As you are preparing for your adventure with Western River expeditions, one of the most common questions is, "what camera should I take?" I want to take just a few minutes and describe some of the possible options for bringing a camera down here in the river environment. This, of course, is a place where you are really going to have some incredible pictures. Not only of the scenery, but also the excitement and the memories that you will be creating down here.
So, you do want to take a moment and think about what type of camera are you going to have, so let's take a look at a few of the options. One of the most popular cameras down here are the waterproof and shockproof cameras. They're small. You can keep them in a pocket during a hike. They generally have a great zoom without having a large profile on the lens. And they are fairly durable out here to the conditions.
Now if you have a standard camera that is not waterproof and you want to waterproof it, you can certainly find ways to do that. One of the most popular options is something like this, the AquaPack. It is something you can find online at our partner retailer redrockoutfitters.com. You can simply slide your camera inside and cinch it down. It makes a great way to keep that camera protected from both water and sand. They also have this nice little carrying strap you can put over your head if you are on a hike. So that is a great, easy way to go. It also gives you a little bit of room to not only handle the camera inside, but also, if you have any profile on your zoom, it allows that to come in and out as well. Good option if you don't already have a camera that is waterproof. It will work well out here.
Another option, and very popular these days, is something like a Gopro camera with the waterproof housing. The only draw back to something like this is that you really can't manipulate the zoom at all. You are always going to be shooting wide angle. While that might be fine for some cases, you may want a zoom to be able to compose a shot in a certain way. But very easy for video, very easy for photo. Most of these other cameras these days are just shooting video, so you could capture video with a different camera as well.
Now another option, becoming more and more popular, as cell phones now have excellent cameras on them, is to bring your mobile phone. Now, the only worry we have about this is protecting it. So there are a couple of options, there are hard cases that will go around that and allow you to still operate your phone or again you can find the smaller version of the aqua pack that is very suitable for the phone. Most of these other cameras that we are talking about likely have batteries that you can replace and extra cards and so forth. If you're going to bring along a cell phone, think about bringing along a little portable charging device. There are many of these out there and aren't really that expensive now. They can simply plug your cable into that and you plug it into your phone and you can get up three to four charges on it generally - if it is fully charged before you leave. That is, assuming that you have your phone set on airplane mode, because you aren't going to eat through that battery life very quickly if it continues to try to connect.
One thing I will mention about cell phones, obviously they will not work out here on the river, but also take a moment and really think about this. If you're traveling with your family or younger children, will having that phone be any kind of distraction for them? This is an environment where we can come and really escape all of that and truly disconnect, get away from the electronics. Which, as parents, I think this is often one of the last environments we can do this in. You really want to take advantage of that, so try to leave that kind of stuff at home. If the phone does come, use it for pictures and nothing more. Nice thing about cell phones is they are there ready to post when you get home and that makes the cell phone good option assuming you can protect it.
The last option I want to talk about are larger SLR cameras. If you have a camera like this, keep in mind that bring it out in this environment is a risk. Not only for the water, but perhaps, even more so, for the sand. The sand out here in this environment is very fine and tends to find its way into every crack and crevice, but obviously you will get much better pictures most of the time with something like this. So, if you do choose to bring something like this, you have a couple options to protect it. One of them is to bring a padded waterproof case, that can work okay. Sometimes depending on the size of your camera you can stick that down inside your day bag and then pull that out, that can work okay.
Another option is to bring along a pelican case. Now something like this has foam inside of it that you can pull out. Obviously, get the right size for your camera, you don't need to over do it with something like that. But if you have your camera you're able to stick it in there with a couple extra batteries, a couple extra cards, whatever. You can get something that pads that really nicely and protects it from water and so forth. Bring along an extra carabiner or two or maybe a strap so you can strap that down. If you are planning on bringing additional equipment than what I have talked about here, be sure to talk to our office and lets make sure we know about it and can plan ahead for that and make sure that that's going to be okay on your trip.
So hopefully you've found this useful as we have talked about cameras and what to bring out here. No matter which camera you choose to bring out on the river, be sure to check out our website and emails for addition guidelines and instruction as far as photography and video on the river.