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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 9:41 am
Posts: 45
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Hi all!

I'm going to go travelling in Asia for two months and I need good advise for what kind of equipment I should have with me and the thins I should consider. I also would like to have, if possible, advise from people who really have been in tough places.

I am a backpack traveller and this would be really my first trip with real camera eguipment with me. So I'm bit newbie with this kind of eguipment, not so much a newbie as a traveller.

Here is my journey in a nutshell: Japan -> Vietnam -> Cambodia -> Thailand and then back to Finland. I will spent about two weeks in each country. My journey will take place from next January to end of february. I know that in January in Japan will be guite cold, and that isn't no broblem to me, but tropics is something wich is bit new to me. So what kind of thigs I should consider then I travel to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Is humidity going to be a bromlem? Or something alse that I can not think of ?

You can see my eguipment that I'm going to travell with in my signiture. Although I think that I'll go and buy the Sigma 17-70mm. f/2.8-4.5 and give the kit lens away.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
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Heikki

I have just come back from 3 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia, and you will have an amazing time!

I was not travelling as a backpacker but I could still advise you on a few things.

At that time of year you will experience humidity - I don't know how uncomfortable it will be but gear up for that. Take plenty of lens cleaning gear and CP and UV lenses while travelling about. (you'll be having your camera at the ready at all times and won't want to miss the shot while trying to focus through fog)

The other thing that you have to consider, especially if travelling around the north of Thailand or Cambodia and the temples around Angkor is the wildlife!

In Angkor you will be getting up before the sun in a mad dash to some temples for sunrise. Make sure you have good walking shoes, a mini torch, and long combat trousers and a long sleeved top. Ideally take trousers that convert into long shorts or carry a pair of shorts and spare t-shirt in your backpack. You will be bitten like never before, especially around the reflecting pools at Angkor Wat! Also, keep lots of $1 notes handy at all times - the local population will keep you topped up with coffees, waters and breakfast while you are waiting for the sun to come up.

Also, don't go temple bashing in Angkor with open shoes. There will be a lot of very steep stairs to contend with and the fire ants (and other creepy crawlies with a lot more legs!) might take a liking to you!

So the best bet is to get hold of plenty of Deet spray, which will keep most things away!

One other thing that may be useful is a very light travel tripod or gorillapod if travelling around Ha Long bay. Some of the caves you may visit are beautiful and you may feel that a longer exposure is needed for good shots


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 9:41 am
Posts: 45
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Thanks for the reply dubaiphil!

For good times is excatly why I'm going there. But because I haven't travelled in real tropics I want to have chat with people who have been there. Closest to tropics where I have is north India, but I didn't have dslr gear with me at that time.

I consider militry type pants and hiking shoes as a must when you go exotic plases or hiking. I'm going to have two of these pants with me. I didn't realize that mosquitos are going to be annoyance. But in second thought it makes perfect sense. I suppose mosquitos are going to be out there esspecially during night time. Atleast that' s something that I have read.

Like I bit assumed humidity may become an issue in tropics. Should I buy some silica gel with me and plase it in to my camerabag? Or do you consider it really that much of a threat? Goof lens cleaning eguipment is something that I really need to take with me.

I have thought taking my tripod and just one head with me. The tripod isn't the most lightest one there is, but so far I think I could handel it. Although it is going to be a drag sometimes.

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dslr: Nikon D7000 with some glass. Slr: Nikon FE2 with some manual focusing glass.
Www.heikkitaskinenphotography.fi


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:16 pm 
Hi:

I lived almost my whole life in tropical areas (Central America), so I can give you a tip or two about that!

First of all, the advice given above is really accurate. I would recommend you to travel will long pants and long-sleeve shirts. The military type you say is actually the one I use, since the fabric is very thick and protective. Use light colors to keep body temperature low. Most tourists I see on tropical areas wear very fresh (exposed) clothes because of the warmth, but that is a mistake. The reason is, you got it right, the insects. Mosquitoes ARE an issue on the tropics. So I prefer to be a little bit warmer and bite-free than the other way around. Also pack a jungle hat so protect against the sun, like this one: http://www.endicotts.co.uk/images/sf_d.p.m_jungle_hat_02.jpg

I also recommend wearing boots (jungle specific boots). They will protect your ankles when walking through uneven/slippery terrain and against insects.

Be sure to have your photo gear packed in weather-proof cases/bags. I don't know how's the weather on those places on January-February, but if it is a tropical rain forests, rain (HEAVY rain) is something to consider.

Pack extra batteries, specially if you are going to remote places, and extra food and water. If you can get some of those water-purifying pills, pack some of them, just in case.

I also like to disable all sounds of the camera when going to these places where you expect to photograph wild animals. These animals are very elusive, and get scared with the slightest sound (like the beep of the camera telling you it auto-focused correctly).

And the most important of all... post some pictures when you get back! That trip you are about to make is one I've been planning for some time...

Regards,
Luis.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:11 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:27 am
Posts: 528
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Not much to add to what has been said, but you are traveling in the 'cool, dry season' in SE Asia (not Japan though, obv.). It rains less, theere is less haze, and it is a *little* cooler. I've been living in Asia for 6+ years as a British ex-pat and I'm sure you'll be fine with the climate in their winter.

As for mosquitoes, I didn't have any problems with them - just leeches in jungle areas. Waking up in the middle of the night in a tent in the jungle during a downpour to find your pants full of leeches is not fun. If you do trek in the wilderness, Always wear long sleeves/pants and apply deet around the openings such as you cuffs, and sock tops. Also, you can tape up these areas. There's not much you can do about leeches getting into your mouth, nose, or eyes though, and bear in mind that deet is a pretty nasty chemical (apply sparingly) and will eventually detroy the seals/stitching on your clothes & boots.

I've been to those countries at various (hotter) times of the year and never had any problems with kit - except with the constant threat of theft/mugging in The Philippines. The SE Asian countries you mentioned are surprisingly safe feeling. I've found Buddhist muggers to be more pleasant folks than their western brethren.

Just make sure you & you're kit are always prepared for sudden rain

For data storage on the go, read Gordon's comments here http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16722

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Panasonic G3: 9-18mm, 14mm, 20mm, 45mm


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 9:41 am
Posts: 45
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Thank you everyone these advices.

If I remember correctly monsoon should be over and temperature should be around +28 celsius (prox. 83 Fahrenheit) in shouther Vietnam during our arrivel from Japan. As far as we have planned we are going to be in Ho Chi Minh city for couple of days and then go to the coutryside and find a motel or other cheap plase to sleep. So not much of going in to the jungle, unless we have a opporunity to do so in a naturalpark.

I have thought malaria and thus mosquitos would be the biggest concern.

But does anyone have any improvement suggestions about camera eguipment and how to keep that in good working condition. Or is the weater going to be anyproblem if I just use my common sense? Other advices are also appreciated.

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dslr: Nikon D7000 with some glass. Slr: Nikon FE2 with some manual focusing glass.
Www.heikkitaskinenphotography.fi


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:27 am
Posts: 528
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Japan is hotter & more humid in summer than the places you're visiting during the winter. All those Japanese cameras work fine in their summer, so just use common sense.

I used a ripped towel converted to be used as a camera strap when I was in Cambodia years ago. It moped up sweat from my neck, and looked really cheap and less desirable for thieves. I also covered parts of my gear in peal-away stickers to further age and 'uglyfy' my gear for the same reason.

I think you need to stop worrying about your gear and start thinking about photos. If you're worried about the McDonald's security guard's gun, then you're going to miss the shot.

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Panasonic G3: 9-18mm, 14mm, 20mm, 45mm


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