Galapagos and Jungle--Tripod and other tips?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by john_watson, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Going to Galapagos with a jungle excursion in February. Have a second Nikon body and good lens selection I think: 18-105 VR, 70-300VR, and a 12-24.
    Thom Hogan's article essentially says that a tripod is more trouble that it is worth in Galapagos--but would be nice in jungle I think.
    If you were me, would you bother to take one? what else should I bring?

    Thanks in advance for your help
  2. I would not take a tripod. I was there in May and you will not have much time to set it up and in most cases you really will not need it. I took a 5D2 with a 24-105 and 70-200. I found I used the 70-200 for most of the trip. I would ( and did ) take an underwater P/S. I had a lot of fun shooting underwater on many of the snorkeling tours.
    I left my 40D at home and I kinda regretted it. I would have been perfect keeping 1 lens on each camera but there is only so much I am willing to carry and it gets pretty hot on some of the tours.
    Its an amazing trip. I took over 1000 photos while I was there, If you look in my photo gallery you can see some of my shots from Galapagos.

    Good luck
  3. Underwater bag housing and a rain cover.
    I've never been to the Galapagos, but based on reported terrain, I'd say bring those.
    I used an underwater bag housing in a tidal pool on the California coast some weeks ago. I'd recommend one for any amphibious camera use. I know some people don't like them for serious diving, but I've had some small adventures using one in streams and on the seashore. They make a version for the autofocus cameras. I'd say go for it.
    I also use a $50 nylon fitted raincover from Tenba, for those other times when a full underwater housing is not called for, but when there's wetness around. These are not for underwater use; they're basically a rain jacket for the camera, and more importantly, the lens assembly. I noticed a dramatic decrease in corrosion problems after I started using this; I hadn't much in the past because I had tried common plastic bags, and didn't like them. The nylon fabric rain covers are great. I keep one handy all the time now.
    If you have any kind of barrel twist when your lens assembly zooms or focuses, keep that distance in mind when choosing a rain cover. I make most use out of my 18" and 14" covers, with the 18" getting the most play.
    I use an EWA Marine UF (1970s style) for my manual film cameras. Keep in mind, underwater bag housings will have a tight fit, and can be restrictive. I can only fit a small lens in mine because of the Z-axis measurements. Look carefully at the measurements chart (it'll be a blue and white cartoon in the bag housing ad, with measurements in millimeters), and take a ruler to your stuff; it'd be easy to guess incorrectly by an inch, and you don't want to do that. The Tenba rain covers offer much more variety in utility, but are not for immersing the camera.
    I have used that bag housing for amphibious use of the camera so many times in the past few months, I've gotten my money back out of it. I'm not Jacques Cousteau or anything, but, I've had a good time, and gotten a fair amount of utility from mine. Spent three weeks in freshwater streams, several days a week, solely with that rig. Used it in a creek coming out of a cave one time. Flew it with me to see the ocean. It has worked great every time, and has needed only basic maintenance with a fresh water rinse, air dry, and soft cloth wipe-down.
    It's one of those products I wish I had gotten 20 years ago. EWA Marine underwater bag housing. I'm a devoted fan.
    If that thing doesn't meet your needs, then you need to fork out for a scuba diver's kit, which would involve rebuilding or duplicating the whole camera rig from scratch, but for underwater use. Some folks might not think that amphibious use of the camera is serious or worth it, but I have learned it's mighty interesting. Photographing in just a few feet of water can teach you the basics all over again. Underwater photography with the most basic equipment can be a real challenge. I have loved it so far.
    The rain covers also decreased the amount of maintenance I needed to do for general mud and dirt; but, they won't completely eliminate everything. You'll still want those daily brush-downs and clean-ups.
    If I were headed out there, I know I would pack those two items: bag housing and rain covers. Even if it was not raining.
  4. I forgot to mention as a safely measure I picked up some Kayak bags that worked really well for the small boats that take you in. I also used them to help against the condensation from inside the boat to the hot outdoors.
  5. Definitely take the 12-24mm - it can give you some imges that differ from what everybody else brings from Galapagos. The animals are so close to you that you can easily use the wide angle to include their surroundings.Some landscapes on Galapagos also call for a wide angle, but keep in mind your options with the animals there.
    Here is an (admittedly not the highest quality) example of what can be done with 12-24:
  6. I've been to the Galapagos a couple of times. I would take the tripod. Most of your photography will be done on a tour on a defined trail with a guide who will want you not to tarry too long in one place. However, there will be times, like the one above, where you either want to take a landscape shot, or include an animal in the foreground - needing a smaller aperture and slow shutter speed. With luck you will be able to have some time near sunrise or sunset (don't forget, sunrise is about 6 and sunset is about 6 on the equator) and will want good support for these times. Trips to shore are on pangas, which are pretty dry, but you should protect your gear in plastic bags or something water resistant/proof. I've been to Manu in the rain forest once. You will want a tripod here for the low light situations.

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