As mentioned in my last post, I’ll be in Ecuador for the next two weeks. My exact plans are yet to be nailed down, but roughly speaking, for the first week I will be in the rainforest, doing some pro bono photography work with the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía. We may follow that up with a visit to the remote Cuyabeno National Wildlife Reserve, or I also have an opportunity to do more photography work, this time with an indigenous fair-trade tea cooperative that is just starting up. For the second week, I’ll be doing some backpacking around the Cuenca area, perhaps in Cajas National Park, with a group of friends.
I last went to Ecuador for a brief visit in 2006. I didn’t even bring my D70 because I was traveling super light – one small backpack for 10 days – and didn’t want to have to be worried about carrying such an expensive piece of gear around. This time, I’m bringing my D700 with grip, D300, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4, 90/2.8 macro, a borrowed 70-300/4.5-5.6 VR (decided the 80-200/2.8 would be too much to lug around), and an SB-800. It’s all insured so at least I have that peace of mind. I really prefer traveling light, but camera gear pretty much precludes that possibility. The bag pictured above with my gear weighs an appalling 33 pounds, 6 ounces.
Speaking of that bag, I’m violating the cardinal rule of never using unfamiliar equipment for the first time on a trip. That thing is a LowePro CompuPrimus AW backpack (pictured above with my gear stowed away in it). I wanted one pack I could travel to the rainforest with that held all my gear as well as all my laptop, clothes and other necessities. The CompuPrimus is one of the few photo packs I found that is big enough to do that. Unfortunately, it is an extremely idiosyncratic pack and I’m sure I’ll be getting used to it throughout the trip.
Also new to me is the 70-300, but I’m not really worried about that – seems like I can figure it out pretty easily, although it is the first lens I’ve ever used with VR (!).
More on this trip coming later, obviously!