Planning: Gearing Up

Now I’m about three-quarters convinced that the reason why I was invited to be the fourth in the South Africa part of the trip is because everybody in the family knows I’ll be taking 8,462 pictures so Evan and Gina and Dana can sit back and enjoy the scenery while I’m glued to an eyepiece. But between that trip and what’s being planned as an additional 12 days as a photo safari, I mean, well, I just can’t take one camera, right? And even though I’ve sworn that I don’t want a dSLR (too big, too much hassle, too heavy), I mean I really can’t go to Africa without a dSLR and a reasonably long lens, right?

Okay, so I like my toys too.

I am now the proud owner of a brand spanking new Canon Rebel XSi (also called the 450D). It comes with an 18-55mm IS lens, and I’ve ordered a 70-300 IS lens to go along with it. Since the Rebel is a 1.6 platform, the 300mm lens is the functional equivalent of 480mm. I’d love to get the 100-400 L lens, but then again I am NOT going to take out a THIRD mortgage on the house to pay for a lens I realistically won’t use much after I get back. (Nor do I want to run the risks or costs involved in renting such a lens, or even in buying it with the thought of selling it when I get back). So I’ll make do with the 70-300!

That’s not to say I’m not also going to take my trusty Canon S5IS P&S camera. I have a suspicion that in a lot of situations, the S5 will be better than the Rebel: it’s got the best movie option in the business and it’s small, unobtrusive and has a very long lens feature of its own. So both cameras will be in the camera bag.

Let’s see… first, I need a camera bag. Lowepro Fastpack 250, that’ll do. Extra batteries for both cameras and chargers. Power inverters for the chargers for the times that the sole power source is the cigarette lighter connector of the safari truck. Battery grip for the dSLR so I can keep two batteries available at all times. Lightweight tripod, lightweight monopod, empty beanbag (to fill there). Circular polarizer. Neutral density filters. Lens cleaners. Rocket blower for dust. Sensor cleaner kit just in case. External flash for the few times it might be useful. Lots and lots of SD cards. Uh oh… even with lots and lots of SD cards, I have to be able to offload the images into some storage device. Check out the various options and settle on the Hyperdrive Colorspace O casing and a Western Digital 250Gb drive. (I can buy the two separately for more than $100 less than buying a Hyperdrive equipped with, most likely, the exact same drive.)

Egads… I know I’m going to forget something critical…

Comments are closed.