September 18, 2014, 01:58:21 AM

Author Topic: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?  (Read 2211 times)

WLaputka

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 39
  • 5D Mark III
    • View Profile
    • Laputka Films
Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« on: March 01, 2014, 03:15:58 PM »
Howdy folks,

I'm heading to Nepal this month for a 4 week trek through the Himalayas. I'll be staying at a mix of lodges and villages for the work im doing. This will be my first time in the country, and I'm wondering what advice (gear wise, production wise, survival wise, etc.) you could lend to my first time shooting in Nepal.

For what I've planned so far gear wise, I'm taking a MK III with a three lens assortment. DP4 Small HD monitor with an articulating arm on a cheese plate, and enough batteries to choke a horse. I'm not taking my battery grip with me, as the MK III can look rather beastly when even rigged out to that extent. Everything is going in one 70 litre bag that I'll be carrying. Onboard audio with a Sennheiser MKE400 in the hot shoe. Camera handling includes both hand holding from the body, and a Manfrotto monopod with a 500 series fluid head.

The type of work I'm doing involves very close proximity with villagers and animals, staying with them much of the time. For this, I'm thinking trimming down Everything as much as possible without leaving my wanting.  I'm also curious about battery charging options (solar, etc.). Survival wise, I'm gearing as efficiently as possible. I've done several long-term travel productions, but am always open to the advice of someone who's been somewhere I've never been before.

Thanks!

Woodruff
Laputka Films
LKFilms.com

canon rumors FORUM

Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« on: March 01, 2014, 03:15:58 PM »

sjschall

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 83
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 01:27:46 PM »
Are you interviewing people or mostly getting ambient audio? The sennheiser, if it's your only audio source, seems like the weak link. Otherwise sounds like a great set up and a really cool trip.

WLaputka

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 39
  • 5D Mark III
    • View Profile
    • Laputka Films
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 09:27:13 PM »
I also have a Sennheiser ME66 I can bring that is far more directional for clean audio, but it's a bit bigger on the camera. Thoughts were that the 400 would offer some appeal without the size, but it might not do the trick.
Laputka Films
LKFilms.com

wopbv4

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 143
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 10:44:15 PM »
Hi,

if you go high up in the mountains, there are a few (obvious) things to note:
1) There is limited mains power (220V), so recharging batteries can be problematic
2) Because of low temperatures, battery life is shortened
3) the light can be very bright, even at iso 100, 1/8000 and F18 I had over exposed images, so take ND and circa Pol filter, if you can afford, take a big stopper.
4) Nepali people are extremely friendly and will be very interested in your gear, so take time to explain
5) If you can find it, take an old fashioned Polaroid camera and give the pictures to the local people, they will be extremely gratefull
6) Nepali will treat you with great respect, please return the favour
7) The average Nepali wage is very low, a school teacher earns about 800$/year

Hope this helps a bit,

I have been to Nepal many times and it has become a second home, I am sure that you will have the time of your life!

Ben
1DX, 7D and lots of gear

WLaputka

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 39
  • 5D Mark III
    • View Profile
    • Laputka Films
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 11:34:42 PM »
Hi,

if you go high up in the mountains, there are a few (obvious) things to note:
1) There is limited mains power (220V), so recharging batteries can be problematic
2) Because of low temperatures, battery life is shortened
3) the light can be very bright, even at iso 100, 1/8000 and F18 I had over exposed images, so take ND and circa Pol filter, if you can afford, take a big stopper.
4) Nepali people are extremely friendly and will be very interested in your gear, so take time to explain
5) If you can find it, take an old fashioned Polaroid camera and give the pictures to the local people, they will be extremely gratefull
6) Nepali will treat you with great respect, please return the favour
7) The average Nepali wage is very low, a school teacher earns about 800$/year

Hope this helps a bit,

I have been to Nepal many times and it has become a second home, I am sure that you will have the time of your life!

Ben

Ben,

Thanks for the great advice. As far as batteries / power is concerned, what method to counter this do you recommend. I will be there for a month.
Laputka Films
LKFilms.com

JPAZ

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 563
  • If only I knew what I was doing.....
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 12:32:01 AM »
Have been on treks in both the Kumbi and Mustang regions.  I've carried the 50d with 5 batteries and have not had too much trouble.  I was able to recharge at many of the teahouses and lodges that are available until you get beyond a certain altitude.  This actually gives a great opportunity to sit and chat with the locals while recharging.  Charge at every opportunity because power outages and limitations are the rule so you would not want to arrive with a portion of 1 battery left only to find that you cannot recharge.  I've not used a solar power setup so cannot comment on whether this is a viable option.  Pay attention to what is carried.  Any extra weight can make a big difference. 

Now with a 5diii (like I have now), I suspect that things would be even better because I get so many more shots from the battery than I used to with the other camera.  I presume you are avoiding monsoon season so there will not be a lot of rain in the Himalaya but be prepared.  Remember, with sunset, it gets very cold very quickly. 

If the area north of Anapurna and Mustang is to be part of your travels, be aware of the afternoon winds and the huge amount of dust that can arise.  Keep your gear protected. 

I agree that the people you will encounter are wonderful.  Be open and friendly and respect their privacy and they will welcome you into their homes and show you a way of life that not too many of us will ever encounter anywhere else.  Also, try to get to a festival like the Mani Rimdu festival or the Tiji festival for spectacular photography opportunities.  You will have a great trip.

JP
5d Mkiii; Eos-M; too many lenses; 430 EXii and a whole lot of stuff

JPAZ

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 563
  • If only I knew what I was doing.....
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 12:33:42 AM »
My bad.  I see you are heading to Nepal soon, so those festivals won't be held during this time of year.  Tiji is in May and Mani Rimdu is in October/November.  Still, be sure to see many of the small temples you will encounter.

JP
5d Mkiii; Eos-M; too many lenses; 430 EXii and a whole lot of stuff

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 12:33:42 AM »

sanj

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1500
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2014, 01:17:44 AM »
Yes Nepalese people are very courteous and sensitive. I wish you a great trip.

Alefoto

  • SX50 HS
  • **
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2014, 04:40:48 AM »
I have been not to Nepal but to Tibet and from experience I agree with the advices listed before, especially regarding dust and battery charging (charge everytime you can). If you plan to stay 4 weeks with stops in civilized areas and have with you enough batteries I don't think a solar charger would not be needed. Just keep the batteries at night close to your body warmth to prevent discharging.

When it's cold, if you stay in villages or houses, remember when you come back in a warm interior to keep you gear inside the backpack to avoid condensation.

Also, I don't know much about your fitness, but there is a smooth limit in adventure photography when having everything you need willl limit everything you can do. Choose you gear with attention and consider a pack horse.

A personal note, on this kind of travel, if there is much hiking involved I usually don't carry a photo backpack as it's heavy by itself. I usually take a good and light mountaneering backpack (about 30-50 liters) and wrap my gear inside my sleeping bag, gloves (a mountain glove is a good lens case ...), sweater. Just keep your gear on your laps during bus travel as the roads can get very bumpy and the vibrations of run-down buses can take their tolls on your gear.

Hope this helps!

wopbv4

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 143
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 08:53:52 AM »
Something that is worth mentioning, your health!!!
A lot of people get very sick when hiking in Nepal, but the biggest risk is altitude sickness, it can be life-threatening.
There is an excellent book on this, see
http://www.amazon.com/Medicine-Mountaineering-Other-Wilderness-Activities/dp/0898863317

I know that this a forum about photography, but the risk of altitude sickness, is something that can not be stressed enough. It can happen to anybody, and in general, for some peculiar reason, the most fit people get it!

Anyway, as said before, it it will be a fantastic trip

Ben
1DX, 7D and lots of gear

pedro

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 776
    • View Profile
30D, EF-S 10-22/ 5DIII, 16-35 F/2.8 L USM II, 28 F/2.8, 50 F/1.4, 85 F/1.8, 70-200 F/2.8 classic,
join me at http://www.flickr.com/groups/insane_isos/

JPAZ

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 563
  • If only I knew what I was doing.....
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2014, 11:51:45 AM »
in general, for some peculiar reason, the most fit people get it!

Ben

+1 on health.  It is dusty and dry, more than you'd think.  Cover your nose and mouth in the wind.  "Fit" people get altitude sickness because they are too smug.  Fitness does not prevent it.  Anyone can get it, even folks who have had no issue before.  They best advise is "walk high, sleep low" and gain altitude slowly.  Drink lots of fluids and avoid alcohol.  Don't try to overexert yourself.  We call our walking speed "The Sherpa Shuffle" (sorry if this is politically incorrect but the term was given to me by a Sherpa person I know in Phortse).   

The Himalaya is an amazing place with wonderful people.  If you get ill, things can go bad very quickly and even though the locals will be helpful, the best advice is to get down as quickly as you can.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 11:53:55 AM by JPAZ »
5d Mkiii; Eos-M; too many lenses; 430 EXii and a whole lot of stuff

mackguyver

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2937
  • Who Dares Wins
    • View Profile
    • My Personal Work
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2014, 12:10:07 PM »
+2 on the altitude sickness, but I'm guessing you've already planned out your acclimatization strategy.  If you've every had it, it's beyond miserable.  I don't think I've ever had a headache half as severe and the metal confusion is very dangerous.  I experienced the start of my symptoms atop a mountain during a thunderstorm and it was absolute hell.  It only got worse from there until I got below 10,000 feet and I was very fortunate to be with some climbers from the area who were used to the altitude.  I was very lucky and only ended up with an injured leg from a slide down a glacier (I was confused and grabbed the wrong rope), but it can be very serious.

As far as gear, the Goal Zero chargers are expensive, but I've heard great things about them.  Also, don't forget a few pairs of good quality sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.  The UV is very strong at altitude.
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, M 11-22 f/4-5.6 IS | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III
I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2014, 12:10:07 PM »

JumboShrimp

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 138
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2014, 01:52:28 PM »
Having been to Nepal on a couple trekking tours, I would suggest taking the smallest and lightest gear that you feel comfortable with. Even the most gentle treks can turn into some serious up and down plodding along and you really don't want to be weighted down. Of course, there will be someone to carry your essentials and bedding, but you will be responsible for a day pack. Consider a small DSLR and an all-in-one lens. The lens should be capable of distant scenery as well as close-ups of people and flora. Bring a polarizer, too. As others have mentioned, carry several fully-charged batteries and spare memory cards (when on a trek, both of these are far more important than an extra lens).

matt4p

  • SX50 HS
  • **
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2014, 03:35:11 PM »
Drink loads of water! It helps with the altitude. I'm talking several litres.
Alcohol hand wash. If you touch anything, clean your hands!!
Ask your doc for some Diamox. Works a treat if you start getting altitude effects. Gives you shocking pins and needles though.

Here's my trip to EBC. Hope it helps in some way -

http://www.peakseekers.co.uk/EBCTREK1.html

Matt

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Heading to Nepal for a month - Suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2014, 03:35:11 PM »