Asia India

Our Gear: India 2007

I’m carrying a One Polar 80 backpack I bought in China for $10. It’s been loyal to me so I’ll be loyal to it. Until it falls apart. Then I’ll get a new one. We got a great deal from Rei Outlet store on a pretty robust Victorinox backpack with removable daypack made by Swiss Army. Hopefully Sona doesn’t topple over with this one on!

Hardcore BackpacksIt seemed like a good idea at the time. We ordered the Kelty Corona Double Capacity Sleeping Bag to keep us clean and warm in dodgy hotel rooms. As you can see, if we brought this along, there’d be nothing else for us to carry. We’re still keeping it though. We’ll bring it along next time we go on a camping trip, even if it is in the backgarden! We randomly stopped at a Big 5 in Fresno after doing a grocery run at Foodmaxx and found our replacement sleeping bags. While not as spacious and cushiony as our Kelty, these are also not as humongous. Two of these fleece Texsport sleeping bags can be zipped together and voila: double sleeping bag.

Camera GearCANON 20D
I’ve had my Canon 20D for a couple years now and am thrilled with it. After our India trip, I upgraded to the full-frame Canon 5D which I am also thrilled with. As a professional wedding photographer ( the lenses I own are a reflection of my shooting style. I don’t do heavy lenses because that means I have to lug those mofos around. I have two flashes –the Canon 580EX and the 420EX along with the following lenses:
10-22 f/4 – Wide Angle (only works with the 20D)
50/f4 – Portrait Lens
35-135 f/4 Normal Lens
70-200 f/4 Telephoto

Sona’s nerdo brother and sister, both have the Canon ELPH. And now we do too! It’s reliable, looks sleek and takes crisp images. We have the 7.1 megapixel version and a 2GB memory card. The main draw is we can take self-portraits of the two of us without risking my fancy pants camera crashing to the ground.

While on the road, we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves with a bulky video camera but we did want the image quality that a bulky video camera brings. So after lots and lots of research and deliberation, we decided to go with the super-tiny Sony HDV-A1U kit from B&H online (save the sales tax by shipping it outside of NYC). It’s perfect because its small size lets us pretend to be tourists or professionals when we feel like it. It has the gumption to mimic film by shooting HDV in 24p. The best bit is that you don’t need really expensive or hard to find tapes to shoot it on. It uses standard MiniDV! We’re using several standard ones and two Sony MiniDV tapes “designed for HDV.” We won’t get into everything brilliant about our kit here, but the lavalier mic is pretty spiffy and will come in handy for any interviews we wind up doing.

Even though this stupidass device records in DSS format, it’s still a really handy gadget. It fits into Sona’s pocket and records pretty clearly. We use this for on the fly interviews when we don’t feel like hauling our lavalier mic with us.

For the most part, I like to run around with a camera in my hands, but every so often I’ll need a tripod for steady shots in low light or when I do family and bridal portraits. Manfrotto is the shiznit and it is for this reason we have so many of their products. The 3021 tripod and ball head are fantastic for steady shots. Sona bought a video head and monopod to attach her video-camera to so our footage doesn’t look like a crisp and professional shaky home video!

We have two camera specific backpacks. Sona has the LowePro CompuTrekker and I have the Tamrac Cyberpack 8. Both of them can fit
our laptops too which works out well. We had to upgrade to a bigger sized bag to handle Navdeep’s super-sized 17-inch Dell, but Sona’s petite 12-inch PowerBook is very portable. Both computers are equipped with photo and video editing software, along with Final Draft in case Sona gets the urge to write. We also lug along a 500 GB hard drive for photo and video storage.

This is what we’re using to carry our valuables. No fannypacks or expensive leather made products for us. The orange one I bought in Nepal and the yellow one from Tibet.

Instead of paying $200 some bucks for a rolling backpack, we decided to just get a set of wheels. This can allegedly hold 150 lbs so this should do the trick to carry our camera bags at least.

We did look at one of those mesh net things offered by PacSafe but while it does look intimidating to the average crook, it also looks very enticing. A pair of pliers or a strong set of teeth and someone has an all access pass to our goods. Instead, we opted for a more subtle approach and are using a simple lock that came with the backpack.

Initially we wanted to just add our equipment to my parents’ existing homeowners insurance but that didn’t give us a very secure feeling. They would cover it, but there were a lot of limitations. We felt like if anything did go wrong, there would be that fine print telling us that we weren’t covered. After scouring the internet, Sona and I finally decided on Safeware to insure our laptops and camera equipment. They cover everything from power surges to plain ole clumsiness, and you can decide if you want short term insurance or long term. We opted to get it for the year.

After briefly considering using template based content management systems like WordPress and Joomla, we decided to make our lives a lot more complicated by creating from scratch, using Dreamweaver.

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