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Extended travel tricks & tips

I’m going to be spending a little over 3 months abroad in a region of the world where I’ll be subjected to high winds, high altitudes, cold, rain, maybe some snow and varied access to electricity.

The stories requires me to employ a minimal amount of equipment and thus, maximum effiency is the name of the game.

Some things I was hoping to discuss:

1. Storage of precious camera cargo, transportation of such, different powering methods for DSLR batteries.

2. Protection experience in incremental weather.

3. What must-haves, in terms of camera equipment (lens, etc.) have you had and think would need.

4. What must-haves in general.

5. Extended travel on assignment tips and tricks, etc.

Sorry for being vague about the region. I’d like to use this thread to talk about your methods for such things and compare notes to my own and hopefully, improve what we already may do.

by [a former member] at 2007-10-04 12:59:17 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Philadelphia , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→


No one travels and photographs?

by [former member] | 04 Oct 2007 19:10 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
Here’s a good website for what you’re interested in: http://www.humanedgetech.com/shop/home.php

Also check out some of the links here: http://www.explorersweb.com/

Sgt Frank Hudec
Photographer/Canadian Forces Combat Camera Reserve Team

by [former member] | 04 Oct 2007 19:10 | Ottawa, Canada | | Report spam→
Two Leica Bodies M6 and a M7
21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm (no I’m not a trustifarian, just bought used over the years)
Tri-X and Tmax 3200 @ about 5 rolls per day. Sometimes I use some higher speed Kodak or Fuji color print films.

I’ve often wondered how Stanley Greene made out with film etc in places like Chechnya. Talk about extreme conditions.

Sorry no DSLR experience except short term trips.

Temp extremes and moisture no problems for film or cameras, just me. I need to drink more water or something.

You may want to ask Thomas Pickard. http://www.lightstalkers.org/thomaspickard
Looks like he has some very nasty weather experience.

Sorry I could not be of more help.


by Paul Rigas | 04 Oct 2007 20:10 | Grass Pants, Oregon, United States | | Report spam→
Paul, Stanley has an elaborate system of plastic cases for storing film…..he is actually very organized, as one must be in difficult conditions. Mustafah, each situation is different unless I know the specifics of the assignment I would’t offer suggestions as it impossible to generalize on something like this.
With film we didn’t have to worry about backing up files, just kept the film safe, so there is a whole other layer of difficulty for you. Same with the rechargables, thats a bit of a headache, always needing chargers and then there are current issues and electrical connections in various places…..but it sounds like a fun project for you.

by [former member] | 04 Oct 2007 20:10 (ed. Oct 4 2007) | New Orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Have a look at the FAQ on Bryan and Cherry Alexander’s arctic photography Agency site:

It outlines the kit, film, digital tricks they use in an arctic environment which I guess is as extreme as it gets although I guess moisture/humidity is not such an issue…

by sam machpherson | 05 Oct 2007 06:10 | london, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
Maybe what I am about to write is something that you have already planned for, or simply does not apply, but it seems to me, that camera gear “might” be the last thing to think about.
I just want to make sure that you are well prepared in terms of personal safety, gear and knowledge. I am by no means saying that you do not have the skills or experience, as I do not know you. But having lived 13+ years in Alaska and worked with guiding outfits and rescue groups, I had to go search for a few folks nailed by a sprained ankle that snowballed into hypothermia into death. Bad things can happen fast is all I am saying.
Will you be traveling in a group? With experienced/local people? How about your own personal skills in terms of orienteering, building shelter, medical emergency care knowledge, layered clothing, etc…
Sorry if this is off-topic, but there is nothing like a walk in the park once you are in the boonies.

by Olivier Boulot | 05 Oct 2007 08:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Olivier: I understand what you mean. I’ve had extensive search & rescue training and survival training so I’m set in that respect. My navigation skills are pretty good and I’m a quick with languages. My weakness is medical training, seeing as I kinda…skipped that in training. So those things don’t worry me as much as the things I don’t expect.

I will be traveling alone, but planning waypoint visits to various settlements in remote areas. I was thinking of setting time schedules with each place, so that if I don’t show up there will a system in place to alert people. I heard about some international cell phone services that might allow me to keep something on me.

I’m actually not too worried about the traveling around part; I’m lucky in that I’ve got a good background for it.

I’ve heard of LSers leaving a paper trail via ATM withdrawals. Is this as effective as advertised?

Michal: I’m going to bring Fuji 100 and 800. Some of the areas might work well with both latitudes. Have you experience 800 to be a bit too sensitive in how you can shoot, i.e. aperture selection in daylight?

Appreciate the feedback so far.

What worries me the most is charging batteries and whether to purchase a Hyperdrive and offload my work to it then clear my cards, or just shoot a lot of cards.

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 11:10 (ed. Oct 5 2007) | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
If you can afford it then shoot with cards as they are flash based no moving parts) vs. hard drive (movable disks) prone to breakdowns and require power source.

good luck and be safe

by Kahtan Alamery | 05 Oct 2007 12:10 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Silica gel…



by J-F Vergel | 05 Oct 2007 12:10 (ed. Oct 5 2007) | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Silica gel is definitely a must. A system of lightweight gloves, fingerless gloves and mittens to let you use the camera while on the move. A cloth to get excessive moisture off the camera without messing your lens cloths. A car lighter to standard plug connection for charging anything while driving.

I’ve no experience of using solar chargers, but I guess it’s worth looking into?

by Dave Walsh | 05 Oct 2007 13:10 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
Setting waypoints with a buddy who will check periodically that you made it is a good idea. Leaving a paper trail with ATMs is also a good idea, and does work.
On the medical side of things, see if you can get into a Wilderness Emergency Care aka Outdoor Emergency Care aka Wilderness First Responder class through a local university (sorry, the name has changed over the years, and I don;t remember what it is called these days). It is worth every penny. At least see if you can get the course material and go through it.

Regarding the Hyperdrive, I would go for multiple CF cards if money is not a big obstacle. Less chance of something going FUBAR, it will be a lot lighter, and your needs for electrical power will be fewer.
If your budget commands to go with the hyperdrive, you should be able to get an hyperdrive casing, a couple of drives and a small peli case to backup on two different drives while keeping everything safe. Total bill should be about less than $500 for 120GB of space. Equivallent space will run you twice as much for 80GB in CFs… Maybe you can buy a bunch of CFs for the project and plan on selling them when you get back?
Either way, power consumption of the new Hyperdrives is quite minimal (get an extra battery for $20, to minimize space/weight).

So now, you’ll need to deal with the power for your camera. You’re shooting Nikon IIRC? D200? or stg else.
Lemme know, I have some stuff bookmarked somewhere, I’ll dig it out.
A solar setup to recharge the batteries should be around $160 I think…

by Olivier Boulot | 05 Oct 2007 13:10 (ed. Oct 5 2007) | Paris, France | | Report spam→
You’ve probably have already thought of this but if not hand warmers – numb fingers make fast shooting impossible. http://www.staywarm-staycool.com/products/product.aspx?pid=1-10-6011

Brunton have solar rolls that will recharge batteries and computer
Never used them in freezing weather – but the people at Brunton are v. helpful with specs etc.
Also think about cables to recharge batteries from trucks, generators, boats etc. might come in handy, Tek Serve in NY were helpful re: how to do. If I can find info I have will send it on.

by Angela Cumberbirch | 05 Oct 2007 16:10 | Manhattan, New York, United States | | Report spam→
Angela, Dave: I’ve been looking into solar tentatively. But it makes more sense if I do have this and don’t use it then not. I’m going to look into Bruton right now.

Olivier: Unfortunetely, the budget for this project is not as large as I’d like so I’m trying to maximize space and money at the same time.

I’m using a D200 and digging up my old N90 that runs on AA batteries. I’m sure I can find places that sell AA’s in the areas that I’ll be so I’m not worried about that at all. The only thing I need to figure out is:

- Powering the D200
- RAW storage

I’ll be on boats, trucks, buses, motorcycle, etc., so do you think (Olivier) that a Hyperdrive or the equivalent boy scout version, would be advisible to use under such conditions? The last thing I want is to shoot, store, and travel back after spending 3 months in the most remote areas and find out my hard drive is blown. The less moving parts sounds better, plus I can store CF cards in smaller places than a hard drive and in some of the areas I’ll be, that’ll be invaluable.

What cords would ya’ll recommend to plug into cars and such?

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 16:10 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
Use Leica M’s and film. I have an MP and a M2. My M2 has been my most reliable camera. All the above work without batteries. Ziplocks for film. Film has one moving part, the spool.

by Peter Helenius | 05 Oct 2007 16:10 | Long Island, United States | | Report spam→
Peter, unfortunetely I cannot afford the few thousand investment for a Leica M, nor do I want to shoot this entirely on film, or use manual focus lens, etc. I want to shoot digital for a number of reasons, but thanks. I just sold my Contax G2 kit, as a matter of fact. Not as good as the holy Leica, but hey, it was good while it lasted.

I did the math and currently have 11GB of space spread out into 4 cards which gives me 660 RAW images to work with at any given time.

Michal, that’s perfect. If I get two of those, then I can shoot 2,580 RAWs. That’s a better solution than a Hyperdrive, I think. Do you have any experience with this brand, QMemory?

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 16:10 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
lots of wind and rain,little chance of drying out?take a long,tough rubberised cape and a woollen pullover,cos wool keeps you warm even when its wet.by the way,what is ‘incremental weather’?

by Michael Bowring | 05 Oct 2007 17:10 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
Michael: Mostly rain, but high winds during wide open areas without shelter. Foggy, too with hail or snow (I might hit some on the way out). It’s the wind and rain that worry me most, since it’s known to slant pretty heavily.

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 17:10 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
“I will be traveling alone, but planning waypoint visits to various settlements in remote areas. I was thinking of setting time schedules with each place, so that if I don’t show up there will a system in place to alert people. I heard about some international cell phone services that might allow me to keep something on me”

Mustafah – RE: Cell phones for tracking and tracing positon – try these people http://www.bluecosmo.com/shop/product/6/Globalstar_Satellite_Phone_Rental, there is a tracer available to track positions in remote zones. Many search and rescue teams (and other authorities) have GPS satellite tracing equipment so might be good to contact the people where you are going – if possible, and see if they can suggest best way to do this in their area.

by Angela Cumberbirch | 05 Oct 2007 17:10 | Manhattan, New York, United States | | Report spam→
wool and rubber mate,you will stay cosy then.i worked out what ‘incremental’ meant.i think the word you really meant to use is ‘inclement’.as for 2 16 gb cards,not a bad idea,but if one goes down,or you lose one,you are buggered.(well,half buggered anyway).i would treat them the same way as money while travelling,small denominations,not all stored in the same place.safe trip.

by Michael Bowring | 05 Oct 2007 17:10 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
I have one of these Radio Shack inverters, a 150W,works i a car ciggie lighter socket. $39.99

More inverters on radio shack »

by Dave Walsh | 05 Oct 2007 17:10 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
If you are going to be above 10,000 feet 3048m for any length of time.. I would plan on taking multiple hard drives if shooting digital. most commercially available HD’s are not warranted for work above that altitude.. My personal experience was having 2 hard drives out of 8 and 2 ipods out of 4 die on a high altitude trip. If you can bulk up on CF cards www.crucial.com has cheap ones (slower than sandisk EIII) but still solid state, you would be better than taking any hard drives..

Silica gel – look for the Tidy Cats Crystals kitty litter – it is silica gel without the photographic $$ markup..

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 19:10 | Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
Jon, the 10,000ft is something from the past, and the vast majority of modern drives do “breathe” and adjust to altitude now. They actually have breathing hole with stickers warning to not cover the pressure holes if you look closely.

Sounds like CFs are the best way to go in this case, except for price of course, but, can’t have it all… Mustafah, the problem is you’ll have so much “stuff” to carry that onces will quickly add up to a “combat load”, plus Hyperdrive gizmos do not go unnoticed.
I would agree with Michael that it is probably best to deal with them like “currency”, and spread out small 4GB bills instead carrying 16GB “big ones”.
Had a tough day, will dig out the solar kit for EN-EL3e tomorrow…

by Olivier Boulot | 05 Oct 2007 20:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Olivier, I agree. I’ve shaved off a lot of stuff in order to travel as light as possible. And spreading out the 4GBs might work out to my advantage; it’ll be better to mail one 4GB back to my apartment then a 16GB.

I’m definitely interested in the solar kit. I called up that company, Bruton, but the only one that would work with the D200 battery is bigger and more expensive than I hoped. But it beats running out of power.

I think I’m going to pass on the Hyperdrive for now. Looking into converters for trucks and such now…

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 20:10 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
Kitty Litter…..LOL. Jon, thats priceless.

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 20:10 | New Orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Mustafah, you probably have this bookmarked, I know we both posted some stuff there, but just in case:

by Olivier Boulot | 05 Oct 2007 20:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Its all top secret so……

by [former member] | 05 Oct 2007 21:10 | New Orleans, United States | | Report spam→

The problem is not the breathing hole, but rather the physics involved. A hard drive head is actually flying over a cushion of air, it needs air to maintain its flight properly. The vent holes are in them to balance internal air pressure with the outside air pressure. At altitudes greater than 10,000 feet or 200 feet below sea level in
unpressurized environments there is insufficient air pressure to maintain the head’s proper flight characteristics. Without enough air molecules to support the head it crashes into the spinning disk, and destroys the data stored on it.


There are specially manufactured sealed and pressurized disks for reliable high-altitude operation, but they are all small in capacity; 30-50gb and expensive as they are designed for automobiles..


by [former member] | 06 Oct 2007 23:10 | Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
Kitty litter ingredients: Silica, deodorizing system.

Makes cameras & lenses smell good too LOL

But at $5 for 3.5 pounds it beats the price of stuff they sell at B&H.. fill a sock or cloth bag with it and sew it up and you have a cheap desiccant system for inside a pelican case. But just like the stuff they sell.. once it has absorbed its limit of moisture you need to replace it or renew it.. for $5 I would rather replace it than hassle with baking the moisture out.


by [former member] | 06 Oct 2007 23:10 | Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
“I tramp a perpetual journey.

My signs are good shoes, a waterproof coat,
and a staff cut from the wood."

-Walt Whitman

by Barry Milyovsky | 07 Oct 2007 00:10 (ed. Oct 7 2007) | new york, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Mustafah,

Working in high altitude regions/rough weather, without hasseling with aLOT of digital gear, I feel you should bring strong film cameras. But I brought a DSLR for a month in a remote area and managed ok with ‘Coleman’ solar panels for batteries &hard drive. Hooked on my rucksack, it did a good job even in overcast daylight and cold.

CFcards, don’t pack-up more than 4GB (hell when it crashes); I even prefer 2GB and store’em safe and warm on you and in your pack. Bring strong ziplocks ;)

Best, T.

by Tanguy Gilson | 07 Oct 2007 07:10 (ed. Oct 7 2007) | Paris, France | | Report spam→
This might be a little bit off topic and you might know it already, but it’s a bit of advice I didn’t follow and resulted in a terrible cold (not nice in remote places)

If you get your feet soaking wet and have to stop moving for any reason take your socks off (even if it’s cold) and put new ones on or none if no dry ones available, otherwise all your body heat will escape through your feet in no time at all and you’ll catch a nasty one. If you keep walking, it’s still probably best to change the socks but not as urgent as if you stop.

by Andrew Wheeler | 07 Oct 2007 08:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Ditto on the importance of taking care of one’s feet.
Always wear thin polypro socks against your skin, with wool socks on top to keep your feet dry, but also to avoid friction (blisters). No matter what, no cotton!!

For really cold and wet environments, an awesome piece of gear can be found for free at Safeway: produce bags!!! Wear them on top of your polypro socks as a vapor barrier.
Your med kit should have a needle and thread to take care of big blisters (the serious ones that require to get blood out).
Medkit is another subject entirely. I remember there was a really good thread on LS.
Being able to isolate your feets from the ground is very important too. Cutting a piece out of an old sleeping pad so you can stand on it is a good idea. Fold it in half and glue it on top of tough thick cardboard, so it doubles as a flat stand for a stove (are you planning on taking one?).

@Jon: I understand the physics involved with hard drives and loosing 20mm of Hg pressure every thousand feet, but I though the modern drives managed to compensate for excess or lack of pressure through two one-way valves and temperature. Appears I was wrong. Thanks!

by Olivier Boulot | 07 Oct 2007 13:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Oliver, you just became my new best friend.

I’ll be bringing MREs for the areas I’ll be isolated, but mostly I’ll be in between remote areas (outposts, farms) and have access to food and such. I’m not bring a stove (too much) but some dry food and for around 2-3 days. But it’s still something to consider.

by [former member] | 07 Oct 2007 13:10 (ed. Oct 7 2007) | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
One more thing, Mustafah, remember what Naomi Judd used to tell her children before they went to sleep, “Wash your hands and say your prayers ’cause germs and Jesus are everywhere.”

by Barry Milyovsky | 07 Oct 2007 14:10 | new york, United States | | Report spam→
I love the kitty liter idea but also consider going to a store that sells shoes
and ask if they have any of the little gel packs that are shipped with the shoes
these work quite well too…

lots of ziplocks and a few heavy duty plastic trash bags unless you can afford the
waterproof sacks but these tend to be space consumers

I assume you’ll be taking a sleeping bag but also consider a very good goretex
type bivy sack, will keep you dryer and warmer. And even perhaps an emergency
blanket as it will not take a lot of space and can add an extra layer of warmth
inside your sleeping bag

sunblock? high altitude reflection is a killer

by Peter Harris | 07 Oct 2007 19:10 | Rome, Italy | | Report spam→
Mustafah, if you don’t need to melt snow to survive (drink and stay hydrated), then I’d say forget about the stove. Factors for hypothermia are exposure, dehydration and lack of food (fuel for your internal stove). MREs are OK, but also pack extra calories (make your own GORP with local ingredients), or peanut butter is a compact version of fat calories and proteins.

Should you need a stove, do get a multi-fuel kind. Depending on your destination the folks at REI will tell you what’s best (white gas, kerosene, unleaded, etc). Ballpark one quart of fuel per person for 4 days.

If you don’t need to melt snow, then forget about the expensive katadyne pumps and just go for water tablets. Keep in mind that tablets require longer than normal to work when it’s cold. So, two water bottles with tight lids are a good idea. Unless advised otherwise by REI folks, I’d say stay away from the Katadyne water bottles or expensive pump systems. They are great in tropical settings, but I doubt cups can take much of a beating and I’d be concerned about filter getting frozen shut. Get the pills to remove the nasty taste as well.

Barry’s right. Although germs won’t thrive like in warm weather, antibacterial liquid soap before meals and after bathroom stops!

Peter’s sunblock! the best I can think of is also the lightest. Tough round blue metal cans with a swedish flag (REI?). Tiny thing should last the trip. TWO pairs of sunglasses! You will eventually break/loose one, and snow blindness is not an option.
Emergency banket is an absolute MUST! Don’t buy the cheap stuff, but the reinforced kind with a colored (usually red) face. IIRC radiation is the leading cause of body heat loss. Toss you pad on the ground, then the survival blanky shinny face up, sleep on top of all the above, or wrap yourself in it if sleeping in a bivy.
If you’re going to be sleeping outside, Peter is right about the bivy as well. Bivy or tent? If not cooking with a stove and alone, I’d go for the bivy (lighter and harder to spot). Get a good compression bag for the sleeping bag. DO NOT buy a down bag! If wet, you are scr3w3d…

I use to have ready-to-go checklists for this kind of stuff, but it’s been a few years already. HAve you started compiling a list already?

by Olivier Boulot | 07 Oct 2007 20:10 (ed. Oct 7 2007) | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Packaging has changed a little, but this is it:

by Olivier Boulot | 07 Oct 2007 20:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
On the medical side of things, this is IMHO the best class you can take (available through some Universities as well):


It is quite a financial and time commitment, but will teach you how to deal with trauma incl. bullet wounds, and a lot more.
Class material I mentioned:

by Olivier Boulot | 07 Oct 2007 20:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
On the medical side of things, this is IMHO the best class you can take (available through some Universities as well):


It is quite a financial and time commitment, but will teach you how to deal with trauma incl. bullet wounds, and a lot more.
Class material I mentioned:

by Olivier Boulot | 07 Oct 2007 20:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Mustafah, Just came across this – thought it could be interesting http://www.digitalcamerabattery.com/

The Digital Camera Battery can also power accessories such as laptop computers, storage devices, cell phones and much more. There are many cables and adapters readily available. The Digital Camera Battery can power two devices at the same time and has adjustable outputs that match each device automatically.

from site of photographers that shoot in the artic. Here’s their site with brief description of what they take re: cameras and how they keep them working etc and problems.

by Angela Cumberbirch | 09 Oct 2007 18:10 | Manhattan, New York, United States | | Report spam→
I read the arcticphoto site Faq Angela showed us, and I was surprised that the digital cameras worked to a degree, -25C. I have two manual cameras which come with mechanical shutters, so it is possible to take photos without batteries. They are the Olympus OM-3Ti and OM-2000. The Olympus’ earlier OM bodies, OM-1 would also work without batteries. You don’t have to go to the Leicas to equip yourself with an all-mechanical camera which provides metering with batteries. The 3Ti and 2000 both have spot metering and in the case of the 3Ti, multisport metering.

When I was shooting early morning (6 am)on a ferry across Lake Zurich in Switzerland, I did not have time to get an optimum exposure for each scene which comes and goes so fast, so I was shooting to make sure that my shutter speeds were fast enough.

So I recommend that having a manual camera with lenses, and cultivating an instinctive feel for focusing and setting exposures on those extreme occasions.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 09 Oct 2007 21:10 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
Tomoko: Thanks, definitely something to know.

Angela: I’m going to look into the DCR now. I’m not going to be in climates that extreme. My worry isn’t whether or not my batteries will work at a specific temperature, but durations. I’ll be in in remote outposts without the ability to charge batteries in between.

Olivier, did I tell you how much I like you? I’m going to send an e-mail soon…

by [former member] | 10 Oct 2007 00:10 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
“I wish I had a stone for the knife,” the old man said after he had checked the lashing on the oar butt. “I should have brought a stone.” You should have brought many things, he thought. But you did not bring them, old man. Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.

by Olivier Boulot | 10 Oct 2007 02:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Duct tape and gaffer DO stop sticking when it gets really cold.
If that happens, get a lighter out, and warm it up gently with the flame…

Trash bags are good… But trash compactor bags are a lot better.

Get a sturdy plastic spoon, drill a hole in the handle, and attach it to a big insulated “cheapo gas station” coffee cup with a foot of nylon/parachute cord.

Sure Mustafah! Email/skype/etc… whatever works…

by Olivier Boulot | 10 Oct 2007 12:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Has anyone here had any serious battery issues in cold climates? I’ve had my canons in Arctic and Antarctic conditions, with no appreciable loss of battery life. The biggest issues were 1) tripods freezing and 2) lens fogging when taking a camera inside.

I suspect that my good fortune was down to the dryness of the air though.

by Dave Walsh | 10 Oct 2007 12:10 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
Since I don’t have any digital cameras, thus no rechargeable digital camera batteries, I cannot say anything about those.

Old batteries tend to work poorly in cold. It does not need to be super cold. A few degrees above freezing and perhaps windy condition would do it. It has happened to me in the middle of a shoot. Fresh batteries are needed. Also you need to keep the camera from being exposed to cold air around them for a long time. Someone I know said to me he puts his camera in his pocket to keep it warm. This would be only possible with a compact camera or a size just above the compact size.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 10 Oct 2007 13:10 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
I’ve had serious trouble with batteries in February on Nunivak Island. Temperature that day was -76F. That prompted the locals to shut down the school for three days. Kids were not allowed outside, and I must have been the only idiot wandering around… I tried to keep the camera under my jacket, but batteries were gone in minutes.
BTW Dave, how was Anchorage?

by Olivier Boulot | 10 Oct 2007 14:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Hey Olivier – Anchorage was so-so, but when I got down southy to Seward and Homer, and up north to Denali, things got really interesting!

by Dave Walsh | 10 Oct 2007 14:10 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
I’ve never tried this or anyone that has but…

What type of camera/grip do you use?
As you know most add-on grips are designed to add an additional battery
but what if you put one or two of those “hand warmers” inside that extra
battery slot?

I don’t know the contents of these things but the caution side of me is
thinking corrosion of the battery connections. anyone?

by Peter Harris | 10 Oct 2007 14:10 | Rome, Italy | | Report spam→
The latest issue of PDN deals with shooting in extremes. On the last page they list the equipment they took with them.

by Radhanatha Jakupko | 10 Oct 2007 19:10 | Alachua, Florida, United States | | Report spam→
@Dave: Nobody told you that “What’s nice about Anchorage is that it’s SO close to Alaska?” :-)

by Olivier Boulot | 10 Oct 2007 23:10 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
I don’t know where I got this but it might be of some help. (Or, not). It’s from early 2006.

Travel Trippacking hints from NatGeoSoc’s Annie Griffiths:

Just when we all had our packing routines in order, along came digital. True, traveling with digital means we no longer have to hand-carry hundreds of rolls of film, and for short shoots digital does allow us to go lighter and faster, but for longer assignments packing still calls for planning. When it comes to preparing for digital shoots, the truth is that the most important thing to pack is a digital assistant. Failing that, I’ve come up with different packing strategies for different types of shoots.

>>> The Nano. This is the job where I’m moving really fast. Two or three days in a location or a country; hit the ground running; little sleep; no checked bags. Honk it. For these shoots, digital is great, as long as one does not become paranoid about backing things up. When I have to move this fast, I leave the laptop at home. I go with a small pullcart and a backpack. I take lots of cards and treat them the way I would treat exposed film. The one little extra insurance I take along is one of those battery-powered portable hard drives, so that all the images are backed up once. In the backpack I’ve inserted the dividers from my old Domke bag. I take two D70s and three lenses: usually the 17-55mm Zoom-Nikkor and the 180mm and the 28mm (perfect for most aerials and a good backup in case anything happens to the zoom). I also bring an SB-800 strobe, a light meter and a small flashlight. I always keep folded trash bags and Ziplocs at the bottom of the backpack in case of rain or dust storms. In the front pocket I carry non-essential stuff like Sharpies, pens, business cards, sunscreen, bug juice. Anything valuable (passport, tickets, $$$, meds, digital cards) goes behind the equipment inside. For long flights I have a little bag with eyeshades, earplugs, sleeping pills and a neck pillow. I always ask for a window seat so I can see, but also so I can sleep against the wall of the plane and not get bumped awake by people in the aisle. I always have a warm fleece along because airplanes are often freezing. The pullcart must be small enough that no airline will refuse it. It holds my clothing, and I often put in Ziplocs filled with energy bars, beef jerky and hard candy, because I won’t have time for restaurants. If I’m sure that meals will be few and far between, I even throw in a jar of peanut butter. The pullcart also holds rechargers, adapters, batteries, bandanas, a ball cap, extra shoes and sometimes gifts for people I’ll meet—like earrings, ball caps, bandanas and flower seeds.

>>> The Mini. Often a job will be two to four weeks in a location with less moving around. For a job this long, chances are I’ll need to be set up to do the whole digital workflow. It’s a lot of gear and a lot of time after shooting all day. On these trips, the pullcart carries my 12-inch laptop, two external hard drives, card reader, DVDs to burn each day and all the cords, adaptors and rechargers. Since I have to check a bag for these trips, the camera gear basically doubles. I take four bodies and about eight lenses. If the job includes wildlife, I need bigger glass—always my 300mm and sometimes my 600mm. I keep the same setup in my backpack that I do for short trips in case something happens to the checked bag. The additional gear goes into a small Pelican case that I then insert into a ratty old suitcase so it doesn’t look interesting. Then I pack a duffle large enough to hold a tripod. I take the handles off the tripod and insert each end into a tennis shoe for protection. Finally, I pack my clothing around the tripod. Voila!

>>> The 60-Gig. Interestingly enough, a monster assignment (six to ten weeks) doesn’t really require a lot more gear than the Mini—a few more lenses and SB-800 strobes and an extra body or two depending upon how rugged the job will be. On these assignments, digital is absolutely great. One of the most difficult aspects of doing long assignments with film was that I never got to see the pictures, and it was discouraging trying to assess how the story was coming along. There were frequent, nervous calls to the picture editor back in the States. Digital does add to my time in the field at the end of the day, but there’s a double payoff. First, the work is done and ready to go to the client; there’s nothing more to do when I get home. Second, seeing the images on the spot allows me to work far more confidently and efficiently. Most importantly, I find that shooting digital has freed me creatively. Along with the serious shooting, I find that I’m more playful. In many ways, working with digital photography has brought me full circle to my early days of shooting. I simply mess around more with digital, experimenting more and learning immediately from the results. And for that creative boost, I’ll gladly shlep the gear.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 11 Oct 2007 02:10 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
cold condensation.. put your cameras and lenses (camera bag) in a plastic bag before you come inside, squeeze all the air out and seal, wait for a hour plus to allow slow warming.- this will decrease condensation forming on or worse Inside the equipment. If possible leave the main part of your gear in a cooler/colder part of your living quarters.. pull the batteries/chips to process and charge.. whatever you can do to minimize the temperature differential will help this in both directions.

by [former member] | 11 Oct 2007 02:10 | Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
Olivier – fair point!

Fond memories of Anchorage include:

… and being one of the last of the Irish contingent to get turfed out of Humpies after the IWC meeting.

by Dave Walsh | 11 Oct 2007 08:10 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→

Don’t know if this is a little late but thought I’d mention it.

I haven’t read everything here from top to bottom so this may have been mentioned already but there’s a post just a little further down the travel page called “simple travel tips” which contains some great information/tips.

As I mentioned in that post, I’m aware that condoms have sometimes been used to keep lenses/film/whatever safe from the elements. They’re versatile, strong, small and easy to carry and [can be] free. They might need washing in a nearby stream and then drying before you insert your 70-200 but will do the job nicely. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous put two on…

(loads of rubbish gags to be had here)

Best of luck.

by Andy Smith | 07 Nov 2007 10:11 | Leeds,, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
………..easy blink…………. and than remember the friggin thing

by Imants | 07 Nov 2007 10:11 | Dusitrealimatta, Australia | | Report spam→
Hey hi didn’t notice this post before (until of course someone mentioned condoms!) but for a girl from the driest continent on earth I have had quite a vast experience in snow covered mountains! (Yep and there was a lot of condom usage in the ones in Europe!- Er not by me of course!)

I haven’t read all this post so sorry if I have doubled up but there are a coupla things

1/ You must keep dry. Excess sweat/water close to your skin is an absolute nightmare and it is the reason that you lose body heat, ‘cos your body heats up to try and dry the water and obviously this draws heat away from your vital organs. Getting wet in mountainous climates is hypothermia 101. The best advice I can give anyone is to buy really good thermal underwear. There is a brand called Skins that is a compression garment that prevents things like deep vein thrombosis that you can get at altitude and also draws any moisture away from your skin. Buy really good socks with no seams that also take the water away from your skin. Then layer over the top with wool and then waterproof stuff that breathes, like Gortex. Don’t be tempted to use plastic or rubber over the top of anything. When sweat or condensation gets trapped between outer and inner garments, you will lose body heat.

2/ if you are at altitude then drink humungous amounts of water. I am assuming that you will be walking a lot so you will sweat it out, ‘cos its a greater effort to walk at altitude especially dressed for cold conditions. If you don’t drink lots of water your mental state can suffer, dizziness, paranoia and you can actually dehydrate and cause yourself problems like thrombosis and edema’s.

3/ If you are camping out on snow, make sure that you have a really good mat between you and the snow, thats how you’ll get a good sleep is if you can stay insulated from the chill. (oh and of course a brilliant artic tent and sleeping bag)

4/ I would pack lots of 4GB and 2GB cards and try and rotate them until you can down load onto the drive. Last time I was out in sub zero temps I kept my batteries warm between charging by either strapping them to my body (over the Skins) when they weren’t in use and by gaffer taping those little handwarmers underneath the battery chamber while I was walking with it and shooting. You could stock up on those they aren’t heavy to carry and believe me they help a lot. I actually took the batteries out and slept with them at night. The handwarmer things last about 8 hours so you could easily get away with two to three days with just two batteries and if you are worried take three.

5/ If you have issues with waterproofing why not get an underwater housing for your camera. Don’t know what you’re shooting but if its cold and wet that should do the trick. It should prevent a bit of fogging as well, your major problem with that would be going into wildly different temperature zones IE going into to a hot room after being in the snow. In that case the camera should just defog if it has waterproofing.

Anyway hope this isn’t too longwinded, pratty or useless and I hope you wake up to a coupla mornings that look like this! Cheers and good luck, hey!

‘The View from my Room’

by lisa hogben | 07 Nov 2007 12:11 (ed. Nov 7 2007) | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Great pic, Lisa, but it that red and yellow thing a kite? Or is it a parachute?

by [former member] | 07 Nov 2007 23:11 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for all the tips! I’m going to save this page and come back to it before I leave. Sorta like a checklist to cover my ass.

I apologize for being a bit vague on where I’ll be going, but it won’t be as extreme as your deluxe suite, Lisa. Just a matter of being in a remote, rough environment for a extended period of time. Keeping equipment maintained, protected from the elements and charged is my primary concern. Next comes me.

Can’t wait to show everyone the work when it’s done… :)

by [former member] | 07 Nov 2007 23:11 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
Kite-skiing, in Snowy Mountains backcountry.

by lisa hogben | 08 Nov 2007 05:11 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Ear plugs.

Trust me…..ear plugs. I also can’t recommend NewsWear highly enough, brilliant stuff. I have a Foul Weather Digital Chestvest thats been all over the world with me.

by . | 08 Nov 2007 05:11 (ed. Nov 8 2007) | Victoria, Canada | | Report spam→
Cards! Never enough cards! No matter how many I pack, there’s never enough of them. The old saying, think about how many you might need, and double that number. Forget that, instead of doubling that, trying x5 or more!

by Aaron J. Heiner | 08 Nov 2007 11:11 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
Newswear stuff is cool, but if you are in areas of conflict consider that wearing their chest vest makes you look like a suicide bomber! Better have plenty of cameras around your neck too so that you aren’t mistaken for one.

My (final?) suggestion, Mustafah, is to make yourself a loop of steel cable that you can use to lock your suitcase, backpack, etc., to something solid so that it does not “walk away” while you are asleep or away from your belongings.

Travel Web sites sell these but the cheapest way is to go to a hardware store and have then cut you about four feet of 1/8 or perhaps 3/16 inch cable. There are metal fittings you can buy there that allow you to make a small loop at the end of each the ends of the cable. Put the cable into the fittings and then hammer the fittings shut permanently. You will have a piece of cable about 3 1/2 feet long with two small loops, one at each end. You can wrap that around something substantial on your suitcase or backpack, insert a lock through the loops, and a thief will be deterred from liberating your belongings (nothing will stop a determined thief with tools, including one with a good knife!).

Sleeping in a train, bus or the back of a truck full of locals, or leaving your kit in a dicey hotel or bunk room, becomes a little less chancy with this device.

by [former member] | 08 Nov 2007 11:11 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
That’s good advice! I have a friend who got his backpack stolen in front of his eyes in an Indian train, the thieves just heaved it off the luggage rack and chucked it to some guys waiting on the railtrack! Padlock your bags down in dodgy places.

by Andrew Wheeler | 08 Nov 2007 11:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→

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