Ask Google

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mexican Adventures Part I

Last month I headed out to the Jungles of southern Mexico to shoot a nature documentary for Cofarnat, a wildlife and natural resource conservation group based in Mexico.  It was in La Montaña in Constitucion, Campeche.  Some of the nearby areas visited were Sorgal (birdwatching in the tall grass), Pazahol (jungles and Spanish ruins), Calakmul (Mayan Pyramids), and Balam-ku(7 million bats).

Over the next few weeks, I will update with photos from each of these places, and descriptions of them.  (as I develop the photos)

The model in the photo is Tita.  She is a spider monkey.  One day she just walked in to the camp to live with the people working in La Montaña conservation.  She was leashed for my stay so she wouldn't steal any of my camera gear.  (monkeys love stealing camera gear from photographers).

In the camp, several other animals co-habit with the people working there.  I will introduce the rest in later posts.

The Above photo was taken with a Canon 7D with a 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, at f/5.6, 1/320s, iso 1250 at 200mm.

In the first entry in the series, I will just introduce the equipment used:

Key notes:
Weather proofing:  The area is very humid and will damage the equipment.  Minimize lens swap.
Weight: Will have to hike large distances.  Keep equipment on person to a minimum.

Equipment List:

Canon 7D
The main body.  This camera will be doing most of the work.

Olympus E-PL1

Secondary body.  With an adapter, this can take any of the canon lenses I brought.

Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS II

Great for fashion shows.  Conveniently, being in the jungles, I won't be able to see very far.  If I have to go birding, I can use the extender.  It was a tough call between this and the Sigma 150-500, but I went for the weatherproofed canon.

Tokina 11-16mm 2.8
Great solid body.  Hard stop for the focus ring.  Low distortion, AND can take filters.  I picked up this lens specifically for this project.  I have a 8mm fisheye for ultra wide, but I wanted something with no distortion I could use for landscapes (which I find boring).  This lens and the 70-200 was to be used 99% of the time.

Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 VC
This is not for video.  I mentioned this lens before several times.  The focus ring is not smooth, and it's kinda noisy.  This is for the short times I will spend in the city as a walk around lens.  Will not see any action in the jungle.

Sigma 30mm 1.4
For low light video.  I ended up only using this for time lapse of the stars.

Canon 50mm 1.8 (the "just in case" lens)
It definitely stayed in the case.  This is an emergency lens, it's tiny so it can fit anywhere.

Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm 3.5-5.6
Kit lens for the E-PL1.  This lens is awesome for a "mere" kit lens.

Zoom H4n
Primary sound unit.  This will attach to the side of the camera.

Zoom H1
Secondary sound unit, it can do most of the things I need the H4n to do for this project.  Most of the time it was connected to the lav and carried with the interview subject.

Rode Videomic
This was connected to the Zoom H4n.  But later on, it stayed in the case: added too much to the bulk to carry around in the jungle.  Also, build quality was in question with the high humidity involved.

Tram TR-50 lavalier mic
This attaches to the Zoom H1 to record voice.

Light & Rig:
Bescor Led-70w light
Most useful accessory in the jungle.  At night it works excellently as a flash light.

Canon 580EXII Flash
For scaring away animals? Or taking backlit photos of them.

An amazing viewfinder, it snaps on by magnet so it makes attaching and removing easy, making things very quick.

Stead-DSLR shoulder mount and stabilizer
Heavy for what it is, but it functions as a shoulder mount OR a stabilizer.

Bescor Universal Swivel Adapter
Cool-lux Y-Bracket
Kirk BL-7D L-Bracket
Kirk 1" standard quick release
Gitzo G0077 center ball head

And various no name/home made custom parts and bits.
For attaching various parts to the camera, it's all modular.

Manfrotto Quick change rectangular plate adapter
This attaches the camera to the rig so it can quickly go from the rig to the tripod.

Peripheral Equipment:
Black Rapid RS-4 Camera strap (w/ MBR1 stabilizer)
Great for keeping the hands free while carrying the camera

Manfrotto 190XPROB TripodManfrotto 804RC2 Basic Pan Tilt Head w/ Quicklock
Made me wish I had the carbon fibre version.

Pelican #1510 case (waterproof, crushproof, dustproof, for carrying my gear)
Pelican #1010 micro case (for the flash cards)
Excellent, but got me stopped a lot at the various Mexican military checkpoints.  Looks suspicious.  But it also reliably protected my equipment, especially at night.

Canon BG-E7 Battery Grip
Canon TC-80N3 timer remote
For overnight timelapses.  The batterygrip lets me load two batteries in the camera, and the timer remote lets me control the shutter speed for long exposures and the shutter interval.

5x Canon LP-E6 Batteries

2x Olympus PS-BLS1 Batteries
12x Pearstone AA Ni-MH rechargable batteries
Chargers for all above batteries
There was a solar charger to keep all the batteries charged.

Various HOYA filters, including polarizers and ND filters.

3x Transcend 32gb CF Cards
1x Transcend 32gb SD Card
Bunch of smaller cards (<8gb) for non camera equipment

Lexar UDMA card reader

Acer 8943G mobile desktop
Cards, card reader, offload to laptop.

And various assorted things, like cleaning kit, plastic bags, clothes...

See the next entry here!

Come back later for more entries and photos!

No comments:

Post a Comment