A list of stuff for photographing and trekking

This is an update for last year’s list from the Isle of Mull.

Travel Equipment

  • Car GPS
    As I’m flying to the UK  and then renting a car at the other end I reckon it makes sense to take along my car’s GPS with me.  The little Garmin GPS unit is loaded with maps from across Europe. This will serve to get to locations quickly and in comfort (without the stress of time). But let me make it clear, a good Ordinance Survey map is a essential while hiking and searching out places more on that below. The GPS is just useful for main roads.
  • Mobile Phone Charger for Car + Audio 3.5mm cable
    Ok, I’m using the all in one device – the iPhone. Many new Cars have AUX input jacks, so I might be lucky to have one in the rental car. Not only is this great for listening to music and podcasts along the way, but it also acts as a hands free device once connected to the AUX input via the audio cable. So as along as the iPhone’s mic is placed in range, about 30cm away is fine, not perfect but acceptable. No doubt when I get off the ferry onto the Isle of Mull, I’ll switch off any music or podcast to start absorbing the atmosphere and spirit of the place – an important factor when making photography.

Essential Walking and Trekking Equipment

  • Clothing
    • Solid Walking Boots which are waterproof.
    • Walking Socks
    • Trekking Pants which dry easily and are at least water resistant.
    • Layered Clothing
    • Primasoft with WindStop jacket which is waterproof too.
  • Lunch Boxes
    Keep your sandwich from getting mushing up. Ikea sell various size quite cheaply.
  • Water Bottle with foam holder
    A light plastic bike bottle is all that’s needed. The aluminum ones are too heavy to bring along – anything to reduce weight means more room for camera equipment! The foam holder makes it easy to clip on to the side of the camera bag and also provides some temperature isolation.
  • Flask for a hot drink
    Addition to the Water Bottle a flask is a great comfort when you can pour out a cup of tea of coffee while standing around waiting for the light to change. A large flask about 1.5 litre is suitable for longer walks.
  • A Walking Guide
    Buy a walking guide before you arrive. Study it, research the locations and plan your days ahead from it. Take into account Tidal and Weather Information
  • Ordinance Survey Maps
    To discover the hidden away places and to arrive accurately at your destination. A contoured map as such will help you route your  when walking especially in the wilds of Mull.
  • Ski Underwear / Thermal Underwear / Lined Outdoor Pants
    This might sound odd, but if you are photographing in the same place in the great outdoors no doubt you’ll be often standing or not moving too far in one place. Keeping yourself not only dry but warm is a necessary requirement. I recommend the one made of Merino wool. They are light and breathable.
    Alternative to this are lined outdoor pants which also good.
  • Tide Information
    As I’m photographing around the coast of the Isle of Mull. Tidal information is very important to take into consideration when setting out and when to return.
    Isle of Mull – Carsaig Arches Isle of Mull – Ardtun / Bunessan (From links here you can find other ports in the UK)

Camera Equipment

  • Filters
    Neutral Density, Grad-Filters and Circular Polarizers.
  • Tripod
    For longer walker, a carbon fiber version reduces the weight to carry over long distances.
  • Camera Rucksack
    Choose a rucksack which is design to carry a tripod. I’ve used various backpacks over the years my current favorite which is lightweight and compact, holds a tripod, waterproof cover – Lowepro Versapack 200 AW
  • GPS Logger
    The thorn in my side, they still haven’t made a proper solution for a Canon cameras regarding GeoTagging. Unless you willing to pay a fortune or rely on cheap lossy electronics or some convoluted solution.  There was hope of a company ‘ATP’ which makes a simple standalone cardreader which stamps your images with GPS data. However the dumb thing doesn’t support RAW files, just JPEG. So back to the drawboard again, I’ve decided to use the iPhone with some GeoTag App to do the job. I know, you can take  an image with the iPhone’s camera and import into Aperture etc.. But it’s all too messy. Why is GeoTagging such a disaster on Canon ? I could also use the Phototrackrwhich works just about. This another reason to bring Ordinance Survey map to mark off place you’ve being.Update : The new Canon 5DMKIII has now an accessory for this purpose – finally!  However most smartphone are equipped with GPS and a readily available application for GPS logger for the relevant App store. If you have Aperture and an iPhone you can link up the images and co-ordinates from the snapshots you’ve taken inside Aperture.
  • Card Reader with short USB cable
    Now you could bring one of those multi-readers but if you need to save weight just bring along the USB cable for the camera to computer. Usually a mini usb cable is suffice. But do try the link up before you start your adventure.
  • Voice Recorder with headphones
    Essential are the headphones here,  to prevent  clipping and to ensure the level is correct. The voice recorder I’m using is the Yamaha Pocketrak CX, it has great battery life, super quality and it’s light. Perfect for taking notes and recording sounds along the way. Just don’t forget to take along a windshield for the mics. In fact with two dabs of super glue the windshield is now permanently stuck on.
  • Tissues
    A lens cloth isn’t suitable for clearing a lens from water droplets or spray. The cloth simply doesn’t absorb enough of the water. A Clean and dry tissue is the ideal thing for the job. I always carry them in my camera backpack.
  • Travel Adaptor
    It’s no good when you discover you haven’t got the right plug to fit into the outlet on the wall. So don’t forget a travel adaptor. I do have a tip if you own a Canon camera and a Macbook – /2011/12/19/life-hack-reduce-power-cords/
  • Extra Camera Battery
    Oh yes LiveView on a camera eat the battery life especially when you are out in the cold. So it absolutely essential to carry an extra one.

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