I've accumulated a few images that I wanted to share for one reason or another that just didn't quite fit into the narrative or the daily aspect of the blog itself. So without further ado, here are some additional images to ponder:
I'd like to thank the students that allowed me to share some of their images in this blog. I think it helps to see what others saw rather than just a bunch of my images.
Sept 18—The South African and Botswana trips, like many in Africa, have a lot of logistics through rough areas. Keeping cameras clean and in top condition isn't always easy. As best as I can tell, we had the following equipment on the trips (I may have missed a few things, but I'm pretty sure of these numbers):
- 45 Nikon DSLR bodies, ranging from D5000 to D3x (plus 2 Canon bodies and a video camera)
- 4 m4/3 bodies
- 12+ compact cameras
- 3 600mm f/4 lenses
- 4 500mm f/4 lenses
- 12 200-400mm f/4 lenses
- 18 70-200mm f/2.8 or 80-200mm f/2.8 lenses
- 16+ laptops, mostly Mac
So the question is, how did all that stand up to the abuse we put it through? Here are the things I know about:
- Flaky connection between a 80-200mm and bodies developed; controlled during trip by jiggling the lens a bit. Lens needs to go back to Nikon for check of mount alignment.
- On the rental 200-400mm's, of which there were several, they all seemed to have the tripod collar or foot come loose from time to time on the safari. Just make sure you have your allen wrenches with you and you can fix this in the field.
- One Canon G9 died early in the trip.
- One D2x sensor came to Africa with a dirty sensor that needed a lot of wet cleaning. We were never able to get it perfectly clean. The camera needs a CLA at Nikon.
- One D300 suffered a cracked top LCD when another camera landed on it during a big bump on safari. Camera still works, but needs to see Nikon for a new LCD cover.
- One cracked 70-200mm lens hood (too much impact trama from something while bouncing around in the vehicle). Duct taped back together and needs replacement.
- One GPS unit had its case cracked. Duct taped back together.
- Two 200-400mm's had autofocus issues during the trip. One was fixed by cleaning the mount, the other was fixed by cleaning the mount and doing a full AF Fine Tune in the field (yes, I brought charts).
- One 200-400mm focused inconsistently in the field, and it's focus ring came off and I had to reinstall it in the field. We never could get the lens back to 100%. That lens is back at Nikon for fix and adjustment.
- One 70-200mm was dunked in water in Botswana and survived, though it went to Nikon for a look at.
- One 24-70mm was damaged by impact with a boulder and went to Nikon for fixing.
- One 70-300mm was dunked in water in Botswana and required fixing by Nikon. Total cost of repair for this and the previous two was Canadian$394.
- One 17" Macbook Pro was fixed by the Apple Store in Jo-berg mid-trip when its logic board failed.
- One D200 eyepiece cup is cracked and has a piece missing (shouldn't let the lions bite it Eric ;~)
- Two D300's suffered DBS (Dead Battery Syndrome) in the field. Both were fixed by installing new firmware (yes, I carry firmware updates with me).
Overall, we subjected equipment to a lot of abuse. It's difficult to describe just how abusive such a trip can be on equipment, but it's constantly bouncing around, knocking up against things, getting subjected to vibrations, and is exposed to heat, dust, water, and more. Overall, not a bad record, and it probably would have been better had the one vehicle not got stuck butt down in the water for a long period of time.
Complete loss, however, was another story. Both negligence and theft came into play:
- One iPhone left in a field after shooting.
- Three lens caps lost while shooting.
- Two rubber feet from Gitzo monopods came off at some point and were lost. A rubber foot from my Gitzo tripod came off, but I found it almost immediately. Consider putting Locktite on things like this on trips like this.
- Multiple knifes (at least five) were stolen out of locked, checked bags, most likely in Jo-berg.
- My two SB-900's and two m4/3 bodies were stolen out of my locked, checked bags in Jo-berg on the way home. The airport there has a reputation for theft of small things from checked bags. Basically, anything that looks salable or valuable that fits in a jacket pocket tends to get stolen from bags that undergo additional inspection. My tripod and monopod were in the same bag, and they weren't taken. Indeed, the two SB-900's were taken out of their cases (which were in another case), probably because their cases are too big to fit easily into a pocket.
- Our backup projector was stolen out of checked baggage at JFK, though the thieves forgot to take the AC power pack ;~).