Trekking into the mountains is an addictive passion of mine and it is an attraction that allows me to indulge in the other passion that I have , which is photography. The location and vistas that one sees while on a trek are enthralling to say the least and very soothing but then to indulge in photography one needs to have the gear for it at that point of time.
I have been trekking for some years now and have learnt some valuable lessons about the gear to carry. Though I still have not been able to perfect my requirement yet with each trip I am refining my gear to meet my requirements out in the wild. There was no article which offered clarity and hence I had to go through the process of trial error and experience. This article I hope will be useful for those who suffer from the same dilemma when setting out on a great trek.
Okay firstly one will never stop buying gear, ask me and I will tell you how this has been a never-ending cycle. Every time I bought something and came to the conclusion that I have found the solution to photography combined with trekking the field trials and reviews of some other product again made me review what I have and what is missing. But one thing is important, to invest in good quality stuff , especially on the long run this pays dividends, don’t skimp on this and purchase cheap gear for they will not last you in the long run.
The gear that I list are my personal choices and I will explain why I use them
I use two camera bodies instead of one, this is because that offers me the flexibility of having two lenses simultaneously as well as it protects the camera sensor from getting exposed to the elements of weather (dust, moisture, dirt, excessive cold etc) repeatedly. I am a Canon user hence I use the Canon 5D MK III (a camera which has a impressive dynamic range when out in the field coupled with being full frame ) and a Canon 7D MK II
This really racks the brain. I remember when I had started I used to carry so many of them so that I did not want to miss out on one particular shot but over the years I have cut them down and now these are my three main lenses which accompany me
Canon 11-24 mm
This lens is an extraordinary advance in lens technology because it is the world’s widest ultrawide and its super sharp at every setting. This is not a fisheye, straight lines stay straight. It is a spectacular piece of technology and excels in performance. For a landscape photographer, this is a dream lens
source : Google images
Canon 24-70 mm
An extremely popular lenses , this is the Go To lens for all professional photographers; is faster, sharper and a spectacular mid zoom lens . For those cut frame landscape this is the perfect lens to have. Think of those sunset frames, the mountain stream visuals and campsite visuals, well this is the lens for achieving those shots.
source : Google images
Canon 70-200 mm
The best telephoto for landscape shots over a wide range of situations, this is an astonishing lens. Canon spared no expense in making this lens and it shows in the visuals which are shot. The lens preferred by all professionals, this is the one single telephoto lens that needs to be carried. Never think twice about selecting it for you will never regret it
For those close-up shots in the wild, with an amazing depth of field this is the key. I have always carried it no matter how difficult the circumstances for it was justifies its position in the camera bag.
Note : I have said all the positive aspects above however there are negatives too and the biggest is weight and I will come to that subsequently.
source : google images
Again this is something that cannot be sacrificed, one needs a tripod for those dusk shots, night shots and early morning visuals . This is like a necessary evil
My choice: Gitzo Systematic seriesGT3543 . The Systematic series are the latest from the Gitzo stable and are the choice for those who use long lenses and heavy cameras. This is a carbon fibre tripod designed for elevation, lightness, durability and stability. It can take a payload of 25 kg.
source : Gitzo
Filters in my opinion are of high criticality and over the years now I have understood that having just a polariser is not enough. I have graduated over a number of brands and finally settled on the Formatt-High crest circular filters and thereafter on the LEE filter system. I am particularly bowled by the LEE filter system especially for the 11-24 mm which I was using without any filter since last so many years owing to its mammoth curvaceous lens profile. But LEE finally has come out with a great solution and thus I shifted on to LEE
Filter systems: LEE SW150 (for 11-24 mm) consisting of polarisers, GND ,Reverse GND
LEE 100 mm (for 24-70 mm & 70-200 mm) consisting of same above
source : google images
Intervelerometer : Use a basic Canon NC80 model
Spare batteries, cleaning gear
Carrying case : I use the LowePro 450 AW Trekker , it is a bit bulky case but once you get used to it I think it is a great option and the gear too remains quote safe within.
Body harness: I use the Cotton carrier twin harness system for carrying the cameras while on the trek. The camera is safely fixed as well as readily available for immediate use and best thing is that the camera does not hang or something as well as the hands are free at all times.
So this is the setup that I have finalised and I know this wont be the last, I will keep improvising but it worked well enough for me in my last trek. the weight table is attached below, and this is the biggest drawback In this set up
|5D MK III (body only)||956 gm|
|7D MK II (body only)||900 gms|
|11-24 mm||1166 gms|
|24-70 mm||804 gm|
|70-200 mm||1550 gms|
|Gitzo tripod systematic model with ball head||2800 gm|
|Filters pack||300 gm|
|Additional batteries ( 06 )||420 GMS|
|Lowepro 450 protrekker||4100 gm|
|Misc accessories||600 gm|
|Grand Total||13596 gm ( 13.5 Kg )|
So as I one can see, this is the biggest drawback in the whole setup, but considering the equipment used, the weight is the best that can be achieved. So maybe this can be used as a reference point for those who use DSLRs on mountain treks to finetune their own kit. Hope this post helped