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San Pedro Garza García, MX
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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter Member
Wed 12-May-10 05:46 PM | edited Mon 23-Aug-10 10:38 PM by jrp

1. I am concerned about planning for the 10th ANPAT so far in advance. What happens in the event I must cancel?
Cancellations with a refund can be requested earlier than 30 days in advance and will have a re-booking and admin fee of $350 USD.

2. Is everything included in the cost of the ANPAT such as food, water, gas, park entrance fees?
All costs related to all group activities are included in the cost contribution. This includes transportation to and from the airport, travel to the shooting locations each day, and travel from one touring area to the other and back. All National Park fees are covered as well. Hotel accommodations and three meals each day are covered. You are responsible for airfare to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and the return trip to your home from there. You must bring enough money to cover any personal needs or items. If you are planning on a late departure on Saturday, Sept. 18, no meals for that day are included.

3. What hotels will we be staying in?
We will be staying in Port Angeles, WA, at the Red Lion Port Angeles Hotel, for the duration of our trip. It is conveniently located and providing breakfast in the mornings, as well as at a short distance to our dining locations.

Click on image to view larger version
Click on image to view larger version

For anyone coming in from abroad, you need to mention the hotel you are staying at during the trip and its exact address.
The address of the hotel is:
Red Lion Port Angeles Hotel
221 N. Lincoln
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Phone: +1 360-452-9215

The hotel has full amenities, including full private bath, cable TV, telephone and coffee maker in each room. We are making arrangements to have breakfast at the hotel each morning, except for Saturday 18th.

4. How much luggage is allowed?
Our luggage policy is only one bag per person for clothing, one bag for your photography equipment, and notebook/laptop, one tripod bag. Please remember to carry on your medications, cameras or other items that you will need during your daily full day van ride.

5. What is the range of acceptable arrival and departure times to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)?
In order to be settled in our hotel rooms, freshen up, and have enough time to socialize at the opening dinner we are asking that you make every effort to arrive no later than 4:00 PM local time at "SEA-TAC" International Airport (SEA). If you cannot secure an incoming flight that meets this requirement please notify Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen) when booking your air travel and know that you will not be able to attend our welcome dinner.
From the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), it is advisable to book a departure flight that leaves after 9:30 AM local time in order to account for the 2-1/2 hours drive from Port Angeles.

Click on image to view larger version

6. Will there be anyone to pick us up at the airport or just plan to get a bus or taxi?
Nikonians founders Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) and J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) will be at the airport to greet you and direct you to one of our vans that will take you to our hotel. At the hotel, ANPAT coordinator Mike Hagen will greet you and get you situated for check-in to the hotel.

If you are unable to arrive by 4:00 pm, you better arrive the day before and spend the night at a nearby airport hotel. Since our vans will be gone by 4:00PM you would be forced to take a bus. The latest bus leaves at 6:00 PM and will get you to Port Angeles by 10PM, so the window of opportunity to get to the hotel the same day is rather small; you cannot arrive after 5:15 PM.

7. How much money should I bring?
All meals and expenses related to visiting the park are included in the ANPAT cost contribution. You should however bring along some cash for personal needs. How much is difficult to say, but with today's automated and electronic banking facilities, it is not difficult to replenish your cash if needed. The area where we will be staying has banks, ATM's, and accept credit cards. This is also the case outside the park.

8. Should I bring an alarm clock?
The shooting schedule for ANPATs is always ambitious and just a little rigorous. That means long days out in the field. One can certainly spend a little too much in dreamland recuperating from the prior days activities.
You should bring an alarm clock since, as we all know, hotel alarm clocks can be less than reliable. If you are a heavy sleeper, be sure to arrange with someone in your van group to knock on your door or call to make sure you are up on time for departure.

9. Can we arrange "handicapped accessible" accommodations?
We will do our best to arrange for handicapped accessible. If you require a special accommodation please notify Mike_Hagen as soon as possible and we will contact the hotel with your needs.

10. Is there computer access so you do not need to bring a computer?
There is high-speed wireless Internet access at the hotel if you must stay connected with your home or your office and the hotel has a business center with some computers.
However, it is advisable you bring your own computer to avoid waiting lines and particularly if you shoot digital. There will be opportunities during non-shooting times to compare and comment on our photos with a final presentation session before the closing of the ANPAT farewell dinner. It is advisable to bring your own notebook or laptop computer so that you can process your images for presentation to the group.

11. Will there be a safe place to store laptops and other non-shooting gear when we are out shooting?
You may store your gear in your hotel room while away if it is not of high value. In the event you are carrying something of very high value, you should deposit it at the front desk of the hotel. It is not advisable to bring non-shooting, non-essential gear along for the daily excursions due to space limitations and the potential risk for damage or loss.

12. What personal gear and footwear is recommended?
Like everything else about Olympic, the weather is extremely variable, not just from season to season but also from place to place. We should go prepared for a wide range of conditions. Rain gear and layered clothing are essential.
You should bring a medium insulated jacket that has a weatherproof shell. It is best to dress in layers in the event the day starts cool and warms up in the afternoon. Although not sub-freezing, expect chilly/cold nights and mornings, and especially expect cold temperatures near the mountains. If you are sensitive to the sun and wind, bring along some protection in the form of a Nikonians cap, or a wide brim hat, sunscreen, skin lotion, and lip balm.
Sunglasses are also recommended, as the sunlight is especially harsh at higher altitudes. You may also want to bring some aspirin or substitutes and muscle balm for those aches from the daily activities. The aspirin will also help if you experience effects from the altitude if you are used to a lower one. Light to medium hiking boots with a weatherproof upper and non-slip soles are highly recommended. They should provide adequate support to the ankles and arches. Although we do not plan on extended hiking, the varied terrain can get rough and at times is marshy, sandy or rocky and wet.

13. Is there a grocery store near the hotel or should I just plan to bring snacks with me?
Port Angeles is not a small town. There are several grocery and convenience stores nearby the Red Lion Hotel.

14. How will dietary restrictions be handled, since all meals are included? Whom do we need to notify if we are vegan, diabetic, etc.?
Please contact Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen) if you require special dietary considerations, ASAP.

15. Is there cell phone coverage in the areas we will be visiting?
That depends on your cell phone carrier. Generally, there is spotty cell phone coverage inside the park, with excellent coverage in Port Angeles.

16. Who will be in charge of directing each trip group?
Each van will have a leader and will follow a recommended itinerary with specific areas to be visited each day. In most cases, there will be a morning main destination and an afternoon main destination. We are preparing the itineraries to the hour and minute to maximize the variety of shooting subjects offered by each location.

17. How much hiking is usually done?
Not that much. But it is recommended you start to exercise, at least walk every day extending its length each day, starting now! We must ask that you please do not venture out alone and notify the trip leader of your intended route and return time if a must. Frankly, most areas of interest are an easy walk from where we can park the van so there is no need to walk alone and to venture very far.

18. Is there a focus of the trip, landscape vs. wildlife?
The areas we will be touring are blessed with an abundance of inspiring natural landscapes and wildlife, though wildlife is rather elusive but in abundance, including cougars, bears, elk, deer and eagles.

19. Will there be a guide familiar with the parks who can give us insights or do we need to do research on our own?
Daily itineraries are well thought out to optimize our stay and there is no need for you to do your own research for that purpose. This National Park is the backyard of the 10th ANPAT coordinator Mike Hagen.
However, knowing beforehand a little about Olympic NP's geology, wildlife, flora and fauna, history, and geographic characteristics will make your visit all that more enjoyable.

20. What routine can we expect each day?
For our time in Olympic, sunrise is around 6:30 am, with dawn occurring for about half an hour prior; with sunset around 9:00 pm, again with nearly half and hour of twilight. Each morning, there will be breakfast before sunrise where everyone can get a meal to last for the morning, then taking our bag lunch with us for the day. Each van group will have an itinerary for the full day, returning in time for dinner. We will make all possible efforts for all 4 vans to have dinner together.

We will be traveling in 4 van groups, so each group will have their own meeting times and stops, to avoid having all 30 Nikonians grouped together at the the same shot. Traveling in small groups will allow for more flexibility in our shooting and transportation; but DO NOT venture alone!

21. What wildlife can we expect to see?
"Olympic National Park and its surroundings are home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Just offshore, whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea otters feed in the Pacific Ocean. Invertebrates of countless shapes, sizes, colors and textures inhabit the tide pools.

On land, some species, like raccoons, beaver and mink, live mostly in the lowlands. But others, like deer, elk, cougars and bears, range from valleys to mountain meadows. Park waters are home to some of the healthiest runs of Pacific salmon outside of Alaska. Over 300 species of birds live in the area at least part of the year, from tiny penguin-like rhinoceros auklets offshore to golden eagles soaring over the peaks.

Old Growth Refuge
The park is a rare refuge for species dependent on old growth forests, including some species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Olympic provides one of the last remaining large tracts of intact primeval forest in the lower 48 states. These moist forests provide essential habitat for northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and a variety of amphibians.

A Unique Community
The wildlife community of the isolated Olympic Peninsula is also unique. This community is noteworthy not only for its endemic animals (found only here), but also for species missing from the Olympics, yet found elsewhere in western mountains. Pika, ptarmigan, ground squirrels, lynx, red foxes, coyotes, wolverine, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and historically, mountain goats, did not occur on the Olympic Peninsula. Meanwhile, endemic species like the Olympic marmot, Olympic snow mole and Olympic torrent salamander are found here and nowhere else in the world!"

22. How will planned activities/ locations be split between wildlife, landscape, and other?
We are going to focus on shooting both landscapes and wildlife. Except for elk and deer, as it is with Mother Nature, it is impossible to predict what animals we will be able to photograph as well as where we will see them. But 10th ANPAT coordinator Mike Hagen will be providing daily updates as to where to stop along the way to find wildlife.

23. Do I need to bring or do anything special specifically for this trip or to protect my equipment?
No special considerations need to be addressed in regards to how you plan on carrying your gear everyday while in Olympic, except for some possible rain. What is important to keep in mind is how much equipment you choose to carry, but we'll try to keep close to the vans at all times. Exactly what equipment to bring (see below) will be a critical decision in ensuring you don't overload yourself and wear yourself out. And how you choose to carry your equipment (a backpack, waist-belt or harness-system such as those from ThinkTANK) will be important in addressing this consideration and determining the best way to water and your camera equipment.
As far as protection, camera gear generally should hold up well. It helps if you are shooting with a well-sealed body and lenses. You may consider bringing along a large micro-fiber cloth like those found at the auto parts stores. The larger ones are big enough to drape over the camera to protect it. There are also protective hoods made specifically for this and that would help. Camera protection is generally not a requirement for shooting in Olympic but if you are concerned about the rain bring some protection. A medium or large sized garbage bag and some rubber bands are usually good enough for this. You may want to also bring some plastic bags for your tripod legs, which might sink in some marshy areas or in the sand of beaches.

24. What are the possible weather conditions?
Olympic is directly south of Victoria BC, Canada, so be prepared for rather mildly cold weather, although not likely snow but there could be wind and rain. Fall is usually cool and wet with occasional winds. However, it can warm up during the day so dress in layers. Overnight temperatures easily can fall near freezing (35° F), so if you anticipate any evening photography, bring cold weather clothing and perhaps pocket hand warmers - for both your hands and your batteries. A rain poncho most likely will not be a bad idea. Fall temperatures usually range from 35° F to 65° F.

25. How is our timing for fall color, or will all the leaves be on the ground by the time we arrive?
Depending on the weather temperatures prior to our arrival, we will be in Olympic during the fall color season. Where during the fall color season can't be determined this far out in advance. As we get closer, and the temperatures shift from Summer to Fall, we will know what kind of fall colors we will see. But the scenics and the variety of them are stunning regardless of colors.

26. Will there be any critique sessions and if so what should I have ready for those?
This we have wanted to be a major activity during the ANPATs and we have failed miserably. There is just not enough time. However, we will make room for an image sharing session before the closing during the farewell dinner.
Prepare your best shots so that they can be easily viewed on a notebook computer and projected on a digital projector. This means a resolution of about 1204 pixels on the long side. At about 300Kb in file size in jpeg format.
We eagerly encourage sharing our photographs with everyone to promote the spirit of Nikonians ­sharing, learning, and inspiring community in one of the world's most beautiful settings. Mr. Mah, President of Markins will be presenting two of the latest ball heads, one for each of the top two images.

27. How much camera memory (memory cards) should I bring?
It depends on many variables, but your shooting style and the file types you use are the biggest factors. If you tend to be trigger happy, bear in mind that Denali is a target rich area and you should be prepared with enough memory capacity to shoot at least 80 to 180 images per day. Over 6-days of shooting, you could easily produce 480 to 1,080 images before culling. If you shoot RAW and you have a limited supply of memory cards we recommend that you shoot in compressed RAW if your camera supports it. This will save considerable memory card space. For D2X/D2Xs/D3/D300 files, 2 GB of card memory per day is a good estimate. On the other hand, others may shoot only half of that or twice as much. Memory card prices are at a historic low, so bring as many as you can. It is also advisable to bring some type of mass storage device to safely store your images. Image tanks, accessory drives, and of course, laptop computers, all work well for this. Do not let memory failure spoil an otherwise great trip. Secure those cherished images. A little insurance against such events paid up front gives you a lot of peace of mind later.
Moreover, for those using film, you should plan accordingly. We recommend at least 2 to 5 rolls of 36 exposures for each day. Multiply that by a factor of 2 if you prefer to bracket your shots. For D700/D3/D3x files, 4 to 6 GB of card memory per day will not be unusual.

28. Do I really need a tripod? And if so, what are your recommendations?
Yes. Using a good quality and sturdy tripod is a critical component to producing sharp and detailed images. If your heaviest lens is a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S VR, we recommend a rig like the Series 2 Gitzo CF tripod (G1227 or GT2530 or GT2531 and variations) with the Markins M10 ball head. If you will be carrying a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR or a Nikkor 500mm f/4 AF-S, a Series 3 Gitzo CF tripod is best. With these larger capacity legs, we recommend the larger Markins M20 ball head. For the big guns (400mm f/2.8 or 600mm f/4) it may be best to have a series 5 Gitzo Systematic tripod.

29. What lenses are necessary for this ANPAT trip?
At least one lens at both ends of the focal length scale: a good super wide angle and a long telephoto lens. Nikonians advanced amateurs and pros shooting digital favor the Nikkor 14-24 for FX and the 12-24mm for DX plus the 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR. Some specific wildlife opportunities will benefit from you having at least the 300mm focal length handy. 400mm if you can have it or rent it. To simplify equipment consider bringing a teleconverter and a combination of wide-ranging lenses, such as the 17-35mm f/2.8D AF-S, and the 80-400mm VR.

30. What lens filters are recommended?
A Circular Polarizer and Graduated Neutral Density filters in the 2 to 4 stop range are the top choices for landscape photography. The Nikon CPL II is a favorite, as well as the B+W CPL MRC or Hoya Pro 1 CPL. For rectangular slide-in filters such as the ND grads, a Cokin Z-Pro holder for a single filter is best. The single filter capacity will prevent vignetting on the wide-angle lenses. Singh-Ray's Galen Rowell grads are the top choice, but you can get nearly equal performance from Hitech filters and for less than half the price. An additional filter to bring would be, if the camera's sensor is sensitive to it, an infrared filter. Olympic is a great location for this, especially with the foliage and the water, dark sky and possible dramatic clouds.

31. Do you have any particular recommendations for those of us traveling by air?
TRAVEL LIGHT. Pack the bare minimum; do not try to bring everything for every occasion. The more baggage you bring to the airport, the more likely you will run into complications. We recommend that you bring only one piece of luggage for clothing and one backpack for your photography gear. You may add a tripod bag if it does not fit inside your luggage. If you feel you must lock your bags, use TSA approved locks. Any other type may be broken for inspection.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS. While there is no dress code for air travel, what you wear can make a difference in your overall travel experience. As we say in Mexico "The way you look: the way you will likely be treated".

SECURITY. The reality of traveling by air today is that security is a top priority. Security screeners take a hard line on anything that could conceivably be used as a weapon (such as a spiked tripod). The more metal objects you have on your person when you go through the security checkpoints, the more security will inspect you and your carry-on items.

GIVE YOURSELF TIME. Please arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check in and get through screening. Most airlines recommend 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure. At small airports, the person processing your boarding pass at the counter is the same person loading your bags and assisting in the boarding process. If you arrive 20 minutes prior to your scheduled departure there is a good chance no one will be available to check your tickets because they are busy loading bags. This can be the case even at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Do not be fooled by an empty counter with no lines. This is no guarantee that you will be processed before the flight leaves.

MAKE COPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS. Make photocopies of your important documents like driver's license and credit cards; passport and visa if applicable. Keep these copies in a different bag or pocket than where the originals are stored.

32. Will I have a good time?
You can bet on it!

See you this fall of 2010!
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Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
Please join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members who help this happen; upgrade.
Check our workshops at the Nikonians Academy and the Nikonians Photo Pro Shop

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