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Photo gear needed for Big Bend NP backcountry overnighter


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Home Forums Off Piste Photography Photo gear needed for Big Bend NP backcountry overnighter

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #3696700
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    Can anyone help with recommendations for a DSLR chest harness/strap and a tripod to use on a backcountry hiking trip in Big Bend NP.  Desert and mountain terrain.

    I’m carrying:

    Canon 6DM2, Sigma Art 24-105mm (3.9 lbs) strapped to my chest.

    Tamron 70-200mm (3.6 lbs) in the backpack

    (I could bring my Sigma Art 18-35mm instead of the 24-105 if someone talks me into it) (1.9 lbs)

    The backpack is a Granite Gear Crown2 and it doesn’t have any rings already attached on the straps so, short of getting a camera harness (extra weight), I’m not sure how I would attach something like the Think Tank Camera Support Strap to my pack straps.  I want to be able to bring the camera up to my eye for shooting but need it to be snug against my chest to avoid excess swaying.

    In addition, i want to do some star trails photography but I’m very hesitant to add a 3lb tripod. I’m cool with shooting from near ground level but I need it to hold at least 4lbs.

    Any help is appreciated.  I’m a new BPL member, new to ultralight and I’m an amateur photographer (5 years) so I’m all ears.Granite Gear Crown2 60L

    #3696741
    Ian
    BPL Member

    @10-7

    One option would be the Peak Design Capture Clip.  My camera (a6600) is quite a bit smaller so it’s hard for me to say how well/poorly your camera would carry with it.  I think this works okay but prefer to carry the camera either on a strap or in its own case diagonally across my body and separate from my pack.

    https://www.peakdesign.com/collections/clips/products/capture

    I’ve only tried astrophotography a couple times, but even for landscape photography, I’d hesitate to carry a DSLR like that without bringing at least a travel tripod, especially for those slow shutter speeds.

    This is another piece of gear that I own but haven’t tested extensively.  It seems fine but it’s hard for me to justify bringing it when I’d ordinarily rather just eat the weight penalty and bring a tripod.

    https://www.platypod.com/

    #3696793
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    I’ve never done astrophotography either, but I would be much inclined to just rest my camera on the ground and/or stack some handy rocks around the body and lens to make a sturdy rest in lieu of carrying a tripod…but tripods aren’t really my thing, anyway.  You might be able to effect the same kind of thing by using a backpack and some lashings, or some stuff sacks filled with dirt to make sandbags.  All you have to do is keep it still…but if you don’t want to go the field-expedient route, scrap the extra lenses and just take the one that you use the most often and shoot the best; that’ll free up weight for a light tripod.  Think of it this way: unless you use it constantly, that 70-200 isn’t going to do much for you.  Same goes for the wide.  Futzing with more than one lens usually doesn’t help make better photos; just pick your strongest one and then pick good subjects for it.  Less weight, better images, win-win.

    I can’t help at all with some way to carry your rig; I don’t carry my camera that way so I don’t have any experience with those systems.

    #3696836
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    All good advice.  I’m counting on crossing paths with wildlife where I’ll need the 70-200 to get the shot I need.  The wide angle is only for the astro and landscape images when we’ve reached a destination.  This is a once in a lifetime for me so I’m prepared to sacrifice for the extra weight of the gear.

    The peak design looks like a winner.  I’ve seen it on belts before but never occurred to me to put it on a pack strap.

    #3696839
    humorless
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    I’ve got some peak design stuff i no longer need, including an older clip. there was supposed to be some issue iirc, but i never had any. i’ll get a pic and post it tomorrow. if you want the stuff you can have it for shipping.

    #3696848
    Ian
    BPL Member

    @10-7

    The 70-200 is a great landscape lens too for those tight shots.

    Do you have an L bracket on your camera?

    #3697153
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    I sent you a PM whoisthisguy.

    Ian, thanks for the post.  No L bracket but I’m ready to hear why i need one for this trip.

    I’m so used to “liking” and “loving” posts from people who respond or engage with me I keep looking for some type of acknowledgment icon to thank everyone for their advice.  Just know that I appreciate all these recommendations.

    #3697154
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    Sent a PM about the Capture.

    #3697432
    Ian
    BPL Member

    @10-7

    No L bracket but I’m ready to hear why i need one for this trip

    My concerns were if you used one, compatibility with the Peak Design capture.

    You don’t so it’s moot.

    #3697573
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    @ DJ It is hard to give specific advice on what gear to take since we don’t know much about your shooting style or workflow.  If the goal were to get the best landscape shots possible, I myself would take one ultrawide angle and one telephoto lens AND my lightest tripod that supports the weight of the camera plus lens.  The wide angle would do double duty for astrophotography.

    As referenced above by Ian, if wanted to save weight and currently don’t use your tripod for landscape, you could put your ball head on the Platypod Ultra support for the astrophotography. See http://www.platypod.com and Amazon.  This solution would be more elegant if you can use your smartphone and camera software (in the dark) to set up the camera once it is sitting on the ground.

    I often use a LowePro Toploader and to carry my body with short lens. The other lens stays wrapped in a foam Optech/USA pouch at the top of my pack.

    I have had mixed success carrying my mirrorless camera body plus lens with the PeakDesign clip on my pack strap. My frameless pack weighs less than a pound, and depending on the length of the trip, my usual carry weight including water and other consumables is less that 18 pounds. So 1.5 lbs of camera pulling on the right strap is not that comfortable. Depending in the trail and the weather, carrying the camera on the pack strap can expose the camera and lens to a lot of dust. But on the flip side, if your camera is hard to reach, you might miss certain shots of wildlife.

    #3697618
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    I’m starting to learn just how different my own workflow and style really is, reading this thread.

    #3697623
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    @ Bonzo

    You say: “Less weight, better images, win-win.”

    I think that is the key.  Photography should be fun, not work.

    I sold my Canon gear in 2016 and switched to mirrorless, micro 4/3. The bodies are 1/3 the weight and the lenses half the weight of full frame.  If I had a Sony full frame set up, I would just carry one lens.

    Cheers

    #3697629
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    Confession Time.

    I don’t own a single lens with a variable focal length…and I don’t carry a second lens when I’m out photographing.  One body, one lens, and the lens is almost always a prime that matches well to the format.  When I started doing this, I absolutely railed against the perceived loss of capability…until I started seeing the images that resulted from having de-cluttered my mind from thoughts of “if I could only change this one little thing.”  I got faster, more capable, and more intuitive…and – most importantly – I started seeing.  When I carried too much stuff I was concerned with the idea of creating the most perfect images possible by using the most perfect gear that was available…but when I pared everything down, I began to focus on seeing the already-perfect, and finding out how to tell a visual story of what I saw; I began to learn how to tell any story with what I saw.  That’s when I realized that the equipment in my hands made absolutely no difference, whatsoever, and I started stacking rocks around lenses.

    #3697778
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Just like with backpacking, in photography the most important thing we carry is our brains vision, and imagination. Yes I agree that often the gear gets in the way of making a good photo.

    i have done a few trips with just my lightest body and a 50mm lens. It slows you down to really think. Just like when I use a tripod, the prime forces me to be more deliberate. Can’t say though I am ready to commit to it full time.

    Cheers.

    #3697827
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    Can’t say though I am ready to commit to it full time.

    #3697862
    Cris D
    BPL Member

    @cris

    The peak design clip on a shoulder strap works well. It’s the perfect place to have your camera at the ready (for me anyway). Your straps look wide though. It might be hard to find a good mount point. Might be worth making sure you can return it or even take your pack to a local store.

    I used to carry my Fuji mirrorless over the chest with a strap. On hikes with lots of climbing it would bounce and any variable lens that telescoped would gradually fully extend. That all happens much less with the clip.

    Not sure if the DSLR body would be a problem or not. There’s a big difference even on the mirrorless when I’m carrying a 55-200 lens vs the much lighter 10-24 landscape lens.

    #3697883
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    On hikes with lots of climbing it would bounce and any variable lens that telescoped would gradually fully extend.

    Never thought about that happening. 🤔

    #3698243
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    Thanks everyone for the input.  I received the PD Capture today and did a 3 mile field test.  It fits and works the way I had hoped with little excess movement and only adds about 5oz.  I still have room in my pack in case of dusty conditions or precipitation.


    @Bonzo
    , i have all the respect for your style of shooting and the philosophy of decluttering the mind by simplifying the options.  I don’t have own any primes but they may be a consideration when i switch to a Sony A7RIII later on.  For the wildlife close ups I hope to get, with the Canon I currently own, a long lens is probably my only safe option.  I’ll swap to the wide angle once I’m at elevation and need to shoot landscapes.

    #3698434
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    @ DJ

    There is an old saying, that goes something like “the best camera is the one you actually have in your hand.”  So happy photographing. Make some great images. Post them on BPL after your trip.

    Cheers!

    #3698485
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    I don’t have own any primes but they may be a consideration when i switch to a Sony A7RIII later on.  For the wildlife close ups I hope to get, with the Canon I currently own, a long lens is probably my only safe option.  I’ll swap to the wide angle once I’m at elevation and need to shoot landscapes.

    You have to go with what works for you: I know a lot of photographers who carry a veritable arsenal of lenses, over-think and over-process every single shot, and still get better images than I do…but in my defense, that’s not hard to do.

     Make some great images. Post them on BPL after your trip.

    X2!  The photo section needs more traffic, and seeing what others see is always enlightening.

    #3705611
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    Sunset from South Rim of Chisos Mountains at Big Bend National Park (Texas)

    #3705616
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    Above pic is from the South Rim of Chisos Mountains at Big Bend National Park (Texas).

    The Peak Designs Capture Pro worked well to hold my Canon DSLR secure and conveniently close without much swinging.  The camera, lens and Capture Pro weighed about 4 lbs 3oz and left me with a sore shoulder after the first day’s hike, about 8 miles uphill.  I could usually retrieve the camera with one hand but often needed 2 hands to replace it.  The astrophotography was a bust.  I had a waxing gibbous and full moon or cloudy skies during the 4 nights we were on trails.  Too much light for what I was attempting. I did make an attempt using rocks to cradle and prop up the camera.  I took some nice shots of the moonrise over a desert floor and distant mountain range.  I’ll get that one posted later.  The 2nd day we set out for a 2 day backcountry hike across desert terrain.  After adding 16lbs of water to my pack I made the difficult decision to leave the DSLR behind.  Too much weight.  I settled for my cell phone.  The remoteness and rugged beauty were well worth it.  Not another soul other than my friend and navigator.  No litter. Just Cacti and coyotes.  Some aoudad spotted about 400 yards away on a ridge but not lucky enough to get pictures. Some wild horses that ran into us when they came over a ridge and then bolted out of sight.  I was initially concerned about rain on the camera but I realized that I went to the desert during the driest month of the year.    The camera was exposed to more moisture from my breathing in the tent than any environmental concerns.  Still had a dry bag just in case. I will definitely bring the camera with me on future hikes and look for ways to eliminate weight for the longer hikes.

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