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Kalalau Photo Gear: The Follow Up!

May 18, 2015

[This is a blurry shot and it obviously doesn’t show the gear itself but it gives you an idea of the size of my pack before we started our hike – which really wasn’t too bad!]

Happy Monday, everyone!

A couple weeks ago I posted a comprehensive list of the photography gear I was planning on our four day backpacking trip on Kauai’s Kalalau Trail with the promise that I would come back and post an update about what worked, what didn’t, and what I would do differently next time around. And now here we are!

I’m not going to go through each and every item and talk about whether or not I used it (chances are pretty good that I did!). Instead I’m going to tell you some things that worked well and some things that I will do differently for our next trip of this sort. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how it all went down … but that doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas on how to make it better!

With all that in mind, here is a big jumbled list of random thoughts on my gear:

Batteries – You may remember that I took five SLR batteries with me out of fear that I would run out of juice while on the trip. This wasn’t even close to a concern! I killed one battery and was about halfway through the second one when we made it back to Ke’e Beach on our 4th day out. At that rate I could have stayed out there for another week or two! Having said that, I have no regrets about taking as many batteries as I did. It was nice to not have to ration them and I enjoyed being able to show people the photos without having to worry about running out of power!

Lenses – I took two lenses with me, my 16-35 and my 24-70 and I used them both. As with all of the shooting I do, the 24-70 definitely got the most use but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy to have the wide angle to throw on as well! There were a few times on the hike out (remember that I mostly wore my camera around my neck) that I thought how nice it would have been to have a smaller (and less expensive) lens on the front of my camera while we were navigating slippery roots and climbing over rocks. If we do this again, I will most likely bring my nifty fifty along because it weighs next to nothing and won’t break the bank if it gets bashed up. That is unless I get a …

Small camera – I have been wanting to pick up a kick ass mirrorless camera for a while and this may have been the perfect excuse to do just that. I’d love to have something that I can take everywhere with me at home without having to deal with a heavy SLR. It would have been awesome to have been able to pack my SLR safely in my pack and still be able to take really good high quality photos on the trail. This may be my next big photography purchase.

Water protection – One of the biggest things I was worried about on the trail was keeping my camera dry. I was comfortable wrapping it in my rain jacket, stuffing it in my pack, and putting a pack cover over the whole thing when we got rained on (for most of the hike back out!) but the river crossings, which there are many of, made me very nervous. I found myself desperately wishing that I had a full on dry bag to keep my camera in when we were crossing some of the streams. This was probably my biggest “damn, I wish I would have had …” of the trip. It would have made the river crossings WAY less stressful … and probably prevented this meltdown!

Tripod – I’m still really happy with my little MeFoto Road Trip tripod! I got a ton of use out of it while we were out at the beach and my husband even put it to work taking time lapse videos with his phone. I definitely put it through it’s paces on this trip and it took the licking like a champ! I’ll probably have to take it apart and clean out the joints one of these days (sand gets everywhere, you guys!) but all in all, I’m really pleased with it.

Sand protection – I grew up on the beach but it has apparently been a long time since I have lounged around on one because I forgot that sand tends to get everywhere. I found myself constantly trying to keep sand off my gear. If I was to do this again, I would have had a better system worked out for this exact purpose.

So there you have it! I’m pretty happy with my gear choices for this trip and wouldn’t make any major changes. A few small adjustments (looking at you, dry bag!) would have made things pretty successful and stress free. The next big adventure (whatever that may be … I’ve got some ideas!) should go even more smoothly!

I’m still going through the photos from this trip but if you’d like to see some of my favorites so far, feel free to check out this gallery!


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