What To Bring
Photographers love equipment. The trick is to put together a kit that allows you to do the job without too much redundancy. Often times less is more, especially when travelling. Ideally everything, with the exception of a tripod, will fit into a comfortable backpack that can be accessed quickly. Things happen quickly in the natural world and we want to be able to react to dynamic situations. We live for those 'magic' fleeting moments. I once had a client that came for 5 days and shipped his gear before his arrival. When I went to pick it up there were 6 large boxes requiring 2 trips. Inside were 9 camera bodies of different makes with associated lenses, batteries and filters etc. It didn't take long to realize that this was going to be a challenge to work with. We spent the next couple of days putting together a kit that allowed him to do everything he needed to do. He admitted he was a collector and didn't get to shoot as much as he liked. Turns out he had a real knack for shooting once we got organized.
Remember, simple is beautiful. As a rule, I feel 2 bodies and 3 lenses will cover everything you're likely to encounter in the field. A teleconverter and an extension tube (for macro) expand the potential of those lenses and they are compact. A flash (sunlight in a can) is a powerful tool that can make good pictures great and wont take up much room in your pack. When thinking filters, ideally one size fits all your lenses. If your lenses are not all the same thread size, get a set that fits the largest and use a step down ring accommodate the smaller lens. A tripod is a must in many situations such as slow shutter speeds, timelapse, HDR and video. The key is to recognize when you can shoot without it, without compromising image quality. You have to have a tripod, but it is incredibly liberating when you don't have to use it. A tripod should be sturdy and tall enough that you can look through the viewfinder comfortably, without having to extend the center column. For stills shooters, a small ballhead will do well for wide and medium lenses, while those with long, heavy telephotos should consider a gimbal type head like the Wimberly. For those of you shooting both video and stills with your dslr's, a fluid head is the way to go. You simply can't pan and tilt a video camera without it and it works fine for stills as well.
IN THE PACK - PREFERABLY WEATHERPROOF
2 CAMERA BODIES + 2 BATTERIES FOR EACH + CHARGER
WIDE ZOOM LENS 16-35
MED ZOOM LENS 70-200
LONG LENS 400, 500 OR 600MM
EXTENSION TUBE - MEDIUM - (25MM ) OR VARIABLE
FILTERS - ONE SIZE - POLARIZER - SPLIT DENSITY - VARIABLE ND
STEP DOWN RING FOR FILTERS IF NECESSARY
SMART FLASH + BATTERIES
MEMORY CARDS - 16 GB FOR STILLS - 32 GB FOR VIDEO
TRIPOD W/QUICK RELEASE HEAD + QR PLATES FOR ALL BODIES AND LENSES
MANUALS FOR CAMERAS AND FLASH
CLEANING KIT FOR LENSES AND FILTERS
13 GAL. TRASH BAGS + RUBBER BANDS FOR RAIN / SNOW PROTECTION
These are merely suggestions, things to consider when putting together your tool kit. Your lens choices may vary. Don't get too caught up in gear. Remember, these are only tools, and we need them, but not once have they gone out and made pictures for me. Throughout my career I have rarely had everything I want, and I have become quite good at making do with what I have... and you should too. Ultimately it is about you, the photographer...
What To Wear
It is fair to say if you are not comfortable you won't have fun or do your best work. As photographers we love weather. With it comes drama and wildly changing conditions. Even in summer it can be downright cold, with morning temps in the 30's. Best to dress in layers so you can add or subtract as needed. Longjohns (long underwear), are a good idea any time of the year. You can lose them as the day warms up. Everyone brings a heavy jacket and their legs are cold!!! A lightweight rain jacket is a must, and a hat and gloves ensure that you'll be comfortable. You don't want to stop shooting because you're cold. I prefer foul weather over hazy blue skies, it just makes better pictures. And that is what it is all about. And this is not the time to break in those new boots. A couple laps around the block will ensure that you are pain free. No need to spend a million bucks, but a little thought will go a long way to getting the most from those precious days afield...