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Planning a long trip to India - advice on gear and places to go

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Thread started 30 Jun 2009 (Tuesday) 22:03   
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yabbie
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I’m thinking about going to India and maybe Bangladesh for four months starting in December this year. I’ll be going with my hubby, taking 2 bodies – 400D and 5DII. My usual travel kit consists of 3 lenses between the two of us – 16-35L, 24-70L and 135L (see my sig for the whole collection), and am planning to add my new little travel tripod to the kit. And no flash, I never use it much at home anyway. Anyone care to add other suggestions? I’ll be backpacking, trying to go ‘light’ so don’t want to take the whole kit. We’ll be on a budget too, so no leaving gear in dodgy hostel rooms, it’ll be on me most of the time, don’t want it to be too heavy.

See here for example of pics I took in Nepal – to get an idea of what I’m into (ignore the trekking bit): http://www.lyrebird-gallery.smugmug.com/Ne​palexternal link

I have Hyperdrives and CF cards to take care of memory and back up, tested and works well. Does anyone have suggestions of filters I should take (grad ND...hard, soft, reverse, #stops), as I’m planning to take plenty of time in the cool places to focus on taking some good landscape/other pics – or practice to get better....

Also, what places are great for photogs – landscapes, people/culture, temples, national parks etc? Travel guides are written for everyone, so it would be great to get some advice from a photographer’s point of view of interesting - less obvious places to go.

Post #1, Jun 30, 2009 22:03:14


Alice
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ajayclicks
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Depending on what you wish to photograph, a flash might come in handy. There some ancient temples with nice stone statues with detailed carving placed in the interiors. The interiors are extremely dark though, and unless you used flash (permitted in many places), you wont get a good pic.

Regarding what to photograph- it depends on you- India will offer everything- right from beaches to ancient temples to wildlife sanctuaries, everything. Incase you are planning to visit the southern parts of India, Karnataka (a state, whose capital city is Bangalore) has relatively unspoilt beaches just south of Goa, and also ancient temples (Hampi, Badami) as well as bird and wildlife sanctuaries (Bandipur, Ranganathittu). if your planning wildlife, you will need more focal length though and will have to carry your 300 f4 and tc with you.

This might be a good resource: http://www.indiamike.c​om/india/external link to help you decide on where to go, what to see, where to stay etc

Cheers
Ajay

Post #2, Jul 01, 2009 03:14:19


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yabbie
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Thanks for the tips Ajay.
I know my post was a bit vague on details, but I'm at the planning stage, ie completely blank slate, no plane ticket booked etc because I'm deciding where's good to go. Probably looking at landing in Deli, but there's a good PT system all over the country to get around internally.

I won't bother about photographing wildlife, but definately want to see it. I'm much happier birding through binoculars, than bothering with a camera and specific wildlife lens for now, specially on a long backpacking trip. But bring on the tips on good parks to see wildlife!

I'll just focus the photography on landscapes, architecture and people, to limit my kit to a max of 3 lenses for 2 people. Also to limit my weight, I'll only take pictures of things not needing a flash, as there'll be more than enough to choose from anyways. A camera body and two lenses is my absolute limit for a day pack (plus water, rain coat), walking around all day with anything more is miserable. My feet get too sore, back and shoulders ache. Especially for four months.

Post #3, Jul 01, 2009 04:10:18


Alice
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siddr20
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Just take the 1 body (400D). If you loose the 5d2 you will be devastated. When i was there a few years back i had no problems at all caring around a slr etc.. But i just wouldn't risk taking such an expensive body and or lens. Perhaps take the 400d and a digicam? But up to you.. Just my suggestion..

I recommend you go to Rajasthan which is top leftish of inda.. beautiful temples and forts, and a lots of great culture. Theres also a great national park there (ranthambore national park - http://www.ranthambore​nationalpark.com/index​.htmlexternal link). If you do decide to up north be sure to check it out.
I saw three wild tigers as well as a black bear and other great wild animals.. It was just incredible experience!!

So maybe something like Rajasthan and its surrounding cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur etc, then perhaps to towards the right to agra..

Im sure there are plenty of great websites that lists must see places..

Oh also bring a tripod if you can for those night time shots..

Post #4, Jul 01, 2009 04:33:16


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yabbie
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It'll all be insured, so if someone gets lucky, someone else will pay to replace it for me. I just couldn't leave the 5D at home, I haven't picked up the 400D since getting it. Lucky hubby....gets it all to himself now.
Rajastan looks really interesting, good to hear that you saw some great wildlife, gives me some hope I will too!

Post #5, Jul 01, 2009 04:45:41


Alice
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Neilyb
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Delhi - Ranthambor, 5 hours...AC class train cost next to ziltch! Book game drives in advance to try and get on a jeep. Lots of various priced Lodges and hotels there in the town (Sawai Madhopur) I know you are not bothered about photographing them but I took my lowly 100-400 for the tigers and it came in handy for birds and the MILLIONS of kites in Delhi.

read more on my tigers here: http://www.phototravel​review.com ...-national-park-rajasthan/external link But we were REALLY lucky to see 6 different tigers in 2 days.

For the streets of Delhi and others I used mostly 24-105...plenty of people, bikes, elephants and such. A 2.8 lens my be better but I loved the range of the L.

...and goto Agra, its horrible but has the most famous Indian/world landmark. (get there early in a morning!)

IMAGE: http://neilburton.smugmug.com/photos/299568288_MaEfn-O.jpg

Post #6, Jul 01, 2009 05:29:01


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Neilyb
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yabbie wrote in post #8204947external link
but there's a good PT system all over the country to get around internally.

Lots of trains and busses. whatever you do try to book your train seats on arrival in the airport at Delhi....far easier than working out how to do it in a station. If you cant get AC class or first class then find another way....even in AC class we had a resident mouse.

Delux bus is fine....dont take anything less, not only hot and smelly but far too dangerous. Delux seems to mean "gets there in one piece".

A car and driver can also be hired for reasonable prices (this was our only option from Agra to Delhi due to public bank hols (check for these, everything but enterprising tucktuck and car drivers stops)).

Good luck but remember at no point in any village or city did we feel unsafe, people are happy to have their picture taken if you are polite. Children will let you take their picture too as long as you show them it on the screen, I had crowds of them in the main Delhi Mosque.

Post #7, Jul 01, 2009 05:35:34


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neil_r
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The Punjab is beautiful, Amritsar is well worth a visit from a photographic as well as spiritual POV

LINKexternal link

Old and New Delhi also have their charms

LINKexternal link

Post #8, Jul 01, 2009 05:57:22


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neil_r
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Ajay

I spend a lot of time in Bangalore and will be there in July, might be good to catch up :-)

Post #9, Jul 01, 2009 05:59:33


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JAcosta
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5DII, 35L, and a 580EX.

Thats what I would take if I were you.

Post #10, Jul 01, 2009 06:06:05


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ajayclicks
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neil_r wrote in post #8205181external link
Ajay

I spend a lot of time in Bangalore and will be there in July, might be good to catch up :-)

Lets do that :)

Post #11, Jul 01, 2009 06:50:25


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darrellcraig
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Agree that Rajasthan is great. I especially enjoyed Jaisalmer, relatively near the Pakistani border. Amber fort in Jaipur is great as well.

Also, if you have any connections to India thru family or friends, see if you can visit and spend a bit of time with them while there. You'll have a completely different experience as a tourist as opposed to spending a few days with a family.

Post #12, Jul 01, 2009 11:40:27 as a reply to ajayclicks's post 4 hours earlier.


Gear: 5D2, 20D, 24LII, 24/2.8, 35L, 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 70-200/4 L IS, 430EXII, misc. film cameras and other goodies.

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yabbie
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What sounds good so far - Rajastan, Punjab, old and new Deli, Agra, Karnataka

darrellcraig wrote in post #8206617external link
Also, if you have any connections to India thru family or friends, see if you can visit and spend a bit of time with them while there. You'll have a completely different experience as a tourist as opposed to spending a few days with a family.

I know, I was just thinking that too, which reminds me...to go bug my Indian friends.
Thanks for the tips guys, I think I vaugely remember that Punjab has groovy music, and people like to go out dancing? - according to my Indian salsa friends in Canada a few years back.

Good to hear about the tigers - I've been to so many countries where there used to be tigers - but they've since been made into coats, mats or dinner, and seeing one in a zoo just doesn't count!

How early for Agra? Say sunrise/set kind of time?

Post #13, Jul 01, 2009 21:55:10


Alice
5DII, 35L, 50L, 85L, 135L, MP-E 65, 100 macro, Brolga the birding lens, macro twin flash, tripods, filters and a big box
http://www.lyrebird-gallery.smugmug.comexternal link

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ajayclicks
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Alice, Since you mention that you might land in Delhi, places like Rajasthan, Punjab, Agra are quite near.

Rajasthan has the world famous "Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary", as well as national parks like Ranthambore (for Tigers). IIRC, Agra and Bharatpur actually border each other, so you could go to Agra, spend a day or two (Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri) and then proceed towards Bharatpur and then rest of Rajasthan. Bharatpur has a big railway station with good connectivity to important cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

PT is pretty good and safe. Ofcourse the standard rules of commonsense apply- like not accepting food or drink from strangers, not letting the cam bag out of ur sight etc.... I would bring the 5dMK2 if I were you. The high ISO capabilities, ability to capture details, will help, esp in places like Rajasthan.

Cheers
Ajay

Post #14, Jul 02, 2009 00:24:38 as a reply to yabbie's post 2 hours earlier.


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yabbie
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ajayclicks wrote in post #8210447external link
PT is pretty good and safe. Ofcourse the standard rules of commonsense apply- like not accepting food or drink from strangers, not letting the cam bag out of ur sight etc.... I would bring the 5dMK2 if I were you. The high ISO capabilities, ability to capture details, will help, esp in places like Rajasthan.

Cheers
Ajay

No food and drink from strangers - do people try and drug you to steal your stuff? If so, good to know! It'll be interesting to see what the scams are like, each country has specialties.

Thanks for the website tip, it's a great place to research.

Post #15, Jul 02, 2009 00:54:13


Alice
5DII, 35L, 50L, 85L, 135L, MP-E 65, 100 macro, Brolga the birding lens, macro twin flash, tripods, filters and a big box
http://www.lyrebird-gallery.smugmug.comexternal link

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