It’s been a little while since my last post, and I’m guessing all three of you who read this claptrap are wondering what I’ve been up to. Well the basic answer is displacement activities. Rather than anything sensible like getting off my backside and doing a bit of training I’ve been working on logistics. Not the logistics of the trek itself – I’m fairly confident I’ve got that down. It basically goes;
- Fly to Kathmandu
- Fly to Lukla *
- Walk as far as we can (many variations on this theme depending on timing / acclimitization / knackeredness)
- Fly back
* this being the most uncertain part
The logistics that have been more taxing are those around my self-imposed millstone of a film. As previously posted, there is the requirement for a lot of memory, a lot of battery, and a lot of other gizmos. Classic boy logic – throw some money at the problem, buy some gadgets and it will work out. So far I have added to my filming kit
- A shoulder mount for the camera (beautifully modeled in the previous post), with a remote shutter release to help. Someone has since pointed out I may also need the ‘jar of nipple grease’ accessory to make this comfortable for extended wear.
- An extended battery pack / grip for the camera – why take one battery to the shower when you can take two. Apart from having to root around in the bag for batteries less often, this allows the camera to run on AAs in an emergency.
- More spare camera batteries. 6 more to be precise, although I will hasten to add these have been procured from a man in china at a much reduced price. They are either really good fakes or off Hooky Street for the one fifth of rrp I paid as they look the part, work with the camera’s battery recognition software (which retains a count of shots / age for each individual battery) and have neither randomly lost charge nor exploded even once. If anyone is in need of camera batteries I can point you to the seller.
- A Freeloader Globetrotter Pro kit, which is a a small solar panel linked to an internal battery and charging device, the idea being over the course of a day the panel trickle charges the internal battery, which then can be used to quick charge the camera batteries using the included ‘cam caddy’. This is a great idea, and I got it half price, however only after purchasing did I realise in the real world it will probably only generate enough juice for one camera battery charge a day. I will probably need 2 or 3 (and nearly 5 on ‘summit’ day). So on to
- A Power Gorilla battery pack. Despite being in the mountains, there are a few places that you can plug in to re-charge, so the total power carrying capacity needs to cover the periods between. This can probably do around 8 additional camera battery charges when fully charged. I also found it one morning on Best Buy’s website for half price, so thought why not?
There are still a few notable exceptions. The power carrying capacity I have is around half what I think I need, so I may have to add 50 or so Lithium AA batteries (highly recommended by Arctic explorers, apparently). More weight. Or alternately invest in a serious piece of solar kit – there are some 20 – 30w foldable panels that you could strap to a backpack and would do a stirling job. Unfortunately they are £300 plus, so maybe not.
The other big omission is memory. I’ve now done a detailed shot plan, and taking into account extras I do need around 150Gb of storage space. That’s a lot of SD cards. Even the cheapest 16gb ones I’ve found, which I’m not sure I’d trust, come in at £10 each. Decent ones are two or three times that. A cheap notebook would cost around the same, but require more power and add extra time (and even more power) transferring stuff onto it. And I really can’t justify the new Macbook Air I’ve been lusting after. May just have to take the hit and then sell them on after.
Of course a friend then pointed out I could avoid all this techno hassle by going old school, and getting an 8mm cine camera with a single frame release option. Cameras are cheap as chips, it would all fit on a single reel of film and cost £30 for processing & transfer to digital. So I’ve bid on this.
Ain’t she a beauty?
Of course with real film all you have to do is load it incorrectly and the whole lot is stuffed, with no option of checking this on the way (or going back to re-shoot). So obviously what I want to do is take it as well for additional atmospheric shots.
More Sherpas please…..