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Author Topic: Trip to Nepal  (Read 1907 times)


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Trip to Nepal
« on: January 27, 2008, 06:37:03 am »

I am planning on hiking in Nepal in 4 months.  Our group will employ sherpas.  Since it will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I want be sure that I have what is needed, but also want to travel light (a real dilemma).  Having no similar experience, I need help in several areas.

Presently, I have a small 7MP digital camera, and am awaiting delivery of a Nikon D3 (I know it's heavy) and would like to shoot digital.  I have Nikon 70-200mm, 17-35mm, 24-85mm, and 50mm lenses with my existing F100.  My old FM2 needs to be rebuilt, as the shutter has locked up.  I have a Gitzo GT1530 tripod and a circular polarizing filter.

What lenses, filters (graduated, etc.), bags, straps, protective gear, and other tools do you suggest, even if they differ from what I have?  I would also appreciate any general suggestions (since I have probably not asked all of the right questions), including thoughts on the effects of climate and altitude on such equipment and texts to read.  I have never focused on landscapes before and would like to improve the odds of taking good pictures.  I won't get another chance.


« Last Edit: January 27, 2008, 06:39:25 am by waynefcollier »


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Trip to Nepal
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 11:25:09 am »

One great thing about trekking in Nepal is the availability of porters at a very reasonable price. Last time I was there I was paying $8 a day for a porter. Sometimes $10 with part of that going to the organiser. Consequently, the only weight issues for me were the weight of the cameras around my neck and the weight of the extra flab around my frame which I found tiring to lug up those many hills.

I used to joke with one porter who was very slim and lightweight and would always streak ahead despite carrying a 30Kg backpack, that even with his backpack he was not carrying as great load as me. On the two occasions I've been trekking in Nepal recently, I've lost 10Kg as a result of mild altitude sickness, which puts you off your food, as a result of day long exercise every day and as a result of the food in general not being all that tasty   .

As regards choice of cameras, I found the scenery alternated between huge vistas that required a really wide angle lens, and interesting people one would suddenly meet on the walking track, perhaps a Tibetan horseman coming round the corner at full gallop. Changing lenses from wide angle to telephoto I found too impractical. You miss the shot. Therefore I carried two cameras around my neck, with the strap on one shortened and the strap on the other lengthened so the cameras did not clash as I walked.

On my last trip over a year ago, I used the 5D with Sigma 15-30 and 20D with 24-105 giving me an effective reach of 15-165mm with a slight gap.

Most places I visited had electricity although there were frequent and sometimes prolonged power cuts (like for a few days). I never found that the altitude affected my equipment but I never went much beyond 3,000 metres.

If you're climbing Mt Everest, I can't offer much advice   .


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Trip to Nepal
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2008, 12:38:31 pm »

The great thing about porters is that you only carry a daypack, a small water bottle, a jacket, toque, and camera gear. I did the trek to Everest basecamp from Lukla in about 10 days. I carried my Elan IIE, a Lowepro chest harness, my Canon 20mm 2.8, a Canon 28-70 2.8, and (gulp) my Canon 70-200 2.8. I kept polarizing filters on both longer lenses, and I carried 70 rolls of film, a few extra batteries. I had a tiny tripod, used occasionally. I often used my on-camera flash for catchlights/daytime fill. If I didn't have on-camera flash I would have brought my 550EX. I used a Lowepro allweather drybag backpack. Not once did my camera gear leave my side -- remember that when you are resting on a Thai beach after the trip.

If you are going digital, you will need a battery charger device and some kind of backup, like a portable hard drive/Wolverine, and lots of cards. Power is available most of the way, but you may have to pay a few rupees to use it.

The mix of chest harness and backpack served me well, and I was overall really happy with the trip. The long fast lens was heavy, but for my use it was worth it. Actually the biggest error I made was to bring hiking boots, which were rarely used and mostly were carried by the porters up and down (they wore flip-flops or runners). Were I to do it again, I might leave the 70-200 and take an extra flash.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2008, 12:42:04 pm by daveman »
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