Category Archives: Travel tips

Final preparation done for my Antarctica trip

In a little less than two days I am starting the first leg of my trip. I am going to leave my hometown in Northern Norway, and go down to Oslo, to work for a couple of days before my adventure starts. And I have been waiting for this. Half a year in planning, a cancelled trip from G Adventures, but the Norwegian travel agent “Hvitserk“, saved the day with  a trip thru Polarquest , or One Ocean Expeditions , so I will manage to get myself to Antarctica this year after all.  I have made my bags ready, tested my gear over the last year, and made lists of everything that I will bring.

I have also been working out hard, and feel good and well prepared for the upcoming adventure. I think I have thought thru everything I can prepare for, so all the remains is to sit back for the next couple of days, and start the long journey, first to Oslo, then to Buenos Aires, then onwards and downwards to Ushuaia, and finally the voyage to the Antarctic continent.

So like this Albatross I met some years ago outside Galapagos. It is about time to spread the wings and fly.

More to come .

 

-Ray

Whats in my camera bag …. when I am going to octoberfest in Münic, Germany

 

Hi

I thought I was going to do a little bit different post today, and telling a little about what I am planning to bring of camera equipment when I am going to Germany in a couple of weeks.

There are some small things to consider , and you will find how I am thinking about it in the YouTube video at the end of the post.

0. Preparation

The name of the game is People and Places, so my gear resembles that. I will bring one wide angle, and one short telephoto for my DSLR, and a fixt 35 mm Fuji for the standard street photography stuff.

So here is the listing of the equipment that I talk about in the video.

1. The bag

Think Thank retrospective 20

2. The camera(s) and lenses

My Canon 6d , and the Sigma 12-24 and Canon 70 – 200 lenses

My Fuji X100s Point and shoot.

My Olympus Tough point and shoot

3. Extra stuff

Cleaning cloths, and lens pen

Notebook and pen

Map and travel guide over Münic

Business Cards

My Colorspace Hyperdrive UDMA 750 GB Backup drive

For more information on how I am thinking, and how the different things look, you find my YouTube video here.

-Ray

 

 

Tip: What is in my camerabag…. , and how do I bring it with me on a longer trip

I have had a couple of posts before about packing and different types of camerabags for travel, and I have made it on of my specialites when it comes to travel and photography.  A lot of testing and failing when I have been travelling have made me find that I claim that the following characteristics is necessary for a good camera bag that you are bringing with you for travel.

1) Space for a lot of gear
2) Easy to bring along on day hikes.
3) Sturdy
4) “Air port security” sensible
5) Cabin luggage approved
6) Discrete
7) Rain cover / Weather protected

So , I have Pelicases, suitcases, small backpacks, special camera backpacks with ziplocs towards the back for added security, with weather sealing for hiking, and different smaller types bags for spesific  camera types. But if you are going on a longer photo trip. Non of them will be without compromise.

First of,  let me show what I am planning to bring on my next trip.  I am going on a short trip to South East Asia in a couple of weeks.

In the main compartment

– 2 DSLR bodies
– A small handycam
–  5 lenses (1 big 120-300,  70-200, and there more normal sized lenses)
– A teleconverter
– A external flash
– Two Blackrapid Rstraps
– A couple of external harddrives

 

IMG_0192

 

In the smaller compartments

– Cleaning kits
– Extra batteries
– Extra memory cards
– Different cables and chargers

And in the outside compartment, I am bringing a small laptop or tablet.

Lowepro Pro Runner 450 AW Pro Runner Backpack

So why did I end up with this bag? The main reson was the amount of gear that I wanted to bring, and the most practical when you are on the move is a backpack, and since it is cabin luggage approved it is possible to bring even on smaller regional airlines too. Another  major advantage with the backpack is when we do the security check at the airport. Bringing a lot of electronic gear is a true and valid way of getting picked for a closer securty inspection, so one of my favourite features is that I can open the backpack as a suitcase , and the inspectors can check that everything is as it seems without removing it. When I have used smaller backpacks for camera gear before I often end up taking everything out, and that can be a little bit stressful in a crowded control.

The backpack also have other features that are well known from Lowepro. Compression straps in the front to make a snugger fit, a “cup” for a tripod, and a raincover that can be pulled over the pack at your convenience.

IMG_0191

 

 

All in all , a very nice bag that I hope can bring me many good images from all over the globe..

-Ray

 

 

Photo tip: Different bags, backpacks, suitcases and other cases for different use

Note! I am not associated with any of the brands that I mention in this post.

I am a firm believer in that different situations  or work require a different tools, and that also counts when it comes to photography.  Not least regarding  how you transport your gear. So I have gotten myself some different  bags that I use in different cases.

A quick  summary is that I can divide my different transport gear into the following.

1. Shoulder strap camera bags

2. Camera suit case

3. Back packs

4. Hard cases

Shoulder strap camera bags

This is the ordinary and basic ones. I have  three. The main difference between them is the size, and hence how much gear you can bring with you.

My smallest one is this one here from a company named Godspeed and is very basic. The nice thing about it is that is large enough to bring with a DSLR , and an extra cloth to clean the lens. or som other small items.  It will only support one of the smaller lenses, but should be fine if you are doing a basic shoot.

Image: http://www.filgifts.com/view.asp?xitem=God003.1

The next one is also a Godspeed bag (Model : SY 802M) . It is a bit bigger, and starting to be more practical. If you are going to a little more complex shoot, and you need to bring some extra batteries, some different lenses (smaller primes) or a flash. This model is big enough that you can bring some supplies along when you go and take pictures.  This is one of the one that I uses the most.

Image: http://www.linkdelight.com/330729011M-Godspeed-SY-802M-Waterproof-Shoulder-Camera-Bag.html

The last one of this sort of bag I have and use is an even bigger bag from Godspeed. This is rather large, and in addition to you DSLR and a flash, it can hold several lenses and a lot of other equipment that you feel you need. I use this bag if I go on trips that last for some days, and want to bring some equipment along. The only negative I have to say about the bag is that it can feel a bit heavy if it is fully loaded.  Another practical  implication is the size makes it not fit in the overhead bins on smaller regional airlines. So you might have to stow it under your seat. But the overall look and feel is quite good.

Image: http://www.fotokamerataschen.de/fototasche/alpineplus/photobag-100-tasche-fototasche-kameratasche/a-100044/

Camera suit cases

There are many different companies making camera suitcases, but the one that I have is from Lowepro, and one is the Pro Roller X200. The reason for choosing that specific case is that first of all it is airline approved as hand luggage, and that is very nice feature when I travel a lot. And the second reason it that is was fairly easy to buy at camera stores in Norway. (most of them stock gear from Lowepro) Lets go back to the point of airline for a little while. One of my main concerns when traveling with my camera gear is that some of it should be lost or damage during the security checks in the airports. When I am traveling with my backpack I often was asked to empty it, and that was of quite a concern. With a suitcase you can just open the lid if they need to look inside, and everything is tidy and visible for them to see. I never have to take anything out, so the practical layout of the suitcase is helping regarding security. I can mention that I feel that my equipment is nicely protected in the suitcase, and it have a lot of nice practical solutions  to help you in the shooting.

Image: store.lowepro.com

Back packs

And for me it is Lowepro again,  I use two different back packs . I kind of depends on the situation. The first one is Photo sport AW, and I have to say It is just amazing. It is light , flexible , durable , and very practical. It is very nice to have as a sort of daypack to use on hikes, or in the city if you need to be a bit anonymous. It also have a built-in raincoat that is handy.  The only negative I can say that it is a bit difficult to bring a lot of equipment, it just not designed for it. But like I said , It is a personal favorite when I need it.

Image: store.lowepro.com

The second backpack I use is the Lowepro Flipside 400 AW. This is a very nice designed bag, for the purpose of being fast and sturdy for protecting sensitive gear. I use it primarily when I need to carry a lot of delicate equipment such as flashes and lenses, an I need a little bit more space and protection then I get in the Photo Sport bag. Two of the mail features is that it have back compartment entry that gives you extra security.  In addition you find a lot of the same signature details and features that you find in other Lowepro equipment.

Image: store.lowepro.com

Hard cases

I have previously posted my tip on how to transport your Sigmonster or other large lenses. To conclude , hard cases is the answer.  The most well-known one is Peli that produces the Peli Cases. These are military standard, and are made to handle a beating. Like I have mentioned I a using such a Peli case for my sigmonster. But there is also other manufactures that makes such style of cases. One of them is B+W , that I have a couple of in different sizes.  Why I like to use this type of cases i obvious. They are though. Especially if you are transporting zoom lenses I would recommend you using them.  What I enjoy is that most such cases comes with a foam that is able to be shaped into what you need. So you can fit the case to the lens or what other type of equipment that you want to protect.

Eksample of Peli case is the 1650 that I use for my Sigmonster

Image: flight-cases.nu

The smaller B+W cases looks like this

Image: http://www.fotovideo.no

Hope you found some of the information useful.

Take care, and safe travel

-Ray

A travel tip: An light emergency kit to bring along in your backpack or suitcase.

Security is very important for me, and travel is my passion.  So it is kind of natural that I try to combine the two. When you  are traveling to different parts of the world, especially the more isolated and secluded places it is of great importance to come prepared. I have some time ago made a post about first aid kit, but I will update and come back to that later. What I will talk about in this post is just the bare essentials, and what I always bring along.

What I have made that I have in my backpack i a small hardcase box , that is dust and shock  resistant. Not more that  21×14 x 7 cm . And I have choosen a bright orange colour.  The colour is of lesser importance, but still it is makes it  easier for me to find it, if I need to.

EmKit01

So to the more important stuff. What does it contain?

What I bring  in my emergency kit is to have some mitigation in the following cases.

1. Communication.  My trusty Iridium satellite phone.  I do not need to use it very often, but if my cell phone is not working, or I am off the beaten track it is nice to know that I can always reach other people. This kit also contain the charger and cables for the phone.

2. Light and power outages.  Three liquid glow sticks. This is non toxic, disposable glow sticks that last for 24 hours. If you need to find your way in dark places, or electricity have been out and away. This will never fail.

3. Health. A small bottle with clean salt water (NACL solution)  for cleaning wounds or such,  some band aid and a  syringe.

5. Emergency contact.  A list of essential phone numbers. Embassey, insurance , or other type of emergency numbers

6. Personal ID papers.  A copy of my passport identification page, vaccination card ,  insurance papers or other documentation

7.  Money. A limited amount of  emergency cash. Primarly in Dollars or Euro.

When everything is packed out.  The kit looks like this (the items #5-7 is left out, but they would been at the bottom of the box)

EmKit02

With the lid on it is a snug fit, but if you should need some quick help I does not take a lot of room, and the weight is 1.02 KG.

Keep traveling and stay safe

-Ray

Another photography tip: Safe transport of a Sigmonster (or other gigant lenses)

Note! I am in no way affiliated with the brands that I mention here. This is just my personal opinion.

When I travel, I enjoy the art of taking pictures. And when I travel I need to bring my equipment. One of the major issues with photo equipment as everyone knows is that it can be very difficult to both bring, and to transport many or large lenses, tripods or other large items. One lens I will talk a little bit about is my beloved Sigma 300-800 F5.6 aka the “Sigmonster”. It is a gigantic lens , and to be quite hounest it can be challanging to bring along.

More info on the Sigmonster you can find here

One especially difficult bit is how you transport them on a plane since it is impossible to bring it in your carry on.  My solution have been to get a Peli case 1650. Peli is a famous brand for making military spec protective cases, and in my opinion they are absolutely worth the money.  They are sturdy, rough, and can realy handle a beating…

It is one more feature that I realy like about the cases, and that it can hold two pad locks in addition to the seven hatches on the case. My advice would be to get the TSA aproved types if you are going on air travel. Then you dont have to  worry about people opening it without you knowlegde (since the TSA locks leaves a trace color if opened with the TSA key) , and the TSA agents can expect it if they need to.

More information on the Peli cases can be found here.

http://www.peli.com/en/maletas-grandes-para-equipos-sensibles-1650.html

Take care

-Ray

A photography tip: Carrying multiple DSLR

Hi

I wanted to try something different today, and try to write a short photography tip.

NOTE! I am in no way sponsored by any of the brands that I mention here, but I give credit where credit is due.

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that I love to travel, and that I enjoy the art of photography. This have taken me to many places off the beaten track . If we are talking about mountains of Norway, or the Amazonian jungle, I have been there taking some photos, and in those conditions I think it is one major issue regarding the usage of your trused DSLR`s. That is changing lenses when you are in a hurry , or you are in places that or not all that easy or in some way troublesome  to switch lenses. My solution is  that I have started to use is the Blackrapid R double strap.

You can see a  video  from Blackrapid here:

I have been using the original R-stap for a long time, and I enjoy the way to carry my camera, differing from strap that comes standard with the camera.

I usually go with the following setup of my cameras:  one for wide-angle shots, and the other either for macro or for zoom shots. In this way I can switch cameras without the need for exchanging the lenses. Another nice feature of the straps is that it allows for you to have your arms free when you are not taking shots, and you can rest a little bit. I find this very practical when I am in envirements where I anticipate that I will be needing different lenses for taking my shots.

-Ray

A memory of this years travel

We are in the approaching the end of the year. And I have seen quite a lot this year. The highlight was of course the summer adventure thru south America. So I just felt like share a little memory form a day excursion in the Tambopata region of the Peruvian Amazonas. Floating around the lake , in this small and overcrowded boat. Sturdy operated by our guide, and finding some crackers to feed the piranhas …. All in all a wonderful memory 🙂

boatTambopata

So the next trips are already in planning, but next week I will go home for the holidays, and then I will leave to go and celebrate New Years in Antigua.

More adventures to come 🙂

-Ray

Jim Thompson house

I was yesterday at one of the most famous tourist places in Bangkok. The Jim Thompson house. This is a house built in in the fifties as a tribute to Thai culture, with western influences.

image

There where made a beautiful garden there… Lots of little ponds with fish.  It is quite extraordinary to find such a green lounge in the middle of a big modern city.

image

And small trails showing the road thru the site.

image

The main building. Unfortunatly it is was prohibited to take pictures inside.

image

The entrance from the river, where the merchants use to come to trade silk with Mr. Thompson

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