occasionally technical tuesday: the camera gear i'm packing for kenya

Welcome to another installment of Occasionally Technical Tuesday, the feature where we occasionally talk technical, occasionally on Tuesday!

And sometimes, apparently, on Friday. 


Anyway, let's not get hung up on names of features, shall we?  Instead, I thought I'd share with you the camera gear I'm planning to take with me to Kenya.  I'm doing this for two reasons: 

1)  I've had a few questions about what kinds of camera equipment I would take on a major trip like this, and

2)  to be honest, I've been fretting over that question myself, since this is really a trip of a lifetime:  I'm not sure when I'm going to be getting back to Kenya again anytime soon, so I don't want to leave anything to chance.

So in a way, by sharing this with you now, two weeks before I leave, the process of writing all of this down is sort of like brainstorming for me:  it helps me think through the decisions I'm making, and I'm hoping that in so doing, I'll unearth any other issues I have to consider well ahead of departure day. 

(Okay the truth is, I'm so type-A that I prepare for these things weeks in advance.  Forgive me.)

So:  I'm going to be taking this trip with 9 other bloggers, and several other people from ONE.  We're all scheduled to meet in Amsterdam at the same time, and then take the same flight to Nairobi.  Once we're in Nairobi, we're going to be blowing-and-going every single day (really, the tentative schedule that has been shared so far is incredible), so while I want to be sure to bring everything that I need to cover all the bases, I also don't want to be this guy (warning, there's some salty language at that link) -- so laden with photography gear that I become burdensome to my fellow travelers (not to mention, look like a complete fool).   After some thought, I think the items you see above are the final cut for the trip -- now I just have to figure out how to pack it.

And so, the List of Camera Gear, in no particular order:

1.  My Nikon D300 camera body.  This is my go-to camera, the one that goes with me everywhere, unless my destination includes sand, dust or a risk of being mugged.  It's the one that works the best, however, so regardless of whether any of the cities that we'll be visiting this trip includes those risks, this puppy's coming with me. 

That said, I'm also bringing...

2.  My Nikon D200 camera body.  If anything happened to the D300, I would die.  If anything happened to the D300 while I was still in a beautiful country, unable to take photographs, I would die twice.  For this reason, the D200 is also coming.  It takes great pictures (the ones from Trinidad were all taken with the D200), but some of the dials stick, and that gets really annoying.  Still, a camera with sticky dials is better than no camera at all, so the D200 comes.

3.  My Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens (and associated protective cover).  Otherwise known in the photography world as a "nifty Fifty."  I take the bulk of my portraits with this lens, and Lord knows, I'm hoping to take portraits when I'm there.

4.  My Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 telephoto lens (and associated protective case).  This lens is ginormous and heavy -- but it does a beautiful job of taking great shots from a fair distance away (see the Slip 'n Slide photographs from earlier this week).  Since I've heard a rumour that we might see an elephant or two on this trip, there's no way I could leave this lens at home.

5.  My brand new Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 wide angle lens (and associated protective cover).  When I think of Kenya, I think of vast savannahs -- and so, I knew that I had to buy a wide angle lens.   I'm hoping I'll be able to get some beautiful landscape shots with this lens.

6.  Two Nikon batteries.  Just in case.

7.  Nikon battery charger and universal travel adapter.  Because American plugs don't fit in Kenyan plugs.

8.  Memory cards.  I don't want to download the majority of the photos that I take (save for the ones that I blog while I'm there, of course), so I'm taking all of my memory cards with me:  three 16G, one 8G, and even an ancient 256MB one.  Hey, better safe than sorry.

9.  Memory card holder.  To keep them all in one place.

10.  Polarizing filterLarry at the camera store gave me a quick lesson on how it works -- it's awesome.  Can't wait to try it out.

11.  A few business cards.  Always.

12.  My journal.  To take notes on what I shoot, so my jetlag-addled brain doesn't forget.

And that's it!  As far as what to pack it in:  at this point, I have no bloody idea.  I have long-haul flights between Houston and Nairobi for which a roller bag would really be perfect; however, once in Kenya, I have an internal flight between Nairobi and Kisumu that is likely to be on a smaller prop-plane, and experience tells me that my roller camera bag (the Jill-e, which I otherwise love) might be too big for the overhead compartment on that plane (and no way am I checking all of this equipment).  Also, I'll obviously need a backpack for the days.  So I'm weighing a bunch of options with the bags I do have, and ...

... hmm.

I'll figure it out over the next couple of weeks.  And when I do, of course I'll let you know.

So -- what do you think?  Did I forget anything?


(Incidentally, according to Random.org, the winner of yesterday's giveaway of the signed copy of The Beauty of Different is andria, who said, "I would love a store like that in my city!"  Congrats, andria!  Check your inbox for an email from me, requesting your snail mail address.

And next week we'll do our last giveaway.  Thanks for all of your comments, everyone.)


Occasionally Technical Tuesday is a new feature here on Chookooloonks, where we'll tackle topics like choosing a camera, how a camera works, how I choose lenses, how I use Photoshop, how I pack for a photo trip, that sort of thing.  You can see an entire index of subjects we've addressed here.  I'm no expert, but I'll share what I know, occasionally.


Image:  Photographed with my iPhone 3GS.


SongA little bit more by Jamie Lidell