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Author Topic: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted  (Read 11374 times)

stefsan

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2012, 11:24:33 AM »
Although I've never been to Nepal or Tibet, I have some experience with mountain hiking and carrying photo gear. In general I would agree with the other posters to go light. My standard setup is a 7D with 15-85 and 70-300, polarizers, spare batteries and CF cards. What to bring depends on what else you have to lug around and on how much time you have to take photos (there's not much sense in taking too many lenses if you have not the time to change them). And in my experience it depends also on the quality of your backpack. If you don't have one already, it really pays to invest some time (and money) on a very good pack that lets you carry relatively heavy loads comfortably for several hours and allows you quick access to your photo gear…
Most importantly: have fun and take care!  :)
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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2012, 11:24:33 AM »

1982chris911

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2012, 12:02:29 PM »
Not been there, but I was on a one months trip in Singapore NZ Australia lately.

My Tip: take two bodies if you can 7d and 5d MK III (II)  one of mine broke on the second day and these lenses if possible:

17-40mm light and small
70-200 f2.8 IS II + Ext 2x III Reach up to 640mm with 7D Distant wildlife !!! and the 70-200 is good for portrait and tight landscape on 5D II (III)

more lens options:
a Fisheye Canon 15mm or the Sigma 12-24mm HSM II for night skys (amazing in those remote areas of the Himalaya)
a 50mm for portraits


Flash: only if you plan to shoot a lot of portraits otherwise too much weight
Tripod: Really really important (indoor in temples monasteries it is very dark, then you will need it for most sunsets and also for night skies) also an option to use it as monopod with the 70-200mm IS 2 when using it with the Ext x2 on the 7D  for wildlife
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 12:04:34 PM by 1982chris911 »
5D MKII, 5D MK III, 7D, Sigma 12-24 HSM2, Canon 17-40 F/4.0 L, Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L, Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS II L , Ext x2 III + some other stuff

freudianslap

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2012, 09:03:08 AM »
Hi all, interesting discussion as I'm off to Nepal (Annapurna range) in July. Mid-monsoon time. I will be trekking but with a daypack. Any recommendations on the pack. After reading the thread I think I'll ditch the 430ex flash, and take the 550D, 50/1.4, 18-55, 55-200, monopod. I will need to take some kit and water to trek in the bag and need to have protection from the rain. Any ideas? looking at this one http://www.lovecases.co.uk/tamrac-3370-aero-70-digital-slr-camera-backpack-black.html but getting a waterproof cover.


NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2012, 03:26:53 PM »
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
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 02:22:31 AM by NWPhil »
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freudianslap

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2012, 04:59:50 PM »
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.

NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2012, 07:08:54 PM »
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
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 02:23:09 AM by NWPhil »
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wickidwombat

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2012, 09:00:19 PM »
Tibet is Awesome really, I have got to go back last time i was there for only 11 days in 2006 I really want to go back for at least a month. I went in september I highly recommend this time of year temps are around 20 c during the day and 0 at night but the air is crystal clear and the night sky is clearer than i have seen from anywhere on earth more stars than you can imagine. Until you see it you wont believe it.

You need a special permit if you are not a chinese citizen, travel agents charge a fortune for this, however if you know someone that speaks chinese or you speak chinese you can ring local travel agents in chengdu or chongqing and buy the permit only for much less and go yourself then you are not stuck on a tour (It is much much more fun to have freedom to do your own thing there). If you dont have this permit they wont even let you out the airport, they will send you straight back where you came from on a plane

First is how fit are you? oxygen is a massive issue its thin up there so every ounce you carry that you dont need you are going to notice :(

having said that you are going to need a decent selection of lenses as there is really an unbelievable amount of great stuff to shoot

I think when i go back I'll take the following
5D Mk3
5D mk2
16-35 f2.8L II
50mm f1.4
70-200 f2.8 L IS II
canon 2x TC MkIII
kenko 1.4 TC
and a 580exII

This is basically the kit i just hauled around china for 3 weeks
oh also a decent tripod ;)

enjoy the trip, I'm jealous
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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2012, 09:00:19 PM »

sushyam

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2012, 11:55:03 PM »
I had a vacation with the family in Nepal last May. I made do with a MkII and a 24-70 and a 50 f1.4. Our trip included a one day trek from Pokhra. Only rarely did I feel the need for a lens beyond 100mm. The same held true for our Bhutan trip where I also had a 70-300 which I did not get to use often except during a small climb.
A polarizer will be very useful. Mine fell off at Chitwan :-[
More important is your health at high altitudes. During my days as an army doctor working in high alti areas I came across three cases of acute high alti sickness. And the onset was rather sudden. All cases were above 11k feet. They were not properly acclimatized. The essence is to take the climbs slowly and enjoy. Extra weight at low oxygen will only increase your physical effort.
Weather is similar to our Indian mountainous regions. October should be fine and cold but the valleys get hot with the day.
Freudanslap mentioned travelling in July. That is the onset of peak monsoon. Be careful of leeches and slides.
My daughter and I hope to do a 4 day trek sometimes in the Annapurna Range. The wife and son are not interested.
Lucky you!!! Have a nice trek.

davehollandpics

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2012, 12:40:30 AM »
I've been to Nepal and hiked to Annapurna base camp.  Weight is everything, especially if you head into the mountains. It isn't a nice gradual hike up the mountain.  It is up and down and up and down.  Weight will be critical on the way down as well - lots of people get tendonitis in the knees. Remember also that the air will be thin, especially if you are not used to altitude. 

That said, minimize the gear.  If I could take one combination of what you have, it would be the 40D and the fisheye.  Because the crop of the 40D is 1.6, the fisheye will be  more of an ultra wide.  You'll want the vistas.  Forget everything else.  I sue the 15 fisheye on my 7D all the time.  Love it. 

Stupas, prayer flags, mountains, valleys, will all be great with an ultra wide.

jabbott

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2012, 12:54:23 AM »
While I haven't been to Nepal, I have hiked quite a bit in the mountains of Colorado with DSLR gear, including some above 14,000 feet.  I use a T2i with 10-22, 24-70L and 70-200L II in a Lowepro Photo Sport 200 daypack.  The combined weight of my pack is generally around 20 pounds including water, other gear and a down jacket.  Based on the focal lengths I tend to shoot I would probably be able to get by perfectly fine with a 17-40L and a 70-200 f/4L with a full frame.  Maybe a 2X extender as well.  That would provide a significantly lighter setup that still has decent optics and is very versatile.  That is just based on my preferred focal lengths though, so yours may vary.  I agree with the earlier posts that hiking lighter makes a big difference...  I used to do a lot of hiking with a shoulder bag full of DSLR gear and I'll never go back to that again.   ;)

You may also want to consider bringing a bag of beans instead of a tripod.  They are light and provide an easy way to stabilize your camera on rocks to capture distant vistas.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 12:55:59 AM by jabbott »

NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2012, 02:44:28 AM »
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 :)
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stefsan

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2012, 02:50:28 AM »
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.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2012, 03:01:40 AM »
I've also chosen the classified sling 220AW instead of a conventional backpack
the reason is I find i get alot of shoulder and back strain with heavy backpacks and the backpack restricts the movement of you arms and shoulders too much where as the sling style gives you much better range of movement in your shoulders, downside is the weight is on your right shoulder. the other advantage of this bag is you can just pull it round to access the compartment and change lenses etc without actually taking the bag off

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Lowepro-Classified-Sling-220-AW-Camera-Sling-Bag-Black-/290673557792?pt=AU_Cameras_Photographic_Accessories&hash=item43ad7e8120
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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2012, 03:01:40 AM »

NWPhil

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2012, 10:04:20 AM »
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 ::)
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jabbott

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2012, 10:46:24 AM »
Where's that Canon 12-24mm? Oh, wait! That's onlly with Nikon - darn..
The closest I know of is the Sigma 12-24mm II for Canon which was released last year.  The reviews are mostly positive:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/755357-REG/Sigma_204101_12_24mm_F4_5_5_6_EX_DG.html

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Re: Nepal/Tibet hiking with DSLR and lens - vacation feedback wanted
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2012, 10:46:24 AM »