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Author Topic: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East  (Read 6355 times)

jhpeterson

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Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« on: December 09, 2012, 03:21:45 AM »
I'm heading off to the Middle East (Egypt, Jordan and Israel) for three weeks, partly as vacation, but likely ninety percent for work (mostly editorial print clients).
While I'll spend most of my time traveling independently, there will be days when I'm with a group, so I'll need to keep what I carry to a manageable size and weight. The vast majority of what I'll be shooting will be outdoors, from dawn until after dusk.
My plan is to take three cameras (1DX and 1DS bodies, or perhaps a 7D as backup), four lenses, the 16-35 (II), 24-105, 70-200/2.8 (II), the 300/2.8, along with a 1.4 teleconverter. I'll carry this in a large backpack which I'll wear nearly all the time. In it I'll have my CF cards, a cable release, table tripod, perhaps an extra battery, as well as two or three spare UV filters.
Instead of a full-size tripod, I plan on taking a monopod (besides, it will likely serve as a hiking stick on the rough terrain I'll encounter). A laptop, two external hard drives, chargers and power cords will be carried separately.
I'll likely work wearing two bodies around my neck, typically one with the wide zoom, the other having the long, although I'm sure at times the 300 (without or with the 1.4 x) will be the lens of choice. I'm thinking the 24-105  will be the least used. I'm not much of a normal lens user, and I'm only carrying this to fill a gap.
Now, I'm wondering what I might be missing. I don't have any glass faster than f:2.8, but figure that, between the high ISO capability of the 1DX, my table and mono pods, as well as IS, I'll be fine for most anything I should encounter. And, other than the one on the 7D, I don't plan on taking a flash (and may not even use that). But, I am considering a folding reflector if I can fit it in the pack.
I'm fit and a pretty fair hiker, so carrying the 35 or so pounds won't be the issue nearly as much as space and convenience. What would be your suggestions I add or ditch?

1D iii (x2), 1DS iii (x3), 6D, 16-35L ii, 24-105L, 70-200L IS ii, 24/3.5 TS-E, 40/2.8 STM, 50/2.5, 100/2.8L IS, 135/2L, 300/2.8L, 500/4L IS, 430EX II, EF 1.4x ii, EF 2x iii

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Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« on: December 09, 2012, 03:21:45 AM »

JEAraman

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 05:53:38 AM »
machine gun and bullet-proof vest ?

eddiemrg

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 06:13:59 AM »
yep... sometimes the topics here are curious (just not to say "funny")
It sounds like "gonna catch'em all"!
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sootzzs

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2012, 06:21:26 AM »
machine gun and bullet-proof vest ?

I am from Israel and trust me most of the times it is safer here than in the streets of most major cities on the world. Right now it is, at least. Jordan also considered quite safe right now. Egypt...well you see the news, a bit less stable and predictable.

Anyhow, if you tell me what parts and places in Israel you plan to visit, I could maybe help you more. From my very unprofessional point of view you seem to be more than ready (though flash and/or fast lens could always find their uses in the dark narrow streets of Old Jerusalem or inside some ancient temple).   

Haydn1971

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2012, 07:05:33 AM »
Given your current kit I'd be tempted with a f1.4 24/35mm prime for inside places with poor light (churches) and perhaps the 8-15mm for really tight spots in the streets of historic towns
Regards, Haydn

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expatinasia

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 07:46:13 AM »
For a trip like this, I think 3 bodies is overkill and not worth the extra weight.

I might even be tempted to leave the 16-35 at home and just take the other 3. Only you know what you will be shooting, but do you really need the 300/2.8 to carry as well? You already have the 70-200/2.8 ii and a 1.4x tc.

I travel a lot and it is always a worry what to leave behind because "what if" but travel such as that is all about compromise.

I personally would take two bodies and either 16/35 or 24-105 AND either 70-200/2.8 or 300/2.8.

That way as well you will never need to change a lens in the field.

Which lens you take depends on what you are shooting.

Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy.

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lintoni

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 09:32:21 AM »
Instead of the 24-105, which you say you're unlikely to use, a 50mm f1.4 would fill the gap between the wide-angle and telephoto zooms and give you more low light capability, if it was needed.
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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 09:32:21 AM »

Ellen Schmidtee

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 09:54:45 AM »
machine gun and bullet-proof vest ?

If he takes a GPS to keep him out of area A, he has a greater risk of being stabbed during an argument over parking space than getting hurt in a terrorist act.

It's winter in Israel, so some protection against the occasional rain shower might be called for.

wockawocka

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 10:21:40 AM »
Puns intended:

The body count is fine, as long as the 7D is used as a decoy back at the base only to be used if the other two bodies are taken out.

A 300 2.8 with Tele is going to suck. You might as well take the 100-400L, lighter, more versatile. It's not like these places lack sunlight.

I'd try to trade the 1DS for a 5D3 just to reduce the weight, but that's me. I'd also change the 70-200 for an F4 version.

Make those changes and you've saved 4-5 kilos.
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sanj

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 10:49:19 AM »
I have travelled right through Israel and Palestine several times. It is super peaceful and safe.

Why would you want more than one body is something I do not understand. I understand two bodies when shooting wildlife or sports but not for travel. My opinion entirely...

Monopod is no replacement for a tripod. Akka has lovely sunsets and tripod would help lots.

Jerusalem market, one of the best places for photography, is generally so crowded that anything longer than 200mm not productive.

Have a great trip!

jhpeterson

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 11:10:39 AM »
A 300 2.8 with Tele is going to suck. You might as well take the 100-400L, lighter, more versatile. It's not like these places lack sunlight.
No offense, but I think the 100-400 would literally suck!  ;) I'll be in desert regions where that push-pull zoom and lack of weather sealing will draw in a lot of dust!

And, to the rest of you, thanks for some great suggestions. You've gotten me to rethink what I need to bring. I mentioned the particular equipment because it's what I already own. While I could buy, rent or borrow other gear, I'd want to make sure the cost outweighs the benefits. And, as I'm most familiar with it, I tend to see things a certain way.
I don't think there's any way I can work without two bodies, generally one wide, the other long. I'd worry more about the risk of losing or damaging gear if I was continually changing lenses, as well as dealing with the near-constant dust. Sure the 300 is large and somewhat heavy, but it has been the one lens to count on to give me those killer shots.  But, I don't have a problem trekking about all day with this. That is so long as I keep moving, although I might get rather unpleasant standing in long tourist lines.
Wish I could take a tripod, but I don't see how I can fit it in, especially when I'll be in some situations where I'll have to carry everything with me, with no trips back to the car or bus. And, yes, a 1.4 lens would be so nice. Since I'm not so "normal", it woul be a tough choice between the 24 and 35.

To sootzzs, thanks for your most helpful offer. I'll try to get back to you in the next day with my itinerary. If not, please remind me.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 11:37:40 AM by jhpeterson »
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candyman

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 11:48:13 AM »
When I go to Israel I take my 7D w BG and 70-300mm L mounted AND my 5D MK III with 24-105
In my bag 50 f/1.4
this together is a perfect combo

On my list 16-35mm MK II (or whenever it comes 14-24mm f/2.8   
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 11:51:05 AM by candyman »
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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2012, 12:06:51 PM »
Personally I think you have one too many DSLR bodies. For me asides from the pro 1D-X and perhaps another body, I would go with a more discreet rangefinder style camera such as a Leica Leica X1/X2 or Fujifilm X-Pro 1. Don't know what you'll be shooting specifically for assignments, but if it's more journalistic then adding this would be my choice. I would also bring a prime – any in the range of the 24mm, 35mm, or 50mm for night/dark shooting. Flash attract too much attention and I much prefer the natural/existing light. Make for a more honest, documentary-style look.

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2012, 12:06:51 PM »

jhpeterson

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2012, 12:19:51 PM »
Standard, I agree about the flash, since I learned most of my skills from a bunch of existing light enthusiasts. And, given today's technology (the 1DX is awesome), I don't think I'll have any trouble with anything up to about ISO 6400.
I haven't yet heard any comments yet about my carrying along a small reflector. If I can fit it in my bag, I probably will, as it can make light a little more available.
1D iii (x2), 1DS iii (x3), 6D, 16-35L ii, 24-105L, 70-200L IS ii, 24/3.5 TS-E, 40/2.8 STM, 50/2.5, 100/2.8L IS, 135/2L, 300/2.8L, 500/4L IS, 430EX II, EF 1.4x ii, EF 2x iii

Quasimodo

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2012, 12:36:13 PM »
Standard, I agree about the flash, since I learned most of my skills from a bunch of existing light enthusiasts. And, given today's technology (the 1DX is awesome), I don't think I'll have any trouble with anything up to about ISO 6400.
I haven't yet heard any comments yet about my carrying along a small reflector. If I can fit it in my bag, I probably will, as it can make light a little more available.

I was actually pondering why you would bring it. It is for portraits,and if not, and you are trying to light up dark places in hard contrasts it will be too small, hence a fill flash would be better (if you did bring a flash, you already have a trigger in the 7D to get it off camera). I would like you drop the flash AND reflector. I would go for a prime; anything from 35 1.4, 50 1.4, or a 85 (your pick). I don't understand why you would bring the 1 Ds III? which will not give you anything besides what you already got. The one thing that is understandable, but I would seriously consider if I were you, would be to bring a lightweight carbon tripod. For instance (my location knowledge is limited, having not been there myself, thus only guided by photos and film/tv) if you are going to Egypt and you travel to the desert you have a unique opportunity for sunset shots (you might be able to use your backpack as a steady unit..?) I agree with one of the others here that a monopod is not replacing anything here (except as you mention a walking stick).

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Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2012, 12:36:13 PM »