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07-06-2013, 06:47 AM   #1
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Going Camping, Any Gear You Recommend?

I'm going on a family camping trip in a few weeks and this is the first time I will be doing so since I started taking pictures. I have no idea what to take. The trip will be to Big Bear (in California).

My plans are to take my k-30 along with:

1) Lenses:
a) Sigma 17-50 + Pentax 55-300
or
b) Sigma 17-50 + Tamron 70-200 (the tamron doesn't seem like a great idea)

I don't own any WR lenses and have wondered if I should buy one... Suggestions?

2) Tripod/Monopod
a) Manfrotto 682B Self Standing Monopod (I already own this monopod)
or
b) Buy a travel tripod (any recommendations on this?)

3) Lighting
a) Flashes
or
b) Light reflectors

4) Anything else?

I really don't know if there is anything else that I should be considering. I did read a couple of articles, but it always seems like I get better advice here than on people's blogs. This seems like it could be a great opportunity to get some awesome pictures, but I don't really know what to expect. I appreciate any suggestions you experienced folk may have. I anticipate that I will mostly take landscape and family pictures.

07-06-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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There is camping and then there is camping and then there is camping.... Will you have immediate access to a vehicle wherever you are shooting, or will you frequently be walking long distances away from a vehicle? Or will you leave your vehicle at a trailhead and carry all your gear (including camping gear) to the campsite and beyond?

What kind of photography interests you? Do you anticipate shooting or transporting equipment outdoors in excessively damp conditions?

If I have close access to a vehicle, I take a tripod. If I don't have vehicle access, the tripod (any of my tripods) are left at home and I have just my monopod and a roll of self-sticking Velcro tape (I can always lash a monopod to something stationary if I need tripod stability).

I don't think you can make a mistake by taking a DA 18-135 WR with the K-30, but it isn't exactly an inexpensive purchase.
07-06-2013, 07:30 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
There is camping and then there is camping and then there is camping.... Will you have immediate access to a vehicle wherever you are shooting, or will you frequently be walking long distances away from a vehicle? Or will you leave your vehicle at a trailhead and carry all your gear (including camping gear) to the campsite and beyond?
These are very good questions. To some people, "camping" means resting in an air conditioned vehicle camper with bathroom etc. On the other end of the spectrum is packing everything in a backpack and hiking in to a remote area to setup camp.
07-06-2013, 07:39 AM   #4
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Spare batteries & memory cards.

I think the wide zoom would be more useful unless you're into shooting wildlife.

07-06-2013, 07:57 AM   #5
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QuoteQuote:

1) Lenses:
a) Sigma 17-50 + Pentax 55-300
or
b) Sigma 17-50 + Tamron 70-200 (the tamron doesn't seem like a great idea)
Where are you actually going? Do you know the environment? I've gone hiking with my Tammy 70-200 before, and it has been an absolute blast due to the darker conditions under the trees. On the other hand, if your camping area is more well lit - and you are carrying a lot more gear, then the 55-300 will make sense.

QuoteQuote:
I don't own any WR lenses and have wondered if I should buy one... Suggestions?
Get a DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro. Serves as a short telephoto, great portrait lens, WR, and macro in one package. Otherwise, a DA 35 F2.8 Ltd Macro. I don't see a point in getting a DA*16-50 or DA*50-135 as you have those ranges covered already, and it wouldn't really "improve" your collection (unless you plan to migrate over to fully WR gear).

QuoteQuote:
2) Tripod/Monopod
a) Manfrotto 682B Self Standing Monopod (I already own this monopod)
or
b) Buy a travel tripod (any recommendations on this?)
Monopods are meant more for hiking - if you are camping and want to shoot stars/evening landscapes, a tripod is going to be a must. As far as recommendations, I can't really give any. I have a cheap Dolica carbon fiber tripod that is very light and pretty strong, so I like that - but I don't really know how durable it is for traveling.

QuoteQuote:
3) Lighting
a) Flashes
or
b) Light reflectors
Unless you're going to have someone help you with reflectors, I'd just stick to a flash.

QuoteQuote:
4) Anything else?
Bug spray. Rainproof jacket. Bag of emergency equipment. The works.
07-06-2013, 08:35 AM   #6
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Looks like you put a lot of thought into this. I assume you have quite a bit of space to carry all of this with you.

1) --> a

2) --> not sure how that monopod works out, but it sounds pretty good. Only you know if its "enough" (it probably is, unless you want to take long exposures in windy areas. You can always put backpacks or other weight on the legs of it, to keep it more stable)

3) --> not sure you need either, but go with flashes. One can be enough, with a trigger maybe, if you have so much space. Bring enough batteries.

4) SD cards. CPL filter maybe. Or a Pentax M 50mm f1.7 lens for low light photos. Or maybe a WR lens since you have a WR body (they must both be WR or water can get in at the mount), if you might encounter bad weather or water spray (lakes, rivers, waterfalls)
07-06-2013, 09:07 AM   #7
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Two things I always have in my bag are a rain sleeve (can be bought on amazon for only a couple bucks) and a trash bag. The weather is always tough to predict so I tuck these away in the bottom of my bag just in case I get caught in a downpour and need to ensure my gear stays dry. Plus, stormy weather makes for great shots so I find myself using the rain sleeve frequently.

Also, will you be going on any hikes? If so, make sure you have a comfortable backpack, preferably one with a waist strap. While they are very pricey, I recently picked up an F Stop Tilopa backpack and must say that out of the four camera backpacks I have owned, it is by far the best. Well worth the money.

07-06-2013, 09:31 AM   #8
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Take the 17-50 and the 55-300. Sometimes you just need the reach. Those two lenses are really all you need. For wet weather, it is surprising just how much wet a non-WR lens can take, and how little your camera is bothered, as long as you take a few precautions.

Always keep the camera in a dry place. "Kitchen Catcher" sized garbage bags are just perfect for this. Supermarket vegetable bags and elastic bands are a lot cheaper than buying fancy weather proofing. They might not look as professional, but they do exactly the same job, and if you lose one, who cares? Just cut a lens hood sized hole in the bag and elastic it on. They are big enough to handle the 55-300 and camera both. If it is really, really, wet, you can use a very small elastic band to hold the bag tightly over the eyepiece.

The advice for extra cards and extra batteries is top notch. Take as many as you can. I use multiple cards on vacation, and use them one a day in rotation. That way I would likely lose only one day's shooting and only have to upload every few days. That way if I am where there is no power for a day or three it is no problem.

My lightest camera bag has a Gorillapod with a head attached to it at all times. The biggest is less than $40 and gives you a tripod that will stick to a fence rail, a branch, a small tree or can be used as a table top tripod. My daughter gave me a gift certificate to McBain Camera for my birthday last year and I bought a Manfrotto monopod head with it. It's on top of the Gorillapod, and makes it a bit easier to aim the camera and has a quick release plate for quick use.

Don't go out and buy a zillion new things before going camping. The camping is the important part. I use three different sized camera bags and three different tripods to take my gear depending on where I am going. We trailer "camp" so I can take everything in the trailer and just take what I think I need (it's never enough) on a hike. I've also spent over fifty years learning to use all this stuff, so I am reasonably comfortable with it.
07-06-2013, 11:28 AM   #9
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If you are going to be away from electrical conveniences, I see that there are solar charging devices available now, made specifically for keeping your electronic gizmos charged up and running.

I saw the Goal Zero setup at Cabelas recently, looks like a great, lightweight system. And it can charge up AA batteries for your K30.
07-07-2013, 09:58 AM   #10
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I always bring a fully mechanical film camera.

Chris
07-07-2013, 02:13 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I always bring a fully mechanical film camera.

Chris
My wife brings the MZ-S with us.
07-07-2013, 03:34 PM   #12
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A lot of great info. I guess I'll take the 17-50, 55-300, and a M 50 mm 1.7 ( just for fun). I have never been to the location before, so I don't know how far or near I will be. I would love to buy a WR lens, but unless I find a really good deal, it's probably not going to happen. I will definitely take extra batteries and sd cards. I guess the biggest question that remains is, should I take my tripod, or a mono-pod. I'm leaning towards the mono-pod (I've owned it for a while and only used it twice. It needs to get some use).

Thank all of you for your advice. This will be a learning experience. Any other advice is greatly welcomed.
07-07-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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You still haven't told us - luxury camping, tent camping, or hike in camping........this information makes a huge difference in what is recommended.
07-07-2013, 09:43 PM   #14
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I've used a monopod which comes in handy. Whether you want to use it as a walking stick or not depends on how durable it is. I do sometimes bring along a cheap, flexible, mini-tripod. (I just posted a review of one HERE.) It comes in handy for timer shots or long exposures or to help on those long telephoto shots.
07-07-2013, 09:48 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
You still haven't told us - luxury camping, tent camping, or hike in camping........this information makes a huge difference in what is recommended.
The trip is being planned by my wife's relatives. All I know is that we will be staying in tents. We will be near a lake, I don't know about hiking, there will be small children so that may limit long hiking trips.
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