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calumet through_africa

Calumet’s slogan is; “It’s Where the Pros Go”.

Since I had my Studio in Bermondsey, Street, London, Calumet Photographic, Drummond Street, has been an address synonymous with all that professional photographers needed for supplies and professional support in the ever-competitive world.

Calumet Photographic has embraced all that is important about this project and in doing so demonstrate the commitment they have to maintaining the very text of their slogan. In the preparation and planning of this expedition they helped me prepare for all the challenges. Calumet’s technical support and expertise have provided valuable background information on all aspects of the digital technology that I use in this historic journey.

Visit their site US Branches here UK Branches Here

I have listed the equipment I took below and written reviews of some of the kit I took into the field and why.

Camera Bodies 2 x Nikon D2Xs
Good sturdy and very versatile camera bodies. Easy to use and very well designed. What else can I say...?
Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom Lens 77mm filter
Wide angle lenses for me really let you get into your subjects area. The images you achieve tell the story from the inside. For me, an essential part of my kit. In this case I chose to take a zoom. At the sacrifice of speed, it gave me the option to specially frame, without necessarily having to move from my subject, which helps me work faster.

Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF Standard Lens 52mm filter
Since I first started in photography this lens has always been my base. It’s also a good lens to discipline you for framing and composition.

Nikkor 135 mm f/2.0D AF DC Telephoto Lens (72Ø)
This lens, specifically the 135 length has always been my favourite portrait lens. F2 also gives me the speed to really narrow my depth of field. Isolating my subjects from their background. Never go anywhere without it!

Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR Lens 52 Filter
Well I must confess this was a slight departure from my norm. I tend to stay away from Long zoom lens, but I had heard so much about this lens I had developed some firm photographic ideas for it. In Kenya I achieved exactly what I set out to do. A great lens and stunning photos from it.

Speedlight SB 800 Flash
You should never go on assignment without a flash. This model has an excellent guide number and its auto features does the thinking for you, when you’re busy looking after your subject.

1.7x converter
This converter only works with the 50mm and the 200-400. Nevertheless, adding that extra length is always handy as they say! I particularly enjoyed using it on the Mara River recently photographing Hippo close up.

6 x EN – EL4 Batteries
When you don’t know when you’ll be able to charge batteries next, it's always good to have enough spare. Having said that, these held their charge for ages, shooting about 20 Gig of Raw before needing to be replaced.

5 x 2 Gig 150 x ProSpec memory cards

I chose 2 Gig cards as I was working with two bodies, and the advice I got from Calumet was to keep the memory size down to reduce the risk of losing data due to the card failing in the heat and dust. It was sound advice as it turned out, for another reason. Download time. Any bigger memory would have taken longer and would have proved difficulty at night relying solely on the Land Rover batteries as our power source.

Calumet I-visor Pro Lap Top Case
Lap Tops computer is now an essential part of a Digital Photographers equipment. This case not only does all you expect it to as a carrying case; it also has a very useful sun visor, which really helped when reviewing shots in daylight out in Kenya. There is one caution I would point out. Lift the computer out of the snug fit it has in the base of the bag. The processor fan needs to breath and struggled if I didn’t lift it out a little.

Calumet Rolling Case RM2200

This case is a veritable Dr. Who’s Tardis. It fitted all of my vital kit including the 200-400 lens, two bodies and three other lenses. Excellent as onboard luggage and the inner bag lifts out giving you a kit bag for the car placed between the driver and front passenger seat.

Calumet Water tight case WT3434
Calumet Water tight case WT6840
These two cases alone proved to be so useful on my Expedition. Firstly as safe and secure cases for the flights down to Kenya, but also with the airtight seal, they protected not only my stills kit, but also our High definition Video cameras we used to shoot the documentary, from the constant dust we had to cope with.

Calumet 7500 Tripod
Calumet Heavy Duty 3 Way Quick-Release Head
On the expedition, despite two Land Rovers, we still had a space issue. Don’t forget we also had to find homes for two big Satchler Video tripods! Calumet asked me to “Road Test” this tripod. Well, 2500 odd miles through east Africa, is some road test I should say! It’s light but sturdy. The construction is tough and I really liked the foam on it's upper legs. This made carrying it on your shoulder really easy and comfortable. Not only used as a tripod, but with my 200 – 400mm lens, it was an excellent monopod for working on the move.

Calumet Zip Disc 107 cm Translucent + Zip Gold/silver cover
As always these zip discs are very handy. With the added extra of changeable covers it meant I had a diffuser, and three reflectors all in one. Very useful not only when working in Stills, but also when we were shooting video.

Calumet Wet & Dry Cloths and Cleaning Cloths and solutions

lens cleaning tissues
Microfiber lens cloth
Optical glass cleaning kit
Microfiber chamois cloth

Funnily enough it’s quite dusty in Africa! Lens’s favourite attraction! Keeping your kit clean, especially digital kit is an on going battle in the bush, the disposable wet & dry cloths were very handy, so much so my cameraman was firmly sold on them for keeping his kit clean. My Laptop also benefited from the screen cleaning Kits that Calumet recommended, and sent to me. Essential and vital items in my kit as always.


Lastly I will take this opportunity to convey a heartfelt message of gratitude to Calumet Photographic’s enthusiasm to partake in this adventure and to their commitment to support a project that has a global message in all levels of modern communication on so many issues that effect us all today.