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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
Tue 04-Jun-13 01:11 AM

1. I am concerned about planning for the 13th ANPAT far in advance. What happens in the event I must cancel?
Cancellations with a refund can be requested earlier than 35 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 Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) airport 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 October 12, no meals for that day are included.

3. What hotels will we be staying in?
We will be staying at the La Quinta Inn Sedona from 10/5 – 10/7. Then we will move to Williams, staying at the Comfort Inn for our last 4 nights. They are both conveniently located at relatively short distances to our daily destinations and to dining locations.

For anyone coming in from abroad, you need to state in your admission form into the US the hotel you are staying and its exact postal address.

The address for the Sedona hotel is:
La Quinta Inn Sedona
6176 Hwy 179
Sedona, AZ 86351
(928) 284-0711

For Williams, AZ, our hotel address is:
Comfort Inn Near Grand Canyon
911 W US Route 66
Williams, AZ 86046
(928) 635-4045

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

5. What is the window of acceptable arrival and departure times to and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor airport (PHX)?
In order to be settled in our hotel rooms, freshen up, and have some time to socialize at the opening dinner at 6:30 PM (Local Time) on October 5, we are asking that you make every effort to arrive no later than 3:00 PM local time (PST) at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport (PHX). Going back home from Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX), it is advisable to book a departure flight that leaves after 10:00 AM local time in order to account for the three-hour drive from Williams to Phoenix.

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 3:00 pm, you better arrive the day before and spend the night at a nearby hotel in Phoenix. Since our latest van will be gone by 3:30 PM you would be forced to take a shuttle service.

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 areas where we will be staying have banks, ATM's and accept credit cards.

8. Should I bring a camera?
You got be kidding!

9. Should I bring an alarm clock?
Yes, a loud one. 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. If you are not an early riser, start practicing.

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

11. Is there computer access so you do not need to bring a computer?
There is WiFi Internet access at both the hotel at Sedona and the one at Williams, if you must stay connected with your home or your office and the hotels have a business center with some computers.

However, it is advisable you bring your own laptop/notebook/tablet to avoid waiting lines and particularly if you shoot digital and want to download your images. 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. By having your own notebook or laptop computer you can process your images for presentation to the group.

12. 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.

13. What personal gear and footwear is recommended?
Temperatures range. The weather in Northern Arizona will generally be dry, but we should go prepared for a wide range of conditions within each day. Typical temperature ranges in October are from 65 to 80°F during the day and from 25 to 60°F at night. So the complete range is from 25 to 80°F. Rain gear may not be essential but layered clothing is highly recommended.
Body gear. You should bring a medium insulated jacket that has a weatherproof shell. It is best to dress in layers in the likely event the day starts cool and warms up in the afternoon. Although not likely sub-freezing, as indicated above expect chilly/cold nights and mornings, and especially expect cold temperatures near the mountains.
Head gear. 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. Eye Sunglasses are also recommended, as the sunlight is especially harsh at higher altitudes.
Basic medicine kit. 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.
Foot gear. 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 most of the times is rocky, on occasions sandy and wet.

14. Is there a grocery store near the hotel or should I just plan to bring snacks with me?
Both Sedona and Williams, have several grocery and convenience stores nearby the respective hotels we've chosen.

15. 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.

16. 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 parks, with decent coverage in the hotels.

17. 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.

18. How much hiking is usually done?
Not that much. But it is recommended you start to exercise, at least a brisk walk every day extending its length each day, starting now! We must ask that you please do not venture out alone and notify the van 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.

19. 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, with some luck, a bit of wildlife.

20. 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. However, knowing beforehand a little about the Northern Arizona area such as history, wildlife, flora and fauna, and geographic characteristics will make your visit all that more enjoyable.

21. What routine can we expect each day?
For our time in Northern Arizona, sunrise is around 6:30 am, with dawn occurring for about half an hour prior; with sunset around 6:00 pm, again with nearly half an hour of twilight. Each morning, there will be a breakfast bag to last for the morning, and our box lunch 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 with 8 Nikonians each, so each group will have their own meeting times and stops, to avoid having all 32 Nikonians grouped together at the same shot. Traveling in small groups of 8 will allow for more flexibility in our shooting and transportation; but DO NOT venture alone!

22. What wildlife can we expect to see?
Wildlife photography in Northern Arizona is difficult at best, but here’s a partial list of animals that are found in the area:
River otter
Black bear
Kit fox
Elk or Wapati
Cottontail rabbit
Pronghorn antelope
White tailed deer
Striped Skunk
American badger
Mexican wolf
Gray wolf
Gila monster
Diamond-backed rattlesnake
Sonoran Coral snake
Collard Lizards
Box turtle
Wood duck
Wild turkey
Great blue heron
Black vulture
Bald eagle
Brown pelican
Harris hawk

Aside from the above, there are around 100 species of birds and 75 species of reptiles and amphibians in the area.

23. How will planned activities / locations be split between wildlife, landscape, and other?
We are going to focus on shooting both landscapes and wildlife. 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 13th ANPAT coordinator Mike Hagen may be able to provide periodic updates as to where to stop along the way to find wildlife.

24. 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 Northern Arizona except for some rare 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 comfortable backpack, and/or a waist-belt or harness-system such as those from Gura Gear or 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 pro body and pro 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 here 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.

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 Arizona at the very beginning of the fall color season. Where exactly within the foliage turning 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 scenery and variety of colors can be stunning regardless of our timing.

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 1200 pixels on the wide side, no more than 900 on the height. At about 300Kb in file size, in jpeg format.
We eagerly encourage sharing our photographs at the 13th ANPAT Gallery to promote the spirit of Nikonians ¬sharing, learning, and inspiring community in one of the world's most beautiful settings.

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 these are target-rich areas and you should be prepared with enough memory capacity to shoot at least 150 - 500 images per day. Over 6-days of shooting, you could easily produce 900 to 3,000 images before culling. If you shoot RAW and you have a limited supply of memory cards we recommend that you shoot in lossless compressed RAW if your camera supports it. This will save considerable memory card space. For D4/D700/D7000 files, 8 to 16 GB of card memory per day is a good estimate range. On the other hand, others may shoot only half of that or twice as much. If you are shooting D800/D7100, at least double the estimate. Memory card prices continue to go down, 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.

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 and at low ISO. If your heaviest lens is a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S VR, we recommend at the very least a rig like the Series 2 Gitzo with the Markins Q10 ball head. If you will be carrying a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR a Series 3 Gitzo CF tripod is best with a Markins Q20. The new Series 4 Systematic are an excellent choice saving you from the added weight of a Series 5.

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 14-24mm for FX and the 12-24mm or 17-35mm for DX plus the 70-200mm for either format. Some specific wildlife opportunities will benefit from you having a 300mm to 400mm focal length handy. If you don’t have a long lens, then you can always rent it. To simplify equipment consider bringing a teleconverter and a combination of wide-ranging lenses.

30. What lens filters are recommended?
A Circular Polarizer and Graduated Neutral Density filters in the 2 to 4 f-stop range are the top choices for landscape photography. For a polarizer 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 Wide-Angle holder for a single filter is good and cheap. 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 if not the same 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. These parks are great locations for this, especially with rocks, the foliage and the water, dark sky and possible dramatic clouds. And don't forget HDR.

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 could 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 anymore 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 remains 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. Try not to twitch when a security officer wants you to open your camera bag for inspection.

GIVE YOURSELF TIME. Please arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check in and get through screening. Most airlines recommend one hour prior to your scheduled departure (two hours for international flights). 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 up bags. This can be the case even at International Airports. 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 2013, for the 13th ANPAT!

Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
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