Photographic Equipment and Excursions

Apr 3rd, 2013, 08:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Photographic Equipment and Excursions

We are taking our first trip to Alaska in June with 5 day land package (Denali/McKinley) before the 7 day cruise south to Vancouver. I have a large camera backpack that holds
a DSLR, 3 lenses and a flash. It is heavy but I don't mind the extra weight. Still I wonder about excursions to glaciers, flyovers, whale watching, etc.and schlepping the big bag with me in wet conditions vs. getting a high end point and shoot and leaving the big camera at home or back on the ship. Has any other amateur photog taken the big bag only to regret not traveling lighter?
Explorer1946 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 03:55 AM
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Only you know your style and if you will regret not having the big camera. That said, for a short trip, I would get the small one that will fit into a pocket and not have to worry about when out in the elements even if I took the big one. We did have several days with very wet weather when we were there, but that is not what everyone sees.

I'm paranoid enough to worry about the very expensive camera equipment getting stolen, "lost", or damaged on this type of a trip. I'd leave the big one at home, but I'm a carry on only if I can type of traveler.
emalloy is online now  
Apr 4th, 2013, 04:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 263
My husband went through the same dilemma you are facing when we went last summer - and ended up taking the 'Big Boy' or Junior, as we lovingly call the fully-packed bag. He wasn't sorry since the rules are a little different in Denali from other NPs. Where in Yellowstone, etc you can get out to take animal shots, in Denali there is a strict 'no one off the bus' rule - so you are limited to what you can get out the bus windows. In fact, there were several times he was (gently) reminded that the lens was not to stick out the window! Their reasoning makes sense and seems to work - but they will explain all that to you on the ride.
That said, when we went out on boats to glaciers, walk-abouts, in small planes, etc he chose what lens he expected to want, stuck another in his pocket and off he went. It did rain on us much of the time we were in SE Alaska and on the glacier tours - you might want to look into a 'raincoat' (yes, they make them!) or just take several large ziplock bags and sturdy rubberbands and improvise to protect the camera.
I did have a decent point-and-shoot but honestly was quite happy to let him take the photos. He got some amazing shots and we had a very special trip. Can't wait to go back!
As far as damaging or losing any of his equipment, his comment is always "That's what insurance is for - and then I get an upgrade!"
He did download and back-up his pics each night so if anything was lost, it wasn't pics of the entire trip...
You will have a wonderful trip! Relax and enjoy!
ausc59 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 04:43 AM
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Why can't youe lens stick out the window?
Myer is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 04:57 AM
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In Denali, the no lens out the window rule might be for the tours run by the concessions run for a cruise lines, but the National Park service has busses that you can get off and hike along the way. You would have to take the camera as you would be getting on a different bus (when there is room) to continue the trip.

We were on one of the concession busses and could only get off at specific stops along the route, mostly where there were toilets. Probably that was because we had to get back at a specific time to meet the train.
emalloy is online now  
Apr 4th, 2013, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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You can get off to hike, yes, but not for animal sightings - their premise is that the animals are used to the sounds of the buses but not the sounds of people so they aren't skittish and run off when they hear the buses come by - thus they don't want anything to 'distract' the wildlife by seeming 'alien' to the standard bus noise - voices thru windows, lens sticking out, etc. The other reason was the avoid the situations in parks such as Yosemite where the animals associate people with food, etc so they are trying to limit the amount of people/wildlife interaction - seems extreme I know but when you are there you play by their rules.
He managed to prop his largest lens up on the opened window to steady it and they were fine with that.
We went into the park on both the Park Service buses and on a private lodgings bus - the rules were the same on both. We weren't on any of the buses run by the cruise lines but all the buses, regardless of source, were limited to get-out stops at specific visitor areas. The attitude there is 'protect the park first' - not necessarily a bad one, IMO.
ausc59 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I carried the big bag, and I'm glad I did. I know one can get excellent pictures with some of the compact cameras, but I do better with the DSLR, and I would have been sorry to miss out.

I bought one of those plastic bag like covers, (this one: )
in case I wanted to use the camera in wet weather, but did not end up using it at all. But then, we were pretty lucky and didn't get much rain.
china_cat is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Thanks. Lots of good advice. I decided to bring the Big Bag but may shop for a second camera body so I always have both wide angle
and telephoto ready to go. And thanks for the tip on the rain coat for the camera. Great idea!
Explorer1946 is offline  
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