What do you pack when you are heading far off the beaten path? See what f-stop Ambassador Gustavo Cherro packs in his Sukha for a personal shooting project in the wilds of the Ibera wetlands in Argentina. The the second-largest wetland in the world, this area is home to diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes and indigenous cultures at risk. Gustavo is working to record all of this, while camping and exploring this cultrally important region. Check out how he combines camping gear and his camera kit with the help of some key accessories:
"Tell us about your camera set up - what has made each piece part of your shooting kit?"
For this type of photography, shooting in wild and isolated places I carry two bodies and several fixed lenses in my backpack. I carry with me a Canon EOS 1DX for its robust construction, fast shooting and the great durability of its batteries and an EOS 5DSR for its exquisite quality. The lens set is composed of a Canon EF 14mm f 2.8 L, to be able to make images in narrow places without losing anything; a Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L, for when I want to play with the perspectives and blurs; a Canon EF 35mm f1.4L, for general use and due to its extraordinary brightness and detail; a Canon EF 85mm f1.2 L, to achieve extreme portraits and big bokeh; and an EF 180mm f / 3.5L Macro, which I can use as a telephoto lens and mainly, to achieve extreme macro pictures and even some very close portraits.
I add to this a Speedlite 580 EXII and some TTL Pocket Wizard, to be able to illuminate situations that require it. I always carry a lightweight tripod, which allows me to achieve long exposures, timelapses or double exposures, at least one light stand to be able to use my flash off-camera and several filters for the lenses. It is also very important to have numerous batteries for both cameras, because there is no electricity in these places and several solar panels for recharging.
If the theme of the assignment includes wildlife, I will also sometimes carry a Canon EF 600mm f4 to be able to capture the wild animals from afar without affecting their natural behavior. On this trip, and because the landscape is completely flat floodland, I will also take a drone ( DJI Mavic Air ) and a waterproof case for my cameras.
What are you going to be using to carry your gear on this shoot?
In order to transport all my equipment, I'll be using two f-stop backpacks and several accessories: A Sukha backpack paired with a Large Pro ICU. I chose this set up for its ability to comfortably walk with weight on the back. This allows me to carry everything during the transfers between camps, photographic equipment and camping equipment.
The second backpack is a Dalston - its design allows me to transport a camera and several lenses and accessories in a compact and very protected way. I use the Dalston in short transfers or just to always have a camera nearby. For the most casual moments, when I need the least gear, I usually go with a Hiniyana on my waist.
"What are your essential pieces of non-camera gear that always go in your bag?"
Sleeping bag, first aid kit, GPS, VHF, camp stove, Warm and waterproof clothing, depending on the geography and terrain in which I am….. and the most importantly, and it without which I do not leave my house, "el Mate"!
"Where do you put all of that gear? With such an extensive gear list, what goes where?
When I'm travelling, my lenses and camera bodies always travel safely inside my Large Pro ICU. Once I am on location, I also carry a camera with lens placed in my Hiniyana mounted on my chest.
On a camping trip like this, I prefer to keep the lightweight camp kitchen gear in one of the side pockets, with liquids to hydrate in the other side pocket.
I use my big front pocket, to stow a waterproof jacket, a warm jacket, and hat and gloves, in case the weather changes quickly.
The top pockets I reserve for "urgent things" like GPS, VHF radio, compass, flashlight and some small snacks.
A tripod is essential for landscape and wildlife work. I keep my tripod protected in the roll-top weatherproof Tripod Bag, and carry it strapped on the side of the pack. The side compression straps go through the daisy chain on the Tripod Bag to keep it extra secure.
The remaining space in the main comparment of the pack, on top and behind the ICU, is filled up with my camping gear.
Can you tell us a bit more about this assignment?
This assignment consists of exploring and recording the lifestyle of the families that live deep in the Iberá - showing their way of life, customs and culture. These people live in total isolation. Most of them do not speak Spanish, only Guaraní, an indigenous language, and their economy is based on barter. These people are called “Marisqueros” (the "shellfish people") and live by hunting and fishing. Due to recent legislation, their lifestyle is being threatened by progress and it is very important to record all this before it disappears.
The "Esteros del Iberá" is a very complex place to access. It is almost entirely flooded and requires complex logistics to can access and work there. Its fauna is extremely rich, including Yacares, Yaguaretes, hundreds of species of birds, deer, capybaras and many other wild animals. Losing yourself within this vast area is very easy and moving around requires navigating with great care!