It’s funny… even though I’ve been to Costa Rica a dozen times and led five photo workshops down there I STILL find myself doing some last minute shopping before I go. My overall packing strategy hasn’t changed much over the years, but I am constantly tweaking the gear I bring based on my past experience and sometimes the latest technology.
Here are a few things I have picked up lately in the interest of better photos and better traveling.
New bags from Tenba. You may have seen my review of the Tenba Shootout 24L backpack. That pack is great and I am definitely bringing it with me, but it is a bit much for shooting out of when I’m leading a workshop. In the interest of traveling light I picked up the Shootout 14L backpack. I think this is the perfect size bag for a mirrorless kit, but unfortunately it doesn’t have any dividers! That’s right, it has several removable pouches that are designed to carry GoPro cameras and accessories. Soooo there’s a bit of a work-around involved. My friends at Tenba suggested their BYOB 9 case to fit into the 14L and carry lenses. It is not the most elegant solution, but it definitely works. The good news is I can also use the BYOB with lenses inside to add functionality to my 24L backpack. Look for a video on this “hack” pretty soon.
The Astro time-lapse controller. I have been wanting one of these since I saw the Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately for me, the campaign was over before I saw it. One of my recent workshop guests had an extra one and I was able to buy one from him. I love the simplicity and small size of this time-lapse controller. This trip will be my first real opportunity to put it through its paces.
New NEOS overshoes. I’ve been using NEOS overshoes for several years. They are basically a hiking boot sole attached to a waterproof canvas upper that you wear over your shoes. With these sweet babies on you can walk in water, mud, etc. without worrying about your pants and shoes. There are several places in Costa Rica where these come in pretty handy! They fold completely flat and you can pack them anywhere. I got the “Trekker” model this year. They are a few inches taller than the “Adventurer” model I’ve been using. I got mine from outdoorphotogear.com.
NikWax spray-on waterproofing. I won’t be taking this stuff to Costa Rica, but it was an important part of my preparation. When I bought a nice rain shell jacket several years ago they told me I would need to apply some waterproofing spray eventually. I noticed the last few times I wore the jacket it was more like wearing a thick shirt. I was getting pretty moist in there! So I went down to my friendly neighborhood REI and picked up a small bottle of this spray. a few minutes later my fancy jacket is as good as new and ready for the rain forest.
Zoom H5 recorder. I intentionally saved this for last because it’s probably the biggest change to my kit. I’ll be making a big fancy announcement soon, but consider this a warning. I am the host of a new podcast that will be on the air toward the end of September on the new This Week in Photo network. The show is called “Your Itinerary: for Travel and Photography”. It will feature interviews, photography tips and travel tips on a weekly basis. I really want the show to sound great, so I picked up the new Zoom recorder for my live interviews. I will also be using the Zoom as a multi-track recorder for some of my video production. I’m really looking forward to getting more into the audio side of multimedia production, and I’m STOKED about my new show.
Stay tuned for photos and videos from Costa Rica soon.