With the assistance some of other kind photographers I have finally decided on the gear to pack. I have been on numerous international photo "expeditions" but this is my first one to Africa. Although my first inclination was to pack my largest lens i finally decided that since it weighs nine pounds and I didn't want to spend two weeks worrying I am following some good advice and leaving it in the safe.
So here are the final choices.
A full frame body and a crop body as a backup. A 400 mm telephoto, 70-200 zoom, 24-70 wide angle zoom with macro and a 1.4 teleconverter to add range when necessary. The two point and shoots are for the everyday vacation shots as well as one that fits and underwater housing and another with 16 MP to use for panoramic images.
I am also carrying some technology items to expand image possibilities and insure I get back to Charleston with the images taken.
The camera above is mounted on a BushHawk. It adds stability for a long lens and is especially useful for birds in flight. The small button on the bottom (in front of the velcro tabs) is wired to the camera shutter release and serves as a "trigger" to fire the camera. It has a tripod mount adapter on the bottom. When a monopod is added it and your two legs comprise a tripod of sorts. Not quite as good as a true tripod but lighter and easier to pack.
The image above contains two useful accessories: A CamRanger and a Joby GorilaPod;
The white rectangle mounted to the top of the camera is the CamRanger. It is wired to the camera with a USB cord. It allow a WIFI network to be established between the camera and another wireless device. In my case that device is an Ipad. It also contains software that allows access to all camera settings/functions except zoom via the Ipad and WIFI. It is very useful for studio work where the camera is tripod mounted and there can be no movement during or between shots, when the height or angle of a shot make it impossible to use the camera viewfinder or you want to photograph skittish subjects from 50 feet away.
The camera is mounted on a Joby GorillaPod. Each of the circular sections of this tripod-like device are movable. The camera can be securely attached to things such as deck rails, sign posts, tree limbs etc. in terrain where use of a standard tripod would not be feasible.
This is the Canon Elph in a submersible case. Canon manufactures these for most of its camera models. This case is rated to 130 feet, so I can using it while scuba diving. Its primary use as of late has been as my grandkids' favorite pool toy. Hopefully It will allow me to get some good images of Great Whites when I dive Shark Alley off the coast of Gansbaai.
Although I have done only a limited number of images with this device it does have a great deal of potential. It the GigaPan Epic, the smallest of the three computerized/motorized camera heads made by the GigaPan firm. It was first developed by Carnegie Mellon University in cooperation with the Ames Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA for use on the Mars Rover Project. Once mounted and leveled it is capable of taking any number of images (a few to a few thousand) that are then made into a panoramic image using specialized software. There are thousands of incredible images on the gigapan.com site and it is well worth visiting
Once you take the images you always want to make sure that you have backups. Some photographers fill up a card, back it up and then format it and reuse the card. I always take plenty of cards and once a card is filled, store it with all the images safely. (once home I load the card to my PC where it then gets backed up to two flash drives and to the "CLOUD" every evening - I then and only then format the camera cards).
I try to maintain at least two backup copies while "in the field". Google "card reader" and you will find many horror stories about readers re-formatting of corrupting cards. Many of these are probably caused by human error such as a card being removed or a drive/camera being turned off before the image has completely been saved from the buffer. But I prefer not to take chances.
At the end of each day of shooting I leave the card in the camera and transfer the images taken that day between the camera and an Ipad using a USB cable and the Apple Camera Connection Kit. This then allows me to review the images on the much larger Ipad screen.
After viewing and selecting the image I wish to keep I perform a two stage backup. The black rectangle above the Ipad is a RavPower unit. It is connected via a private WIFI connection to the Ipad. It has the capability to stream video to five devices at once so It is great for road trips with kids. Most importantly it has a Secure Digital card slot and a USB port. The unit above has a 32 gigabyte SD card inserted and is attached via USB to a 50 gig portable drive. (although the USB drive has its own battery, the RavPower unit also holds enough power to totally recharge a cell phone so can power most portable flash drives while in the field).
Using the a File Browser app I can manipulate files on an Ipad in much the same way I can on a desktop PC. I copy one set of the day's "keepers" to the SD card and then repeat the process to the portable hard drive. So at the end of each day I have the original images still on the camera card and and two backup copies. If I was really paranoid I could keep swapping SD cards in the RavPower and continue to make more backups.
Last but not least there are those somewhat boring but very necessary items such as cables (take two of each type to be safe) and battery chargers. Extra batteries are also a good idea. And the trusty carbon fiber monopod.
The new orchid and bug series is now available at Courtyard Gallery. Please join us this Friday - September 5 for the art walk. Art, food and wine from 5 pm until 8 pm. 149 1/2 East Bay Street (next to McCrady's).
My orchid macro images have been posted on this site for several months. I am working a new hanging for Courtyard Gallery and have printed these images for the first time. The canvases will be on display at the gallery within the next few weeks (no later than the second Wednesday in September).
Images after printing on Epson 7880.
Image after first of four coats of sealant. (Premier Eco Shield - Glossy)
Thank you for viewing - If you find yourself in the French Quarter of Charleston, South Carolina in the next four months please stop in to see the full size canvases. Courtyard Gallery - 149 1/2 East Bay Street - Charleston, SC.