Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (05)

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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Update 2009 Nov 22, this thread to be replaced by thread (06) here.

The previous thread expire (04) and cannot add new posts, hence it is updated here.
Any travel tips/ itinerary/ travel photographic information to share would be greatly welcomed. from old thread (01), (02), (03)

About travel photographers: quoted from Olivier Follmi

It has its advantages: freedom, wonder, a multitude of experiences, and its inconveniences: there is no guarantee of success, no respite and no reference marks.

You need time to travel and immerse yourself in another country. You have to be curious to become a photographer of the world. You should learn the language of the country you are interested in, embrace its culture to the point of making it your new life. By developing a passion for somewhere else you will become a good travel photographer. You will have something to share, to say and to show.


1. travel wish/projections to get partners

2. links to discussion about destinations revolving around travel photography

3. Some inspiring threads (travel/people/streets/culture/event/wedding) that is my favourite.

4. topics about travel photography
- general planning
- accessibility to equipments
- weight consideration
- choice of equipments to bring, e.g. lens, flash, tripod
- handling of cold weather
- storage of digital photos
- storage of memory cards
- things to bring for travel
- issues at the custom
- security
- interaction & rights

Local trekking company may organise tours if you are interested, inputs mainly from guni_hoon
X trekkers at Seah Street, adventure gear post, Ace adventure, safra, campers corner, pacwest

and forums: SAC
Discussion on long term backpacking
Photography tips: from Andrew Gibson


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Summary of travel projections

I scrap the short notes from thread (03) due to inability to maintain. Further travellogues can also be found in various blogs and local travelling forum sg travel cafe.

2009 Feb
India - JacePhoto, thread
Hokkaido - thedaniel
Indonesia - Cecil
Hanoi - James

2009 Jan
Phillippines - JacePhoto
Vietnam/Cambodia - LonelyCoffee, thread

2008 Dec
Northeast India - siyimi, thread
Siem Reap - jacob, thread
Vietnam - 29tim05 , thread
Bali - glue2x
Bangkok - festard

2008 Nov
East Java - tomshen, thread

2008 Sep
India, Ladakh - elias601, 1st two weeks of Sep, thread
Yunnan & Tibet - longman, End August or Early Sept, thread
Bali - sweeper thread

2008 Aug
Kenya - syl, Aug 22 - Sep 07, thread

2008 Jun
Penang - denniskee, Jun 5-8, thread
Delhi to Ladakh, NW india - zoossh, jun 5-19, thread
South Vietnam - cecil/Yio Chu Kang photo club, jun 7-15, thread

2008 May
Scotland - spuddy, Aviemore, Scotland for a week. It is near Inverness and ski fields, thread
Europe - citrusophy
Central Asia - apollo882000

2008 Mar
Tibet - binbeto, tentatively from 21st Mar to 2nd Apr, thread
Perth - upitreks, a week in March, thread

2008 Feb
Japan - LingNightsky, 15th Feb - 25th Feb, thread 01, 02
Vietnam - Chandima, 2-10 Feb, thread

2008 Jan
Sri Lanka - aurora26, Jan, 11 days, thread
Vietnam - capirossi

2007 Dec
Japan, Hokkaido & Kanto - ReiszRie, 20 days, thread
Mauritius - kynoe, 22 dec to 25 dec, thread
Nepal - foreverlovex, 15 Dec 07 - 06 Jan 08, thread
Burma - USM, 3rd week, thread
Vietnam - tsim26, 20 dec 07 to jan 08, thread

2007 Nov
Bali - sigg, 3-10 Nov, thread
Thailand, north (community work) - de5truction, thread
Vietnam - Rheo, 12-18th Nov, thread
Vietnam - wcyck, 18th Nov - mid dec, thread
Hunan/Guilin - astroboy, 1st or 2nd week of November 07, thread
North India - wong_se, thread closed

2007 Oct
Tibet - Nutcracker10, 13-27 Oct, thread

2007 Sep
Laos - ckgoh, 26 Sep - 4 Oct, thread
Parkistan - aurora26, thread, 15th-29th Sep
East Turkmenistan (Xinjiang) - luosangjian, end sep, thread
East Turkmenistan (Xinjiang) - newdonkey, mid sep, thread

2007 Aug
Malaysia, Sabah, Kota Kinabalu - Chandima, national days Aug 8-12, thread
China, Anhui, Huang Shan - MLSK, thread, 11 Aug to 20 Aug tentatively
New Zealand - Golgotha, 15th to 22nd August, thread

2007 Jul
Malaysia, Sabah - Ling Nightsky, July 1st week Kinabatangan River & Layng Layang, birds and wildlife
Indonesia - MLSK, around July/August post.
Australia, Tasmania - from Melbourne, Golgotha, 4th July to 8th/9th July, thread

2007 Jun
India, Himalayans - Hongsien, trekking + photography workshop, thread
Malaysia, Sabah - crossing bridges 2007, thread, (extra allocations)
Indonesia - South Bali, Jun 21-26 thread

2007 May
Szechuan - djinn, thread
Christmas island - jeff, thread

2007 Apr
Philippines - Tomshen, apr 4-10, 7 days thread
Thailand, Tioman - Chickentang, apr 6-8, 3D2N, thread

2007 Mar
Malaysia - USM, Malacca + Port Dickson, mar 23-25, 3 days, thread
Yunnan - luosangjian, mar 11-20, 10 days, thread
Vietnam, Hanoi - magic, mid-mar, maybe mar 11-16, thread

2007 Feb
Cambodia - flashgun, before CNY, 2-3 days, thread
Cambodia via Thailand - CZJena, from Feb 09, 4D3N, thread
Yunnan, Haba snow mountains - ckbekeong, Feb 16-24, thread
Laos or Chiang Mai - Chandima, Feb 16-25, thread

2007 Jan
Cambodia - kitkat, 4-5 days, Angkor Wat, looking for tickets.
India, Northern - binbeto, Jan 13-21, New Delhi, Agra, Allahbad and Varanasi, thread
China, Northern - peapilot, late jan to late jun duration unknown, around beijing

2006 Dec
Szechuan - ling nightsky, early dec, 10 days, 2 more to go, thread
HK & China - XC Pictorial, Dec 7-15, 9 days, Hong Kong, GuangZhou, ShenZhen
Japan - ReiszRie, Dec 15-27, 12 days, Kansai region and Kinki Region with a day trip or 2 to Karuizawa and Hakone
Cambodia - USM, Dec 8-12, 5 days, Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), thread
Cambodia - pauche, Dec 23-Jan 7, Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville, dun mind bike mates. thread: look below


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Summary of discussion of photographic travel destination

Train travelling at seat61

Oriental Asia
Taiwan 2007 Mar
Japan 2006 Nov, 2007 Jan, Kyushu to Osaka 2006 Dec by Stoned (gallery, journal)
North Korea 2006 May
China, Beijing - 2006 Dec search for ckii96 (multiple threads travelogue)

South India and Southeast Asia
Laos 2006 Oct
Cambodia 2007 Jan
Vietnam, Ho Chih Minh 2007 Mar
Thailand, Bangkok 2007 Mar
Thailand-Laos-Vietname 2007 May
Indonesia, Bali 2007 Jan, 2006 Nov
Philippines, Cebu & Sibol 2007 Mar
Burma 2007 Mar
Guangxi, Yangsuo 2007 Mar

Middle East, North India, Central Asia & Himalayan region
East Turkistan (2003)
India, North India 2007 Jan, 2007 Jan (binbeto's travel journal), 2006 Nov: Delhi, 2006 Oct: Rajasthan
Qinghai to Tibet 2006 Dec
Tibet 2006 Nov
Tibet, Lhasa 2007 Mar
Nepal 2007 May
China, Szechuan 2007 Jan, 2007 Jan

Meditarreanean, Europe & North America
Greece and Turkey 2007 Mar
USA - 2006 Jul by Splutter (gallery, journal)
USA, Alaska - 2007 May

Africa, Kenya - (2005 Apr)
Africa in a shoestring - 2007 Oct

Australia, New Zealand and Islands in the Indian Ocean & Pacific Ocean
Australia, Tasmania - eclectyx
New Zealand - (2007 Jan)



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: basic planning

1. What resources can I get to start a backpacking trip?

Basically, it depends on your style of travel. Usually it takes one to have a few trips to start to get a feel of what backpacking is about and how it should be conducted. It can be done alone or in small groups or in bigger groups and experience can be pleasant or "enriching" depending on where you go, when you go and who you go with. To make your trip more complete and memorable, it is actually better to have a rough idea of what you want, especially in a photographic trip, so a little planning would be good.

What one needs is
1. general ideas & descriptions
2. details
3. pictures
4. advices

First of all, get an idea of what is the highlights of the place you are going to and its climate. This will set a mapwork of your entire plan. Have an idea of the space and time to see if you can fit so many places in that many days.

Next you will need exact details such as the distance between different locations, routes or even opening hours for locations in the cities. I find that the best resources is to get the latest edition (preferably within 2 years of last print) of lonely planet. They have little pictures but give a pragmatic system that is more complete than other travel books. Nobody in any forums is going to be a walking travel dictionary to remember all the details of his previous trip, unless he just came back recently, and nobody is going to hunt down online that specific questions of your trip that you can't find online, that he is not going for. That is why open ended questions in most travel forums are often left unanswered. So the most reliable source is from the books supplemented by information available online. But do note that things changes, and nobody can guarantee the accuracy of the information. Nuts have set up an excellent site for this, http://www.wookup.com/. Although traffic is low and thus not really updating, it is an invaluable resource that takes a lot of effort to organise.

Pictures would be good to just browse through. It will help to entice you to travel to specific locations in an area that you are more likely to be interested.

After homework are done, now it is good time to join in the forums to get more advices, of which a post in some local high traffic forums may be useful.

2. Quick links to flight schedule & ticketing

Singapore, Tiger Airways booking
Singapore, Jetstar Asia schedule & booking
Singapore, Singapore Airlines schedule & booking
Singapore, Silk Air booking
Thailand, Thai Airways schedule & booking
Taiwan, China Airlines schedule & booking
Taiwan, Eva Airlines schedule & booking
Taiwan, Far Eastern (Yuan Dong) Air Transport (domestic) schedule & booking
Taiwan, Mandarin (Hua Xin) Airlines (domestic) booking (in chinese)
Taiwan, Transasia (Fu Xing) Airlines (domestic) booking (in chinese)
Taiwan, Uni (Li Rong) Air (domestic) booking (in chinese)
HK, Cathay Pacific (founded by US-AU, now under UK) schedule & booking
China, Air China schedule & booking (US site)
India, Jet Airways schedule, booking
India, Air Sahara schedule & booking
India, Air India schedule & booking

Misa Travels:http://www.airfares.com.sg

3. Quick links to maps
this part is endless and too many to list, so i just add on whenever i'm travelling/looking for maps and see links that is useful
it is best to get a lonely planet or other maps in the bookshops. go online only to supplement or to get an overview

India maps of India

4. Quick links to festival schedules
also endless possibilities, will just post when i come across

bali - http://www.bali-events.com/



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Assess to equipments on the go

1. How do I get quick assess to my equipments?

Suggestion 1 - The cheapest and simplest method is to keep to one body with one lens, if ever possible with you. Either you do it with a shoulder sling, neck strap or a hand grip. Neck strap or shoulder sling go for something that gives you weight reduction, of which a choice may be optechusa. Hand grip wise gives you safe handy use but will make it difficult if you need your master hand, eg. to write, or if you need both hands.

Suggestion 2 - If there are many items you have that you can't carry around all at the same time, or that you need to be able to keep it and take it out at different situations, most will go for a shoulder bag that is the most conventional or use a sling bag. Both gives easy accessibility, fair capacity. Shoulder bags are more common and have more option. Sling bags gives slightly better comfort as weight is carried onto the back too. Optechusa have shoulder slings that can help to give some weight reduction. Backpack types are meant for those who wanted to carry more capacity but you have to put the bag down to take things out.

Suggestion 3 - Go flexible with a bare skeleton - that is holster type. I do it with a thinktank waist system and a optechusa chest strap for the camera. it gives me fast assess to change lens rapidly and is fairly comfortable. the chest strap helps to distribute the weight and i thus do not get strain and cut marks on the neck.

above shot by cs forumer hosea.

Here's an example. With a carabina, any plastic bags can be attached to the waist without affecting my shooting. So i did shopping and shooting together. I extended the optechusa chest strap with a mammut rope and hence with some adjustment, it rested just right to the waist and anytime i can bring it up comfortably to some eye level, both horizontal and vertical. the only thing it affects me is that i have to bend down if i am to shoot at ankle level. i prefer moving the pouches to the front and side, easy to move and take things, more comfortable also; then when i sit or lie, i shift them to the side



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Assess to equipments on the go

2. What bags should I prepare?

To date, I have seen a few threads asking for recommendations and as usual varied inputs comes from everyone. I guess this area is one of the most tedious where no one had really offer and agree on the same thing, and we probably need to go by first principles.

first of all, is to consider what you need to bring
1. overseas in total
2. what do you want to check in and hand carry
3. what do you want to leave in your hotel and what do you want to bring out to shoot

then after sorting the volume requirement at each stage, then you plan.

if it is local, the principles might be different, becos you can afford to take a tougher strain on your short excursion in Singapore and bring a heavier bag all around. if overseas, you may not set the same principles.

for overseas trip, most of us use a backpack to check in and another daypack for carrying in and going out. at a later time, i will write more in this section. in the meanwhile you can always go into the newbie guide page 7 and look at the various kinds of bags available. For check in bag where you want to bring in everything, here's a thread on it.

for travelling related to photographic equipments, thinktank is doing fairly aggressive in pushing for new products. they are however not available in sg now and delivery charges (funny thing is they made it in vietnam, but shipped from the states) is one thing, while not able to try it out is another.

3. What bag should I bring out to use?

That is the next question after settling for the what to carry in overall check-in bag (usually soft backpack) and carry-in bag (which may be the same bag you use as the "outing" bag).

again, this depend on preference. but how and what factors do you check for this preference? ask yourself this questions.

1. What do you need to bring out in total? including food, water, clothing, tissue paper, medications.... do you have enough space? if everything adds up, would it be too heavy? what can you afford not to bring out?

2. How heavy can you carry and not lose the mood to shoot? Do you feel ok with a shoulder bag (i.e. on the shoulder on the same side)? Or do you feel ok with a shoulder bag sling across the other side or a lowepro slingshot type of bag where you also slong across the other side?

3. How often do you access to your bag etc change lens?

4. Do you need to hide your camera? This question is important to those using belt and harness - you can't hide, people will know you are a photographer or mistake you as some lunatic with a belt of grenades.

Bottomline so far is that you can't have the best of both (or all three) world - accessibility and comfort and discreteness
- shoulder bag is fairly discrete/accessible but comfort is dependent on the the padding and suspension system, nevertheless all weight is on one shoulder.
- backpack provide discreteness and comfort (with gd padding) but is not accessible.
- belt provide accessibility and comfort (with gd padding/fair weight distribution) but is not discrete.

Hybrids to overcome this issue include
- lowepro slingshot or similar products from kata and other brands, google it or go through my product listing on pg 7 in the newbie guide
- thinktank rotation360



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: weight & what to bring or not to bring

1. How much weight should I carry? Actually it is a question that one does not really think carefully about. How many of us weigh our bag before we go travelling? And perhaps you just want to make sure you does not exceed the weight limit set by the airline. well it is more than that.

yeocolin says it well and everything i need to and want to say. See this thread.

"It depends on your style. Some like to shoot ultra wide such as fish eye and 20mm. Some like to shoot at 28, 35mm. All I can suggest is to carry a lens which you are most likely to use. You don't need a fast F2.8 lens for landscape cos you are shooting mostly F16, F22 anyway! Its more useful that you carry a light lens to reduce encumbrance and a zoom, cos when you are shooting on top of a mountain, its not easy to move forward or backward several hundred meters to get that crop or magnification you want. Its not like street photography where usually many, including myself will use a prime and fast lens. Don't forget, when doing landscape, you are already carrying loads of stuff, such as tripod and your hiking gear. During my backpack trip to India and Scotland, I carried 17-35mm and 50mm F1.4 lens. It covered all my needs. I shoot mainly landscape and street photography. How do you know which lens you'll like or use before even going for the trip? Treat Singapore like the place you are going to. Go around and shoot and see which lens you end up using most of the time to shoot the type of pictures you are likely to shoot when you are there. Don't end up carrying whole load of equipment which you find superfluous, but worse still, take away the joy of the trip! You are going there to have fun and soak in the sights, not to be a mule and cracking your brains trying to change from 1 lens to another."

2. How do i cut down the weight of my luggage? Well, it is a question that bothers most travel photographers and even I myself are still tackling it. I can't get below 8kg. But i'm sure there is something we can share.

Suggestion 1 - Look into your heaviest items and think seriously on whether you are going to bring them. Needless to say, everyone will be thinking of whether to bring his flash, how many lens, whether to bring laptop or not, and whether to bring tripod, monopod, beanbag or none. but what most people miss out on checking will be the bags. Dun forget bags are themselves heavy too. I use to carry a Deuter 65+10L backpack that weighs 2.7kg. it is comfortable with spread out padding and often we do not actually know how heavy is our backpack compared to a hand luggage. i downgraded to a Deuter 40+10L Act lite backpack subsequently and try to make do with the reduced capacity. basically, one need at least 2 bags - one for everything inside, one for on the go (which may or may not be the carry in bag on flight). bag usage depends on shooting style. mine is that i drop off my main luggage in the accomodation place and makes myself light when going out to shoot. in fact, i do carry many bags too. for my last laos trip,

1. Deuter 40+10L Act lite backpack, as mentioned above. 1.7kg is by far the best weight i can have for about this capacity with fairly comfortable straps. http://www.deuterusa.com/actlite40.html. for a shorter tour, deuter 35L navajo 475 backpack weighs only 980g for 35L.

2. Optechusa chest strap and thinktank modulus system. for those interested, can go to the links at http://www.photovideoi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=17406985&postcount=7. for the modulus system, i have a Pro Modulus belt, Lens Changer 15, 25, 50. speed changer is too heavy. bum bag i use it only if i need more items. otherwise i use the extra space around lens changer 50.

3. a foldable shopping bag - never used it. hahaha.... maybe should not bring it.

4. a mountain designs dunker sack xs (dry bag) - 110g. $13 from x boundaries. rarely use it cos never really caught in the rain without shelter. use once with kayaking, fail to waterproof my compact camera. anyone got lighter and better solutions, do give some feedback.

5. eagle creek - the "pack-it" system is wonderful as intra-luggage light-weight compartmentalising bags. i use this "cube-size" model as my hand carry bag to hold a laptop, a camera body and 3 lens. to protect the lens, i wrapped it with optechusa cushioned wraps.

Suggestion 2 - Dun forget that every electronic carries a charger and maybe a power adapter - they are heavy. I try to bring 1 universal adapter, check out the power requirements and the socket type of that country. to cut down on weight for example, there are light weight adapters that can convert a US 2 flat pin into a Euro 2 round pin if that country's socket fits a euro 2 round pin plug. some equipments do share the same type of charger and that would be great, for example, my zigview and fotomore devices happened to be both from Korea and both can use the same charger. do check out if you find your charger plug seems to look similar, maybe it works. i'm still looking for a laptop power adaptor - but nothing is cheap and all is heavy, and only the kensington power adaptor is light and works only in vehicles.

Suggestion 3 - Fluids (bath lotion) and books are often heavier than what you think. i only bring lonely planet and avoid bringing any books no matter how much i feel like reading them. hygiene items i bring what i need and put them into smaller lightweight containers. bottlelax systems are good and are available from outdoor specialist at peninsula 2nd floor.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: weight & what to bring or not to bring

3. What lens should I buy/bring for travelling? Again, another highly subjective question that is no definite yes or no. We can only advise on factors for consideration, not exact solutions. First of all, it depends on needs and expectations. what do you shoot or what do you think you can afford to not shoot? that is the main question.

It is all about the focal length.

You got to know what you are likely to shoot, at what distance are you from the subject and hence what focal length you need to achieve the desired magnification, angle of view and field of view.
Although landscape usually are shot with a wide angle lens, if you stand 3km away instead of 300m away, the focal length required would be different to derive the same magnification but at a different angle of view. Then you have to decide which one is more impt, magnification or angle of view, then choose the focal length. The range of focal length required is what you need to know first, before you consider how you want to make up that focal range, and if you are going to sacrifice some ends.

Of cos, if more understanding & considerations to read is going to make you even more undecided, then just heed the following thread here, in short, get an entry level camera body with a 18-200mm lens, give up the rest if you can. but if you are not just going to settle with that without further considerations, look below.

Suggestion 1 - If inter-accomodation transport is easy and overall luggage weight is within your back carrying ability, you can afford to bring more lens overseas, but everytime you go out to an location, you will choose 1-2 of the many lens that you brought, and this 1-2 lens will be the lens available at hand. On a separate location that you are going out, you can again choose other lens suitable for that location. This will mean one can bring various types of lens, including various prime lens, but weight is compromised, so is the safety concerns of having so many expensive equipments overseas (especially if the "extra" lens are left back at the hotel). of cos, i dun think that inter-accomodation transport can be that easy for backpackers and overall luggage weight for photographers can be that light, unless you are very very fit and rugged. so, i do not recommend this and i also think not many people are that hardcore too to do this. and one who wanted to bring all the lens in his daypack type bags all around when travelling, should just skip this part about weight.

Suggestion 2 - If possible, compromise expectations with weight. consider first what you can afford to not shoot. usually for most, more specialised subject matters and their respective focal length lens will be the first to go, perhaps fish eye or macro. in the end, if you want to shoot everything, you will need to buy everything and bring everything. if you are willing to maybe expect 80% of desired shots to have their desired lens available at hand, than concentrate on your most commonly used lens and bring only them. leave your creativity of the special lenses back at home where going around is easier for you.

In general, at a crop factor of about 1.5, the usual street range will be about 28-70mm to shoot people and object within 5m, that means people will be aware of your presence. A short tele of 70-200mm will be required to take someone further away or to shoot some close-ups of people in those intermediate distance. To take scenaries and buildings at close distance, a normal wide angle from 18-28mm will be required and this is commonly covered in the street zooms. Of cos, this is highly aribitray and is primarily a newbie view (not expert opinions) and the lens focal length depends on your distance from subject and the crop factor of the sensor. This is something that you can never get any same answer if you ask for open ended questions about what is a good travel lens, because different people have different threshold to which how much of the wider and tele end they can afford to sacrifice depending on how far they stand from the subject comfortably and what is the magnitude of their subject in relation to the framing. What you can ask is probably better phrased in terms of what focal length is suitable and needed for the kind of comfortable distances of you from your usual subjects, be it a tree, a human being and a building and what you would like to capture, e.g. for shooting people, facial close-up, facial portrait, top 1/3, top half, whole body, many people, or people next to a building. In general, cover the range and balance with factors such as weight, maximum aperture for low light situations, picture quality and of cos pricing. It will be a compromise between these factors.

For greedy people like me, i'm already happy with a nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. some who thinks f/2.8 and sharpness/performance is more important, probably are just as happy to have their 17-35 or 17-55mm range. but if you are one of those that are going to lament everyday that you have missed the golden opportunity that is best taken at 500mm and you have only a lens up to 200mm which you can't stop thinking that is not good enough, and you still want to bring another 2 lens for your most commonly used focal range, then either you force yourself to be more easy going with your yield and stop this bad habit, or you do suggestion 1 to reduce the chances of not having the lens when you need it.

Suggestion 3 - Reduce the number of lens and reduce the need to change lens is good also to prevent your sensor being exposed to dust and other stuff. an 18-200mm serves me well, which i find that if i'm on the go and cannot afford to change lens fast enough to react (yes, even if i'm using a thinktank), that is the most frequently used lens i brought. but i usually bring 3 lens - 18-200mm wide/street/short tele, 10-20mm ultra-wide, 50mm f/1.8 prime low light. my suggestion to people asking about the number of lens and what type of lens to bring is in general, get the longest range for the lens that the quality is acceptable and price is affordable and augment on the range that is not covered by your longest range lens with another lens. most street zooms will not be able to cover the street range with the ultra-wide, hence if 17 or 18mm is not wide enough to cover your scenaries, the 2nd lens (an ultra-wide) may become inevitable. The tele range beyond 200mm, not covered by a long range street zoom lens, will require discretion with regards to its indications as their purpose is more specialised and is usually quite heavy.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: weight & what to bring or not to bring

Suggestion 4 - Using a super light prime like nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D can be useful in low light situation.

Suggestion 5 - What do you expect out of your ultra wide angle and should you bring it? One probably have a wide to middle focal-range starting from 17-20mm going up to maybe 35mm, 55mm, 80mm, 130mm, 200mm, where the tele limit of the range is more flexible. however, the reverse of the limit on the wider end is not the same. if you want to go below 17mm, you will need an ultra-wide lens, an addition to your wide-onwards lens, and it is going to be another half a kg. dun just listen to people that (ultra) wide angles is a must for scenaries. it very much really depends on how far you are from the background and how big is the background structure. it is very possible to get as good a result an 18mm compared to a 10mm if the difference is about scale. and you may even be thankful that you are not using a ultra-wide angle which can include many unwanted details and make your flat structures look really small on a wide horizon. however, for me, my ultra-wide is indispensible because of two purposes, one is that i do like the distortion of perspective introduced by the ultra wide to emphasize the foreground, and i can use the ultra wide to shoot events or rooms in enclosed space at closed distance, and that cannot be done by a normal wide angle lens more than 16mm; i wanted something at least lower than 14mm. if you dun do the above two things i do, perhaps the lens 18mm and more, will suffice, and you can save yourself an extra lens to bring.

This is an example of what I can shoot when nobody else around me at that time can shoot like that at that particular situation. This is Gyeongbokgong Palace in Seoul, of which tourists can only stand at the window to shoot. there is no other standing point to take the interior, low light situation is going to make middle range and tele range more prone to handshake, and higher ISO is going to affect the details that is so rich in the interior. hence i need that wide an angle. so ponder over it if such situations is important for you or is it "passable".

Suggestion 6 - How about tele? I can't answer that as I dun have that much experience using the tele end. I'm happy with my 200mm limit to shoot distant portraits. i dun shoot wildlife. just remember that tele lens are even more heavy. bring it if certain tele subjects is your main interest, such as birds. but if you are also a newbie like me, and does not have very skewed preference to the tele end, hold off this part until you have grew a lot of interest in subjects that need very long focal length and is willing to carry that 700mg-1kg morere. for newbies that is wondering if they need that extra tele range and how far they need to go, well, i thought the best to understand the ability of the tele range is to use it. trying it out at the shops give me little idea of how useful it is. you need to appreciate the relationship between the distance of the subject from you, the size of the subject from you and the expected framing and cropping you want. i guess one can get around to rent one to try out. should be available from the service subforum.

4. Should I bring flash? I dun own and does not use an external flash. in fact, i dun even use built in flash. as such, i will only regurgitate what many other people say. if weight is an issue, external flash is best avoided as it is usually not useful except in certain situations where you need to illuminate a foreground subject. most will advice that external flash is not useful for most scenaries and it will also be not that appropriate when you shoot at strangers attracting unwanted attention and undesirable responses.

However if one is well versed with the art of external flash, dun mind the weight, have diffusers and intend to take close shots of events, i think it is still useful for that purpose.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: weight & what to bring or not to bring

5. Should I bring a tripod?

Of the three accessories a great travel photographer, Olivier Follmi, brings around, tripod is one of them, as well with filters and cleaning kit. Needless to say, only the tripod is really big and heavy.

Suggestion 1 - Determine the indication of use and possibility of use. Compare with your actual experience in Singapore. Do you always find it troublesome to open up your tripod and adjust for your shot? Do you ever bother to use a tripod during the evening or nite, or do you simply push up the ISO at a fairly lighted frame at evening/nite and bear with the noise? What situations in Singapore do you use a tripod? How heavy are you willing to carry it around and for what distance and terrain?

In a way, apart from studio, the use of a tripod means fairly the same in Singapore and overseas, except that
1. the terrain may be more rough in situations overseas, esp if you are trekking, worst if you are going up a mountain to catch sunrise, which in that case, really must sacrifice to get the lowest possible weight of the tripod or get a porter. but if expectation is not that high, handheld is fairly possible for most sunrise which isn't really that dark.
2. if you drive, you may have the benefit of keeping it in the car and taking it out when necessary. you often do not have that benefit unless you have a vehicle at your command all the time when travelling.
3. you will come across more opportunities in travelling that will entice you to use the tripod, e.g. larger waterfall, fantastic evening landscapes

hence on top of the usual considerations in singapore, will be the above few. It is always a hard call as nothing is really that perfect. But first and foremost is the weight - if that will dampened your mood, and if you are really willing to use it when that moment comes (some people bring around the tripod but lazy to open it out and ended up using handheld in the end). If that is the case, then seriously consider how possible would you retrieve the tripod for specific intervals, ie. you can return to hotel and bring out at night, and weigh against losing opportunities of very low light shots.

Just like the number of lens, it is not possible to really suggest whether you should bring a tripod or not, but to suggest to you what you should consider and how you should choose a tripod.

Suggestion 2 - After you determine that you will need some kind of extra support which is beyond stable handheld techniques, body or lens vibration reduction (i like the term not becos i'm using nikon but i find that the description is more accurate than image stabilization and super steady shot) mechanism, pushing up high ISO or sacrificing to push down the exposure, next comes what kind of support do you need.
1. bean bag (soft cushion base) or table pod (short mini-tripod)
2. monopod (single legged stick that attaches to the camera)
3. tripod
major considerations between them are
1. stability
2. height
3. weight

Suggestion 3 - you can reduce the weight by bringing something lighter, bringing it out only when necessary, e.g. for a trip to the waterfall, returning to the hotel in the late afternoon to fetch your tripod out, using suspension shoulder strap.

Suggestion 4 - consider a monopod if you are less likely to shoot at very prolonged shutter speed, such as waterfall, waves at coastal regions, late evening/sunset and very small aperture for fairly low light landscape. It gives the necessary height, much lighter and is more easy to setup, but gives lesser stability and may not work if the shutter speed is really long. If you use a monopod, also must learn the proper techniques by adopting a stable standing posture and using one foot to stabilise the leg of the monopod.

Suggestion 5 - consider a beanbag if you can always find something to fill up the bag when needed, dun mind looking for a height support to give the necessary framing e.g. a bench, or can sacrifice the framing you desired, i.e. everything becomes low angled.

Suggestion 6 - consider a tabletop or a gorillapod if you are using a very light DSLR+lens, or a bridge/compact. Gorillapod SLR supports up to 1.1kg. like the beanbag, height is an issue that you need to combat with. But definitely much lighter than a tripod and monopod and more convinient to use than a tripod. Quoted areality “Table-top tripods are also quite useful, for compact digicams at least, but I don't recommend that for DSLRs, even though you can find one that can hold a heavy load.”

Suggestion 7 - consider the weight of tripod and ballhead versus the weight of camera body and lens and portable flash. The heavier your gear, the heavier for your tripod and head. Assuming that you are not using a long lens, and that the weight is central, my gitzo weighs 0.75kg and it can hold my 1.3kg gear fairly well. Each brochure will give the maximum load recommended, but that is assuming central distribution of weight and each as their own calculation, as such this is only a rough guide and it is best to try it on with your heaviest gear when purchasing. Areality recommends “I got myself a Slik Sprint Pro with 3-way head. 1.9kg only, cheap and abuse-able, and can be easily attached to the side of my minitrekker backpack. It is more than enough for a DSLR with a wide angle.”. Some others have been using Singaporean branded PPCP tripod which I think weighs 1.4kg, but bear in mind the leg to head male screw thread size is 2/8 inch, whereas some tripod head is commonly 3/8 inch female thread.

Suggestion 8 - think of how you are going to carry your tripod around. Areality quotes, “Don't let your tripod weigh you down. Know what you like to shoot and not let it get in the way. If you shoot more street than landscapes, a lighter one is better, as it can be attached to your backpack or slung around your shoulder, as you need to move around a lot.” I can’t say for sure what method is the best, but here is a number of way you can carry it around depending on what kind of bag you use
1. slung it on the shoulder: use an anti-slip weight reduction shoulder strap, go to my link in the signature to look through various product, optechusa is what I’m using myself
2. slung it across the shoulder: more tight but gets into the way if you strap anything else on your chest or on your neck, can also cut into the skin of the neck
3. strap it to your backpack or shoulder bag, which can be on the side, on top or below
4. strap to the waist with a waist belt: only if your tripod is not too heavy. Can be used for a monopod too.

Suggestion 9 - you can also try to use a lighter tripod and improvise to increase the stability of the tripod by a few tricks. I find that the main one that is the most evident is by attaching your shoulder bag to the ring of the central column. The rest are less evident, which includes
1. open the legs wider (but sacrifice a bit of height)
2. if not fully extended, extend the upper thicker segments first (more troublesome)
3. if not required, avoid using the central column to extend height
4. if possible, do not extend high to your eye level but to bend down to visualise.
5. look for spiked leg or suitable anti-slip devices if the terrain is prone to slip
6. shield the tripod from strong wind with your body
7. use a timer mode to reduce shutter shake and tripod shake

Suggestion 10 - protect your tripod. Areality quotes “One tip is to tape your tripod legs with cheap gaffer tape. Has more grip and is more resistant to knocks.”



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: High attitude and trekking

1. Take care of your health:

Some suggestions from ReiszRie -
1. Hydration – Always stay thoroughly hydrated on any hike, but particularly those involving travel above 7,000’ elevation. Keep urine colorless and drink before you get thirsty, as thirst usually occurs only after you are already dehydrated. This means try to drink at least 6-8 ounces every 30-45 minutes on hot summer days when you are going uphill carrying a heavy pack. Camelback hydration systems can be helpful in always having a water source nearby, but you can also clip Nalgene water bottles to a shoulder strap so you can grab a drink without having to stop and dig into your pack. At elevations above 10,000’ be sure to have an insulating tube to protect the Camelback from freezing, and carry a spare empty Nalgene in case your system freezes, so you still have access to beverage.

2. Thermoregulation – keep watch on your body’s core temperature as extreme perspiration can sap your energy faster than you realize. When climbing something like Mt. Rainier where there is snow readily available, try wrapping some in a bandana and applying the compress frequently to your forehead to help you cool down; if you carry extra water, a little on your forehead (or from streams as you encounter them) can feel especially refreshing. Be sure to wear light colored (beige, gray or white) clothing in hot summer months and darker colors (blue or black) in cold months to absorb or repel sunlight. Dress in layers so you can discard or add clothing to stay comfortable as you hike.

3. Eat regularly – Whether you feel like it or not, you must keep eating. Your body works hard to go uphill and carry extra weight; if you are traveling at altitude the stresses on your body are even greater and you probably will feel less interested in food. Be sure to test snack and meal food ahead of time at sea level and only take with you whatever is palatable and satisfying down low, minus spicy or hard-to-chew foods. Include carbohydrate solutions to add to your beverages such as Powerade, Cytomax or Gatorade. Have some hard candy, jelly beans, lemon drops or Gu packets handy so you have ready access to your main fuel source: carbohydrates.

4. Pressure Breathing – Learn how you can use and benefit from this technique any time you start to feel a bit nauseous above about 7,500 feet. Since the atmospheric pressure changes the higher you go, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the oxygen you need into your lungs. By pursing your lips and exhaling forcefully and fully, you let the carbon dioxide in your lungs escape, allowing for a more ready exchange with oxygen in the “thinner air.” At the first sign of nausea, take some water, switch to pressure breathing for a few paces, and incorporate the Rest Step (see below) and you will in all likelihood start to feel a lot better.

5. Rest Step – Anytime you start to feel a bit nauseous, you may want to transition into the “rest step,” a method of hiking that allows the skeleton to take the brunt of the weight rather than the muscles. Lock out the bottom leg as you shift one leg up hill, pause in a full rest position, then transfer the weight to the other leg, lock out the new bottom leg and pause. In this way you avoid the “hurry and wait” gait of inexperienced climbers and find a comfortable rhythm that you can sustain indefinitely.

6. Slow your pace – In order to enable you to continue steadily, listen carefully to your body and be sure to start out a little slower than you normally go to warm up well and hit your stride. If you try to push it to keep up with the fastest member of your party you may not make it to your goal. In the case of altitude climbing, the tortoise usually outpaces the hare in the long run, but the key is to go at a slow and steady pace that enables you to go continuously with very few rest stops.

7. Acclimatize – Plan to spend an extra day or night above 5000’ if you can. On a climb of Mt. Rainier, for example, staying at the lodge at Paradise or camping in the basin on the way up to Camp Schurman can help enormously with acclimatization. Instead of racing up to 9,500 (Camp Schurman) or 10,150 (Camp Muir) on day one and trying to summit the very next day, allowing yourself three days for the trip makes it far more enjoyable.

8. Aspirin or Tylenol – Please note that this page is not meant to provide medical advice, and you should always consult your physician before embarking on any strenuous training regimen. However, many climbers have found that at the onset of their high-altitude climbs, taking some aspirin or other pain-relief medication as a preventative measure against headaches can be beneficial.

9. Proper Conditioning – Be sure to include interval training, appropriate over-weight pack hiking, and strength training in your conditioning program (see www.bodyresults.com/E2intervals.asp and www.bodyresults.com/p1rainier.asp for far more on how to properly prepare the body for your climb).

10. Altitude medicines – As a last resort, if you have had trouble at altitude in the past or you wish to be prepared for any scenario, talk to your physician about a prescription for appropriate high-altitude medications (such as Diamox). Gingko biloba is a supplement that some people have found to be effective as well.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Cold weather

Would my camera survived the cold weather? Sure enough my old compact has failed before but it seems that the DSLRs nowadays are all going strong in most cold countries above the temp above -5C and some going as low as -10C.

I doubt many of us are going down to places as cold as Antartica, but in case you are interested, there is a field report on what works and what fails under Antarctica 2007 – What Worked? What Didn't. from luminous landscape

1. Fogging on front element: warmer water vapor condenses on the cooled front element, e.g. when your camera is cooled in cold weather and you returned to the warmer shelter and exposed the cold front element to the warmer air inside the house. problem is fogging will occur and persist until the camera is warmed up and the condensed vapor dried up and you won't be able to shoot for quite a while even if you returned to the cold outside

Suggestion 1- avoid removing the lens cap until the camera is warmed up in the house before you shoot in the house. if you are not shooting in the house and are shortly returning to outside, do not remove the lens cap in the house.

Suggestion 2- some magazines says that if you used a lens hood and do not use a lens cap, wrap the front element in a plastic bag to prevent the warm air from condensing directly on the front element. however, if one bothers to wrap it with a plastic bag, might as well take off the hood and put on the lens cap.

Suggestion 3- instead of protecting a cooled camera in contact with warm air, try to make the camera always warm. keep the camera closed to body inside jacket at all times and minimised exposure time to cold only to shooting. in that case, the camera will remained warm enough not to condense warmer air subsequently.

2. Shorter battery life: some battery will have shortened functional period or become malfunctioned at very low temperature. i used to have a fully charged (but used, not brand new) compact camera lithium battery that apparently "dies" in 20mins at subzero temperature, but works again once it is down to about 15 degrees celcius.

Suggestion 1- keep your battery warm by keeping the camera near your body sheltered in your coat. Girls can further put small batteries in front of the chest but do remember to wrap with some insulator to avoid electric burn, read here for more, by lady ice.

Suggestion 2- bring extra batteries kept near the body inside the coat. the number of extra battery depends on your battery life and your daily usage pattern. when the first battery "dies", change it with the new one and put the "dead" battery back into a warm place near your body and hope that it revives again.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Cold weather

3. Frostbiten hand in handling: at subzero temperature, the fingers may become so cold and may become painful. yet with a thick glove, you may not be able to handle your camera buttons

discussion over here on gloves

Suggestion 1- get a convertible mitten glove that have a flap that can selectively cover the last segment of the fingers when you do not need to handle the buttons, and can be flapped open when you need to assess the buttons. my girlfriend got me one but i do not know where to buy them.

(Nuts) Winning (now they have 1 branch in Taka) used to have them but I find them not very good mabbe bcoz of the materials... YMMV

(asterixsg) I bought mine from Wintertime at Suntec (now closed down, but I guess there's one in Marina Square now), last year. I think it costs less than 15 bucks.

(wind30) I saw the convertible mittens at winter time in Vivo city too but like the other poster I am wary of exposuring my bare fingers at sub zero temp. Besides once cold air gets into contact with the bare skin, it is very cold and even if you put back the mittens, not much use right?

(Andrew_C) I was at PP today & popped into Emmanuel Travellers Shop on the 2nd floor (#02-48). Found that they do carry convertible mittens. This is the only place that I've seen. Lafuma brand - polartec 200 fleece. Would definitely be warmer than the Timberland gloves. Cost $69. Only Olive Green colour. Have different sizes available. These are mittens, but allow the cover to be rolled back to expose the fingertips. Very hard to find. Best bet would be try to find in the US or Europe. Another alternative is to get a set of non-convertible mittens - these gloves do not have space for the fingers. Wear the Timberland gloves to shoot & put into mittens to keep warm.

Suggestion 2- liner gloves, e.g. thinsulate™ & thermolite
get a thermolite glove which is 97% thermolite 3% lycra from adventure 21, chinatown complex. cost $15 a pair. this is the thinnest glove i can find that covers the hand, give some warmth and still enable most handling of the camera.

(Nuts) I use layering on my hands as well! Those above, or any of those Polypropylene gloves act as my "base layer", and I wear a thicker stronger protecting gloves (Polartec etc) on top of it. When needed, I remove the top layer, and still have my base llayer to protect me hands for a short while. Best for sub-zero shooting where sometimes, my bare skin just can't withstand the elements and thick gloves makes me can't handle the camera....

(ortega) winter gloves which he bought from australia. "i think the material is called thinsulate™ from 3M. i googled it and came up with this product. http://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/eshop.a...01&wci=product but i would suppose that other manufacturers would be able to buy the material and make other gloves/jackets/hats/... ok saw the thinsulate™ gloves at a camping shop in compass point. sort of looks like a construction worker's gloves but black in colour. around $12

(steely) Try the hiking/camping shop along Stamford Rd and ask for liner gloves, they should keep the hands warm enough to work.

(Andrew_C) As Ortega has suggested, you can use Thinsulate liner gloves. Can buy them from the camping shops in Peninsular Plaza (2nd floor), or Campers Corner @Capitol, etc. However, if you are really going to be shooting in sub-zero conditions... your liner gloves will not be sufficient! You will need to have a pair of thicker winter gloves to keep your hands warm, especially if you are spending extended periods of time outdoors.

(bryan831) i have this cool pair of gloves. its like a mitten (no divisions for fingers), so when u are not shooting u wear it like a mitten. then when u wanna shoot, you can fold over the round tip of the mitten to expose your fingertips so its easier to handle the camera

(microcosm) I shoot in sub zero temperatures once in a while, and like the others have posted, I wear thin, lined (I like the 3M Thinsulate technolgoy stuff, because they are comfy and they work!) gloves with silicon grips for ease of use (taking out dollar notes from wallet, good grip on equipment, etc) and wear a pair of convertible mittens over them. They work wonders for me. I bought them at camping supplies stores, but remember, the better ones (combined) cost you close to $150. There aren't that many cheaper alternatives.

Suggestion 3- using other (non-liner, non-convertible mitten) gloves.

Lowepro photographic gloves: (micky) I have a pair of Lowepro photographer's gloves, just like the one in your link. I like them a lot because they give me enough grip to hold the camera securely. I tried lots of other type of gloves before but they dun make me feel secure holding the camera. The grip is even enough for me to take out my wallet and take out my dollar bills or credit card (the other gloves dun let me do that with ease). However, it won't be enough for sub-zero conditions (not for me anyway). After 15 minutes or so, i'll need to stick my hands into my jacket. It's a lot better than those mittens that expose your fingers... with those, my fingers can't even last 5 minutes.

golf gloves (zoossh) the magazines suggest getting golf gloves. i have not used them as i do not play golf. anyone who have used that and finds it good, pls give us some feedback.

Timberland sports utility gloves: (wind30) I did make a trip to peninsular plaza 2nd floor and went into the 2 camping shops. When I ask for thinsulate gloves, they look blur blur leh. But I saw some very thin black gloves. Tried it but I find that they are too smooth for a good grip. I got this instead http://www.timberland.com/product/in...entPage=family dunno how warm it is though.

SAF gloves: (galdor) I am a poor man, so I just used the ones sold at SAF e-mart to counter my sweaty palms. Not too bad I would say.

Suggestion 4- avoid using metallic gears e.g. aluminium tripods.

Suggestion 5- get some sheep oil. they are good for keeping your hands warm. i have tried once in taiwan. but anyone knows where we can get it in singapore?

Suggestion 6- keep your body warm in general. to be able to enjoy photography, you need to be fairly attired. in general, it takes 3 layers - an inner thermal wear, a middle layer (fleece or polypropylene fibre would be good), an outer shell (preferably gortex or similar material). wool for the middle layer is too thick and gets heavy and cold if damped, even if you have a gortex shell, water can still gets in. a few shops that sells good quality winter gear - adventure 21 at chinatown, x boundaries at seah street, camper's corner near cityhall, and a few smaller shops at peninsula plaza 2nd floor. it depends on personal preference and physique on when and what exactly to wear and if you need further stuff like scarf, headgear (e.g. ski mask) and ear covers. high cut trekking shoes specialised for trekking in snow may be required in thick snow environment. ask the shop keepers for further details.

Suggestion 7- get mentally prepared regarding the local weather. do note that higher attitude, esp with rain, can bring drastic weather situation that is not within normal estimation by those reported for the nearby cities.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Batteries

Conventional rechargeable batteries

Quoted from sykestang,

"Been using the Varta15... Never regret. Currently own 44pcs of it and 3 chargers.

Have tried many other brands, Sanyo, Maha, Sony, Energizer & GP. Mostly experience using these brands on my SB800 + SD8a previously, ie, each battery change is 11pcs, 5pcs on the SB800 and 6pcs on the SD8a. Before switching to rechargeable cells, those who have know me much earlier can vouch that I use only energizer akaline cells for my event shoot. Well known to bring along boxes of 20packs 4pcs/pk with me for bigger events. The comments below on the issue of power rating of mAH is compared with my experience on using 1.5V/batt akaline cells based on how long I need to change the batteries on my equipment during an event shoot. Here is my comments:

i. Sanyo 2200 - Not recommended! :thumbsd:
Bought 200++ pcs of it as at one point got a good price thus did a mass sales in my office. However all turn out to be a big disappointment. Besides the biggest known problem of not able to hold charge, the battery may leak in the device if device is used for a short period of ~2weeks. And personally I suspect the battery is over rated of the 2200mAH. Seems to me only ard 1800mAH at most. Maybe that is due to the problem of not able to hold charge. Ultimately thrown all away, it total 40++pcs. A total lost!

ii. Maha Batteries - Not Recommended! :thumbsd:
Bought 8pcs to try. Usage and charge holding not bad, but kenna a bad experience as 1 of the battery exploded and leaks during charging makes me fear of using them anymore. Thrown all away including the charger. A total lost!

iii. Sony 2000 - Average
Disposed all my Sanyo and changed to Sony. Not as bad, battery can hold charge, however I still suspect on the overrated issue. Although lasted long than sanyo by a bit. Only prob is the battery gets burning hot during charging, but so far no issues on leakage or exploding. I ever experience the battery having memory effect, ie when the charger claimed a full charge, but the cells cannot last, flat after a short use. However this original Sony charger does equiped with a discharge function which I triggered on those affect batteries and it does helps. The batteries has later sold to a nice guy is CS after upgraded to energizer cells.

iv. Energizer 1750-2500mAH - Recommended! :thumbsup:
Since have good experience using energizer akaline cells, decided to buy a batch to try. Performance is good. 1hr Fast charging and the batteries can also hold charged. Tried using batteries charged 2mth ago and it still gives somewhat acceptable performance. Power rating is also good. Lasted much longer than Sony cells for the same power rating. In fact the 2500mAH lasted almost the same as the energizer akaline ones. Having so many pervious bad experience on rechargeable cells, I decided to buy them in batches, thus I got batteries from 1750mAH to 2500mAH, total 40++pcs also. And all these while still using my Sony 1hr chargers to charge the batteries. Have not experience memory effect on the batteries so far during my use. Have sold all batteries & chargers in a batch to another CSer due to upgrade to Varta15.

v. GP Cells - Not Recommended! :thumbsd:
Was given 4pcs by a friend. Do not recommend for use on photographic equipment, cos this batteries is confirmed over-rated. Currently using it on my Universe Remote Controller. And yes, it does give good performance on the remote controller though.

vi. Varta15 2000mAH - Recommended! :thumbsup:
Tried and never regret. Design of the charger is also good. Although the batteries are burning hot during charging, but the charger somewhat have an internal cooler system for the batteries. It such air and blow onto the batteries. 15mins is really the charging time of the batteries. Nothing more. However upon finish charging, the charger fan will still be on for at least 10mins to cool down the batteries. My advise is not to remove the batteries upon cut off as it is really hot, and not sure the hot temperature will affect the battery life or not in the long run. The charger is also very recommended. It is really intelligent. I've tried re-charging ½used batteries, and the charger really did cut off the power when the batteries is full, ie 3-5mins. And when I insert non Varta cells, ie my GP cells into the charger, the charging process takes 1hr+ then cut off as it really know that you're not inserting the Varta15mins charge batteries. Just some technical specs, the charger rated output as 7.5A. Imagine your TV only rated 3-4A at most, and this charger alone is 7.5A! The only setback for this charger is that the fan is really noisy. When the battery is fully charged, you could really experience the silence.

As for the batteries, performance is good. Lasted like the energizer for a 2000mAH cell, if not longer. Tried using batteries charged ~2mths ago and it can still performance almost as well. I don't really have good habits like drain fully before re-charging again, and to my surprise, the Varta15 niMh battery really don't have any memory effect issues as claimed. In fact you'd feels like as it they are litium-ion cells. Further more, the 15mins fast charging is really a saviour on many occasion.

If anyone wants to get the Varta15, my recommended place is to get it from Changi Airport if you happen to go for a tour. They are sold for only $44.90 for the highest-end Varta charger + 4 batteries. Most places sells this set for $65. For info, there are 3 kinds of Varta15 charger kit set. Price range from $22 onwards depends on which charger and no of bundled batteries. So make sure you get the highest end one which is a seperate 4pcs charger and 7.5A adaptor. I've not tried the other 2 smaller charger so can't comment on their performance."


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Storage of digital photos

1. Worries over insufficient storage

Suggestion 1: more memory cards
(ymmij) bring more memory cards (buy, beg, borrow, steal)
(tmfwy) I would suggest getting an 8gb CF card. Microdrives are fairly cheap and even at the largest best jpeg setting on an 8.2 megapixel camera, it is more than sufficient for 8 days ( unless you are trigger happy and shoot alot per day.. )
comments: in general, prepare at least 3 cards. 1 card is the one in your camera, the 2nd is one that is empty and ready to be exchanged once the first is full or almost full (just like film, if you anticipate that you may need to shoot at surprise, do not wait until it is totally full before you change. you may miss your shot when the card is changed). the 3rd is optional as a backup. also note the capacity of your DSLR card slot, some older DSLR may not take the higher capacity of the newer cards.
(snowcrash) One idea is considering you are 'renting a few CF cards" for the trip when buying those new 2gig CF cards.
After the trip, sell them here in clubsnap as you don't need them anymore. The difference is the rent you pay for the 8 days trip. I'm sure CS buyers won't mind getting close to new CF cards at a good price. My advice is don't keep those card for too long, as the price goes down quickly, epecially if they are sitting 'idle' at home.

Suggestion 2: portable storage device
(ymmij) bring along a portable storage device (psd) for transfer of files
(Hoky) There are three main problems w/ PSD.
1. You still need battery. (Difficult if you go to rural areas or Nepal... etc) Lose power in cold temps as well.
2. Depending on your thermal insulation (or your body heat to warm it up ) They don't work well in extreme cold temps coz the read /write head, spindle... etc contracts.
3. They are not exactly shock proof. Once you drop it, thats it... the worst case that can happen is to drop it on your way back.
(wind30) For portable storage, there are a lot of options. like portable harddisk, ultra moble PCs, small media players like ipod, zen vision, epson P2000, etc.
(madmax) a portable storage device is the way to go.
(catchlights) get a portable storage device lar, if you worried about dropping it, why don't worried about dropping the camera and lens? If you worry about charging it, than the batteries of camera and flash don't need to charge meh? 20~40GB storage, shoot all in RAW also can.
(azul123) If you really want to take all you want without limitation of your memory cards, invest in one of those HDD Viewer like Vosonic or Epson whichever you fancy. Then you are no more limited by the memory cards but by your harddisk space. Unless if you are also bringing your notebook lah then no point getting the HDD Viewer or without the viewer also can.

Suggestion 3: rental of portable storage
(catchlights) tho CF card is cheap now, but rent a portable storage device for this trip will be a better choice
comments: anyone who is keen in offering this service can post here.
(lurgee) I would say renting a portable drive would be good. Shoot as much as you want and just transfer them in when the card is full. If you're worried, you could upload them into a laptop if you're bringing one..if not go to one of the many internet cafes and have your photos burnt into cds.

Suggestion 4: bring a notebook
(tmfwy) bring a notebook with you
(Hoky) I'm not against the PSD. But I would prefer a slim notebook and lotsa of memory anytime. Store in CFs during cold temperatures and transfer and burn into DVD whenever possible.

Suggestion 5: shoot at lower sized format
(ymmij) shoot at large normal format instead of large fine. this is not going to make a huge difference if you are not printing big, but you could practically double your shots.
(wind30) I am also thinking what resolution to shoot for my 11 day Japan trip next week. I have like 12GB of storage. I am thinking of actually shooting RAW which is 25meg per file for my camera. You should at least shoot the highest quality Jpeg. That is like at most 5meg a file. Travel pictures is always better to take higher resolution as you may not have a chance to go back to the same place again. I am not sure how many pictures you take a day but for my case, 2gb is not enough. I take around 100 shots a day on my travels.
(catchlights) for D200, if you shoot large jpg at basic, print S8R shouldn't be any problem, but you should get all the things at bullseye, eg, white balance, exposure. cos at basic setting, the compression is the highest, throw away lots of info, so the file size is smallest, there is no rooms for any further massive editing.
(eastwest) Before you go, find something to shoot and take identical pictures at your camera's different picture sizes (L/M/S) and at the different compressions (FINE/MEDIUM/BASIC) - that will be 9 pictures in all, 10 if you include a RAW. If you can mount the camera on the tripod it will help as you will then get almost identical pictures. Keep all other settings the same. Then print the pictures out (the bigger the better) and compare. It will help you to decide if you can get away with not having the camera set on L/FINE. When I did this on my D2X and printed pictures at S8R, I was really surprised at the lack of differences between the L/Fine and S/Basic. Of course you lose some fine detail but I now know that if I am away on a trip, I can easily shoot at M/Medium and have pictures that will print out at S8R. If I am really running out of memory, I would drop to S/Basic and still sleep easy knowing that I am going to get ok shots at S8R.
(little zeus) once you shoot raw, u will never change back, but PC processing is a problem if you do not have batch editing fuction software like photoshop. RAW will give you more tolerance to correct your mistake.
I suggest you shoot RAW + JPG(small), JPG is just for quick reviewing to decide whether its RAW file is worth to further retouching or not. 2GB may not enough, nowadays the new cameras are all very high file size, sigh~ 4GB and 8GB is safe to cover to whole trip but expensive......... however, compare with your trip expense, it is worth.
comments: the other limitation of shooting at lower sized format, other than not being able to show big or print at fair size, is that non raw format would give more artifacts and look less natural upon aggressive post processing. i would thus personally prefer to shoot raw with jpeg small (for faster viewing on computer without conversion) and prepare more storage to overcome that volume requirement

Suggestion 6: be more selective at snapping
(ymmij) shoot less.
(stoned) I'm no Nikon man, but according to Ken Rockwell, there isn't an appreciable difference between shooting fine and basic. Here's the article, should you wish to take a look. He used the same D200 and 18-200 you use for his tests. http://kenrockwell.com/nikon/d200/quality-settings.htm

Typically, for holidays, I bring about 1-2GB of storage and shoot RAWs all the way on a 8MP camera. I used to use about 3-5 rolls of film per holiday so I don't think that's a big change for me in terms of shooting habits. If I come back with about 10 winners that's a great holiday, but more often I come back with <5 good shots and about 70 snapshots. If you think about it, you're gonna junk 90% of those shots anyway when you get back, why bother keeping them on your card while you're there? It's ok to be trigger happy, but if the shot doesn't cut it on the spot when you review the image, direct your finger to the delete button and it wouldn't have taken up any space at all.

IF under the rare circumstance you can still run out of space, review the shots again and increase the "minimum standard", cutting all the shots that didn't make it for the minimum standard. Naturally, keep those memory shots of your family/friends, even if they stink. Personally I limit these "memory" shots to 1 per place(I would pick the best and junk the rest), or I let someone else take care of them.

Nevertheless, this is all my personal philosophy, because I totally cannot take processing thousands of photos after I come back. I figured if I was able to shoot that many great shots in a week, I'd be a world famous photographer by now. If you use a world-class bar, I typically produce 0-1 great shots per holiday. You're gonna present your best anyway. Who wants to see the rest?

comments: selective shooting differs from people to people. you are your own judge on that. if there is a person who shoots his best shots in only 10 shots, that doesn't mean you will get the same; and you may even miss all your best 10 shots when you thought you are doing good selection of what you think is good to shoot at. it is a personal discipline, and there is no rules other than your own.

Suggestion 7: burn into cd/dvd at commercial outlets
(catchlights) you can find some places able for you to download and burn into DVD with a cost.
comments on point 6: anyone who knows a good lobang to do this at the various locations may post here too.


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Storage of digital photos

My Suggestions:

1. think of what you will bring around outside of hotel without easy access to return to hotel
- would you mind bringing a palm size portable that is about 2cm thick and 200-400g heavy?
- if you do mind that weight, ensure the SD/CF size is more than enough for you to shoot 1 day worth. leave the portable drive at the hotel and transfer to the portable drive every nite so that you have fresh new cards the next day.
- if you dun mind the weight and always bring around, then dun need to invest too much into the cards. get just 2 and have a empty card at all times. once a card is full, slot in the empty new card in (for example you are in the midst of action), and then shortly do the transfer on the run halfway thru the using of the 2nd card. but do remember that portable storage have limited power on the run, so it is not meant to be on at all times and this is a shortcoming to all portable storage.

2. portable storage comes in two types

a) comes with a viewer that shows you the picture
- gd only if the viewer is larger than your LCD on the camera body, if not serves not much purpose. a decent size means an epson and epson only. look into my signature to read more information.
- consumes electricity
- expensive
- have to check compatibility of your raw format if you shoot raw
- may or may not serve with a zoom in function

b) comes with only a LCD that shows you the data in transfer
- limited information
- saves electritcity
- much much cheaper
- no issue with raw format
- just look at the viewer on the camera body.

and portable HDD storage comes in 2 retail forms
- those that is sold as a HDD+casing (more expensive and no choice of HDD - may get lousy ones)
- those that is sold as casing and you get your own HDD, esp gd if you already have a HDD.

baseline recommendation,
1. go salvage any 2.5" laptop-type HDD hanging around your house.
2. get a LCD-type casing and fit in
3. if got money to splurge, buy a few CF/SD and keep them in a small hard-plastic casing. and if got money to splurge plus you shoot a lot, get an epson with a picture viewer and a large size 2.5" HDD from 60-120GB.

if you are cosmetically concerned, or wanted one with a viewer, or wanted a larger HDD, or wanted something new, consider either epson with a viewer, or consider archos, vosonic or compactdrive (but i find compactdrive too big and bulky though). avoid Xs drive.


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: things to bring for travel
Discussion - 2008 May

Crucial on-the-body items for less developed countries
1. Passport
well, i do hope one day they would make a small sized light weight passport
2. Cash
even if you are traveling close to a friend or family, never underestimate the possibility of getting lost and needing some money on body
3. Toilet paper
there is time you can't wait but do not want to use water when there is toilets
4. Acute medicine
apart from common sense of essential medicine for some, this refers to bothersome symptoms such as headache and motion sickness

Useful tools that might just slipped your mind
1. Nailclipper
act as a mini scissors and is less seen as a weapon as compared to a swiss knife although some of them have an additional nail filer and sharp end, which is to be considered.
2. Compass
in case you lost your way, it may help. Also can use to judge direction of sunset and sunrise.
3. Cable ties
for security purposes to ensure your things are not opened and searched without your notice. it is minor deterrent but does not work as lock. for females worried that your door may be barged in while sleeping, you can tie the cable tie to the doors and windows.

Camera Body
If weight and budget allows, a second DSLR body can be used as a backup in luggage or as a setup with on-the-go two body + two lens on, typically one zoom on the wider end, e.g. 17-55mm f/2.8, and one zoom on the tele end, e.g. 70-200mm f/2.8. A second body can also comes in the form of handphone camera, compact, waterproof compact, IR modified prosumer, film SLR or rangefinder, but in this case serves more as a variant of photography approach and results, rather than a backup of similar versatility. A typical consideration is for trekking where you prefer your hands free, and an example by someone in nepal shows shots taken with both DSLR and handphone camera when DSLR is not available.

Camera Lens
The same old questions written everywhere and still being asked for no standard answers can be given. There are plenty of considerations but primarily depends on habits of changing lenses, typical working distance and type of photographic output desired.

Memory cards
Needless to say, multiple memory cards is required. The minimum required is the size required for a single trip without power. It can be a single day trip from day to night, or a 5 days trekking without promise of power to do transfer to other mediums. It must be remembered that even if you have a portable storage, it still requires additional power and frequent charging, which may become useless in trekking or in locations where power failure is common. The number and size of cards will depend on how big is your file size and how much you estimate yourself to shoot coming from experience. For some, it can be a 1GB per day for jpegs, while some need 10GB for a good day with plenty of shots in RAW.

Portable storage
As already mentioned above, the use can be on-the-go (of long battery life or multiple batteries is first priority) or back in hotel. Other factors include stability of transfer and verification of data integrity, comfort of partial assurance when thumbnails are shown on transfer, weight and size. Speed of transfer is important if you have only one card and eagerly need to use that.

This gives more control and comfort over the integrity of the pictures since ultimately it is whether you can open the file in computer that matters. Volume can always be added via an external harddisk. Weight is the primary factor, as the power adaptor and power cable itself weighs another half a kg. Moreover, one would fear damaging or losing the laptop which understandably is not always carried around on the body due to its weight and size. Also, this means one more thing to be checked at the custom.

Batteries and charger for Camera
At least 2 battery is required on the go, and more if your camera dries up the power faster. For trekking trips, more batteries need to be considered. A charger is always required for it is probably unusual for a whole trip to have zero chance of recharging.

Power socket
The usual way is to bring 1 to 3 universal adaptor, but an alternative is to use a universal adaptor with a multi-plug, or to save weight, a country-based adaptor with a multi-plug. Do consider there can be at times no extra space to use at the corners for the multi-plug, and a light weight extension cord can be considered, although bulky.

Cleaning accessories
A lenspen and a blower is the minimum. Some people may bring cloth or lens paper, and i think cloth is good to wipe the body clean when wet with drizzle but can be too bulky to carry. The blower size is also a consideration for travel.

Its weight is usually not the problem, but how to assess them fast and clean is a headache. A journalistic jacket if one dun mind is the best way to assess small items. Bring what you need, and extra UV filters for protections is recommended. I have broken filters before, but luckily not lenses, but the next thing after losing your lens cap or filters, is are you then going to use the "naked" lens and exposing the front element for the rest of the trip? well, for some people who use it filterless and with hood, that might not be a concern.

Suitable bags
In general, you need one carry-in bag and one check-in bag for flight, unless you dun fly. Other than common sense that carry-in bag is meant for fragile expensive items, it is also important to know what are backup and less crucial-on-the-go photographic items and what is important for on-the-go shooting if you intend to shoot between departure from home and arrival at your hotel overseas. Next, is what you are going to use as an outing bag, to save on weight, the carry-in bag is probably also used as the outing bag. It can be a shoulder bag, sling bag or haversack. For those who used a holster system, an additional bag is still needed when the holster is not suitable to be put on. Shoulder or sling bag is intermediate for access but tiring on the shoulder. A haversack is good for volume, less tiring on the shoulders but can be hot on the back due to poor ventilation for most models. It is important to assess your style of assess and comfort level with the weight distribution of different bag systems.

It can be a bean bag, a gorillapod, a monopod or a tripod. Tripod is essentially for long exposure and true low light situations, while monopod is meant for more specialised street uses where tripod can be too cumbersome to setup or if it is unwelcomed in crowded places. Gorillapod is good for less heavy camera and where there is places to anchor. Bean bag is not so commonly used due to its lower ground nature, but is typically used for nature photography e.g. in safari, where hiding in low ground camouflage is common. Weight to overall luggage and to on-the-go load, and the minimal length for packing is important. Separate pack for tripod can sometimes be lost in flight and tying to the backpack is not safe and secure.

An additional weight, if you use it may be fine. Do consider that flashing at strangers will bring further undesired attention.

Travel photography issues: Keeping memory cards
Discussion - 2008 Apr


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Issues at the custom
1. How to bring in your tripod
Discussion - (2006 Dec: 241331), (2007 Jun: 291000)

Travel photography issues: Security
1. How to protect your backpack
Discussion - http://www.clubsnap.org/forums/showthread.php?t=241637

1. How to pack your equipment to cushion knocks

Other than the usual padding, poh6702 have some good suggestions. With approval, quoted from here

(From poh6702)

Put the camera and lense in the air tight plastic casing, cost about $8 from NTUC. Picture shown is my D80 and 18-200mm VR:

Cover it as shown

Put it in the laptop back as shown, it is able to house 1 notebook (mine is 12.1" IBM model) and 2 plastic box, the pink camera shown is my Sony W80 P&S camera, on top can still put the SB800.

If you want to put all your staffs, you need a bigger size laptop bag, my suggestion:

1. first plastic box to contain the camera body, and wide angle lense.
2. Second plastic box to contain the 70-200mm plus flash
3. Third plastic box to contain the standard zoom, and video cam, hope it is samll one, should be able to put in one box.
4. You should be able to find place to squeeze in the P&S cam, plus spare batteries and chargers for Laptop and camera.

Hope this can help in your creativity in your packing, if money no problem, can consider the lowerpro notebook cum camera bag.


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Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Travel photography issues: Interaction & Rights

1. Should I give presents?

Quoted from Olivier Follmi,

"You will often be tempted to offer objects or money, especially to children, in the villages you pass through. Money is not a gift, it&#8217;s compensation in exchange for a piece of work. On the other hand, a crayon or a dried apricot full of vitamins (rather than a sweet that rots your teeth), will always give pleasure. Giving a present is always a source of pleasure, for those that give as well as those who receive, providing there has been some sort of exchange beforehand. If not, it&#8217;s more like begging on one side and a sort of justification on the other. The best thing to do is to go and see a teacher in his class and give him the gift so that all the children can benefit from it. You don&#8217;t have to use all your travel money on children because you feel they are inadequately dressed. Sharing your joy of living is itself an extraordinary gift&#8230; If your heart is open even before you set out on your travels, prepare some useful gifts before you leave. Wherever you might go, a little gift for a baby or an old person will always strike the right chord: a pair of socks for an old or baby clothes for the latest addition, are the most beautiful gifts for a family.

In exchange, accept with simplicity whatever the family may give you and honour its hospitality if it is offered. You will go even further on your journey&#8230;
Taking a photo of someone and offering them a picture of themselves surrounded by their family is a marvellous present. As instant photos are expensive, you can also send your photos after you have left. The best thing to do is to take the photo you have composed, then take another with the family on a negative film that you get developed and send off to them even before taking your plane back home. In that way you will tie up all the loose ends of your trip.
To take things a step further, the most wonderful and enriching gift is to sponsor a child&#8217;s schooling. Once you have met the child with its family, this is a way of establishing a link with the family, keeping in touch and growing up with the child. Your travels will become your life&#8217;s road."

1. What can i take and what can i not take?

USA: Think twice before taking pictures in public by Kim Komando
SG: Singapore Land Authorities LandQuery, offers information on whether a plot of land is a state land, statutory board land or private land.



New Member
Oct 8, 2004
Mountain Time Zone

Thanks for this thread, which is a really useful resource, and also just makes for interesting reading.

I'd like to include this article Charging in the Wild, by Thom Hogan, on his experience with solar chargers while in Africa.


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