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Photography gear in my bag – Getting ready for Vietnam and Cambodia

In just over a week, I’m going to Vietnam and Cambodia and wanted to describe the photography gear I’ll be taking with me.

I’ll be going with my wife and another couple. We have travelled well together before, so I have a pretty good idea of how much photography I’ll be able to do. My favorite times to shoot are early in the morning and late in the afternoon and evening, so I usually get a few hours a day to myself, in addition to the normal touring times together during the day. (I come back exhausted, but happy.) Since I do get a generous amount of time to shoot, I have decided to take a fair bit of kit with me.

Photo Bag Vietnam-blog

Here’s the big stuff, in order of priority:
Nikon D800 Body (not light, but fantastic)
Nikkor 24-120 mm f4 wide angle zoom (the one that’s usually on the camera)
MeFoto travel tripod (typically gets a lot of use during the early morning and evening)
Rokinon 14mm f2.8 (economical, but works well for superwide panoramas and interior shots)
Nikkor 70-300 mm f4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom (which I use less and less these days)
Nikon SB 700 speedlight (nice to have, but doesn’t get used much when I’m travelling – may leave it behind)
Nikkor 50 mm f1.8 (for low light and shallow depth of field)

A few small accessories:
Polarizing filter for the wide angle zoom
Neutral grey card (for setting white balance in unusual lighting conditions)
Collapsible 22” reflector (optional, but it’s so light; will take it if I bring the speedlight)

Then there are the supplies:
3 camera batteries
8 AA batteries for flash (4 in use plus 4 spare)
288 GB of memory cards (the D800 takes SD and CF cards)
Multiple chargers
Cleaning supplies
Small flash light

And the storage (for photo gear and data):
Ruggard messenger bag with heavy-duty shoulder pad (as though that’s going to make a difference)
Rick Steves travel backpack (which I use if I’m just going out touring with minimal photo equipment)
Acer Aspire One netbook (for daily backups and staying connected)

What I’ve been doing on recent trips is not carrying all my gear all the time, but making educated selections. For example, I’ll take the tripod in the early morning and evening, but will leave it at the hotel during the day. Also, I usually won’t take the telephoto zoom with me in the morning and evening, unless I know there is something specific I need it for.

Also, a word about my memory strategy; I try to take enough cards to see me through the whole trip; the D800 shoots large 36 megapixel images (about 45MB each) so my 288 GB of cards will get me over 6000 images, which has always been enough for a two week trip. I back them up each night, but do not delete anything until I get home and have them all safely uploaded to my computer and backed up to an external hard drive.

And here’s one more thing I’ve been doing to remember where I took each photo. The D800 is a fantastic camera, but it doesn’t have a built in GPS. There are various solutions out there for plug in devices, but I wasn’t too keen on any of them. So I have been using an iPhone app called GeotagPhotos, which is great. You have to make sure that your phone and camera are set to the same time. The app tracks your movements, and when you get back home it assigns GPS coordinates to each photo based on where it knows you were when the photo was taken.

Please leave a comment if you find any of this useful or interesting.

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A Week in Baku

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I'm really excited to have a solo photo exhibition of images I shot on a recent trip to Baku.
I was commissioned by the Azerbaijan Consulate to visit Baku and take photos from the perspective of a San Diegan.
The show is at the Meyer Gallery in Little Italy in San Diego and runs for three weeks starting May 8th. Please come and take a look.

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