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1. Digital Capture – The multitude of available methods of archiving digital images during the capture process, and later as a download in the field, makes it virtually impossible to designate what to bring. We would, however, recommend that flash cards, or whatever storage media you choose, with ample space (1 GB or more) be used, and that some sort of device be carried that allows for download of the images in the field, or additional cards be carried if download is planned for the evening in the lodge. If you want to have some of your images critiqued during the workshop, you will also need to bring a laptop capable of viewing the images (as possible, not interfering with the other participants’ workshop experience, we will look at a few images once or twice).
2. Camera gear, including a good tripod, your camera manual (please read the manual and be very familiar with how your camera works prior to attending so we can concentrate on techniques needed to make better images, and please always keep you camera manual with you in your camera bag while at the workshop), extra camera batteries, cable release, circular polarizer for each lens you intend to use, split neutral density filter (you can purchase Cokin split gray #120 and/or #121 – if buying only one, buy the #120 – in the “P” size for about $15 each and they will drastically improve your sunrise and sunset images. You will not need the mounting equipment that stores will try to sell you to go with the Cokin filters. If you prefer top of the line, Singh Ray makes 2 stop and 3 stop split neutral density filters selling for about $100 each. If buying the Singh Ray filters, we would recommend the 2 stop soft first, the 3 stop hard next, the 2 stop hard next and the 3 stop soft next, in that order, for however many you decide to purchase.
An alternative to the spilt neutral density filter is High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques. This procedure involves shooting a wide bracket of exposures for high contrast images. The HDR software will then combine the bracketed images taking properly exposed areas from separate images to make an overall properly exposed composite.
3. Large water bottle that can be refilled (if your workshop is at higher elevations than where you live, you should start drinking lots of water a few days prior to arrival to help acclimate yourself).
4. Hiking boots/shoes (an extra pair of hiking boots or comfortable walking shoes is probably a good idea in case your primary pair gets wet).
5. Flashlight, alarm clock (wake-up calls will not always be available and are not always reliable).
6. Sunscreen, bug juice, cap, rain gear, gloves (see additional comments regarding weather below). Something to protect your camera if it rains (small trash bags or shower caps generally work).
7. If your workshop is anyplace out of the country, including Mexico or Canada, a passport is now required at the border.
8. Our focus will be making images at all times of the day, not on eating. If you normally need food at specific times of the day, be prepared to bring something with you during the day to get you by (i.e., consider bringing peanut butter and bread, snack bars, or whatever else you may need). We will often be shooting from sunrise through sunset, and we may be diverted from our itinerary because an unexpected weather condition or an animal offers an image-making opportunity that takes precedent. We will generally not plan a group outing for eating after shooting sunset.
9. 20 of your favorite images for critique (preferably digital captures or scans – they are easier for everyone to view – but bring prints if you don’t have digital images). This can be an important part of the learning experience and everyone attending should bring the images for critique. We are no longer carrying slide projectors, so slides will not work.
10. An open mind. This may be the most important item. Remember — you are coming to learn.
If you choose to ride with us for the workshops, PLEASE PACK LIGHTLY (you will only be there for 4-5 days) and USE ONLY SOFT-SIDED DUFFELS, trying to be prepared for any kind of weather (it can rain nearly anyplace at any time and it may be considerably cooler than you might expect, especially early or late in the day). The size of your luggage is important, especially if we will be traveling as a group during the workshop – there is only a minimum amount of room in the vans for luggage and camera gear, and large pieces of luggage may have to be checked at a motel or the airport. The best answer is to bring soft duffels. Most airlines are now allowing photographers to carry on their tripods again. This can be determined by the airport, however, and you should check with your carrier in advance. If you have to pack your tripod, taking the head off and wrapping it in bubble wrap will make it easier to pack.
We will also always send out a final details email just prior to each trip specifying additional location unique suggestions.