Suggested Equipment

What camera equipment will I need?

While one of the most common questions I get before a tour, it’s also one of the most difficult to respond to with a simple straight answer. Many of us often carry very heavy backpacks filled with cameras, lenses and a wide variety of paraphernalia. And, we often find it difficult to leave anything behind. “What if” punctuates almost any discussion about which equipment to pack for a tour.

A couple suggestions:

  • Even small items add weight. So, go through your backpack and consider leaving behind items you seldom use – right angle eye-piece, extra flash, rail, a pouch of colored or special effects filters, lamp, project-a-flash, etc.
  • Carefully consider what we’ll be photographing. If the subject is likely to be the sunset or sunrise, seldom will a 500 mm lens be necessary. However, if we expect to see broad expanses of wildflowers a 12-35 mm zoom or a 105 mm macro lens might be critical.
  • Consider how much walking or hiking we’ll be doing. Most of the venues a Tom Dwyer Tour visit require only short walks/hikes from our vehicles. So, the weight of our camera gear isn’t critical. However, an Adirondack High Peaks trek, with miles of mountainous hiking should make you want to consider the amount of equipment (weight) you pack.
  • Accessories are nice, but if there is no chance of rain why carry the umbrella attachment or even the backpack rain cover? Do you need the right-angle viewer?
  • Understandably, some people are reluctant to let other use valuable and expensive lenses. However, if you know others on the tour, you might want to collaborate and consider sharing the load by anticipating which equipment each will carry. That 500 mm won’t likely get a lot of use, but if one participant has it and is willing to share, another might carry a macro that could be shared as well. Remember to be certain that 500 mm you are hoping to borrow will fit your camera.
  • Small accessory items, such as those mentioned above, can often be easily shared.
  • Don’t forget rain gear, water, sun screen, bug dope, walking/hiking stick(s), a hat, personal first-aid kit (with moleskin for that painful foot blister), broken-in hiking shoes or boots, snacks or lunch, ground cloth or knee pads, for those times you’ll want to be on your knees (praying for a good shot?).