How do I handle the power needs for my digital camera and file storage on long trips away from electricity? This was an ask Ron question brought up by two fellow blog’en photographer friends of mine Richard Wong and Gary Crabbe. Both guys operate great blogs – blogs I read everyday, so if you have extra time, do check them out.
It was a big concern back when I first went digital. A 1 GB compact flash card cost $300 a piece, and the batteries for my Canon 1Ds were big and heavy, and didn’t seem to last very long. With that setup, I was never away from electricity for more then 3 days, that was about the most I could manage. I had 3 camera batteries and four 1 GB cards. I was very selective when I photographed, taking more of a large format photographer approach. In the evenings, I would edit and delete images in my tent. I actually didn’t take a trip to Katmai because I didn’t know how to handle the power and storage needs, and with the type of wildlife photography you find in Katmai, you need a lot more of both.
Today it has almost become a non-issue. I have two batteries for my 1Ds III, they are small, light and last forever. Likewise, compact flash is so much cheaper, that I can use it for storage. I could easily go a week with my current gear.
I should add, even though I often take multi week trips in Alaska, it is rare for me to be away from electricity for more then 4 or 5 days at a time. The rest of the time, I at least have access to my car or camper. As long as I have access to a vehicle with a power point, I can charge anything. I plug a 12V DC to AC Portable Inverter with DC Auto Power Outlet into the power point, and this gives me an outlet in which I can plug my camera battery charger, image storage device, or even my laptop into for charging. Seem like I’m usually driving around with something plugged in and charging.
The above photo was from a “setup” camping trip. Normally, I would never put my tent that close to a glacier feed river on a sunny summer day, but it sure made for a pretty setting. 🙂