As I write this, that song “Anticipation” is whirling around and around my head.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in any of my previous posts, but I am 5 days away from fulfilling one of my bucket list wishes.
The clothing part of my luggage is packed.
The bills are paid.
The Hold Mail order has been scheduled.
I’ll be handing over a set of keys to my home sitter.
And then, I’ll be hopping aboard a plane for the 7-1/2 hour flight to Anchorage, Alaska (I have an aisle seat, thank goodness), where I’ll have 2 days to tooley around on my own before meeting up with an organized photo tour for a 4-day stay at Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park to photograph the brown bears as they fish for migrating salmon. When that is done, I’ll have one more day to tour around Anchorage before heading back to southeast Texas. With my great powers of concentration (grin) I’m trying to will the days of this coming workweek to pass by as quickly as possible.
I know what camera gear I will be taking and I have a couple of bags for the gear (one will go into my suitcase while the other will be one of my carry-on bags). I’m a little anxious, though, about that main camera bag.
You see, I have rented a Canon 500mm f4L II lens for this trip. I’ll also be taking both of my camera bodies, my 24-70mm lens, 70-200mm lens, 100-400mm lens, and a last-minute rental of a 17-40mm lens.
Why the 17-40 and not my 16-35mm lens? Well, because I recently purchased a Singh-Ray 77mm Gold-N-Blue polarizing filter (they don’t make 82mm filters – go figure) and the only lenses I have that are 77mm are the telephoto lenses. I wanted to have a wide-angle lens on which I could use that filter for my landscape images, so I rented that 17-40.
Ok, anyway, because I knew I would be renting that big honkin’ 500mm lens, I purchased Lowepro’s Flipside 500 AW bag.
(Sorry about the image quality – I used my iPhone 4 camera to get this shot so you could see both camera bodies in the pack).
As you can see from the photo above, the backpack is not completely packed yet, but I have room for both rental lenses. The interior of the bag is 7” deep which is large enough to stack my telephoto and wide-angle lenses (ex. in the photo above, the telephoto lens on top is the 100-400 and beneath it, separated by a padded insert, is the 70-200). I *know* it’s gonna be a tight squeeze, but I am optimistic everything will fit. The proof of the pudding, though, will be when I receive the lenses, test their focus on my cameras, then pack them. And of course, I’ll be writing a post on my thoughts about this bag.
Aside from the 500mm lens being the main reason for the purchase, I also really like this backpack because of the nice, wide, padded belt strap and the fact that when I put that thing on, the pack balances *perfectly* on me! First time ever that a backpack loaded with gear has seated itself comfortably on my back and hips. Granted, this is minus the 7 lbs of the rental lens, but (and this could be optimism speaking) I feel confident that this pack will continue to fit just fine. It sure as hell better, since I’ll be using it to hike to and from the viewing platforms.
As mentioned above, this is not the only pack I am taking. You see, while at Brooks Lodge, I plan on renting a kayak for a couple of hours or so, and I wanted something “splash-proof” in which to pack a camera and lens while paddling (although I will probably have the camera around my neck most of the time on the lake).
Most of you know I share writing duties with another photographer in providing articles for a monthly photography column on the National Parks Traveler website. It’s called Photography In The National Parks and here is the link to my most recent article. If you do a search on that site for Rebecca L Latson, it will pull up everything I have written as well as photos posted that are credited to my name. The Traveler has a Facebook page too, in case you ever want to check it out, as well as a newsletter.
In the Traveler’s last newsletter was a sort of “pre gear review” by the site’s Editor-In-Chief, who wrote about two new Lowepro packs, one of which intrigued me mightily: the Dryzone DF 20L. It’s a small duffel bag that looks much like the waterproof packs I once used for a 9-day kayak trip in British Columbia some 18 years ago. I figured this bright yellow bag might be just the trick for a kayak trip (and a subsequent gear review from me).
As you can see, it fits in my small hardside suitcase (no, due to weight limits, I am not taking the Pink Monster with me for this trip). And, if need be, I can stuff a few other small incidentals into that yellow pack to fit into the suitcase.
Once my trip is finished, I’ll be publishing trip details, gear reviews and photos not only to my blog site but also to the National Parks Traveler site.