Leaving in 12 days...my heart is starting to race...

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Aug 23rd, 2005, 01:17 PM
  #81
 
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I have to smile every time I read one of your updates.

I can't remember how strict your airline is with carry on weight but be prepared to split it up with your wife and put stuff in your pockets to be able to carry it all on.

Don't delete any of your photos until you get home. You haven't played with Photoshop yet and it's pretty amazing. (out of focus ones can't be fixed)

Have a great trip and good luck with your images!


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Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:10 PM
  #82
 
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Hi Rocco,

I know you hope you're done shopping, but have you got one of those camera vests Phil recommended? It may be the only way you're going to get all of your stuff past the check-in, particularly on your first leg since it's economy.

One of the bad things about Virgin is that the first thing they do when you check in is weigh your carry-on, and they're very strict about the weight limits (at least in London -- hopefully they will be more lenient in LA). On the other hand, I think your stuff may exceed even the Upper Class limits...

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:16 PM
  #83
 
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magellans has a jacket with 31 hidden pockets...i think you would look like the michelin man but better than checking in your luggage!
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:05 PM
  #84
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Michael,

Memorizing the camera gear is really no big deal. It took me a little while to understand the significance of f/stops, but once I realized the importance, I think it is important to state. Otherwise, why on Earth would I bring along a 70-200mm lens when I already am bringing an 80-400mm lens?

Also, why would I bring along my until now unappreciated Sony F707 38mm - 190mm point and shoot camera, especially when it is limited to 5 Mega Pixel when I already have all the other gear. The answer, of course, is because at f/2.0 - 2.4 it will probably take superior pictures up to 112mm (112mm being the true shortest zoom of my 70-200mm lens) than my Canon 17-85mm f/4.0 - 5.6 I.S. will take.

The Canon 17-85mm IS lens will be reserved mostly for landscape shots where I want to get as wide as possible.

The weight issue is starting to scare me, and as the others suggested, I may have to consider a photo vest. I am just wondering what I could possibly fit in the photo vest. For the Fodorites who recommended a photo vest, do you think it would be possible to get the following into the vest:

1. Binocluars (8 x 30, weight is 18 ounces)
2. Canon 17-85mm lens (weight is 16.8 ounces)
3. Sony F707 (weight = 18 ounces)
4. Sigma 1.4x teleconvertor (weight is about 8 ounces, but I would want to have it with me)
5. Canon Dual Battery Charger (only about 6 ounces but need to keep my Tamrac 777 as light as possible)
6. Sony Dual Battery Charger (same as Canon)

What else could I possibly want to carry that I will not want packed away in a suitcase.

Also, am I still able to lock my suitcase or due to security restrictions, am I prohibited from having locked luggage.

If I can pack it away, I would gladly pack away my heaviest lens, the Sigma 80-400mm lens weighing in at 58 ounces.
If the luggage was delayed, I would have some problems, but at least I would still have the Sigma 70-200mm lens and the 1.4x teleconvertor, getting me up to 448mm at f/4.0.

I would also pack away, if it were not a risk, one of my Canon 20d bodies, as well as my monopod and ballhead, further reducing my carry-on weight. I doubt that the airline would allow me to carry on the ballhead as it is about a 2-3 pound piece of metal that I could with my McGyver like talents make into a cruise missile. (That is a joke, big brother)

Well, I have been successfully scared with the weight concern, but that is a good thing. Now, like a prize fighter, I will have to weigh everything over and over.

My wife will be carrying the laptop computer but will be very hard to persuade to carry any of my items heavier than the battery chargers and a few batteries and CF cards.

Let me get this straight now...if my checked in luggage is overweight, I am charged an additional fee, but under no circumstances if my carry-on luggage is weighed will I be allowed to carry it on, even if I am willing to pay an extra fee? Wow, this is really complicated to my past visits when all I carried were too many magazines and books as carry-on. Now, I don't even want to bring a book heavier than the instructions for my Canon 20d!
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 08:17 PM
  #85
 
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Rocco, it looks like I'm here in time to say bon voyage! Your itinerary sounds wonderful and you've got some great camera eqt now to bring home the memories. When we went to Africa for some reason I ended up buying fishing jackets from a sporting goods store. The sleeves unzip and then you have a photo vest with plenty of pockets. I think I went this way so I could have sleeves for the morning drives. Lots of pockets but if you don't have enough you can add a "fanny pack" type of photo eqt holder sold at most photo stores (Freestyle on Sunset may have them).
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 11:34 PM
  #86
mv
 
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Rocco

I do not understand why you would bother bringing the Sony F707 (not that there is anything bad about the camera). You are saying it is because it has f2-2,4 vs your Canon 15-85 f4-5,6.
The Sony does not give you an advantage in low light. Yes it has a HIgher f stop but the Canon has Image stabilisation giving you the equivalent of 2-3 stops. The Canon 20d will work perfectly at 1600 ISO whereas I doubt that the Sony will be ok at more than 200. This is equivalent to a difference of another 3 f stops. In total the Canon will beat the Sony by about 4 f stops of light!!!!.
The only other reason would be if you truly needed the f2,0 to get a really shallow depth of field. This is not likely to be the case since for wideangle shots and landscapes you often need high depth of field!
On a more complicated matter the Sony has a much smaller sensor than the Canon. This will typically give more depth of field. I am not familiar with the sensor size of the Sony but I would not be surprised if the depth of field are more or less the same for the Sony at f2 as it is for the Canon at f4.
To sum it up: leave the Sony at home and concentrate on the Canon
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Aug 24th, 2005, 12:32 AM
  #87
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mv,

Thanks for the feedback. The only reason, now, for taking the Sony F707 would be for the video recording function of the camera.

While the video recording capabilities are not the best, at least it prevents me from buying yet something else.

However, it will all come down to the weight. If I am really hurting on the weight issue, then I may be forced to leave the Sony F707 behind to save the two pounds that it and its accessories will weigh.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 01:07 AM
  #88
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(Did I mention???)

SIX MORE DAYS!!!

Total insomnia has taken over but it did cause me to pass out for 9 straight hours last night, the most I have probably slept in a year.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 01:10 AM
  #89
 
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Michael,
Thanks for the recommendation, will definitely have to try it some time.
We'll probably opt for Gerrard's Corner which is where I usually go for Dim Sum. It's menu order rather than trolley service as I prefer ordering exactly what I want and having it brought directly to the table than picking almost randomly off a trolley that's been doing the rounds...
Their stuff is always wonderfully fresh and flavoured and there are always many, many Asian diners - it seems popular with London's Chinese community.
I'm a bit nervous because Julian's grown up with dim sum but hopefully he'll enjoy it too.
Rocco, Julian - let's meet at Gerrard's Corner (on Gerrard Street/ Wardour Street corner) at 3.30 - I'll book a table under name of KAVITA.
See you there!
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Aug 24th, 2005, 01:24 AM
  #90
 
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Hi Rocco,

Re weight allowance on Virgin: if your carry-on is overweight, they will ask you to re-pack it and take some stuff out until it is under the weight limit (it will be re-weighed). Once it has passed this test, it will get a little tag affixed to it (if it doesn't have this tag, it won't be allowed on the plane).

However, there is nothing stopping you from putting a lot of heavy stuff in your vest/coat pockets for the weigh-in, and sticking it back in the bag once you have passed the test. I've done this a few times, and since the bag has the tag it passes.

However, you're not entirely out of the woods yet -- if the plane is full and your bag looks very bulky, they may yet require you to check it when you get to the door to board. Board early!

The amount of stuff that will fit in your vest depends on size rather than weight -- how large are the pockets? The best way to do this (I know, I know, you don't want to do any more shopping, but you may have to) is to bring the stuff and go to a place which carries the vest and see how much you can stuff in it. Then weigh it. This will give you a good idea how much 'weight' the vest can hold.

You can lock your suitcase if you have one of the TSA-certified locks which enables the security screeners to check inside your suitcase if anything looks suspicious. Actually, you can lock it even if you don't have a TSA lock, but then you risk having it cut off/your baggage damaged if they decide to look inside. The zippers on my bag were pretty seriously mangled when I used an un-approved lock (this was back when they didn't have them available in the UK, so I didn't have a choice). Fortunately the mangling took place on the homeward bound leg of the trip, as the zippers are pretty useless now.

See if you can persuade your wife to (officially) carry some more of your stuff. It only has to be hers for the weigh-in -- once the bags are weighed and 'passed' tags attached, you can take it back. Since she has a laptop, they will allow a bit more weight (around 8kg rather than 6kg in coach).

Personally, I would not pack anything of great value in your suitcase -- things do get stolen, and while most thieves probably wouldn't recognise a Canon 20D body if someone hit them with one it's not really a chance you want to take. I would pack the ball head, though.

Good luck with the rest of your prep -- look forward to seeing you in London!

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 24th, 2005, 02:00 AM
  #91
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Julian,

Thanks for the explicit info regarding the baggage weighing procedure.

Looks like I will be very busy these next few days now that I must add photo vest and approved luggage locks to my list.

I finally knocked out two crucial items.

I bought travel insurance, mostly for trip interruption ($10,000 pp) but also for medical coverage ($100,000 pp) as well as coverage for other items I deemed less important. Bought it through www.insuremytrip.com so now I have both travel insurance and a separate medical evacuation insurance (www.medjetassistance.com)

Wow...if any tour operator had to go through the hell of providing me with all these services, they would surely charge me double the rack rates. THIS IS HARD WORK!

Also, I just bought my Joburg - Cape Town - Nelspruit - Joburg flights. While I would have been able to save $100 per person if I included a Kulula flight, I did not want to complicate matters further so did the entire thing with South African Airways. Cost was $750 pp, a little more than I was originally expecting.

On deck in a few hours, a dreaded trip into West L.A. for my passport. Had to make a trip to the Hall Of Records today for a certified copy of my birth certificate and then a trip all the way down to Laguna Niguel (50 miles from my office, 65 miles from my home) to pick up a copy of my wife's birth certificate from my in-laws, since she was born in Illinois. Luckily they had a certified copy or else we would have some major problems.

By far this has been the most complicated holiday yet. Why?

1. DSLR Photography (as if it has not been difficult enough to acquire all the equipment I deemed necessary that I could afford, but now the weight limitations are really messing with me)
2. Lost Passport
3. Going back to dealing with a tour operator rather than doing a self booking as I did last year. Not so bad dealing with a tour operator as it is also booking half of the stuff myself...just seems like double work.

Once I have the passports out of the way, I will breathe a brief sigh of relief, but then comes the packing and the planning to get around the weight limitations. I will probably not be able to be clear of mind until I actually board my light air transfer to Lower Zambezi. Once I am there, only then will the fun begin.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 02:34 AM
  #92
 
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Hi Rocco,

I thought this was the traditional DIY Rocco trip! Out of curiosity, what did you need the tour operator for? From your previous posts, your itinerary looks like something you could have booked on your own (unless you count having Barry help you with Puku Ridge as using a tour operator in the South Luangwa).

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 24th, 2005, 02:44 AM
  #93
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Actually I booked this trip at the beginning of the year with Taga Safaris. Yes, I am capable of doing it all myself, but since I was including Simbambili, I thought it was only right to book it through Taga Safaris, partially out of appreciation for the Leopards Of Simbambili series but also because the rates were competitive and allowed me to charge the whole itinerary with my American Express.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 01:29 PM
  #94
 
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Rocco

Your binoculars are too heavy! My 10*42's are only 7 ounces. Got any money left ;-)
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Aug 24th, 2005, 02:37 PM
  #95
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napamatt,

Brother, can you spare a dime?

I will not be buying more binoculars...these will just have to do. I didn't personally weigh them but I looked up their specifications online.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 09:08 PM
  #96
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Please help...

Would the following photo vest do the trick for me to lighten my carry on by possibly 6 or 7 pounds if I stuck the 80-400mm lens and maybe a few other items away in this vest?

http://www.lapolicegear.com/saphve.html

The price seems very reasonable, and from their area code, I am guessing that it is located within about 35 miles from my home so I could pick it up if I did not want to pay $30 for 2 day air, which is grossly inflated (I only paid $11.95 for my Canon 20d from Beach Camera to be shipped from New York to Los Angeles and it arrived the next day).

If there are some better options out there, please let me know ASAP as I must order this vest by no later than tomorrow morning. Thanks.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 04:57 AM
  #97
 
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Try www.shushans.com for the travel/photography vest. I got this vest a couple of years ago and couldn't travel any more without it. I don't have as much photography equipment as you do, but there are lots of pockets for your stuff and it might fit your needs.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 05:03 AM
  #98
 
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I just looked at the website you mention, lapolicegear and the vest is identical to the one I got at shushans, only much cheaper - GET IT!!!
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Aug 25th, 2005, 05:50 AM
  #99
 
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Hi Rocco,

Looks like a nice vest, though only your smaller lenses are likely to fit in the pockets. The binoculars should do.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:11 AM
  #100
 
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why not have your secretary or someone meet you at the airport, hold all your lenses until they tag your bag for carryon then put it back in the bag, when boarding act like it is light. just a thought...
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