A lot of people have asked me what I brought on a 2.5 week trip, for successful photography — while not going crazy.
Here’s the list: Canon 50D. I normally shoot with the vertical grip attached, but I left it at home due to space. Seven batteries for the camera. I wasn’t sure how often I would be able to charge them. One of the batteries failed during the trip (wouldn’t keep a charge) Lens cleaner, lens cleaning cloth, air blower. It’s the desert, so everything gets dusty and sandy. Every memory card I own... over 125+ GB worth. A cable to plug in the camera directly to my computer. I thought about bringing a card reader, but to save space, I connected directly to the computer. Macbook Pro, with Lightroom 3.0 installed. With Lightroom, I could keep shooting until cards were completely full, and it would handle not importing duplicates into the system. I used Lightroom to pick the winner photos (usually about 10% of the ones I shoot are worthy of really keeping), and then export them in two different sizes: 700 pixels wide for uploading to Facebook, and full JPG size for printing. 500 GB backup hard drive. All images were also backed up there as well. I kept this separate from the computer, so that if the computer was stolen, I’d still have a copy of all of the RAW images and files. Plug adapters for Israel. I did find on a couple of occasions that the chargers would “heat up” and would stop working. If I unplugged them for about an hour, they started to work again. Probably an issue with 220 volt electricity. I did bring a small powerstrip, but it didn’t work in some cases (I needed the plug adapter, then the powerstrip, then a charger, and it was too heavy and fell out of the wall). USB thumb drive. I used this to backup all of the “final” jpg images, and kept this in a different location than everything else. I also used this to print a few images at a local photo lab as presents to some cousins. Lenses: I tried to bring just what I needed for the trip, without going overboard. 10-20 mm Wide Angle lens. Perfect for desert shots or tight spaces. 28-70 mm f/2.8 L zoom lens, for all-around photos. 50 mm f/1.4 lens, great for tooling around, portraits, and low-light shots. 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens, for getting in closer. 2x converter for the 70-200 mm, for wildlife shots. 580 EXII flash, plus three sets of rechargeable batteries. I didn’t use the flash that often, as it’s pretty conspicuous. I used it on some bright-day outdoor shots. A green canvas Domke bag for keeping everything in. This made it a lot easier to keep everything organized and ready. Things I didn’t bring: – I didn’t bring a second camera body, as I figured that I could always purchase another one there if mine went south. – I didn’t bring a tripod or a monopod. I thought about it, but it was too much space. – Additional flashes, diffusers, reflectors, etc. Things I wish I had brought: – Perhaps a second 500 GB backup drive, for even more peace of mind. They are really lightweight, and keep a full copy of all of the images. – A second battery charger, or a vertical grip so I could use AA batteries if I was stuck. Batteries were a single point of failure with only one charger. – A couple of extra high-capacity USB thumb drives for backing up final images.