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Messages - NWPhil

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106
I would look at getting a Capture Camera Clip System  http://peakdesignltd.com/ (also on amazon). It attaches to either your belt or the arm  strap of your backpack. It securely holds your camera to your backpack and makes it very easy to retrieve. After a few minutes with it on your belt or backpack strap you won't even notice it. I've used it hiking Yosemite and have had it on all day and it was much more comfortable then a neck strap or having to retrieve my camera from my backpack constantly. The plate that attaches the camera to the clip system is also compatible with the Joby Ballhead X tripod head, a very lightweight yet good quality tripod head that may be a good choice for your trip.

If you do go with this I'd replace your neck straps with hand straps for your camera bodies. I'm sure you'll enjoy the clip system.

neat system - somewhat similar the blackrapid - and yet some fear LOL
hmmm.. got a lot invested in RRS plates - 2 L's plus two base plates, so it's kind of a snag/
But thanks anyway. Seems easier than BR, and whitout having to get a sling

107
Lenses / Re: Macro decisions
« on: May 08, 2012, 05:53:54 PM »
I don't have the MP-E65, but when Use my 50mm with reverse ring or any other contraption , I do use a rail system to achieve the focus and/or stacking.
If you read the lens manual, I believe it actually says that focus above 1x is indeed obtained by moving the lens closer of further from the subject...

108
Hey NWPhil, are you planning on day hikes from Kathmandu/Pokhara or are you going on a trek to Everest or Annapurna base camp?  This will make a huge difference in how you approach this.

Send me some details on your itinerary.

Don't have one yet, per say.
We are going to do our very own itinerary as we go - well, whithin limits, as it will be only me and my wife, aside porters and guide.
The idea is to go from Lukla to Gokyo lakes area, and then cross to EBC, finalizing at start point. Looking at 21 days plus - meaning that, the usual 21 day trek includes about 5-6 days in Kathamandu and Lukla, for aclimatization and tours.
We might add up that to the 21 days of trekking, but not sure yet

see standard hik itinerary below:
Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu / dinner with cultural program.
Day 02 : Explore Boudhnath and Pashupatinath / Trip preparation.
Day 03 : Fly to Lukla and start Everest trekking.
Day 04-05 : Trekking to Namche / Acclimatization rest day.
Day 06 : Trek to Kumjung.
Day 07-08 : Trekking up the Gokyo Valley and enjoy views of massive Cho Oyu.
Day 09-10 : Climb Gokyo Ri / savour the stunning looks of Mt. Everest and pristine lakes.
Day 11 : Trekking on the moraines of the Ngozumpa Glacier to Thangna.
Day 12-13 : Cross the challenging Chola pass and trek to Lobuche: enjoy the superb beauty of Nature.
Day 14 : Trekking Kala Pathar for views across Khumbu Glacier to Everest.
Day 15 : Exploration to the Everest Base Camp.
Day 16-18 : Trekking down to Lukla to end the Everest circuit trek via Pheriche, Thyangboche.
Day 19 : Himalayan flight back to Kathmandu / Rest day.
Day 20 : Free day in Kathmandu.
Day 21 : Trip ends / Airport transfer.(...)"

Thanks
Phil

After 3 trips to Nepal (and 5 treks in total) here are my comments....

Times of the year - October/November is perfect - you'll probably get no rain - at most a shower or two between Lukla and Namche. Very pleasant through the day, bit chilly at night, especially above 4000m.

Itinerary - Looks a bit tight to me - remember high altitude means altitude sickness if you don't aclimitise .... and if you do aclimitise, then mild discomfort. I'm used to trekking long days (10-14 hours) here in New Zealand, but in Nepal have always taken my time and it has paid big dividends, especially when trying to take half decent photos (I have tried to start by 7:30am and finish my trekking by lunch-time, allowing the afternoon to meet the locals, reading, photography. If you haven't been at altitude immediately before arriving at Lukla, then look to spend 2-3 nights at Namche - do day trips to Thame and Kumjung, allowing the recovery at night at a reasonable altitude (3300m) - it will set you up for the rest of the trip, which you will enjoy more. Also take Diamox as a preventative - I found I have gained about 1 day in terms of acclimitisation schedule. The general recommendation is only gaining 300m altitude per day. Take time early in the trip to aclimitise is the best recommendation I can give. I would suggest ......

day 1 Lukla - Phadking or Mondo
day 2 to Namche
day 3 Namche (day trip to Kumjung)
day 4 Namche (day trip to Thame)
day 5 ......onwards (I think its 3 days from Namche to Gokyo)

Gear - last time (and the only time I was using digital), I carried Canon 350D, 17-85 and 70-300. I left my 10-20 in Kathmandu. The pop up flash was sufficient for the 1-2 flash photos I took. I find that the telephoto can be very useful, more than the ultrawide. Image stabilisation is important - with the lack of oxygen it is much harder to handhold a camera. I took sufficient batteries last time for the whole trip - electricity is very limited / non existant beyond Namche. If I was using full frame, I'd take a 24-105 IS and a 70-300 IS L. A lightweight tripod would be handy, so would a polarising filter. Keep your kit simple, with lack of oxygen at higher altitudes, everything is an effort, so there is a tendency to take the easy option, so lenses rarely get changed, tripods only get used when they have to (I didn't take a tripod on 4 of the 5 treks I have done).

Nepal is a wonderful place, the scenery is spectacular and the people are fantastic - enjoy your trip

Thanks for your insights.
You are very right _ I do feel the schedule a bit tight, and that's wahy we are thinking in add another 4-5 days. We truly want a good 20 days hiking. The cookie-cutter plan, actually only allocates 15. We will have too an extra open day, just in case we need it, as deciding to hike one more day, or take another short trek from Lukla.
Been over two years, but our campsites in Kili were about 5-6 miles apart, and less in the end. By the second day we were already at 12k, and mind that Arusha (basecamp/hotel) is about 6k, and we were in town for two full days - By the 4th day, as we kept having slight headaches, we went for the Diamox, and they went away. However we got the annoying itching hands side effect.
Not an high elevation expert, but been up in clouds a few times, meaning way above 8k(feet).  That does not mean a thing however. One climb one might feel fine, and a few weeks later, at lower elevation, mild AS can occur - no matter how fit one is, paying close attention to initial/any signs is a must.

I am planning too to get a solar panel thing to recharge batteries - The side kick with that, is having to get a non-OEM charger, so I can plug it to the solar battery pack.
REI carries a few brands, so I will see which one might work better this summer.
 If you or anyone has any experience using any type/kind to recharge LP-E6 batteries and others while in the backcountry, please chime in - Thanks

109
Hey NWPhil, are you planning on day hikes from Kathmandu/Pokhara or are you going on a trek to Everest or Annapurna base camp?  This will make a huge difference in how you approach this.

Send me some details on your itinerary.

Don't have one yet, per say.
We are going to do our very own itinerary as we go - well, whithin limits, as it will be only me and my wife, aside porters and guide.
The idea is to go from Lukla to Gokyo lakes area, and then cross to EBC, finalizing at start point. Looking at 21 days plus - meaning that, the usual 21 day trek includes about 5-6 days in Kathamandu and Lukla, for aclimatization and tours.
We might add up that to the 21 days of trekking, but not sure yet

see standard hik itinerary below:
Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu / dinner with cultural program.
Day 02 : Explore Boudhnath and Pashupatinath / Trip preparation.
Day 03 : Fly to Lukla and start Everest trekking.
Day 04-05 : Trekking to Namche / Acclimatization rest day.
Day 06 : Trek to Kumjung.
Day 07-08 : Trekking up the Gokyo Valley and enjoy views of massive Cho Oyu.
Day 09-10 : Climb Gokyo Ri / savour the stunning looks of Mt. Everest and pristine lakes.
Day 11 : Trekking on the moraines of the Ngozumpa Glacier to Thangna.
Day 12-13 : Cross the challenging Chola pass and trek to Lobuche: enjoy the superb beauty of Nature.
Day 14 : Trekking Kala Pathar for views across Khumbu Glacier to Everest.
Day 15 : Exploration to the Everest Base Camp.
Day 16-18 : Trekking down to Lukla to end the Everest circuit trek via Pheriche, Thyangboche.
Day 19 : Himalayan flight back to Kathmandu / Rest day.
Day 20 : Free day in Kathmandu.
Day 21 : Trip ends / Airport transfer.(...)"

Thanks
Phil

110

Three lenses max, one tripod, 1 FF body, and one P&S camera - I took a little less up Kilimanjaro summit night, so I should be ok.
14, 15 16 0r 17 mm only three degrees apart, and yet such a difference, in special being the 15 a fisheye... Where's that Canon 12-24mm? Oh, wait! That's onlly with Nikon - darn..

Now, the hard part is wait all summer long :)

Three Lenses: Canon 24-70 f2.8 or Canon 50mm 1.4 + 70-200 f2.8 L IS2 and Sigma 12-24mm HSM II and I would take an extender 2x III to get more reach for wildlife and all things distant
Body: 5d MKIII
Tripod: fitting one for the gear and a very small table tripod (the 30$ Manfrotto one).
P&S: Well a second body like a 7D is also only 200-300gr more and you re safe in case one fails.
BTW 12-17mm is not only 1 deg each it is much more

not bad, but none of that gear is my bag  :'(
The 40D - only crop body, is now a full spectrum IR camera, so tempting to bring, but at same time...
Oh, I said 14 thru 17 - but I wish Canon had a 12-24mm like Nikon. I would buy that baby in a snap

111
Thanks NWPhil for all the advice. Esp. rain sleeve and P&S. What make of tripod is that? Bag choice was why I joined the forum. As an ML I've got a very large 80lt pack with compartments and a 40lt daypack without. The one I was looking at (see link) had dedicated compartment in base and some room in the top for normal gear. Wondered if anyone had experience of these.

Have a look at this one http://fstopgear.com/en/product/mountain/tilopa-bc, they are awesome! I own two f-stop packs and can recommend them for pretty much everything from hiking to skiing or mountaineering. The Tilopa BC is 48lt and will take all your photo gear, water, extra clothing etc.


nice pack indeed - have to find it in a local store and take a look at it.
My next planned trips will be Iceland and New Zealand - will be able to be a bit gear crazy in either ::)

112
Thank you all for the feedback
Is good to hear different opinions and at same time, similar sugestions, as they too make sense and end confirming what I sort of had in mind.
Been training since last month, although did not get much higher than 10k yet
Yes, I have been exposed to almost 20k, and it's no joke - stepping on and over a mere 18 inches rock is.....hard. LOL
Was only a 6 day hike , as we summt on that same night, and then down and out The way out was harder for me, as you all motiivation was gone. The scree takes a toll on the knees too. Then a rocky and muddy river bed to add on the pain.
Anyway, I think my pack will  remain whithin the 20 pound range if that much.
Three lenses max, one tripod, 1 FF body, and one P&S camera - I took a little less up Kilimanjaro summit night, so I should be ok.
14, 15 16 0r 17 mm only three degrees apart, and yet such a difference, in special being the 15 a fisheye... Where's that Canon 12-24mm? Oh, wait! That's onlly with Nikon - darn..

Now, the hard part is wait all summer long :)

113
Thanks NWPhil for all the advice. Esp. rain sleeve and P&S. What make of tripod is that? Bag choice was why I joined the forum. As an ML I've got a very large 80lt pack with compartments and a 40lt daypack without. The one I was looking at (see link) had dedicated compartment in base and some room in the top for normal gear. Wondered if anyone had experience of these.



this one: Slik Mini II 43.3IN. Compact 4 Section Tripod With Ball Head in Gun Metal Finish
Then I replaced the ball head with: Benro B-0 Tripod Ball head II
My backpack is an Osprey Atmos 50 - it's compressible, and yet allows for enough for a weekend trip.
has two side zippers, which can take easily a lens or two in each side, plus the tripod fits in a mesh exterior pocket. Not overkill for the weight and price, and as I said, I load it two lenses, tripo, 3liter blader, plus rain jacket, puffy, gloves, t-shirt or/and pull-over aside trail essentials with no problems, and plenty of space left.
Even loaded with 30 pounds or more, still is comfortable to hike with all day long.
But that's me - we have to find one that fits properly.
the two vertical compartments type - which in most cases is just a removable separation, - is not too practical in smaller bags. However, side storage like mine, comes as a big plus - I can get to the camera gear, without having to open the top.
I place a medium size carabineer on the top hanging loop, and then set my camera strap thru it - this way I take the weight off my neck. Get also a neoprene neck strap - you will appreciate the difference

Your link is not showing btw
When I was backpacking with my 65liter, I never placed the camera gear on the bottom compartment - is the first thing hitting the ground :)
 A 40- 50 liter should be more than enough, as long as has side storage too, and the advantage of having a medium pack is, that you can fit more stuff, without compressing too much, as it's more comfortable with 30 pounds, although could take 50, than the bag that has a 30 pound weight limit

114
Hi Freudianslap,
Seems that you have the kit range in order :). I think too, for all recommendations, that two zooms and a fast prime will do all the needs.
I am thinking in selling my 17-40 ang get the 16-35II; then I will leave both the 24 and 14 at home.
As I have already a good backpack, it will be what I will use. Aside water, you need room, for a a few extra layers - warmth and rain protection along some food/snacks, and some essentails.
I think the camera bags are too small and specific, unless you are willing to carry two bags, like a 20 liter backpack, and a messenger style gear bag.
As you are going in the raining season, chances to change lenses while hiking might be shaddy to say the least.
I think you will need a rain-sleeve, and better yet, carry a small rugged P&S. Invest in a quality backpack rain cover, some small water proof compression bags along with silica gel packs.
I would not take a monopod, but rather have a travel tripod. Mine actually allows to remove the center column, but would still  be a very short monopod (12 inches or so)- tripod will be good for interior shots, night shots and others.
Some packs are waterproof, others require a rain cover, but in either case, I would not rely on either alone for water protection.
Choose a backpack with separate storage areas - last thing you want, is to be digging a filter from the bottom of it.
And go to a store to get fit - just because the pack looks nice, does not mean it will be confortable on you.
A good outdoor store, will load the pack with some weight, and then check the fit on you. Better yet, you can see up close, how easy is to reach/open zippers and all

115
Thanks AJ and Kernuak.
great to have insights from people who have been there. Pretty much what I am expecting and thinking  --- hey, don't people say great minds think alike? ;)

116
Back in 2001 I spent 2 months hiking in Nepal.  I had a 28-300 superzoom and a film body.

If I were to go again I'd bring a 15-85 IS (crop) or 24-105 IS (FF), plus a lightweight telephoto zoom lens, and maybe a fast fifty for portraits.

If you're going late in summer it'll still be monsoon.  Expect rain, mud, and leeches.  Things dry out in early October.  I hiked Oct-Nov. and it wasn't very dusty.  I've been told there's a lot of dust in the pre monsoon season. (March-May).  I have been in Burma in pre-monsoon (not far away) and it certainly was dusty there.  Tibet, being in the rain shadow, should be lush in late summer and not too dusty.


Thanks AJ.
Good to know about the seasons. Indeed I am looking to go in October, so should indeed avoid most of the rain. How much colder does it gets from October to November? Obviously, above 10k is always colder, and with lack of humidity, gets worst - it was somewhat cold in the summer months while climbing Kilimanjaro, and we are talking  2-3 degrees south from equator.
Tibet is also under consideration with Nepal.
Thanks

118
Hi Preston
Thanks for taking the time posting.
No doubt you have very good valid points - three lens and one DSLR, HAVE to be enough. Still playing with the idea of bringing the 17-40 and the 80-200 instead, but hopefully I will have time to take some night shots, and I know from experience in Kilimanjaro that f/4  is not enough unless one wants star tracks.
No issues carrying 15-25 pounds ( even at 10k and above) but yes,  it's hard to change lens in the rain - for that the Lumix will come in play more often - yes, KISS KISS all over, but somehow there is always something left behind and way too many others that never get used... LOL
Thanks

119
Lenses / Re: Lens advice moving to FF
« on: April 27, 2012, 05:43:26 PM »
If you want UWA as you have with the 10-22mm, you need to go all way back to the 16m-14mm range. The 10-22 in paper is equivalent to a 16mm in FF but in reality, the view angle is wider than 16mm on a FF.
With that in mind, the next decision would be Prime or Zoom.

Till the day Canon decides to make a 12-24mm, you only can get the 8-15, the 16-35 or the 17-40 in the Canon brand.
As primes, you may want to look at Rokinon 14mm, but I advise to buy it new, from a dealer.

Other option would be keep 7D, and get a 5Dmk2 instead. That way you still can look for a UWA prime outside Canon brand, which seems that is what you are missing in your line-up.
The Ts-e 17, ef14mmII and even the Zeiss 18mm are great options, but I am sure others can suggest a few more.

IMHO, if you don't do movies and need high iso and higher frame rate with tons of megapixels ( pretty much covered with the 7D), the 5Dc could be a great deal too. It would allow you to reach the 14 or ts-e 17 without blowing your budget, and still is a pretty good camera for landscapes and architecture.

120
Thanks Random Orbits and nitsujwalker

That's pretty much what I was thinking.
The max weight allowance is 25 kilos - but that is for the porter and while hiking
Me? well, it's up to me and how much the air carrier let me carry as a personal bag item.
- not to mention how much I really want to carry on my back everyday.
Here in the PNW, I usually carry anything from 15-25 pounds in a day hike, accounting for a FF and one or two lenses. As a rule, I fill-in my water bladder - 3 liters, which come to 7-8 pounds alone.
The backpack is about 2-3 pounds, and then depends in the season and location to hike -  more clothing, food or other gear like crampons, - aside the 10 plus essentails.

In Nepal, I will carry less water, and will bring a water filter (which I always carry in the summer anyway),
A bunch of essentials can be carried in the duffel bag, except for hiking food, rainjacket and extra layer

Tempted to bring the TS-E 24, but indeed te 14, 35 and 80-200 is a good range.
Almost makes me wish I bought the TSE17mm instead of the 14mm.....trades anyone  :-\

Yes, no flash, but I have a lightweight gitzo tripod to bring ( less than 2 pounds with head)
The 40D goes along the idea of carrying the TSE - however it does require different batteries, and is in the process of becoming a full-time IR (full-spectrum) camera. Tempting too to shoot in IR there, but I think I rather  bring the LX-3, for candid shots/rainy days
With the 35, I can share the CPL and a ND with the 80-200 - unless I bring a ring converter...and all the sudden it's becoming a lot of gear ...LOL
My other concern is recharging the batteries. Tea-houses where we will lodge overnight, will have outlets, but one has to pay for using them, and fight the competion (well, sort of)
Thniking of a solar charger. Solar panel charging battery pack, that then will recharge camera batteries type
So any imput or experiences with these sort of packs would be very helpfull too.

Thanks once again.

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