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Rugged Travel with Digital Camera and Laptop

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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 2:22:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Hello,

I recently spent 6 months in Guatemala with a 35mm manual SLR. I plan
to return in several months but this time with a Nikon D70 and my 12"
laptop. I am pretty new to digital photography. I need ideas on:

1. Discrete bags to carry my equipment
2. Insurance
3. General 'extreme condition' travel advice for digital photography

I will be focusing on people more than nature photography. I will be
going off the beaten path, traveling in chicken buses, and staying in
places where I am the only white person. What kind of unforeseen
problems might I run into with my camera and do you have any creative
solutions for them?

I realize that my question is pretty open ended, but I would like to
hear back from anyone with experience doing this kind of photography on
any information and ideas that they might feel pertinent to someone
starting off with this.

Many thanks,
Ida
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 2:59:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Your biggest problems will be personal security, hygiene, and then your
photo equipment.

For your camera, waist and fanny packs work well. See Lowepro's Street and
Field series for examples. Be sure to scuff it up so that it does not scream
"expensive camera equipment in here!" If you have a lot of equipment, a
battered looking backpack. The computer can be carried in a canvas portfolio
wrapped in garbage sacks. Keep all your equipment in garbage bags when
stored. Use clear plastic bags, like Zip-Loc, to protect your camera when it
is raining -- just shoot through the plastic.

Take along extra batteries. Several memory cards of 256 or 512 megs are
better than carrying around a one or two gigabyte sized cards.

Use a money belt and clothing with secret pockets for valuables. Scan your
passport and keep copies scattered around your possessions.

Pay your models -- don't be a cheapskate, and they will take care of you in
turn.
December 28, 2004 3:04:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I had my wife make a soft bag out of black velvet inside out with a
semi-rigid rubber handle attached with small carabiners to carry the
camera. It's small enough to wadd up in my pocket when I'm shooting &
very discrete with the camera in it. It carries like a small woman's
purse in my hand but looks more like a lunch bag or something. It can be
clipped to my belt loop for climbing if I need both hands. The velvet
provides a bit of protection from banging & absorbs dust & light rain
adequately. You could make a similar bag for the laptop to keep it dirt
free in a small day pack.
Related resources
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 3:19:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

idalake@gmail.com writes:

> 1. Discrete bags to carry my equipment

I'll bet you want discreet bags. :-> One of my friends uses a diaper
bag. It has an insulated compartment for such fluids as babies are wont to
spit, er, drink, and which he uses for padding. It has a diaper changing
shelf which he uses for changing film and lenses when otherwise he'd be on
the ground. He's confident that no one has have stolen a diaper bag.

I use khaki-colored Domke bags and a Lowe Pro backpack, which don't scream
photo gear. Many less well off persons travel with all their clothes in
backpacks, and no one seems to notice my pack has camera stuff in it. At
this stage in its career, its worn and scuffed and dirty on the outside.

> 2. Insurance

Check your home owner's insurance if you have any. That company can likely
provide adequate coverage at the best rate, since they already have your
business. Otherwise, I'd check photo.net and pdnonline.com for
recommendations.

> 3. General 'extreme condition' travel advice for digital photography

High humidity can be an issue. I don't know how well-sealed the D-70
is. Bring plastic bags to put over your gear that will be out in the
rain. If you stay in an airconditioned room, get everything out and open up
stuff to the extent possible to let the AC dehumidify your gear.

Bring lens cleaning stuff, brushes, lens tissue, lens fluid.

Find out voltages and socket sizes so you can bring plug converters --
voltage converters _generally_ aren't necessary, as most appliances will
take 110 and 220, but check your bricks and confirm this. See
http://www.cieux.com/fwiConnection.html
for links to resources for converters, telephone adapters, voltges, and
such (it's near the middle of the page -- just scroll down past the French
West Indies stuff) for the section "Staying Online Abroad."

http://www.cieux.com/portal.html
has links to an online calendar, currency conversions, how to place an
international call from any location, flight status, Zotophoto (upload a
digital photo via the web from where ever you are, and have it mailed as a
postcard in the US -- not free, but cheap), weather (just enter the city),
and more.

http://www.cieux.com/adventureKits.html
for links to first aid kits, overseas medical insurance (including
medivac), trip insurance, and war, health, and disease reports. Emergency
telephone numbers which can be used where you're traveling. Oh, yeah -- and
training in first aid.

>
> I will be focusing on people more than nature photography. I will be
> going off the beaten path, traveling in chicken buses, and staying in
> places where I am the only white person.

sigh With that perspective, you're going to cause yourself more problems
than you know. When I look up Ugly American in my dictionary, is that your
photo there? You _are_ American, right?

> What kind of unforeseen
> problems might I run into with my camera and do you have any creative
> solutions for them?

It's not your camera that's going to get you into trouble, hon. And I have
no creative solutions for your real problem.

--
Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email from this URL
http://www.cieux.com/ | http://www.civex.com/ is read daily.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 3:32:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

The diaper bag option is a unique idea, I will keep that in mind.

Thanks for the concern you noted for my personal safety, but I am
familiar with Guatemala and I have an idea of what I am getting into.
I have been to all the places I am going to and have local friends in
many of them. I said that I was going to be doing rugged travel to
avoid lots of comments about sticking to tourist spots and general
travel advice.

Yes, I'm from the States.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 3:48:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Thanks for the reassurance that the computer doesn't need a fancy case.
I was thinking of wrapping up more or less as you have suggested. I
don't have enough stuff to warrant a back pack with space for three
bodies and five lenses and a laptop.

Shoot through the plastic - brilliant and affordable.

I had good experiences photographing people during my last trip. I
think I will put a better effort toward paying models this time around.
I can't remember who told me that you can't steal a portrait. I found
that to not only be true photographically, but the people deserve more
than that anyway.

Thanks for all the good ideas.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 5:00:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

<idalake@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1104266917.303229.69560@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks for the reassurance that the computer doesn't need a fancy case.
> I was thinking of wrapping up more or less as you have suggested. I
> don't have enough stuff to warrant a back pack with space for three
> bodies and five lenses and a laptop.
>
> Shoot through the plastic - brilliant and affordable.

Well, don't use freezer bags -- they are a little foggy, not as clear as
regular sandwich bags.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 5:07:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Phil Stripling" <phil_stripling@cieux.zzn.com> wrote in message
news:3q8y7i41mu.fsf@shell4.tdl.com...
> idalake@gmail.com writes:
>

>
> High humidity can be an issue. I don't know how well-sealed the D-70
> is. Bring plastic bags to put over your gear that will be out in the
> rain. If you stay in an airconditioned room, get everything out and open
up
> stuff to the extent possible to let the AC dehumidify your gear.
>

That all worked for me very well in Belize a couple months ago. The D-70
worked like a champ the whole time, but the Minolta Dimage A1 hiccupped a
couple times.

>
> It's not your camera that's going to get you into trouble, hon. And I have
> no creative solutions for your real problem.

The only solution to that problem is to travel -- a lot. But I doubt the OP
meant to be tactless. After all, it is just as tactless to assume that the
OP is an American; I have found Europeans can be even worse.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 5:31:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"C J Campbell" <christophercampbellNOSPAM@hotmail.com> writes:

> The only solution to that problem is to travel -- a lot. But I doubt the OP
> meant to be tactless. After all, it is just as tactless to assume that the
> OP is an American; I have found Europeans can be even worse.

Oh, _I_ didn't mean to be tactless! So no problem, right?

Uh, "even worse" in what way, CJ? Tact?

--
Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email from this URL
http://www.cieux.com/ | http://www.civex.com/ is read daily.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 5:42:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Phil Stripling" <phil_stripling@cieux.zzn.com> wrote in message
news:3qsm5qt5pe.fsf@shell4.tdl.com...
> "C J Campbell" <christophercampbellNOSPAM@hotmail.com> writes:
>
> > The only solution to that problem is to travel -- a lot. But I doubt the
OP
> > meant to be tactless. After all, it is just as tactless to assume that
the
> > OP is an American; I have found Europeans can be even worse.
>
> Oh, _I_ didn't mean to be tactless! So no problem, right?
>
> Uh, "even worse" in what way, CJ? Tact?

Yeah. Even Americans have feelings, Bub. :-)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 8:26:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I apolagize for the lack of tact on my part. I didn't mean to offend
or annoy anyone.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 8:45:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

idalake@gmail.com writes:

> I apolagize for the lack of tact on my part. I didn't mean to offend
> or annoy anyone.

I didn't think it was tact you lacked.

--
Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email from this URL
http://www.cieux.com/ | http://www.civex.com/ is read daily.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 28, 2004 11:45:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

idalake@gmail.com wrote:

<snip>

> 1. Discrete bags to carry my equipment

Let me share with you my "accident", perhaps you
or others might like to duplicate it on purpose.

Went shopping at a superstore, big camera dept. Just
off the camera area a large display of bags, low priced,
just 4 dollars and change canadian each.

Beautiful. Hand strap, shoulder strap, and a solid
clip to attach it to your belt loop or another
piece of luggage. Two zippered compartments,
one perfect for the camera, another perfect for
big glass, or battery charger, etc. Several stretchy
cargo nets - ideal for spare batteries, cards, what have
you. Well padded. Just what I needed, cheap, assorted
colors. Bought many of them, thinking that each member
of the family would like one (we're all into photography)

Had to wait for eldest grand daughter to come home from
school to ask why I'd bought so many lunch bags :) 

Still perfect. And I submit that a good side benefit
is that if we were to leave it on a car seat, we'd be
much less likely to lose what others think is a lunch
bag than we would an expensive camera bag. Or you, should
you nod off on a "chicken train"

In fact given the price, in your case I might even
scruff one up a bit, add a couple of mustard or
ketchup stains, leave a crumpled napkin or bit of
wax paper stuck in the zipper :) 

Just my 2 cents worth. If I haven't described it well
enough email me and I'll be happy to send you a picture.

Take care.

Ken
December 29, 2004 2:57:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"C J Campbell" <christophercampbellNOSPAM@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:-5udnaS9JOgQSkzcRVn-vg@wavecable.com...
>
> <idalake@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1104266917.303229.69560@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> > Thanks for the reassurance that the computer doesn't need a fancy case.
> > I was thinking of wrapping up more or less as you have suggested. I
> > don't have enough stuff to warrant a back pack with space for three
> > bodies and five lenses and a laptop.
> >
> > Shoot through the plastic - brilliant and affordable.
>
> Well, don't use freezer bags -- they are a little foggy, not as clear as
> regular sandwich bags.

Sounds like fuzzy logic at work here.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 29, 2004 1:44:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <1104261745.428769.313960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
idalake@gmail.com says...
> Hello,
>
> I recently spent 6 months in Guatemala with a 35mm manual SLR. I plan
> to return in several months but this time with a Nikon D70 and my 12"
> laptop. I am pretty new to digital photography. I need ideas on:
>
> 1. Discrete bags to carry my equipment
> 2. Insurance
> 3. General 'extreme condition' travel advice for digital photography
>
> I will be focusing on people more than nature photography. I will be
> going off the beaten path, traveling in chicken buses, and staying in
> places where I am the only white person. What kind of unforeseen
> problems might I run into with my camera and do you have any creative
> solutions for them?
>
> I realize that my question is pretty open ended, but I would like to
> hear back from anyone with experience doing this kind of photography on
> any information and ideas that they might feel pertinent to someone
> starting off with this.

I'm currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and am about to finish a 40 days
trip through China, India, Singapore and Malaysia. I've been travelling
with an Olympus 8080 digital camera and lots of equipment (a notebook
computer, Vosonic XS-Drive portable HDD, external DVD burner and a spare
HDD.

The aubnotebook is an IBM Thinkpad X31 which now has a 100GB HDD (with
12 MB RAW files the HDD fills up quickly).

To avoid having to carry always the notebook with me (I have only 1.6GB
of memory cards and sometimes this is not enough for a day of shooting)
I use the Vosonic device (with an 80 GB HDD), which also doubles as a
backup in case the notebook HDD fails.

When you do such rough travelling there is always the risk that
harddisks might break, so it is too dangerous to keep all photos on just
one harddisk.

Every three days or so (i.e. every 4.5 GB of photos) I've backed up the
newest photos to a DVD (using a Lacie external slim DVD burner).

I carry a spare 40GB HDD with me in case the main one in the notebook
fails (I also carry the software installation disks with me, so that I
could reinstall everything in case of a crash). The harddisk in the
Vosonic device could in theory also crash.

You might think that I'm a bit paranoid, but the fact is that I
travelled in SE Asia in 1999-2000 for 10 months and the notebook
harddisk died in the middle of the trip.

I don't have insurance on the equipment, but I carry the notebook in a
special small rucksack for notebooks with shock absorbers. The camera
and Vosonic device are in a camera bag, also fitted with shock
absorbers. I took care when travelling to put both the camera bag and
the notebook rucksack on soft surfaces.

Heat and humidity are not a problem, meaning that I have been travelling
with computers and digital cameras in tropical environments since 1999
and never experienced problems due to heat or humidity. Perhaps the fact
that I used quality equipment from Toshiba, IBM and Olympus helped.
Olympus cameras by the way are quite strong.
--

Alfred Molon
------------------------------
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Olympus_405080/
Olympus 5060 resource - http://myolympus.org/5060/
Olympus 8080 resource - http://myolympus.org/8080/
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 31, 2004 11:39:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Alfred,

All this information on storage and backup is very useful. I find that
is the one thing that I have been asking photographers over and over
again to get a feel for what system I should set up for storing all
this information and protecting against crashes. How long have you had
the Vosonic drive for? Is it holding up well for you? I have a Lacie
160GB drive, but I am going to leave that behind with all my work up
till now.

Did you loose all your photos when your notebook died during the 10
month trip? What a horror.

Someone suggested to me having an external hard drive, but also burning
two copies of everything and FedExing one set back to the States
periodically. Any thoughts on that possibility?

-Ida
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 31, 2004 2:13:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 31 Dec 2004 08:39:41 -0800, idalake@gmail.com wrote:

>Alfred,
>
>All this information on storage and backup is very useful. I find that
>is the one thing that I have been asking photographers over and over
>again to get a feel for what system I should set up for storing all
>this information and protecting against crashes. How long have you had
>the Vosonic drive for? Is it holding up well for you? I have a Lacie
>160GB drive, but I am going to leave that behind with all my work up
>till now.
>
>Did you loose all your photos when your notebook died during the 10
>month trip? What a horror.
>
>Someone suggested to me having an external hard drive, but also burning
>two copies of everything and FedExing one set back to the States
>periodically. Any thoughts on that possibility?
>
>-Ida

That's definitely a possibility.
I would think it depends on your level of paranoia.
Do National Geographic photographers on assignment FedEx their film as
soon as it's shot? I don't think so.

--
Bill Funk
Change "g" to "a"
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 31, 2004 11:45:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I purchased a portable CD burner. When I'm on the road, I burn two copies
of everything. This assumes you have some way to charge the batteries, which
can be done easily in a car, but for some that is not an option.

With storage meda as inexpensive as it is, my recommendation for those that
want it all is just to purchase a LOT of media. SI photographers typically
burn through about 30 gig of cards when covering a game, and they mail that
in.

Ron

<idalake@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1104511181.860663.234720@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Alfred,
>
> All this information on storage and backup is very useful. I find that
> is the one thing that I have been asking photographers over and over
> again to get a feel for what system I should set up for storing all
> this information and protecting against crashes. How long have you had
> the Vosonic drive for? Is it holding up well for you? I have a Lacie
> 160GB drive, but I am going to leave that behind with all my work up
> till now.
>
> Did you loose all your photos when your notebook died during the 10
> month trip? What a horror.
>
> Someone suggested to me having an external hard drive, but also burning
> two copies of everything and FedExing one set back to the States
> periodically. Any thoughts on that possibility?
>
> -Ida
>
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 3, 2005 9:33:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <1104511181.860663.234720@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
idalake@gmail.com says...
> Alfred,
>
> All this information on storage and backup is very useful. I find that
> is the one thing that I have been asking photographers over and over
> again to get a feel for what system I should set up for storing all
> this information and protecting against crashes. How long have you had
> the Vosonic drive for? Is it holding up well for you? I have a Lacie
> 160GB drive, but I am going to leave that behind with all my work up
> till now.

I bought the Vosonic Xs Drive in July 2003. Works pretty well (have
never lost a photo) and now contains an 80 GB hard disk.

> Did you loose all your photos when your notebook died during the 10
> month trip? What a horror.

I lost a bit over two months of photos (since the last backup), but
fortunately I had copied the Nepal photos to my brothers conputer before
the crash.

> Someone suggested to me having an external hard drive, but also burning
> two copies of everything and FedExing one set back to the States
> periodically. Any thoughts on that possibility?

As I said I was travelling with a subnotebook, the Vosonic device and a
Lacie DVD burner - just to be on the safe side. Sending back copies of
burnt DVDs is an option, but it raises the cost.
--

Alfred Molon
------------------------------
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Olympus_405080/
Olympus 5060 resource - http://myolympus.org/5060/
Olympus 8080 resource - http://myolympus.org/8080/
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 15, 2005 5:53:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Phil Stripling" <phil_stripling@cieux.zzn.com> wrote in message
news:3q8y7i41mu.fsf@shell4.tdl.com...
> idalake@gmail.com writes:
>
> > 1. Discrete bags to carry my equipment
>
> I'll bet you want discreet bags. :-> One of my friends uses a diaper
> bag. It has an insulated compartment for such fluids as babies are wont to
> spit, er, drink, and which he uses for padding. It has a diaper changing
> shelf which he uses for changing film and lenses when otherwise he'd be on
> the ground. He's confident that no one has have stolen a diaper bag.
>
> I use khaki-colored Domke bags and a Lowe Pro backpack, which don't scream
> photo gear. Many less well off persons travel with all their clothes in
> backpacks, and no one seems to notice my pack has camera stuff in it. At
> this stage in its career, its worn and scuffed and dirty on the outside.
>
> > 2. Insurance
>
> Check your home owner's insurance if you have any. That company can likely
> provide adequate coverage at the best rate, since they already have your
> business. Otherwise, I'd check photo.net and pdnonline.com for
> recommendations.
>
> > 3. General 'extreme condition' travel advice for digital photography
>
> High humidity can be an issue. I don't know how well-sealed the D-70
> is. Bring plastic bags to put over your gear that will be out in the
> rain. If you stay in an airconditioned room, get everything out and open
up
> stuff to the extent possible to let the AC dehumidify your gear.

BAD BAD IDEA! The changes in humidity and temperature from hot to less hot
(never had a 3rd world AC in the back country actually work. Usually only a
fan in the room) can actually invoke internal condensation in areas you may
not be able to get to espacially inside the camera body. (Gunk up the works)

Suggest you invest in some heavy duty underwater camera bags and use silica
gell packs to fret out moisture. I would suggest you go a Google search for
"underwater camera cases". You'll find flexable cases made to work with just
about any camera.

As far as taking a computer along, depends on what you want it for. Could
you substitute a middle of the road PDA for what you want to do?

Good luck.
Walt
> Bring lens cleaning stuff, brushes, lens tissue, lens fluid.
>
> Find out voltages and socket sizes so you can bring plug converters --
> voltage converters _generally_ aren't necessary, as most appliances will
> take 110 and 220, but check your bricks and confirm this. See
> http://www.cieux.com/fwiConnection.html
> for links to resources for converters, telephone adapters, voltges, and
> such (it's near the middle of the page -- just scroll down past the French
> West Indies stuff) for the section "Staying Online Abroad."
>
> http://www.cieux.com/portal.html
> has links to an online calendar, currency conversions, how to place an
> international call from any location, flight status, Zotophoto (upload a
> digital photo via the web from where ever you are, and have it mailed as a
> postcard in the US -- not free, but cheap), weather (just enter the city),
> and more.
>
> http://www.cieux.com/adventureKits.html
> for links to first aid kits, overseas medical insurance (including
> medivac), trip insurance, and war, health, and disease reports. Emergency
> telephone numbers which can be used where you're traveling. Oh, yeah --
and
> training in first aid.
>
> >
> > I will be focusing on people more than nature photography. I will be
> > going off the beaten path, traveling in chicken buses, and staying in
> > places where I am the only white person.
>
> sigh With that perspective, you're going to cause yourself more problems
> than you know. When I look up Ugly American in my dictionary, is that your
> photo there? You _are_ American, right?
>
> > What kind of unforeseen
> > problems might I run into with my camera and do you have any creative
> > solutions for them?
>
> It's not your camera that's going to get you into trouble, hon. And I have
> no creative solutions for your real problem.
>
> --
> Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
> The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email from this URL
> http://www.cieux.com/ | http://www.civex.com/ is read daily.
January 18, 2005 12:53:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Walt" <williamesw@NOSPAMearthlink.net> wrote in
news:28aGd.7095$KJ2.2216@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net:

>> rain. If you stay in an airconditioned room, get everything
>> out and open up stuff to the extent possible to let the
>> AC dehumidify your gear.
>
> BAD BAD IDEA! The changes in humidity and temperature from hot to less
> hot (never had a 3rd world AC in the back country actually work.
> Usually only a
>

Just don't use the AC then. Once the stuff is at RH leave it there. Or. Um.
Do it gradually.

Bob

--
Delete the inverse SPAM to reply
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