Musings on Photography

Travel Arrangements

Posted in Canon Powershot G9, equipment by Paul Butzi on November 28, 2007

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Chase Jarvis has an interesting post with pointers to info on packing photo gear for travel, all in video format.

Here’s my packing arrangement for my three week trip to China, as well as my recent trips to Arizona and Delaware:

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Starting in the upper left and proceeding left:

  • 250 GB Western Digital Passport external disk drive
  • cable for above
  • spare battery and charger for the Canon Powershot G9
  • 3 Lexar 4GB SDHC cards in storage cases
  • Lexar USB SDHC card reader
  • Canon Powershot G9, with battery and one Lexar 4GB SDHC card inside
  • Eagle Creek padded case, into which everything except the case fits.

Everything, including the camera, fits easily into the Eagle Creek case, which measures about 7.5″ x 5.5″ x 2″. The ruler is just for scale.

Not pictured is the Apple 15″ Macbook Pro and charger, which get packed separately. The laptop and the external hard disk (labeled ‘Travel’ above) never live in the same bag; the camera case (often without the camera inside) lives in my roller carryon, and the laptop lives in my Timbuk2 messenger bag. Both bags are carryons and never get checked as baggage.

So far, I’ve found this to be a pretty pleasant way to carry my extensive travel camera package. (hint: if you are suspecting that I really like the lightweight and compact G9 outfit, you are right. I like it a lot.)

4 Responses

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  1. paul said, on November 28, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Paul. Next year we are planning a trip to Brazil, my wife’s homeland, and I don’t want to lug around my expensive and heavy gear. Instead, I’d like something lightweight and not very expensive, but with which I can get some good photos. Unfortunately, there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of crime in the cities in Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Bahia, which is where my wife’s family lives.

  2. matt said, on November 29, 2007 at 7:43 am

    I’d be tempted to skip the laptop and the external drive but add a couple of extra sd cards. You can always use the camera lcd to discard the cruddy ones.

  3. Rosie Perera said, on November 29, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I traveled to Italy in September and was shocked to discover upon transferring flights in London that I would not be allowed to keep both my carry-ons in the cabin with me for the continuing flight. They had signs all over the place warning that only one carry-on bag was allowed, and that included a ladies’ purse! I had to make a snap decision at the check-in counter to check my camera or check my laptop. Yikes! I ended up checking my camera (after taking the memory card out of it), and praying that all would go well. It arrived safe and sound in Milan, but not without me panicking slightly.

    I think next time I will skip the laptop (though it sure came in handy for studying Italian while I was there) and bring only my new Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer.

    I would never recommend deciding which cruddy photos to delete right on the Camera LCD. Two reasons: 1) you can’t tell in that tiny an thumbnail what might be a salvageable or even interesting photo (or some portion of it that could be zoomed in on and cropped); 2) if you delete photos from the middle of a CF or SD card, the gaps will be filled in by later photos which might take up more megabytes, so the files will be split across multiple gaps. Though this has been done for years in computer file systems, it can sometimes cause data loss in cameras. (The Online Photographer had a series of articles on this a while back. I can’t find the original series, but here is a post on good card practices.) So I prefer to fill up an entire CF card sequentially, wait until it’s full to copy to my computer for editing, and then wipe it completely clean (in camera, which does a reformat, I believe) and start fresh.

  4. Paul Butzi said, on November 30, 2007 at 11:39 am

    I’d be tempted to skip the laptop and the external drive but add a couple of extra sd cards. You can always use the camera lcd to discard the cruddy ones.

    Everyone’s needs will vary, but I feel that just taking SD cards is not the best plan.

    My goal both at home and when traveling is to get the image files onto two different storage devices as soon as possible. More than two is better, but two is sufficient. That way, if one of the copies is lost/damaged/stolen, I still have the other.

    So the laptop hard disk serves as one copy. The external hard disk serves as the other.

    Beyond the need for redundancy, It gets very hard to just carry enough SD cards. It seems that no matter how many I carry, I always end up exceeding the capacity of the set of cards. I took enough cards to China to hold roughly 1000 exposures. That’s roughly equivalent to 28 36 exposure rolls of 35mm film. Last time I took a film camera on a trip (the Contax T3 to England) I took 10 rolls of film.

    In China, I haven’t gone and gotten the exact count, but I made something like 1600 exposures. So to have enough storage on hand, I would have needed another 3-4 cards, which would amount to 300-400 bucks more in cards. At that rate, external disk storage becomes very cheap.

    In any case, I’m unlikely to travel without a laptop. Even in internet crippled China, having the laptop was such a benefit that it was well worth the weight (and minimal space).


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