Preparing to camp in Yellowstone/Grand Teton.

I’ve been away for a few weeks, which would explain the lack of blogs on the site in September.

I hope to make up for this by reporting on the crazy trip I’ve just had travelling around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as well as volunteering at the Jackson Hole WIldlife Film Festival.

It’ll be a series of posts rather than one long one – it’d be a terribly long slur of words I’m afraid! And seeing as I managed to sleep through my alarm clock and get into work late this morning for the first time in my life (after arriving on Sunday morning) I’m running out of Monday hours!

On Wednesday the 11th of September I found myself at heathrow airport after over a year on solid ground. The build-up was rather slow until about a week before and everything happened at once – things gone wrong, no free time and rushing to get everything done in time! But those are the joys of travelling after all. This is the first time I’ve been on an extended self-drive photography road trip, and all accommodation will be at basic campsites when the weather is starting to get cold.

I’d thought I’d start by giving an overview of my packing list, and I don’t think there is much that I regret taking or not taking. And there are things I ended up being extremely grateful for having taken.

g

What’s in the kit bag?

– D7100 and D80. Having two bodies will allow you to have a telephoto lens on one and a wideangle on the other. This means a) less changing around of lenses, therefore less chance of dust spots, b) having the ability to experiment with focal length when time is tight.

– A telephoto (120-300 f/2.8 sigma) with a teleconverter (x1.4) and a wideangle (17-70 Simga f/3.5-5.6). Even at 420mm I was struggling, but you can’t compete with people that have a 500mm prime with a 2x teleconverter on it!

– I also have my 50mm 1.4x prime as I LOVE it, and it’s so small it doesn’t matter if it takes up space

– Battery grip. I bought it for battery life, but in fact I actually use it as I prefer the grip to the regular grip on the camera – it feels more sturdy.

– 3 batteries for each camera, and 4 16GB memory cards. 64GB would’ve been enough for a D80, but as the images are so much larger on the D7100 I struggled. If you can get a high-speed memory card that works at e.g.94MB/s, as my 1 that I had of this outperformed the cheaper ones by miles on action shots. I’ll never skimp out on memory cards again!

– Flash and a TTL cable. Probably the least used items in my camera bag, but I was glad to have them and ended up having a play with a beaver in the end.

– Filters! Polarising, Variable ND and Graduated ND. Used them all.

– A car mount would have been nice, but I was struggling in weight. I did also have a bean bag.

– Cleaning equipment

– Tripod of course!

– Binoculars. These might not seem worth it as you have a big camera but they are exceptionally useful!

– A 150W car converter to charge everything. They only cost £10 on eBay but you can charge everything on the go. (so chargers were also in the bag of course)

– A plastic bag and shower caps for rain covers.

suitcase

What’s in the suitcase?

– Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent

– Lots of warm clothes. I didn’t think I’d need them after my first few days but when I woke up to -6C one morning, I was certainly glad. Temperatures can swing by 20C from morning to afternoon.

– Other camping essentials: pocketknife, head torch, portable alarm clock, first-aid kit.

There are lots of outdoor shops in Jackson Hole, where I started, so don’t worry too much about getting everything.

Don’t forget to buy bear spray though it will cost you £35.
For great cutlery/crockery Browse n’ Buy is a second-hand shop in town located in a church that sells all the basics at next to nothing.

Even the basic campsites there are quite nice – they will have an allocated space (at a min of $15 per night) with a park bench and a campfire pit. If I’d have known I would’ve bought some firewood. They sell in the park too buy at a much higher cost. The simplest toilets are fancy long drops that actually are quite pleasant (for a long drop), and the bigger ones have running water and a dishwashing sink. The biggest ones, which are only open during the summer, will also have a shower.

Campsite

Next time, the journey begins…

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