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About Me

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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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August 20, 2009

what's packing in lantaw's bags

I sometimes get questions asking me what gears I use and what I usually bring on my outdoor trips. So here's a peek at some of the stuff I might pack on trips.

I have three staple lenses: Sigma 10-20mm, Tokina 28-70mm/f2.8, and a Nikkor 70-300G. These 3 lenses covers a good range from wide to telephoto.


On mountain treks, where I'd probably be shooting landscapes 99% of the time, I usually just bring the wide (for landscapes) and telephoto (for wildlife like birds - although 300mm is seriously not enough when shooting birds) when weight is an issue. The Tokina lens weighs like a brick!

When I'm mountain biking I just use a kit lens: a Nikkor 18-55mm. Plastic and feels like a toy but does a great job - unbelievably sharp for such a cheap lens.

Since I'm always shooting landscapes, these are always in my bag. I use a ultra thin Marumi DHG CPL which is always attached to my Sigma 10-20mm. It serves as a lens protector also as I don't use a UV filter. Gotta avoid vignettes when shooting wide, especially when I'm stacking filters.


Aside from the CPL I bring along a Hoya ND8X, an ultra thin Haida Infrared 720 filter (equivalent of Hoya R72) and several Cokin P-series GND filters. I tend to bring soft and hard edge GND8 filters and a GND4 most of the time. I stopped using colored graduated filters like the blue or sunset filters. I'd like to get my hands on 'em Singh-Ray filters one of these days. A single Singh-Ray filter costs an arm and a leg and a good portion of your torso.

AccessoriesLittle stuff I can't do without. I bring several SD cards of different brands. On a typical 3-day weekend trip 4 extra cards usually suffice for my needs. I cycle through 3 extra batteries (the most I can bring is 5). If I bring along my flash gun then I also bring 8 AA rechargeable batteries.


Other stuff includes: commercial grade lens tissue (that can be used for cleaning sensors as well), several lens pens, a blower, camera rain covers, a small but ultra bright torch, a small compass, chargers for camera and AA batteries, a set of RF receiver and transmitter for remote flash, and IR remote trigger.

LightingCurrently I have only 1 flash gun: a Sigma EF-500 DG SUPER (Sigma's answer to SB-800). I use small Lastolite light modifier which is great for outdoor portraits.


If there is a significant source of natural light I also use a disk reflector. There are 5-in-1 versions you can find in most camera shops. It has gold, silver, white, black, and translucent parts.

SupportA tripod is a landscape photographer's best friend. I don't leave home without it. Nobody has rock-steady hands.

Benro tripod

My Benro A-157 with a BH-1 ball head has seen its share of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, mountains and rocks, and has the scars to show for.

Keeping them all dry
Dry bags or dry sacks are essential especially if you are trekking in the storm and crossing rivers and lakes. I use a 4-L bag and a 25-L sack. I use the bigger sack for my camera and lenses; the smaller one I use for the accessories.

Dry bags

I also bring along several of these small dehumidifier kits that can be bought from hardware shops. I put one inside my camera backpack and another one inside the bigger dry sack. I try to keep my gears as dry as possible whenever I go out and shoot waterfalls.


Thats it! Maybe next time I'll share some tips and photos on shooting in rainy or bad weather.
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shengmarie said...

Ugh, is that what you call backpacking? That's heavy huh? Hindi pwede yung light sack lang gamitin? Eh kaya cguro hindi tumataba ang bossing ko kasi araw-araw ata ganyan din bitbit eh.

Lantaw said...

Thats just for the photo gears Sheng, I still have to carry my tent, food, and water (and other supplies)

Ferdz said...

Woah! Ang laki nga ng tamron! Pero quality optics naman sya. Ganun pala yung lastolite. NGayon lang ako nakakita nun

All geared up and ready to go na. Handa sa kahit ano mang photographic na laban. :D

Lantaw said...

Yung lastolite para kang may "built-in" softbox :). Still have a few items I need like the CR2 and 23A batteries I need for the RF triggers :). will have to start charging the batteries tonight :D

Marites said...

i learned something from this post:) now, I know where i should buy the drybag and the dehumidifier kits. I've been looking for it kasi eh. Thanks for these post:)

escape said...

thanks to this. this somehow helps me prepare myself when i engage in photography.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

Wow, your photographic stuff alone is already worth all your extremities he he he. But seriously, it takes a lot of dedication on your part to haul all of it in any of your expeditions within the country.

Lantaw said...

Marites, importante yung dry bag talaga, and the dehumidifier will keep your gears moisture free

You are welcome Dom :)

Nomadic Pinoy, hahaha. I try to pack light whenever possible :)

bertN said...

Wow! All the photographic stuff you carry is enough to give me a hernia LOL. Talk about dedication!

Sidney said...

Wow... you are very well organised!

bertN said...

Ang bigat ng lahat na iyan! Kudos to photographers like you - talagang dedicated kayo.

Oman said...

wow. ang dami bro, but it surely gave me an idea of what to bring next. thanks for sharing.

Lantaw said...

@Sidney - being well organized is a prerequisite when one is traveling, I think :)

@Oman - no probs bro :)

@bertN - I guess we just love this hobby a lot :)

Anonymous said...

Wow nice site you have here. How would you compare the haida filter with the more expensive ones like hoya?

Am about to venture in IR photography would like to learn from masters like you.

Lantaw said...

@Anonymous, Haida IR works fine, the critical gear actually is the type of camera, some camera models don't work well with IR

Anonymous said...

hi lantaw, do you have an updated list of your gears including your body? :) huge fan here.

Lantaw said...

Currently im using Nikon D7000, Nikkor 10-24, Hoya HD CPL, Lee GND filters, Manfrotto tripod and head

Anonymous said...

I see. what happened to your 2 other lenses? aside from the perspective, i love how clean the outcome of your photos are. i wonder if it is the body, lens, workflow or all of the above :)

Lantaw said...

I still have the rest of the lenses in a dry box and I use the 28-70 Tokina from time to time. But mostly its the Nikkor 10-24. Its a really sharp lens. The HD CPL is also a staple and its always on my UWA lens. If you keep your gear in tiptop shape you wont have issues with image quality

Anonymous said...

I heard from a traveler friend that uwa is really good and sharp. settled with the sigma for now. thanks for patiently answering and god bless!

Lantaw said...

Depends on the UWA, there are 'lemon' Sigmas :(. Nikkor and Tokina are quite good. Your friend may be referring to the DOF, which could be from where you are standing -> infinity if you use hyperfocal distance, that means everything is sharp. 'Sharpness' or image quality will depend on your lens. Oh one additional thing: try to invest really good filters. If you have an excellent lens then you put low quality filters in front of it, you degrade the image quality.

Anonymous said...

i meant the nikkor 10-24 uwa is sharp and good. i got my sigma just this year, same as what is in your post. is this what you were referring as 'lemon' sigmas? not really familiar with the term. when i bought the uwa, i also purchased a hoya nd filter but a generic cpl. i am now realizing a lot of wrong decisions during those purchases. haha

Lantaw said...

Yup, Nikkor 10-24 should be sharp and good considering its price :D.

'Lemon' means with defects, looks OK on the exterior but not quite was you expected in terms of performance. Some brands have really strict QA, so you are assured of very good quality.

I came across one Sigma 10-20mm that was really soft, but some recalibration improved the image quality

Re: filters, start investing on really good ones. Hoya HD CPL is now just about 3.5k, down from 7K when I first bought one

Anonymous said...

I guess I would start saving for that 10-24 then :) For the mean time, will test and explore my sigma.

Investing on really good gears is truly the key. Thanks so much for answering my queries, Allan :D

Lantaw said...

My pleasure. Have fun shooting! If you have more questions feel free to send some my way via aebarredo@gmail.com

Elal Lasola said...

Will do thank you for your time :)

Lantaw said...

finally, a name to go with the queries :D. Really thought it was a guy asking the questions about the gear haha

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