Monday, January 25, 2010

Costa Rica - How I'm Packing My Gear

At the end of this month, I head to Costa Rica on my 4th Mentor Series Trek. I'm really looking forward to visiting Costa Rica, this will be my first time there. I thought I'd give you an idea how I'm packing for this trip.

Like a lot of you, I've owned a lot of different camera bags over the years. I own rollers, backpacks and belt systems to carry my gear. I choose the carrying method based upon the assignment at hand. On this particular trip, I'll be taking my new Lowepro Vertex 200 AW. I'd have to say it is one of the finest constructed backpack style camera bags I've had the pleasure of using.

As usual I'll be taking two camera bodies, my primary, a Nikon D700 and my Nikon D300 as backup. I'll also be taking along a new snap and shoot from Nikon, the CoolPix P90. I'm looking forward to play with that.

The lenses I'll be taking with me will include the following: My Nikon 14-24 f/2.8, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5/5.6, Just to keep the weight down, I've opted for the 80-400 instead of the 80-200 f/2.8. I'll be also bring a cleaning kit, loupe, neutral density filters and a polarizer filter and my tripod. I'll be taking plenty of CF cards, a laptop to download images to as well as an external HD for backup.

Here is what the inside of the Vertex 200 AW looks like packed.

What I like in particular are these clever outside zipper pockets that allow me to arrange my various filters and CF cards. You'll also notice a nice tripod holder on in the center of the pack. I might also add that the pack is very comfortable to wear, it's harness system allows for a variety of adjustment to fit your particular body type.

I'm just amazed how much camera stuff we take as photographers when we travel and how important it is to protect it. Not only the protection offered by well made camera bags but also when your gear is in your hotel room. I've used a clever device called PacSafe for years. My PacSafe 85 is large enough to secure my Lowepro backpack safely in my hotel room. Basically, it is a high-tensile stainless steel locking mesh device that allows me to lock my bags to a secure fixture in the room ie. toilet.

During the Mentor Series Treks I'll be giving lighting demonstrations using speedlights. With that in mind, I'll be bring 2 SB-800's, a small Bogen light stand and Justin clamp. The modifiers I'll take with me will be the double folding 43" inch Wescott umbrella as well as my 33" folding Lastolite Tri-Grip.


Phat Baby Photographer said...

I use color coded post-it flags for my flashes, PW and CF cards and was curious what you use the white bits of paper/labels on your lenses and flashes for?


benjamin Harte said...

Hi David,

That is the same bag that I use. I got it specifically so that I could have two bodies, each with a lens attached to the camera - the Nikon 24-70 on one body and the 70-200 vr on the other.

Great blog - thanks.

FotoMix-bloggen said...

Hey David!
What happend to your videoinstallments?
I miss them.

Kind regards

fotographx said...

It is amazing how much gear we can pack into a bag. I sometimes forget that I have also to carry it. I'm currently doing a little jaunt and have a small bag with me. I'm thinking that if I were to do it all over again I'd go with one versatile lens of the 18-250 and a 85 or 100mm prime lens with macro. I'm getting good photos but the moving around with camera gear and computer makes the backpack a little heavy at times. Hope your trip goes well. I'm having a blast with mine, snow and all.

James Gill said...

I did a ten day shoot in the Costa Rican rain forest back in the film days. One thing that really surprised me was how dark it was on the forest floor. The tree canopy really cuts the light. I was using strobe during the middle of the day to shoot climbing sequences.
The other piece of advice I can give you is to take along a small flashlight. You don't want to stick your hand into your pack without looking first. Beware the bullet ant.

Boquete Guy said...

Hey David, I'm in nearby Panama - how do I sign up for your workshop?

Juan Antonio Villegas

David Tejada said...

Boquete: This workshop has already started and has been sold out for months.

Please check out the Mentor Series Workshop schedule. I'll be doing the Egypt Mentor Series in Nov. later this year. Thanks for your interest. DT

Garcia Lachner said...

Very cool article!
If you ever need any assistance in Costa Rica, I'd be thrilled to help out... For any future reference here is my site:
Good luck!

Garcia Lachner said...

Great article!
If you ever need any assistance in Costa Rica I'd be thrilled to help out. For future reference this is my site:
Good luck with the mentor series!

Tyler said...

We went to Costa Rica dec/jan and it was awesome. Unfortunately we heard of people being mugged from the bushes along the shoreline with people wielding machetes. I only brought out my dSLR with the 70-200 during guided tours.

We loved the Caribbean Coast though lots of things to see! At times I wish I had a super-tele to get closer to the various toucans!

Like someone mentioned careful of the bullet ants, they are not only massive but if they bite its said to hurt like being shot. Also watch for the leaf cutter ants as they will swarm if you stumble upon their massive nests.

I'm sure it already is, but just check to make sure your gear is insured!

Now if I only remembered to take photos of the massive Ironwood Trees!

Have fun!