Monday, January 1, 2007
For intrepid photographers, Alaska is still the gold standard for untamed landscape and wildlife photography
Ready Your Gear
Okay, so you're ready to book the trip, but be certain to carry some key gear essentials. Alaska is a wet place in the summer, so bring gear to waterproof your camera. In this issue, check out "Gadget Bag: Weather Tamers" on page 98 to see some of the camera covers that are ideal for an Alaska photo safari. You want to be sure that your camera bag is prepared for perpetually damp conditions, too. A waterproof cover that envelops the whole bag or a bag that's waterproof on its own is key.
Once your photo equipment is ready, give some thought to the particulars of outfitting your body. At Outdoor Photographer, we're great fans of garments made with Gore-Tex® membranes. The waterproof and breathable jackets, boots, overpants and other clothing will keep you warm and dry, and that in turn will keep you comfortable so you can stay outside and work on taking pictures. Also, be sure to talk to your workshop leader or tour operator about any special clothing you might need to cope with unique situations.
Among your camera gear, be sure that you have a sturdy tripod. We're in the midst of a sort of tripod renaissance, as manufacturers are using exotic materials that are lightweight, yet capable of solidly supporting your camera and your largest lenses. Naturally, you'll need to have lenses that cover the gamut. Alaska offers everything from broad, wide-angle-friendly vistas to animals that can only be photographed with a long and fast telephoto. Carry lenses that will work for the full range of what you expect to see. If you're shooting digital, plenty of memory cards and a laptop or other downloading device will serve you well.
Winter is the ideal time to plan your Alaska adventure. Although summer is several months off, workshops and tours are finalizing itineraries for the season now. This is also the time to plan what kind of gear you'll take and to make sure you know how all of it works. Practice, practice, practice. For most photographers, Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so be sure you don't spend prime shooting time stuck in your room with a camera manual. Be prepared for the unexpected, and you'll come home with images that will feed the imaginations of everyone who sees them.
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