Photo Gear,  Travel

What Photography Gear to Bring on an Alaskan Cruise?

I had a difficult time deciding on what photo gear to pack for our Alaskan Cruise.  We were also spending two days in Vancouver so I also needed photo gear that would work for city photography as well. I thought I'd write about my cruise photography experiences to help you decide what gear to bring on your cruise.

Alaska Hubbard Glacier Mountain Reflection

Here is a list of photo equipment that I brought on the Alaskan Cruise with an explanation on how I used the gear on the trip and how it worked out.

  • Canon 5D Mark III.  Because of its high frames per second and autofocus system, the Canon 5d Mark III was my primary wildlife camera for the trip.
  • Canon 6D.  I mainly used the Canon 6D for landscapes, city photography, and general walk around photography.  I like the low noise in the photos when I needed to bump up the ISO and the GPS was useful in marking the locations of the photos.
  • Canon 300mm f/4L Lens I mainly used this lens for wildlife photography in combination with the Canon 1.4X Teleconverter II, and sometimes the Canon 2.0X Teleconverter III.  I also used the Canon 300mm f/4 for close in, intimate landscapes of mountain peaks, glaciers, etc.
  • Canon 17-40mm.  Great for wide angle shots of mountains where you want something close in the foreground.  I used this lens at the glaciers with icebergs in the foreground and the mountains in the distance.
  • Canon 24-105 f/4.  Great all purpose landscape and walk around lens.  This was my primary landscape lens.  This lense was also good in the rainforest for compositions of flowers, ferns, etc.  It was my primary walk around lens in Vancouver.
  • Canon 70-300mm DO.  I debated on whether to bring this lens or not.  It's not a very sharp lens and was too short for most of the wildlife shots.  But, its really compact for a long zoom lens.  It turns out this was a really useful lens for close in landscape shots when we were farther away from shore. The Canon 70-300 DO worked really well for long range landscapes as I couldn't use my feet to zoom in on the ship.
  • Canon 1.4X Telephoto Extender II – I used this all the time with the Canon 300mm f/4 for wildlife and some tight landscapes of the mountains.
  • Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender – I used this primarily for wildlife photos and some really long range landscapes.  I shot a nice sequence of a Humpback Whale breaching with the Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm f/4, and the 2.0X Telephoto Extender.
  • Canon S95 point and shoot camera.  I took this everywhere on the ship. I got a few shots from the dining room that I otherwise would have missed.
  • Bento Travel tripod and remote shutter release.  I didn't use this aboard the ship at all.  Even on a large ship there is some movement that could impact slow shutter speed photography. A lot of time there was also wind on the balcony.

Humpback Whales - Fin and Tail?

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Photographing an Alaskan Cruise – Photography Tips
Photographing an Alaskan Cruise – Review and General Tips

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