Cotahuasi 2006

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We are
back from another great adventure in Peru. We ran another safe and fun
trip thorugh the Cotahuasi canyon. Water levels were perfect as was the
weather. A few of the rapids that we have portaged in years past became
runnable due to a shift in some of the boulders. One of our guests Adam
Dawson ran all of the rapids while others choose to walk around a few.
We are looking forward to two trips in 2007. This was our 6th year
running the Cotahuasi and each year we figure out how to run a smoother
trip. We have big plans for 2007!

Please click below for a few sample shots of the 2006 Cotahuasi trip.
Thanks to everyone for making this a memorable trip.

Marc Goddard

The ‘Why’ of Ultralight

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I pack to capacity, no matter the occasion or size of
bag.  I fill it even if it may not be
necessary, I always find last minute things to pop into my bag.  Ultralight backpackers would probably either
keel over reading this, shake their heads or see me as the perfect candidate
for an ultralight makeover.  Luckily, I
am self-aware of my ‘packing problem’ and jumped at the opportunity to go to a
talk in the area.  After all, who could really resist attending
an event called: “Beer + Gear | Spotlight on Ultralight Backpacking”, especially when the proceeds go to the Pacific Crest Trail Association?  What I soon found out is that the ultralight
philosophy can be applied to not just backpacking, but really any variety of

Hosted at the Cedar House Hotel in Truckee, CA, we were
greeted, pointed to the beer (and tasty apps) portion of the event and mingled
with fellow participants and the speaker himself – Glen Van Peski.  Glen is a native Californian who enjoys
tromping around the trails in the western states, and sometimes finds himself
on the east coast too.  He started sewing
his own ultralight backpacks and gear, which in turn was the beginning of his
pack and gear company, 
Gossamer Gear
Quipped by one writer as the ‘guru of ultralight’, we found out why this
was after we grabbed our drinks, a cookie and took a seat.

What did we learn during that time in the conference room
with movie, talk and Q & A period? 
The why, how and precautions of going ultralight.  For this post, let’s focus on the why.

Lite, light, feather-weight, ultralight…the list goes on to
describe adjectives many companies use to market their products.  Why is lighter necessarily better?  To use the lyrics from the musical duo Daft
Punk: ‘…better, faster, stronger’.

Carrying less weight is easier on your body, plain and
simple.  We were told a story of 80+ year
old grandparents that had embraced ultralight backpacking.  They were in the woods for a week-long trip
and only left the trail not from sore knees, backs or blisters, but because
they had to attend a grandchild’s wedding. 
Shed pounds from your pack and you can add years to your backpacking

Less weight allows you to go farther: your muscles and
joints aren’t having to compensate for the extra pounds you’re carrying.  Therefore, you can go farther into the
backcountry, log more miles on your hike and get more out of your weekend,
week, or month trip.

Lastly, going light helps in an emergency situation.  If you or someone in your group gets injured
and you have lighter, less gear, you increase your ability to travel faster
and/or help carry someone else’s gear. 

Next up: how you can go lighter.  You may be asking yourself if it costs an arm
and a leg.  As with most gear, you could
spend a good portion of winning lottery tickets getting the greatest and
lightest gear.  On the other side of the
spectrum, you may already have what you need to go lighter in your camping

Tips for Adventure Photography

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Hello, my name is David Boswell.  While I am not a professional photographer, I am a serious amateur who has traveled throughout the world with Bio Bio and, hopefully can use that experience to help others navigate the complexities of traveling with camera gear. 

This article will deal with gear selection and airport issues I have encountered.  Here are some things to remember when planning what camera gear to bring. 

First, you may encounter regulations different than the US.  For example, internal flights in Argentina have a carry on weight limit of 8k, or about 18 lbs. 

Second, you need to be aware of the specifics and limitations of your particular trip.  On a recent trip to Africa I spent 4 days in the Okavango Delta of Botswana that involved flying on small planes that had strict luggage requirements with regards to weight and size. 

Third, you need to know what you will be photographing and what your goals are.  For example, on an African safari you will be photographing wildlife, frequently at a distance so a long lens is very important while on my trek to Everest Base Camp a wide angle lens and low weight are more important.

First, let me talk about gear selection then I will touch on packing and airport issues.  I start with my base setup that I always take and work from there:

1.      24-105mm f/4 lens: 1.5 lbs
2.     70-200mm f/2.8 lens: 3.5 lbs
3.     Camera body either 5D or 7D: 1.8 lbs
4.     Flash: 0.8 lbs
5.     Extra batteries/charger/filters 0.5 lbs

As you can see, I already have 8 lbs and I will typically take my tripod and ballhead which then adds another 5 lbs, bringing me to 13 lbs.  Now, from this list I then add-on based on what I need with the options including

– 2nd camera body,
– 100-400mm lens at 3 lbs,
– 2nd flash,
– remote trigger for flash,
– off camera bracket for flash,
– extra filters,
– 1.4x & 2x teleconverters 0.5/0.7 lbs.,
– Epson P-7000 160Gb Photoviewer 1.5 lbs, etc.

As you can see, taking everything gets quite heavy, 30+ lbs not including the pack/case, as well as being fairly bulky.

For Nepal, there was no reason to bring my 100-400mm lens since I would be mostly shooting vast landscapes in the Himalayas and street scenes in Kathmandu.  On a recent trip to Africa, I definitely brought my 100-400mm, my 7D (better for wildlife and action than the 5D), and the 1.4x teleconverter since I would be shooting wildlife at varying distances. 

While I can’t tell you exactly what to take, I can advise you to look at what you are shooting and the likelihood you will need a particular piece of equipment to get a meaningful shot while balancing that with the trip constraints. 

Those of you not using pro lenses will have a much easier time as your lenses aren’t nearly as bulky or heavy.

There are 2 main factors when looking at what you will be carrying your camera outfit in: How will you be moving around on your trip (trekking, vehicles, boats, etc.) and getting through airports.  I have found that a camera backpack seems to work best.  I pack my tripod and ballhead in my checked bag but the rest of the camera gear I carry on. 

While I can’t tell you what brand or pack to use, I can say the Clik Elite has some nice packs but they are heavy and if you have a small waist the hip belt is too big with their one-size-fits-all sizing.  I also like LowePro as they have many options. 

The main piece of advice I can give you here is to keep it as small and compact as possible while still being able to safely pack and protect your expensive equipment.  My pack was weighed and had to check it in Argentina because it was a bigger pack and caught their attention.  I have never had a smaller unobtrusive pack weighed.  While it is rare, I have had to open the pack at times and show the gear at security so the pack contents should be accessible.  In countries other than the US I have almost universally had to take my tablet out and put it through security separately so have that easily accessible also.
You may also join me on Facebook and Youtube by searching DBoswell Photography.