Alaska Trip - After Action Report

May 3, 2005
Tampa, FL
I just spent 2 weeks touring Alaska with Holland America tours. The first week consisted of cruising the Inland Passage on a cruise ship and the second week was a bus and train tour going from the port city of Seaward to Fairbanks.

As I was preparing for this trip, I did a lot of research on the photo forums as to what to take. This is my “lessons learned” and I am passing on to future Alaska travelers.

1. First – the word awesome and fantastic comes to mind on a daily basis so the terms really loose their definition. Prepare for many shots per day.
2. Plan on downloading pictures on a daily basis. Think thru what you need to download. I considered a portable CD-burner but I deleted that as an option as I did want the capability to view my images while on the road. If I were planning on going next year – I would probably opt for an Epson P-2000. I just didn’t have the $$$ at the last minute to go in this direction.
3. I did take a 200GB external USB drive that I connected to my laptop. I downloaded the days shoot each evening on both the laptop hard drive and the external drive. This was my version of redundancy.
4. Make sure you take a power strip! Get one with a very short plug and wire but does accept the three prongs plugs. This allowed me to charge my battery, run the laptop and my external drive all at once. Oh yea – it allowed my wife to plug in her hair dryer each morning without re-doing my connections.
5. I formatted my CF card each day immediately after downloading the pictures. That way I knew I captured all of my images each day. There was a case where I overlooked the download but because the images were still on the card I was able to capture them later that evening.
6. I shot in RAW everyday. I just wanted to be able to get the highest quality image when I went to print. I knew it would cost me longer PP times but I figured to shoot to keep and work it later.
7. I created a folder for each day and placed each CF card shots within the folder. It made it easy to figure out where to go if I wanted to review the shots of a particular place.
8. I purchased a Lowepro backpack for all my camera gear. I used this backpack as my carry-on luggage for plane. No problems thru security. Wife’s carry-on bag was packed with laptop – just meant I carried it all over.
9. Tripod packed in luggage as well as the USB external drive that was well padded (with shirts, coat etc.) in my checked thru luggage
10. Backpack made a great makeshift “bean bag” when taking long exposure pictures.
11. I traveled with a “Bigma” Sigma 50-500 MM lens, Nikkor 60mm micro, kitlens, SB-800 flash and Sekonic L-508 meter. I would suggest a wider angle lens and all lenses as fast as you can afford. It gets very dark in the forest.
12. I also traveled with the Cokin filter system with 3 ND filters, green color correcting and a Hoya circular polarizer, and a IR filter.
13. Read up on how to take pictures in the snow – it does fool the meters.
14. I shot what I thought was a lot of pictures per day. I usually shot three – 1 GB CF cards with one day adding an additional 512MB card to the total.
15. It took my two complete weekends to transfer these hard drive pictures to CD’s and have them cataloged in my system.
16. I am just beginning the PP phase of the trip so pictures still to come.

Sorry for being long winded - Hope this helps someone a little bit.
May 28, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Thank you for the info you shared.

Alaska is one of those places in my "short list" I want to visit in the future.

I'll definitely bear in mind your experience and your "lessons learned".
May 19, 2005
Michigan / Metro Detroit / USA
Thanks for the info. Leaving for Alaska in 2 weeks.
All fishing time. I'll still have time to take some shots.
Will you post some shots in the next week or so??

Side note:
Though it is not as good as an Epson P2000 I did use my Son-In-law's Photo Ipod in France last week and it worked great. A little slow but it was the cheapest way to go. (Borrowing is cheaper than buying). I downloaded every night. I took about 10 minutes for every gig. I will buy an Epson p2000 one day, but his Ipod is fine for now. I downloaded 1000 shots from my D2x and uploaded to my computer the night I got home. I was very easy to do. The only 2 draw backs ; (1)The Ipod has no card slot, so one has to hook up the camera with the USB cord to the Ipod for download. (2) It records RAW but one can't see RAW photos on the viewer. I shot Raw + Fine jpeg so I could review the pictures on the Ipod if I needed to. Downloading was easy once I got back to my hotel room each night. The up load to a computer was super easy and pretty fast.
May 3, 2005
Tampa, FL
I will post as soon as I get all of them on CD and catalogue. I just finished the last of the CD burn this evening. I leave town on business for next 5 days (will be back Sunday night).
Thanks for the info on the iPod.
One other thing I did not mention- take a cover for your camera - it will rain (not a maybe).

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