Heading out west - what did I forget?

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East coast boy, 33, heading to the Four Corners region for three weeks beginning May 5 curious to know what accessory YOU find indispensable. I'm pretty sure I've covered all the bases, but someone out there has an good idea from which we all could benefit. Care to share?

My #1 item(s): Ziploc and trash bags.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), May 03, 2000


I would highly recommend you purchase a copy of Land of the Canyons from http://www.phototripusa.com/ . It's an excellent resource and guidebook. I've met and photographed with the author, Laurent Martres. He's a talented photographer and has spent tons of time researching this book and gearing it towards the needs of professional photographers as well as amateurs.

-- Howard Slavitt (info@naturelandscape.com), May 03, 2000.

Man do I ever envy you! I go out to Big Bend every year for a week and it's never long enough, but the experience sticks with me for months. Just some random thoughts on necessities: - spare cable release? - 2 cans of dust-off compressed air. - roll of photo black tape to seal leaky holders or reducing backs. I still have a strip over a crack in a dark slide that I used to swat a bee. - roll of duct tape for whatever. - tube of superglue. - half dozen small bungees. - can of fix-a-flat. - wide brimmed hat for shading lenses and the noggin. - good book, power bars and bottle of water while waiting for afternoon light. - all-in-one tool, like a Bucktool, for repairs. - alarm clock to get up before sunrise. I use a light tent inside my camper to change film. On moonless nights in the desert I've even changed film with no protection at all and had no effects. I store shot film in a film box with indexed folders using notches that can be felt in the dark.

Good luck.

-- Bruce Schultz (bschultz@theadvocate.com), May 03, 2000.

Two things I never leave home without: an extra cable release and an extra set of car keys. If you're traveling with someone, give the extra keys to your travel partner.

Don't forget the sunscreen!

-- Todd Caudle (todd@skylinepress.com), May 03, 2000.

First, make sure you include the Escalante Grand Staircase area, but you can't really go wrong anywhere in the 4 corners. DUST, dust, dust !!! This is going to be your biggest problem, although it may not be as bad in the spring. Shoot readyloads and you will save yourself a great deal of disappointment over black spots on your prints. If you decide not to shoot readyloads: 1. Load your sheets in a moist environment like a bathroom where you have run the hot water for awhile. 2. Treat your film holders with antistatic spray before you leave home. 3. keep unexposed film (in holders) in a plastic bag and don't put them back in after exposure. 4. Dust off the film holder with an antistatic brush just before you put it in the camera. You are going to have a great time ! I usually go for two weeks in September and have never had a bad trip. Don't forget hand lotion and chapstick.

-- Paul Mongillo (pmongillo@thurston.com), May 03, 2000.

Chad: You forgot one important thing...you didn't invite me and the other good folks on this forum to go with you. How could you be so forgetful! I am most envious. Post us some photos when you get back. A couple of suggestions: I would take a couple of small coolers to store film and holders in. They are nearly waterproof, dustproof and keep the film cooler even without ice. I would get the ones with the white tops that close snugly. I would also suggest that you lay your camera on a table and then add all the accessories that you need beside it. Go over eveything carefully. Then take a good inventory and write everything down. Do the same thing for personal comfort items and clothing, tools, spare nuts and screws, water bottles, etc. Incidentally, the desert area can get downright cold at night. Take warm clothes for late evening shots. It is an unwritten rule that equipment that works everyday for 100 years at home will break down the first hour you are off in the boonies. I would try and get the location of a good repairman or camera shop in the area before you leave home. It could save time if you did need repairs or replacement items. One last thing...take about twice the film you plan on shooting and double up on the shots you know will be significant to you. Good shooting, Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), May 03, 2000.

oh and try not to talk... coming from a southern boy, 33, and a good thumper(can you "carry-on" a husaberg?) with desert tank and racks for hard luggage. Try to steer clear of reservation roads at check gettin time...that way you'll avoid bunch a liquored-up cousins of mine.

-- Trib (linhof6@hotmail.com), May 03, 2000.

Suntan lotion, water, and good maps. A hat. Any piece of camera equipment you haven't used at least 1,000 times already you should leave at home.

I spend a lot of time camping and taking pictures for work in the summer in Idaho and Nevada. (I'm a public lands litigation researcher.) My pictures are always best when I'm relaxed and not too taxed by the bugs, sun, heat, or mechanical failures of the auto or photograpic equipment variety. All the doodads just get lost and broken, so I keep my gear simple and easy to reach. Now is probably not the time to experiment with that new filter you've never really had a chance to use, for example.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), May 03, 2000.


It is dry out there. Read Fire Danger From my 1/2 lifetime in the west experience, they might start to enforce the bucket, saw, shovel requirement to go onto national lands. See what the rules are for the area.

Best wishes,,,,,

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), May 03, 2000.

Anti-snake venom.

-- Wayne Campbell (wtcamjr@aol.com), May 03, 2000.

Anti-snake venom?

Is that for when you bite the snake?

Or is that what you do instead of biting the snake?

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), May 06, 2000.

I just got back from the 4corners area and was reading all the good advise. I got to the last comment about antivenom and I must second it. I just had my first close encounter with a rattler in 40 years of desert exploring. It was late dusk after an exposure and I decided to take a leak on a rock that just happened to have a rattler at the base. He was offended and let me know it, but didn't strike my sandaled foot just 12 inches away. Moral - don't get so used to the desert that you ignore desert precautions of water, boots, hat, etc, etc. I was lucky and got a cheap refresher lesson. Most important for desert novices, you can drive for 1 hour in a car what will take you two days of 100 degrees temperatures to walk after the car breaks down. Bob

-- Bob Finley (rfinbob@aol.com), May 11, 2000.

Yes, but wouldn't it be more efficacious to carry (and use when necessary) snake anti-venon rather than anti-snake venom

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), May 11, 2000.

First of all, unless you are a doctor, you can't just go buy "snake anti-venom" and a syringe and shoot yourself up with it if you get bit.

I've spent much of my life around rattlesnakes. They are beautiful creatures. They virtually always give you a nice, primal warning when you get too close, assuming you are moving carefully enough to give them a chance to do so. Which you should be. The above poster's experience is typical. He got too close, the rattler let him know, and he left in a hurry.

Second, 9 out of 10 rattlesnake defensive strikes do not release venom. An adult rattlesnake can control whether it releases venom, and the things are smart enough to know that releasing venom into a 150 pound human isn't going to help their situation any; that is, the venom will not kill you fast enough to keep you from killing the rattlesnake, if that's what you are bent on doing. So why waste precious venom? The strike is to make you leave, not kill you. The rattlesnake does not want to eat you. (Incidentally, baby rattlers will just about always release venom. If you get bit by one of these, get the hell to a doctor.)

The most important thing you can carry with you to protect yourself is your car keys. If you get struck, make a quick mental note of the color and markings of the snake, calmly get to a car and to a doctor. If you want, you can get a good kit that will suck the venom from the wound without having to cut yourself up. They are reverse syringe type deals that you can operate with one hand (in case the bite is on the other) and they are said to be quite effective. If you are paranoid, get one. But better than anything is simply to be careful and have good manners whenever you are in somebody else's home. That's how I do it and in twenty years of tromping through rattlesnake country I've had many, many encounters and never a strike. Going into the wilderness involves risks, just like crossing the street at home does. Some day, something is going to get you. Might as well enjoy yourself until it does.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), May 11, 2000.

Erik's right. Watch where you step, only glance at the horizon or destination once in a great while. Keep your eyes down and always look before you step. A pair of leather 10 eyelet boots that extend up to your calf muscle is invaluable and will help fend off the prickly pears and cholos too. Watch for holes and do stay clear of the babies. Enjoy these beautiful creatures but keep a safe distance. Wear thick jeans or other, NO SHORTS... to hell with the comfortable hippy attire.. it's a harsh environment and the yuccas alone will prove my points. I forget these things sometimes as I grew up on the high desert plains and never had to adapt....it was just a way of life. Pay close attention to the locals...especially those that work out in the remote areas you'll be tromping. They aren't wearing comfy clothes.

-- Trib (linhof6@hotmail.com), May 11, 2000.

Anybody else notice he left on this trip last Friday? Good advice for the rest of us, though...

-- bill youmans (bill@greatgrips.com), May 11, 2000.

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