It’s decided, I go a leopard safari trip in South Africa in April. the big question is -as always- what should I put in the camera bag, what should I bring. But also, what should I leave in Europe? We are not donkeys, but when you want to take the picture of your dreams it’s always bad to refrain yourself because you don’t have the needed hardware. I admit it may be a matter of appreciation, though. I remember this phtoographer going last year in Kenya. We would make fun of his carrying 5.5kg of his Canon 600mm/4. But he could easily remind us that it would be handy if a cheetah started to hunt too far from our 400mm lenses.
Let’s see what will probably be in my Lowepro Mini Trekker AW camera bag:
- Camera: Always faithful Konica-Minolta Dynax 7D. I will not even try to bring a spare analog camera, I wouldn’t use it.
- Standard lens: Minolta 300mm/4, great optics.
- Secondary lens: Either the old Sigma 400mm/5.6 to avoid being too short with the 300mm, or (even better) the Minolta 200mm/2.8 with a 2x Minolta converter (provided that I can buy a second-hand one before take off – a converter).
- Misc lens: Minolta zoom xi 28-105mm/3.5-4.5; Not a wonderful glass, but it’s small and may come handy.
- Additional macro front lens in case I’d look down and check flora and insects
- Two Compact Flash Transcend 1GB cards and a CompactDrive PD70X portable disk drive in order to always have enough storage (in Kenya, in 7 days, I shot 950 photos)
- A Minolta 5600HS flash because it may be possible to do night safari and I dream of a drinking leopard
- Binoculars: Not really critical, but very useful, lovely 10×50 bought in a sale at Liedl a year ago
- Cleaning: standard rag wool, air gun, etc. but nothing hi-tech
I am still hesitating about brining a monopod if we are to stay all day long in a SUV. A good bean bag or a rolled-up scarf may be better.
About energy management, it’s clear cut. In South Africa we will be based in hotel lodges. Everything will be simplified by the availability of mains power. But I’ll bring the 12V chargers for the Dynax 7D battery and the CompactDrive PD70X batteries.I never use a 12V/230V converters: Too heavy and with a low efficiency (it’s heating up quickly), I am equipped for 12V autonomy plugged in cigar lighters in cars. I’ll take two batteries for the camera (I’llswap and charge them at any time), three or four sets of 1.5V AA NiH batteries.
All this will come with some paper notepad to replace the Sony CliÃ© PDA that I always have with me but will be too cumbersome to recharge.
Not forgetting long sleeves shirts and bush hat as protection against the African sun.
Do you see something that I’m missing or something I should leave behind?