Part 2 of my "from start to finish" series, taking you through the planning, execution and processing of one of my shoots!

So, you know where you are going, and what you want to shoot (see #1 A shot list & location), you now need to pack and prepare accordingly!


This really depends on 6 questions; What, where, when, why, who, and how. By asking myself these questions I can get a clear idea of what I need to take with me! This is very important, as I have a lot of gear, and it is not feasible or practical to take it all. At the same time, I don't want to leave anything behind!


What will you be shooting? Well, this was covered in the shot list and location. I know i want to shoot tigers, and I want bother landscapes and closeups. So, I will need lenses spanning wide-angle to long telephoto. I will also want a second body, as changing lenses can sometimes lead to missed shots, and with temperamental subjects like tigers, this is not an option.


Again, this was partly dealt with in the first of the series. But this is more to do with travel logistics. I'm going to Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh. I will need to take a plane and car to get there. So I will have restrictions on what I can take as carry on (which will be my camera gear), and check-in.


Or really, time. I will be shooting all day, for 3 days. If you are shooting for anything more than an hour or two, you have to consider your memory card and battery usage. In this instance I will make sure I take enough memory cards to last the entire trip. But I will also take my lap-top to back-up my cards every night. This logic will also cover my batteries, take enough to cover a full day with spare, and take my charger for the evenings. At the start of each day, I need to be ready for the full day, with enough spares.

Another consideration that I rarely have to deal with is the mid day sun. Usually I shoot morning/evening safaris, but now I will be out all day, including the harsh mid day sun. So I will take my circular Polarizing filter to help make my colours pop!


This my seem odd, but why am I shooting this is key to what I need. If i am shooting a family day at the beach, i would not take my big gear, but my waterproof point-and-shoot. I am shooting primary for me, and a story I am writing, so I want the best quality I can get. Also, a selection of the images will go to the forest department with my credit, so if they do use them, they will need to be excellent quality for posters etc...


... will be carrying it. This deserves a whole section in itself. I would definitely pack differently if I was having to trek with gear, or if, like in this case, it will be on a jeep the entire time! So, the jeep will be doing the carrying, therefore, weight on the shoot is not a big issue.


How will be I be shooting? I will be shooting from the back of an open jeep, with seats removed giving space to lay down. I will need something to support my lens with, so I will take a bean bag (empty). A tripod is not useful, but if i were by foot or in a hide, I would take one.

So, with this all considered, this is my gear/packing list:

Hand luggage:

10kg limit, 12kg weight...  lets hope my smile will get me off

  • Lowepro Pro Runner BP 450AW
  • Canon 5D mark III + Battery grip attached to 500mm f/4L IS II
  • Canon 6D attached to 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
  • Canon 17-40mm f/4L
  • Canon teleconverters 1.4x III and 2x III
  • 5 LP-E6 batteries
  • 10 memory cards (2x64gb, 6x32gb, 1x16gb, 1x8gb)
  • Lenspen for cleaning my camera in field
  • Permits for the park

Check-in baggage:

  • Battery charger
  • Circular polarizing filter
  • Hat for the mid day sun
  • Clothing (cool for the day, warm for the nights)
  • Binoculars - for spotting

Laptop bag

  • MacBookPro
  • SD and CF card reader
  • Travel Documents


Now you know what you are taking, you can get prepared! Here is my preparation list:

  1. Check all the selected gear is in good working order and clean it
  2. Charge all batteries
  3. Format all memory cards
  4. Print tickets / other documentation I need
  5. Pack all items you have chosen
  6. Check I have packed everything (I just noticed i forgot my polarizing filter, so just added it)
  7. Make sure you don't have a stowaway! This little monkey tried to replace my 500mm, but I spotted him in time...  Sadly, he has to wait a couple of years before he will be coming too!


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