My Travel Gear

Below is a list of some key elements which incorporate and make my travel (and Photography) possible.

I have also included a few other items I use and a small list of books which I have read and thoroughly recommend. Should you be interested in purchasing anything, please follow the link to amazon.co.uk. You will be charged as normal, however a small percentage of the sale price will go to me, which I will use wisely to further continue my adventures!

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Nikon D200 Body Digital Camera I’ve used my D200 for 90% of the Images on  here, and I have no intentions of changing model or make. I’m a Nikon guy and wouldn’t sway it for anything (except perhaps a Leica…)

Pros: Rapid fire option enables me to make sure I get the portrait/action shot I’m after. Very tough and reliable. Had no problems regarding the performance of the camera (apart from 5 mins at 5,000 odd metres in the Himalaya..)

Cons: The size. Especially with the added MB-200 the Camera is a beast and not easily hidden, slightly intimidating when visiting under privileged countries.

Nikon 24-120MM F3.5-5.6G Lens This is my primary lens. My first choice for portraits and general landscapes. Should you be looking to take just one lens with you, the varied focal length here is perfect.

Pros: As mentioned, the focal lengths provide opportunity to shoot in a variety of circumstances. I’ve never once had to quickly change lens thinking I can’t get the shot I’m looking for. Very versatile.

Cons: Again, as with the D200. Size and weight. Although most high quality lenses are larger so should’t stop you from buying it. Would be nice if the aperture went down to f2.8, however for the money it’s a good deal.

Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G Lens I’ve been using this lens more than ever here in West Africa. It being the poorest and least visited area I’ve travelled to, I have gone with this lens due to it’s size. My Camera looks a few grand cheaper when this one is mounted!

Pros: It’s size and wide focal length. I love shooting 18mm. Also, at 55mm this has worked well for me as a Portrait lens

Cons: I find the biggest flaw with this lens is the focusing speed. Especially in low light. As there is no manual focus option, you have no choice but to use auto. This being said, I’ve used the lens considerably and have taken some great shots with it!

Nikon MB-D200 Battery Grip Not an essential piece of kit, however I find using the MB-200 gives me alot more freedom when shooting. I can’t get a good, comfortable grip when just shooting with the D-200 body.

Pros: Gives you a more natural grip when holding the Camera, especially when shooting Portraits. Extended battery life is another bonus.

Cons: My main issue would be the extra size and weight that using this adds to your Camera. Also makes your Camera look 10x more valuable. Also I’ve found that many people (Police especially) assume because you have the MB-200 attached you are a Journalist. That said, I’ve had no major issues with it attached.

Nikon SB-800 Speedlight Flash A top of the range Flash that provides you with as much (or little) control over lighting as you need. I’ve had this unit since I started shooting Nikon, however have only used it extensively on my 2009 Bangladesh, Nepal and India trip.

Pros: As it’s a professional flash unit, you can pretty much do what you want regarding lighting, providing you have the knowledge to do it. I usually use ‘Manual’ flash which gives you complete control of the light. The Flash has good battery life and you can fire off in rapid succession without overheating.

Cons: My only problem with the SB-800 is the amount of options you have. That being said I haven’t used it extensively, therefore not become 100% familiar with all the options available.

Lowepro Mini Trekker Camera Backpack We all know Lowepro is the best Camera bag company, so no competition there, however choosing the right Lowepro for your gear can be more difficult! I’m perhaps not carrying enough gear to fully take advantage of the space available, that being said it has been my closest travel companion and also has ample space to safely carry my notebook.

Pros:

Canon Digital IXUS 95 Digital Camera My principal Camera for the pictures you see here on anyroad.net have been taken with my Nikon. However I always have a small compact ‘touristy’ camera on hand for those moments when lugging around my D200 isn’t practical. I’ve always used a Canon to do this, and this one is a little gem.

Pros: Easy to use, light, good quality video with sound. It does perfectly what it was designed to do. Highly Recommended.

Cons: Only I can think of is that perhaps you have to be careful of not dropping it as the lens can be fragile and break (I found out the hard way about this with a previous model!)

OTHER ITEMS

Samsung N210 10.1-inch Netbook I was reluctant to bite the bullet and purchase a laptop for my travels. I feared it would put me into the category of ‘selling out’ or not being considered ‘hardcore’ (If I ever was!) anymore. While both may be true, the advantages of being able to edit your photo’s and write you posts in a relaxed manner far outweigh any of these thoughts. I’ve been more than happy with this Netbook. Having it has enabled me to keep up to date with anyroad.net, something which is not possible should you be relying on Internet cafes.

Pros: Light, compact, fast, very reliable (rarely has the Netbook crashed or froze.)

Cons: My only con would be that the keys can sometimes be quite sticky, especially when typing a large document. However it seems to be improving so perhaps it’s something that is just down to wear.

HP G72-B15SA 17.3″ Notebook

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife I’ve had my Swiss Army Knife since I started my travels and it hasn’t let me down! Many beer bottles and cans of Tuna have been opened. For me, definitely an essential bit of kit!

Pros: Enough tools and gadgets for most needs. Knife has stayed very sharp throughout the years even though I use it regularly.

Cons: Only issue is that some of the tools can be difficult to open. This however could be due to my general strength (or lack off!) and the fact that I barely ever oiled it, as recommended.

Highlander 125 X 60CM Mirco Fibre Travel Towel Wasn’t sure whether to include this one, however I find any travel towel for that matter useful in the fact that it dries quickly and doesn’t take up to much space.

Pros: As mentioned above, small, and dries quickly.

Cons: They tend to smell pretty rotten after a few days (never mind weeks!) Of not being washed…

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Shantaram I was bought this book by a very good friend just before I embarked on the Annapurna Circuit Trek. I had finished it before the Trek was over (not bad considering it’s a 1000 odd pages!). I couldn’t put it down. An inspiring story of one mans journey out of prison to India where he creates a new life for himself (to cut a very long story short) Without doubt my favourite book I’ve read! A must buy, regardless of whether your on the road or not!

Mountains of the Mind: a History of a Fascination Another good read should you be up in the mountains or just generally fascinated by them! The book focuses on our fascination with mountains, and determination to conquer them. Again, read in record time!

Into Thin Air Beginning to see a pattern here? I like mountains! I read this book three times in a month (granted I had Malaria and couldn’t find a suitable replacement) Nevertheless it’s a great, personal account of the tragedy that unfolded up on Everest in 96. Highly Recommended.

On the Road I had to include this one didn’t I? Not my favourite book by any means, but a right of passage really if your interested in pursuing a life that doesn’t involve the 9-5. Brilliantly written and again, hard to put down!

Island Not entirely related to travelling or adventure, however I found this book thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable. Set in the Future the story revolves around a Journalist who gets shipwrecked on an Utopian Island. Various themes are explored including mind expanding drugs, open sex and group living. A great read!

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