Leaving on a Longer Trip?

So how do you prepare for a longer photographic trip? I’ll be leaving on such a trip in a few days, so I’ve been thinking about what to take along:

  • Since I’ll be going “into the wild,” I thought long and hard about which pieces I really need and which are just nice to have. Since I’ll be doing “situational photography,” I will be taking a very universal kit: a dSLR, an extreme wide-angle zoom, a wide-angle zoom, a fast normal prime, a tele-zoom and an external flash.
  • A tripod might be the key to sharp pictures, but I want to be very mobile, so I’m leaving it at home. But I’ll be taking a small bean-bag, just in case.
  • Since the trip is very important to me, I’ve borrowed a backup body — in case my primary one breaks, falls down, gets wet, lost or stolen.
  • Which camera bag should I take? I have two, and for the first time I’m taking the larger one.
  • Where will I store my images and will I make backups? A laptop is too much hassle, but I want to make backups. So I’ve decided to take enough memory cards (12 GB) for all good images from the entire trip (95 RAW images per day). And I have an external drive for making backups.
  • How about batteries? I’ll have four batteries for my primary body, one battery set for the flash and one for the replacement body.
  • How about charging the batteries? I’m heading for India where they have five (!!!) different types of power sockets, and electricity is still not all that reliable (I know that thanks to this page). At least their power is 230 V/50 Hz , so a simple mechanical power adapter should be enough.

And now, just a few days before departing, I’m taking care of the following:

  • Write down all serial numbers of all equipment. Actually I’ve done this a long time ago, but I’ve just checked that all newer items are also on my list.
  • Charge all batteries.
  • Clean the lenses and viewfinders.
  • Clean the camera sensors. I guess I’m a cheapskate as I simply brush my sensors with a clean cotton pad (Q-Tipp, for those in Germany). I brush the sensor in a snake-like line, then take a sample image at f/22. If the images shows bad dust spots, I brush again and take another shot. I only worry about the bad spots because the other ones will not be visible at f/8 or f/11.

One thing I’ve not done yet, but will try to do before my next important trip — buy travel camera insurance.

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