160814 Road Trip III - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

This is what I took with me on my weekend trip to northern Ontario.

The recording gear was my Nikon D800 with the Sigma 35/1.4 Art and Nikon 60mm Micro lenses, Ricoh GR, Nikon A-IR, Olympus Stylus 1s, and Sony PCM-D50 audio recorder. And yes, I've taped over the logos on the D800, which fools nobody, but it does stop the flash from deploying when I don't want it to.

Support gear was my new Pedco Ultrapod II, phone, tablet, booster battery, GPS logger, USB charger and cables; 1L plastic water bottle, travel towel, cleaning cloths, a spare battery for each Nikon, and a pair of spares for the Ricoh. There was also my right-angle single AA Zebralight flood flashlight, and my new Pelican 3xAA 3310PL light that I will soon write a proper review of.

This was somewhat excessive for my Think Tank Retrospective 7.

It all fit, but was somewhat impossible to work out of. I solved this by not carrying what I knew I wouldn't use; the D800 didn't come for the trip in the little aluminum boat, and the audio recorder didn't come for a hike in the woods. This was manageable, but the situation was complex.


It's still too early to know which camera will score the highest keeper rate, but I used all of them, and would have missed any of the ones I didn't bring. The GR was a great small camera that got a little use for long exposures, the Stylus provided some long-lens shots, the AIR cuts through the blue haze of distance from an airplane window like no visible-light camera can. And the D800 was the D800: big, heavy, and what I used when I wanted a camera that I never needed to think about. I did miss the Fuji XT10, but I just didn't have enough batteries for it be my primary camera, and as expected I couldn't recharge along the way.

Power management for my iThings wasn't as hard as I was worried it would be. While the booster battery doesn't work as well as I wanted it to, I also didn't need it as much as I expected. The GPS worked perfectly, when I remembered to turn it on, and now I can see where I took each photo both within Lightroom and in the photo gallery that I posted to share with the family. I can even go through mapping programs and see the exact routes of each part of the trip, and even recreate the speed we were travelling. Neat stuff, and something that I am going to get a lot of use out of in the future.

I only slept for four hours on my night on the road, and spent the rest of the time taking photos and recording sound in the very dark night through to the dawn. Some of that may eventually surface here, but what was more interesting was my flashlight situation. The Pelican 3310 was perfect to have with me in case of emergencies, which never arose but might have. Camp- and camera-button-navigation was done with the little Zebralight on one of its lowest settings, and its even lower setting had it serve as a nightlight in a mediocre hotel bathroom.


Beyond being a great trip in and of itself, this was also an opportunity to learn more about long-range car trips, which I've never done before. So everything I brought was auditioning for a possible longer trip this fall.

I will definitely use the Retrospective 7 as my car bag again. My phone will go in one end pocket, the Mophie battery and charging cables will go in the back pocket, my Pelican light is a perfect fit for the other end pocket, where its glow-in-the-dark self makes my bag easy to find at night. My little Zebralight and Bad Elf GPS will both live on tethers in the front pocket, where they can safely share space with the ultrapod, plastic water bag, and small travel towel. Since I won't be a major force for navigation my iPad will stay home, and I won't bother bringing the 12V car charger with me. I'm essentially happy with my support equipment. And the Sony D50 audio recorder is definitely coming along for the ride.

As for the camera equipment: no clue. I do know that I won't pack nearly as densely as I did last time, but somehow the practice of simplicity eludes me. This remains an ongoing problem.


Powered by SmugMug Log In