

    My day-to-day kit when I can't be bothered to hump around everything is very similar just swapping your kit lens for my Nikon AF-S VR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED.

  18. #18

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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Wow, thanks everyone for the responses. Great stuff, and many I hadn't considered.

    Couple questions:

    I do have a spare battery, to charge while I'm using the camera, and I may well get a third just in case. This is one of those trips I'm not likely to repeat [even at the old age of 26], so when in doubt I'm leaning in the direction of over-prepared, especially on the small stuff. I am traveling with 9 other family members, so plenty of other suitcases to store extra supplies in!

    A level, and a rain cover - things I never considered but make perfect sense when you think about it!

    Tripod vs. Monopod? I can't imagine a need for both. If you take a tripod and clump all the legs together, does it work as a monopod, or not really? I've read a couple of the other posts currently on this topic, and there is more to it than I originally expected, so this may take a little more looking-into.

    Robin, thanks for the lens suggestions. The 35mm is already very high up the list, as it's been recommended to me now a couple of different ways as a great all-around lens.

    I was considering that 70-300, or the AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED. It jacks the price well up, and honestly I'm not sure if I'm qualified yet to determine if the increased price is justified. Next weekend I am going to head up to my local photo store and see if they have a suggestion, although I'm guessing they will certainly tell me the more expensive lens is much better.

  19. #19
    rob marshall

    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNikon View Post
    What else do I need in my bag?

    1. Cheese sandwiches for feeding the bears lunch on your shoots.
    2. Rubber band to hold the Nikon together when it starts to fall apart (only kidding).
    3. Pen/paper to write down phone numbers of attractive Caribou who mistake you for a famous photographer.
    4. Pan scourer for clearing the lens of ice.
    5. A pair of running shoes so you can get away from the bears after you fail to give them a cheese sandwich.
    6. A print of somewhere warm and sunny.
    7. A boot to kick yourself with that you didn't go to Hawaii instead.
    8. An ice knife to make the cocktails
    9. A copy of National Geographic to give you some shot ideas.
    10. Thermal underwear.

    Does that help? Have a nice trip!

  20. #20
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: What else do I need in my bag

    Now theres a thing, I sold my 80-400mm lens to buy the 70-300mm - well that and my (now dead) D200. Several reasons really:

    1. I honestly couldn't be bothered to carry it some days which seemed a waste, its a fantastic lens and a fantastically heavy one too.
    2. I couldn't afford the D200 and the missus had said I could only have one if I didn't spend loads of money so I sold the D70 and the 80-400mm to finance the body upgrade knowing I could squeeze the 70-300mm in as well.
    3. The 80-400mm is not the fastest focusing lens having a long throw, screw drive mechanism whereas the AF-S one in the 70-300mm is lightning fast.
    4. At the time I was losing 100mm but gaining 4 million pixels - 6 upto 10 - so I could afford to crop a little.

    I had one in the shop a few weeks back and had a play when the customer came in for it. It is still a cracking bit of kit, looks awesome on the D300s with the MB-D10 grip but by God its still a heavy beast - I don't miss it.

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