See how National Geographic photographer and Outdoor Photographer columnist Frans Lanting gears up for an expedition. You probably won’t ever need as much equipment with you, but there’s a lot to learn from his approach.
When he has to leave on a big trip with new gear, Lanting will take his complete equipment kit to the U.S. Customs office at a nearby international airport the day before. He brings along an itemized equipment list with serial numbers printed on multiple copies of his studio stationery along with appropriate customs forms. U.S. Customs agents will check off his gear and verify his equipment lists with official stamps. He has found those official lists to be essential pieces of paper for both entering other countries, as well as for reentering the U.S., and a much easier solution than dealing with complicated and expensive carnet requirements.
In The Field With Frans Lanting
Getting everything set for a major expedition is no trivial matter, but after the stacks of cases arrive at the destination, a photographer needs to have the appropriate bags to carry the day’s equipment into the field. Here, Lanting uses the Tamrac Extreme Series Backpack, Model 787. The chest pouch is the Tamrac Compact Zoom Pack, Model 515, worn using the Tamrac chest harness, Model S-500. With this system, Lanting can carry his gear for the day.
For nature photography, a durable, well-designed, well-made backpack with protection from jostling and the elements is mandatory equipment. Notice, in particular, that Lanting has a compact tripod strapped to the Tamrac Extreme Series backpack. Many photographers are too quick to dismiss a tripod as an inconvenience, but pros like Lanting think of them as essential equipment. Many of the best photo backpacks have special attachment systems to secure the tripod, making it easy to carry and always at the ready.
Lanting says that being prepared to travel greatly increases the odds of a successful mission. “It’s one thing to forget a piece of equipment when you’re traveling along a highway in the United States,” he adds. “It’s quite another when the final destination is a jungle camp in the Congo Basin or an island in the Antarctic, where there aren’t any camera stores or FedEx deliveries around the corner.”