How Not To Pack Gear
For our 15th year company outing, we were headed off to beautiful Dos Palmas Beach Resort and Spa in Palawan. And my camera gear couldn’t have been more ready. The timing was excellent: the 18-135mm lenses that I bought used from a friend as well as the MB-D200 Battery Grip was hand-delivered from Japan just the day before our outing, as well as a DicaPac WP-S10 DSLR underwater pack I had ordered and delivered to my office.
Here is the official list of gear I brought with me:
- Nikon D200
- Nikon MB-D200 battery grip
- Nikon SB-600 Flash
- 18-135mm lens
- 28-85mm lens
- 70-300 lens
- DicaPac WP-S10 Underwater DSLR pack
- Cokin P-series filter holder
- Cokin 58mm adapter ring
- Cokin 62mm adapter ring
- Cokin Circular Polarizer
- Cokin 81B filter
- Cokin Gradual Grey filter
- Slik Able-300EX Tripod
- Kohjinsha SH6 laptop
- Okion portable optical mouse
- Nintendo DS (Ok, maybe this doesn’t count with photography, but it’s still tech)
Note: If you’re wondering why I still brought with me my 28-85mm, it’s because I didn’t have an adapter ring for the 67mm diameter 18-135mm lens.
I had so much gear with me, that in fact I think I had more gear than clothes! Yeah! All these in tow, camera gear…check. Batteries fully-charged…check. Clothes…check. All set to go to beautiful Dos Palmas!
Now for all of you out there, here’s Piece of Advice #1: If you’re going out on a trip like this with this much gear, I advise you to make a checklist; things can get pretty hectic when you’re getting your gear ready and rushing to the airport. In my case, I didn’t have one. And I forgot probably the most important thing in my gear…
…my fully-charged D200 battery!
My first realization of this fact was in the boarding area, when my boss asked me to take a picture, and I gladly obliged. Bringing out my camera, I wondered for a second why the LCD didn’t show the available shots left (it displays even when the D200 is turned off). And I just bumped my head into the D200 (don’t worry, the D200 is tougher than my head), and muttered “ass…” All of those camera gear, and no SLR to use them with!
On the plane, I rejoiced in the fact when I remembered that I brought the MS-D200 battery holder that came with the battery grip. What this savior did was to allow me to put 6 AA batteries into the battery grip as an emergency power source. I found a sari-sari store at the dock just before leaving for Dos Palmas island (after the bus ride from the airport at Puerto Princesa) and bought a couple of batteries for P18 a piece. Piece of Advice #2: Eveready General Purpose batteries (color blue) WILL NOT power up your D200! Even with a fresh batch, they will display as battery low. At the Dos Palmas Tabu-An (their souvenir shop), I bought more alkalines, this time Kodak batteries meant to be used for cameras.
Piece of Advice #3: When operating with limited battery supply, turn off auto-focus, flash, and keep the LCD preview to a minimum. I also turned off the grid display, for good measure, but I don’t think it mattered at all. The Kodaks lasted for around 25 shots. At P270 for 6, it wasn’t going cheap…
Much later, desperate for power, I thought, flash is useless without a camera to use them with. So I salvaged the 4 NiMHs in my SB-600 and borrowed 2 more from a friend. Piece of Advice #4: NiMHs can smoke alkalines, any kind, any day. The NiMHs could shoot through 2 2GB CF cards and still keep on going (I’m still draining them right now, trying to figure out continuous flash shooting).
Much, much later, I realized that the “drained” Kodaks could still power my flash! Doh!
Anyway, head over to http://www.jplui.com/photos/DosPalmas for the vacation pictures that I managed to take. Enjoy!