Steve's "What's in my bag"

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joe43

Active member
I also recommend taking two battery chargers with me. To make sure I can use both at the same time with just one plug outlet, I use a two prong Y splitter cord or bable or both. You may need one or both of these, or something equivalent.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R8MT4XW/?tag=backcogaller-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R4FX3J9/?tag=backcogaller-20

And here is the power surge protector I usually take with me on trips.


One tip, never leave your laptop plugged in when not in use. You do not want it fried by a power blip. That happened to me inCosta Rica on a photp trip.
 

Steve

Admin
Staff member
Supporting Member
I also recommend taking two battery chargers with me. To make sure I can use both at the same time with just one plug outlet, I use a two prong Y splitter cord or bable or both. You may need one or both of these, or something equivalent.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R8MT4XW/?tag=backcogaller-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R4FX3J9/?tag=backcogaller-20

And here is the power surge protector I usually take with me on trips.


One tip, never leave your laptop plugged in when not in use. You do not want it fried by a power blip. That happened to me inCosta Rica on a photp trip.
Those adapters are really cool - I just placed an order for a couple. Also, good advice on the laptop - power surges happen all the time in developing countries.
 

GrandNagus50

Active member
Wow, the images Steve came back with and showed in the video are fantastic. Really fantastic.

In terms of camera bag, I have long been using the older GuraGear Bataflae 32L, which I bought used (in near new condition) on ebay. But the video inspired me to bite the proverbial bullet and purchase the 30l Kiboko to eventually replace the older bag (I love camera bags :-0). For my "overseas travel" gear, which is M43, these bags are just about perfect.

On a recent trip to the "American heartland" (Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, mostly to visit family but also some sightseeing), I took my limited rig in a Mindshift Backlight 26L bag. This is an excellent bag, especially for M43 gear.

I got one of those Buddy pouches a while back, but I always end up using a small waist/belt pack for teleconverters and extra batteries and such.

I second Steve's endorsement of taking binoculars, always. As a birder-turned-photographer, I just about always look at my subjects through the binocs either before or after photographing them. When I went to northern Ecuador a few years ago, I confess I was a little shocked that the other photographer with whom I shared a guide did not have binoculars at all. It seems to me like a no-brainer. I take slightly larger binocs, e.g., Nikon Monarch 8x30, but those tiny Swaros look intriguing.

I couldn't help but notice that Steve apparently brought no flash gear on this trip. And I suspect that since he was shooting from safari vehicles, no tripod was needed, either. On my one trip to Africa a few years ago I did not use flash at all, either. But for trips to say, Costa Rica and Ecuador, some fill flash is really useful in certain situations. I take all flash gear and also my tripod in my checked luggage, as I just don't think these are big targets for theft and I am increasingly paranoid about size/weight limits for carry on gear.
 

EricBowles

Well-known member
I second Steve's endorsement of taking binoculars, always. As a birder-turned-photographer, I just about always look at my subjects through the binocs either before or after photographing them. When I went to northern Ecuador a few years ago, I confess I was a little shocked that the other photographer with whom I shared a guide did not have binoculars at all. It seems to me like a no-brainer. I take slightly larger binocs, e.g., Nikon Monarch 8x30, but those tiny Swaros look intriguing.
With a mirrorless camera, I've stopped taking binoculars even when I'm leading bird walks. I have the Fn1 button programmed to zoom to 100% (but could choose 50%, 100%, or 200% depending on the situation and camera), so I effectively have binoculars in my camera with the ability to take a photo. I use this a lot more than you would think in order to watch head position, eye contact, etc. and capture better images. On bird walks we usually pick up 1-2 species per walk from having photo access. Binoculars are for specific situations - such as when I have a 600mm lens with teleconverter and just finding a subject needs a wider field of view.
 

Roy

Active member
Excellent video about equipment steve takes to Africa. I found the discussion of accessories very useful. Steve has much less accessories than I do. Time to reduce the extra bulk in my bag. Good challenge.

On question for Steve or anyone who has been following him. Steve mentioned a pouch he uses to keep his TCs in. I did not catch the name of it.


And I wished TCs could be stackable to save space.
 

Steve

Admin
Staff member
Supporting Member
@Steve how would this work? It’s slightly bigger but wonder if the extra inch or so in outside size would be an issue with planes?
View attachment 25607View attachment 25608
We had a couple there with mind shift bags and I suspect it's this one. They were really large - noticeably more than mine. Again, not 100% sure it's the same one, but that's a 40L and mine is a 30L. I doubt they'd fit in an overhead on a smaller plane, although probably not an issue with a normal-sized commercial airliner.

EDIT: OK, I just looked it up and it's not the same bag they had / I was thinking of. However, I'd still wonder about the size - mine barely fits sometimes.
 

dtibbals

Well-known member
Supporting Member
We had a couple there with mind shift bags and I suspect it's this one. They were really large - noticeably more than mine. Again, not 100% sure it's the same one, but that's a 40L and mine is a 30L. I doubt they'd fit in an overhead on a smaller plane, although probably not an issue with a normal-sized commercial airliner.

EDIT: OK, I just looked it up and it's not the same bag they had / I was thinking of. However, I'd still wonder about the size - mine barely fits sometimes.
Yeah sizes are close. Here is their 30L. Not sure if a Sony 600, gripped a1 and another smaller lens or two would fit. It’s around $229
66245CD5-9938-4817-BDAE-BBC6E6CDF5BB.jpeg
 

Steve

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Staff member
Supporting Member
Yeah sizes are close. Here is their 30L. Not sure if a Sony 600, gripped a1 and another smaller lens or two would fit. It’s around $229 View attachment 25609
Yeah, I'm not sure. The dimension work for sure, just not sure how much more you'll be able to stick in there with the 600mm. It does sort of look like you could stick the gripped a1 and something like a 100-400 in there though (you could always remove the grip and stick it in checked baggage f things are tight). It's close though for sure.
 

Abinoone

Well-known member
Supporting Member
When I saw Steve’s video using the Guragear bag I thought that this was the bag I’ve been looking for Looked around the site and couldn’t find any links for affiliate buying (Missing an income stream Steve), Then went out to Guradeat. Wow I got sticker shock. Had PTSD for 2 or 3 days. Then went ahead and ordered one but it still hasn’t arrived. Then a day ago I decided to try EBay. Lots of inexpensive options. When the Guragear bag arrives and if it is as good as I’m expecting I’ll keep it. Just to let everyone know that EBay can give you an option to keep your heart rate under control.
Isn't spending your children's inheritance on camera gear a blast? Just think how grateful they'll be to inherit all of the cool, but dated photo equipment! 🤪
 

FB101

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Isn't spending your children's inheritance on camera gear a blast? Just think how grateful they'll be to inherit all of the cool, but dated photo equipment! 🤪
They are all getting fully paid college degrees - everything else is for my wife and I to enjoy :cool:
 

RichF

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Isn't spending your children's inheritance on camera gear a blast? Just think how grateful they'll be to inherit all of the cool, but dated photo equipment! 🤪
we are DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids, no retired) so we don't have to decide who gets the money. Either we spend it, we give to distant relatives, or it goes to a charity. Guess our priorities
 

ElenaH

New member
@Steve , if I may ask you, where exactly in Bots you've been? According to the Elephant photos you were on Pangolin boat, right? And where in Okavango? In Khwai with Pangolin- Partner? (I think the Lodge name is something like Bushman Plains or something like this). Where can I see the photographs? Was 600mm not too long for Okavango? I assume you took it because of DOF (subject vs background separation)? And because you could use it for both: birds and animals? I am asking becasue normally 600mm is too long for the animals in Okavango: they come close, sometimes very close and in private concession you can off-road. I saw people were struggling with 600mm primes... Normally photographers are using 400mm and 70-200mm.
 

Steve

Admin
Staff member
Supporting Member
@Steve , if I may ask you, where exactly in Bots you've been? According to the Elephant photos you were on Pangolin boat, right? And where in Okavango? In Khwai with Pangolin- Partner? (I think the Lodge name is something like Bushman Plains or something like this). Where can I see the photographs? Was 600mm not too long for Okavango? I assume you took it because of DOF (subject vs background separation)? And because you could use it for both: birds and animals? I am asking becasue normally 600mm is too long for the animals in Okavango: they come close, sometimes very close and in private concession you can off-road. I saw people were struggling with 600mm primes... Normally photographers are using 400mm and 70-200mm.
We were with Pangolin and at a camp called "Selinda' (I'm probably spelling that wrong).

As for lenses, you'd be surprised how often I used a 2X with that 600mm - in both places. For smaller birds and some mammals, it's the 600mm + TC(s) proved essential (on both my trips there). Even for hippos and such when they are just in the water. Sure, there were times it was too long and I suspect I'd be ever so slightly happier with a 400mm + TC as needed, but I was able to make it work for the most part - and when it was too long, I just grabbed the 100-400.

In addition, most of our group was using longer glass, so I just had the boats / trucks park at distances that worked. In fact, although you can get close to wildlife from the trucks in the Okavango concessions, I make it a point to try to discourage that with our driver. The thing is, the closer you are to an animal, the more it looks like you are shooting down on it and it ruins the shot. I'd rather be back farther with a longer lens so the shot appears more like it's at eye-level.

Finally, in my experience, most people are far too dependent on cropping and shots where they think they are "close enough" really aren't. They are so accustomed to grabbing the crop tool to finish the composition on the computer that they've lost the ability to really fill the frame properly in the field (and most don't realize it, either). I don't fall into that category ( :) ) so I'm very comfortable with tighter shots. You'll see a bunch of them in my upcoming Sony a1 review. :) I also sometimes think it's cool to do super-tight crops to get something different than the typical shot.

Below are a few examples:

This is a good example of an animal properly filling the frame. Most people would say this is too close if they saw an animal filling up the viewfinder like this since the baboon was moving, but the truth is, it filled the frame nicely.

bots-0907-DSC01381-Edit-Edit.jpg


This one was at 840mm and still required an APS-C crop. I didn't use a 2X due to the slow shutter speed:
bots-0911-DSC03980-Edit-Edit.jpg


This is a really endangered African skimmer chick. Again, this is about an APS-C crop and I shot it at close range with 1200mm!!


bots-0912-DSC06021-Edit-Edit.jpg


For this one, the 600mm was handy. The hippo had an awful background and the tight crop is quite dramatic IMO:

bots-0909-DSC08231-Edit-Edit.jpg


Finally, we had a lion settle in right next to the vehicle so I decided to have some fun. This was at 1200mm and I did take a little bit of an artistic license with the processing.

delta-0906-DSC00800-Edit-Edit.jpg
 

ElenaH

New member
@Steve , very cool..! You've been on a Great Plains Concession, managed by Derek and Beverly Joubert who are known by their Wildlife movies like "An eye of the leopard" about Legadema or "Last lions" about a pride of Duba Plains. This is a very nice area beweteen Okavango and Kwando river. That means you have probably seen wild dogs or painted wolves as well.
It certainly was an advantage to have a group where participants were using long lenses. Once I've been with TuskPhoto (Wim van den Hiever, Brendon Cremer), they were using 400/2.8 and as we were training to take some particular shots I needed always recalculate the settings for my consumer lens :D :D It is good if everybody has the same focal lenght and aperture - no need to recalculate ;-) no need to drive closer!
Your shots are, of course, amazing. I even dind't know that a skimmer chick has a short bick ;-). I was far away and didn't have 1200mm ;-) so, I couldn't even see it exactly. Tja... there is one more reason to have more mm : for education purposes!
I love your comment about eye level: it is true! There are only a few parks where you can shoot on eye level with a shorter focal length (like Kgalagadi or Mana Pools, for example). I am curious how eye-AF was performing. Interestingly, it was working even on my Z7 for lions! (well.. a lion is a cat ;-)
Hopefully, A1 has also some disadvantages ;-) I don't want to change from my Nikon to Sony... Sony is so expensive ... and I like the colurs and 3D-pop of Nikon ;-)
Thank you for the response and for the posted pictures! :love: :love: :love:
 
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