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Author Topic: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted  (Read 11451 times)

NWPhil

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I know that they other websites geared towards travel, but what I am looking for is feedack from people that have been there with more than just a pocket P&S camera.
Planning got there this late summer, for a 18 or 21 day trek.
If you have been there and took your DSLR with you, which lenses did work the best, and which one you missed the most, or wished you had?
Tripod and flash are a plus or just extra weight? Issues with recharging batteries?
anything else?
Thanks for your feedback
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 09:49:32 PM by NWPhil »
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nitsujwalker

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 03:51:40 PM »
I personally haven't been there but I imagine a wide lens and maybe a 70-200 for tight landscapes.  One fast prime if you'll be in the villages or cities––for people photos.  I'm curious what advice people will give that trip is on my list.  Anyways, sorry If i'm not much help but I had to post to say that I am completely jealous!  Make sure you post pictures when you get back...

Random Orbits

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 01:04:00 PM »
How much room and weight do have allocated for this?  Are you trying to go as light as possible?

If you're trying to minimize weight and gear (based on your kit), I'd take both bodies (can't afford a malfunction), the 14L II, 35L and 80-200L with no tripod and no flash.  That would cover most of the FL range and give you low light capability.

If you're willing to bring a tripod, then I'd consider the TS-E 24 in place of the 14L II.  The 14L II is more compact and easier to use, but the TS-E 24 has awesome IQ.

DISCLAIMER:  Never been to Nepal/Tibet.  Closest to that region that I've gotten to is Xian, China.  Good luck!

NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 01:44:46 PM »
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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prestonpalmer

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 02:10:17 PM »
NWPhil,

I hiked to 13,000 ft in Nepal a few years ago. I brought two bodies, a 70-200 2.8, 16-35, 24-105, 100macro, 2 speedlites, a lightweight tripod, and some batteries, filters, ect.

My recommendation after my 3 week trip.  PACK LIGHTER!!!!!!  I found myself using the 24-105 almost exclusively.  I used a speedlite probably one or two times, and could have done without them completely.  Because of the on and off and unpredictable rain showers, I was unable to switch lenses rapidly, and leaned toward the 24-105 for most of the trip because of the mostly good light, I didn't need much faster than f/4 for 95% of photos.  I used the 16-35 next, never touched the 100 macro, and used the 70-200 just a few times.

The pain of carrying the gear was not worth what i brought.  When I do it next time.  I will condense everything I bring to one shoulder bag.

WARNING.  Electricity for charging batteries is spotty at best.  I would plan on bringing 5 camera batteries for a 21 day trip.  Flashes are defiantly just extra weight. The try-pod is a toss up.  I used mine little, but if I had more time, I would have used it for landscapes.

If you DO bring a flash. Leave your rechargeable at home, and bring a Energizer E2 Lithium AA's instead.  They are incredibly light, travel well, and last FOREVER in a speedlite.  I can shoot at least two weddings with one set which is WAYYYYY more than you will ever use it in Nepal.  So just bring a backup set of AA's and you will be fine if you do bring the flash.

Again, my recommendation is GO MINIMAL.

I would probably bring my 16-35, 24-105 or 24-70, one body, and leave pretty much everything else at home.  Hope this helps. 

NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 02:38:42 PM »
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
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michi

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 05:55:43 PM »
I would also advise to pack light.  After all it will be an amazing trip and besides beautiful pictures you also want to be able to enjoy it.

I would bring a wide angle, something like a 24-105 and some type of telephoto lens.  I suppose a back up camera would be ideal, since all that gear will be useless if your primary camera were to die.  I have a few cheapo batteries for my 5DII which work perfectly.  They only cost $25 and for $100 you could buy 4 of them which should get you through a few days of hiking without recharging.  I bought them at Amazon via Sterlingtek (search for "STK's Canon-7D Battery High Capacity 2600mAH").  Depending on what season it will be there, if you are expecting rain, you might want to bring some type of weather protection to throw over the camera and lens.  After all you don't want to miss that rainbow spanning across the Himalayas...  I would probably skip the flash too, unless you want to bring a small one like a 270EX which doesn't take much space.

Enjoy, and post some pics when you get back!

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 05:55:43 PM »

EvilTed

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 11:16:17 AM »
I've travelled over most of the West Coast of India, from Rajasthan, down to Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nedu and all over Karnataka for the past 5 years.

Back then I was a Nikon shooter, but I only ever carried two lenses.

1) 18-200mm
2) 12-24mm

This kept things really light, gave me the reach when I needed it, but the favorite was the wide angle, which you will have on 90% of the time if you are into temples, like I am.

Yes, the 18-200 is a compromise, but you really don't want to be constantly changing lenses in India.
It is covered in red clay and the dust gets pretty bad.
I'm sure Nepal isn't any different.

Enjoy!!!

ET

« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 11:19:10 AM by EvilTed »

AJ

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 11:50:27 AM »
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.


NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 12:14:08 PM »
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
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AJ

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 01:29:17 PM »
I spent about 2-3 weeks in the high county (above 4200 m, 14000 ft) in late Oct-early Nov.  Nighttime temps were around -15C at night, +15C in the afternoon. 

Valley bottoms were hot, and an early start is recommended to avoid slogging up out of a valley in afternoon heat.

I don't think a week or two earlier or later makes much of a difference.  The main determinant of temperature is elevation.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 01:31:34 PM by AJ »

Kernuak

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 01:35:12 PM »
I went to Nepal back in 1994, to the Annapurna range. I didn't know then what I know now and I didn't have the gear either. However, the biggest hurdle is weight. When trekking, you really don't want to carry much, we made that mistake, although we took too many clothes rather than too much camera gear. I took a single body (a Praktika), with a 50mm lens. That wasn't really enough, but it worked. Ideally, I would have liked a telephoto lens for when I was in the Chitwan, but that would have weighed me down. If I was going again now, I think the ideal combination would be something like a 24-105 and a 70-200 f/4, with a body that could cope with higher ISO (probably a full frame with 24mm as the widest) and perhaps also a 1.4x extender. If you can fit in a travel tripod even better, along with a set of soft grad filters. I would be tempted to take the 70-200 f/2.8 MkII, but the weight would be a factor, so an f/4 would probably be better in that regard. I was considering a trip to Uganda this year, with an extension to see gorrillas and the 70-200 f/2.8 would have been worth the extra weight there, so if the Chitwan was also a prime consideration, that may change your lens choice.
From memory, October can till be affected by the monsoon, so that may also be a factor in your choices, although it should be the clearest time, as there will generally be less moisture in the air. I went in February/March, when it can be a bit hazy at times (not to mention cold, as it sometimes dropped to -10 C or less at night and some of the higher passes were still closed due to snow).
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NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 10:11:26 AM »
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? ;)
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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 10:11:26 AM »

l0pht

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2012, 06:57:41 AM »
24-105, no brainer

Benhider

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2012, 08:37:08 AM »
I went to Tibet over 10 years ago and took a small Canon film SLR as I was a poor student.

Someone advised me to bring a polarizing filter. Saved loads of my photos.

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2012, 08:37:08 AM »