Fast Light Fun

I was browsing some old Stickies on my desktop and came across the following:

Picture 2.jpg

This was my packing list for a photo assignment last year for Boys Life Magazine. I joined Boy Scout Troop 1 from Ann Arbor on a week-long backpacking trip on Isle Royale, one of the lesser-known and least-traveled National Parks, in upper Lake Superior.

I’d backpacked Isle Royale before, with my wife Vera. I remember heavy packs, rain, and clouds of bugs. Climbers know that going light and fast in the mountains gives you a greater safety margin. On Isle Royale, safety wasn’t so much an issue as being mobile enough to run circles around the scouts (literally) taking pictures, and spend less time taping blisters.

It’s easier than you think, without even venturing into the ultralight gear section of your outdoor retailer. It’s not that expensive, and I didn’t even have to sew my own backpack! As you can see from my list, My packweight (without food and water) was 11 lbs. I wore trail runners because I didn’t have to carry a lot of weight, and my setup was simplified so I could focus on photography.


By the way, try out the Hennessy Hammock if you haven’t yet. It’s fun as hell to sleep in!

As for the camera gear: The Nikon D300 paired with the 18-200 VR was a perfect setup for a trip like this. Compact, professional build, and no need for a tripod with the high ISO performance and Vibration Reduction. I threw the 50mm f/1.4 in as a luxury item. Here are some shots from the assignment:



I went to Isle Royal with my scout troop 9 years ago. Possibly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been too and I can’t wait to go back!

posted by Mike on 05.20.09 at 10:20 pm

Really like your work, you inspired me and want to begin to try too, not only collect other’s works (that is good too!!). Have a nice day.

posted by Mike Artosi on 08.08.09 at 11:41 am

[…] usually like to stay as mobile as possible, and on previous backpacking shoots I’ve gone super-light, with running shoes, a daypack with a weeks worth of food and essentials, and a tiny camera bag like […]

posted by The Blind Monkey: on 05.06.11 at 1:57 pm

Wow. Two lenses. You’re an inspiration. Seriously.

posted by Mick Davies on 04.04.13 at 2:41 am

Thanks Mick. That 18-200 pretty much covers all the bases!

posted by akornylak on 06.04.13 at 5:01 pm

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