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keeping cameras dry on gorilla trek

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Sep 27th, 2013, 06:38 PM
  #1
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keeping cameras dry on gorilla trek

My husband and I are wondering how others have kept their cameras dry while trekking in Rwanda (since plastic bags are against the law).

My husband has an SLR, and I have a rather large point and shoot. He won't be using his big lens, but, the camera is still on the large side. How have other people kept their cameras dry--especially if the rain hits during the gorilla-viewing time?
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Sep 27th, 2013, 08:17 PM
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Take a look at allergy free pillow cases. Some I think are waterproof. For instance this one at Walmart - http://tinyurl.com/kne9e8w

FWIW, my Nikon D200 got wet while on safari couple years ago and shutdown. Not rained on, but was set down in a small seat patch of rain water. I was glad I had a D40 with me as a back up. Backups of anything important is important.

regards - tom
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Sep 28th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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I put mine in a large zip lock bag inside my backpack. It did rain for 2 hours while we were trekking and my camera was fine. This type of plastic bag is not a problem.
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Sep 28th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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While discussing this, would a 70-200mm lens be sufficient? I'm thinking my 100-400 would be overkill, plus heavy. Thanks.
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Sep 28th, 2013, 06:54 AM
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PS - lens question refers to gorilla trek
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Sep 28th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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sdb2 - you will get very close to the gorillas, so you should have no need for a 100-400 lens.
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Sep 28th, 2013, 09:53 AM
  #7
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The pillow case idea is a good one. Thank you. I don't think either of our cameras would fit in a ziploc bag. I do have a fairly decent water camera, but the quality of the pictures is not as good as those taken with my regular Canon.

Thanks for the answers. We will have to consider bringing backups. The puddle of water story just reinforces that.
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Sep 28th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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If not water then a thousand other things can go wrong. I've had a battery charger simply quick working. A safari or so back a lady from Texas forgot to bring her battery charger. I did not have proper one but by using "alligator clip leads" I was able to charge her Canon battery using my Nikon charger. My kit bag of spare everything weighs almost as much as my camera only bag!!

One of the joys of safari for me is trying for great photos. If my only camera failed, I would be most despondent. If both of you are shooting, for sure have a back up.

regards - tom
ps - FWIW, here's a link to a few photos from that D200 failure safari, happened in Ngorongoro Crater, 3/4 into safari. http://tinyurl.com/bwze4ww
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Sep 28th, 2013, 05:27 PM
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Thanks, Cateyes555!
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Sep 29th, 2013, 04:06 AM
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Speaking of stuff in your backpack in general getting wet…. I sprayed my backpack with Scotch Guard (and my hiking boots) before I left home. I also hired a porter (PLEASE PLEASE DO THIS - THEY NEED THE WORK AND THEY ARE SO HELPFUL) - they will put your backpack under their rainproof jacket if it's raining. So even though we had 2 hours of rain, my backpack itself didn't really even get wet.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 09:38 AM
  #11
 
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As above - always have a backup camera/s* and its' appropriate batteries/charger. I never travel with only one (1) camera, regardless where visiting.

*even some of the small pocket size ones provide great pics if worse comes to worst.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 10:22 AM
  #12
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Tom--your pictures are amazing. Thank you for sharing. We are the same way about our picture-taking. If we couldn't take pictures, we would be very very sad.

We always have back ups. It's just that the back ups don't zoom as well. We'll have to think about that. It's tough with the weight limits to bring too much camera stuff!
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Sep 29th, 2013, 10:12 PM
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Thanks CG56.
I forgot to mention that the repair to my Nikon cost $300
(The DC-DC convertor had blown).

The airline weight limits I find tolerable, it's my handling of the weight that's my problem. Everything goes into a carry on bag and it weighs in at 30 lbs. But it's size is well within the airline limits so I'm never questioned. Except by TSA, I hate it when they want to see everything. Which reminds me, some foreign security is even tighter than TSA, in South Africa I could not carry on a 5 inch screwdrive!!! I took the little screwdriver back to the ticket agent and they gave me a small box for it to go in as checked baggage. And it did arrive ok in USA-LAX.

And you likely already know not to put anything that looks camera or electronic in checked luggage. "Lost" a Canon S60 doing that.

regard - tom
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Sep 30th, 2013, 04:29 AM
  #14
 
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Hi Caligirl56

I took a very heavy but waterproof backpack specifically for this part of our trip. Of course, it never rained, but had it rained, my camera would have been dry. If it is pouring rain for you hour, I have no idea what I would have done, but with light rain, I would have stuck it up my rain jacket.

In regards to lens, I used a 70-200. In some cases we were really close, in some others not that close but I felt the smaller lens did fine sdb2.

Kind regards
Kaye
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Sep 30th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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The SealLine Storm Sack Dry Bags are very lightweight and waterproof. I have used them for numerous trips where we stood in the rain for hours and my stuff always stays dry. I have a couple of sizes and will use one to carry the Mark IV and 500mm lens (which is a heavy combination) with no problems.

If it's raining while you are shooting, google "rainsleeves". They are about the same weight as a ziploc but are formed in the shape of the camera/lens. They are cheap enough to buy some just in case. If you want a serious rain cover, look at the ones made by Think Tank Photo, the Hydrophobia. That's what I have for my big lens and it has been excellent for shooting in the rain.

And I agree with the others, the 70-200 is a good choice. It can also be too much lens.

http://www.pbase.com/cjw/gorillas_in_rwanda_jan_2007
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Sep 30th, 2013, 01:11 PM
  #16
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I will look into the sealine storm sack dry bags. If they are lightweight that is just what we are looking for.

We are doing some flights in Tanzania afterwards, and I think the weight restrictions are really tight.
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Sep 30th, 2013, 01:11 PM
  #17
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sundowner--I can't believe that you got such amazing photos at 1/20 sec. Great job!
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Sep 30th, 2013, 08:45 PM
  #18
 
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caligirl, those bags are very lightweight. They are also good to keep the dust out of your cameras. And thanks - the light can be very tough gorillas.
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Oct 1st, 2013, 02:53 PM
  #19
 
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Think maybe I took a one gallon-size ziploc and also some kinda waterproof sack for the camera. I used a 55-300mm lens (not a great one). Most photos were taken in the 55-70mm range. The gorillas get pretty close.

http://www.pbase.com/leelygoes/image/126094198
http://www.pbase.com/leelygoes/image/126151260

I am no photographer, but I usually shoot manual. With the dappled sunlight/shade, cloudy/sunny/drizzly conditions and ever-moving gorillas, I did end up using the auto setting more than I thought I would. If one of you is the photographer, you might consider having the other one just shoot video.

Have a great trip! Rwanda is stunning!
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Oct 2nd, 2013, 04:45 AM
  #20
 
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Wow Cindy, your photos, as usual, are amazing!

I thought that my trip with my sister earlier in the year would be it for me, now I am not so sure!
Taking a niece over in January 2015 who has never been to Africa and we will be working at Care for Wild for three weeks then seriously thinking about the gorillas again. She would love it and more importantly, I would!
I see you had this trip in January - did you get much rain and was it really hot?
Kind regards
Kaye
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