Huge Cheesemans’ Southern Oceans Expedition Gear Bag Decision « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Huge Cheesemans' Southern Oceans Expedition Gear Bag Decision

What’s Up?

I did a lot of catching up yesterday and got to the laundry as well. More of the same today plus beginning to pack for the next big trip. Leaving on Friday. See more on that below. This blog post took about two hours to write and was published from my home sweet home in Indian Lake Estates, FL at 6:51am.

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  • The New Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
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This Adelie Penguin head portrait was created on Paulet Island with the tripod-mounted Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

The 300 II has served me very well on two previous Southern Ocean trips. Now I am putting all of my long lens eggs in one basket….

Huge Cheesemans’ Southern Oceans Expedition Gear Bag Decision

My original plan was to bring both the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender. I had been hoping against hope to get my hands on the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and leave the 200-400 at home. As fate would have it, B&H will have the 100-400II to ship this coming Friday, the day that I take a red-eye flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina en route to Ushuaia. I have a 5-hour layover in Atlanta and an 8 hour layover in Buenos Aires.

As the thought of traveling light intrigued me, I was strongly considering leaving the 200-400 at home, in part because of the 1.6X crop factor of my Canon EOS 7D Mark II. The final key to the puzzle was the fact that the 300 II with the hood in place and with a 1D X attached fit perfectly into the Think Tank Glass Limo, a really neat harnessed backpack. To learn about the Glass Limo first click here, then click on Camera Backpack, and then on Long Glass Backpacks.

As it is an absolute necessity that I hike with my big lens with the hood in place and a camera body attached, ready for action. With the 300 II as my big lens, I will be using the Glass Limo for the first time; after trying it out around the house yesterday and adjusting the straps, I am fully confident in it. (It is in stock on the Think Tank website right now.)

I go with the 3X Expandable Long Lens Bag when working with the 200-400 or the 500 II is the big gun, or the 4X Expandable Long Lens Bag (both of those from LensCoat) when hiking with the 600 II. Each of the Expandable Long Lnes bags will be outfitted with the Padded Harness for the LensCoat Long Lens Bags. I have used each of these bags before with great success, both at Nickerson Beach and at Fort DeSoto and will be using the 4X bag to tote my 600 II around the UK on next summer’s Puffin IPTA. Scroll down here for complete details on the 3X and 4X LensCoat Expandable Long Lens Bags.

For the most part I will be working with the 7d II on the 300 II. With the 2X III TC in place this rig will get me out to a very respectable 960mm. I’ll have the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens with a camera body attached on my shoulder via a Black Rapid RS-7 Strap. With the tame penguins and wildlife the 70-200 will be indispensable alone or with either TC.

My TCs and a wide angle zoom or two will be in my XtraHand Vest from Vested Interest along with lots of water and my emergency tool kit.

The Risk

The big risk is damaging the 300 II (as I did when I fell and destroyed my brand new 500 II along with a brand new 1D X a few years back at Fortuna Bay in South Georgia). That would leave me with the 70-200 II as my long lens. Even then I’d still be able to work at 640mm with the 2X III and the 7D II…. I will, however, be very careful. And when hiking the Glass Limo construction provides superb protection for my rig. In God and in the Glass Limo I will trust.

The Rolling Bag

All of my photo gear will be carried aboard in the Think Tank Airport International™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. My workhorse rolling bag, the slightly larger Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag, does not fit into my Seal Line Dry bag so I am going with the slightly smaller roll-aboard. How good are these bags? They are currently sold out on the Think Tank web site. Learn more by clicking here, then clicking on Camera Rolling Bags, and then clicking on Airport Series. If you’d like to receive a Think Tank product for free with every order of $50 or more, and free shipping, and the best pricing, you will need to wait until your choice is back in stock. Do know that all Think Tank bags come with their famous “No Rhetoric” warranty and the best customer service in the industry.

If you cannot wait, you can use one (or both) of our B&H affiliate links:

Think Tank Photo Airport Security V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag (Black)

Think Tank Photo Airport International V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag (Black)

What’s in the bag?

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens

The Canon 15mm fisheye lens (now replaced by the “circle lens,” the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens

Canon EOS-1D X (two)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR

Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR

Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (three)

Canon Extender EF 2X III (two)

Canon Extension Tube EF 25 II

Canon Extension Tube EF 12 II

As I said, I will enjoy traveling light.

Used Canon EF 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 L IS Lens
New Gear Listing: lowest price ever for this item!

Barry Mansell is offering a used Canon EF 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 L IS lens in excellent condition for $949 including insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. The plastic lens hood has a very few light scratches. The sale includes the original tough fabric case, the front and rear caps, and the lens hood. Your gear will be shipped only after your check clears.

Please contact Barry via e-mail, by phone at 904-388-8675, or on his cell at 904-655-0022. Eastern Time Zone.

The 100-400 is a versatile intermediate telephoto zoom lens with 1,000+ uses. It makes a great starter lens especially for folks who do general nature and wildlife in addition to birds. I’ve sold 100s of images made with a 1-4 and denise loved hers for many years forsaking it only recently for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Barry’s 100-400 is priced to sell.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The 2015 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT
June 29 through July 5, 2015: $5499: Limit 10 photographers/Openings 1. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

Here are the plans for next year: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on 28 June arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday 29 June (or simply meet us then either at the Edinburgh Airport (EDI) or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe. Stay 7 nights in two gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are 5 days of planned puffin/seabird trips—weather permitting, and 1 full day of gannet photography with 2 sessions on the boat.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will be staying in upscale country-side cottages that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for image sharing and Photoshop lessons. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with two roomy single beds and a private bathroom. See the single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day and a farewell fine dining thank you dinner. The cost of your National Heritage Trust is also included; that covers the twice a day landing fees.

Plan to fly home on the early morning of Monday 6 July or to continue your stay or travels.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2015.

Single Supplement Info

The single supplement is $1475. As we will be renting a third cottage the $1475 is due with your deposit and is also non-refundable.

If you are good to go please send your $2,000 deposit check now to save a spot. The balance will be due on March 29, 2015. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

We do hope that you can join us.

Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris

A great safari is more than remote destinations and remarkable wildlife – it is a journey woven through foreign lands and seas leading to experiences made possible through inspiration, organization, and leadership. For over thirty years, Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris has provided these unforgettable experiences during in-depth tours to the world’s richest ecosystems. Their itineraries are unique and preparation is thorough, but most importantly, the leadership is exceptional. With broad backgrounds in nature and wildlife, their leaders desire to deepen your understanding of each destination so you can take-away the photographs and memories that allow you to become nature’s ambassador.

Gail and Doug Cheeseman have been leading wildlife safaris to their favorite destinations since 1978. Inspired by his parent’s passion, Ted joined them in leading safaris over 15 years ago. Now the three work together with their staff to offer you superlative nature tours to destinations such as Antarctica, Tanzania, Kenya, Bhutan, Brazil, India, Galapagos, and many more. Doug is a professor emeritus of Ecology and Zoology, Ted holds a Masters in Tropical Conservation Biology, and Gail is a naturalist of the best kind – self-taught through a lifetime in the field. Together, they are a family of truly remarkable ecologists who seek to inspire travelers to enjoy and conserve the Earth’s wild landscapes.

Find out more about Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, including a complete tour listing, by clicking here. If you have any questions you can ask them here, shoot them an e-mail or call them at 800.527.5330.


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11 comments to Huge Cheesemans’ Southern Oceans Expedition Gear Bag Decision

  • avatar Cheryl

    I am also packing up for the Cheeseman trip, and flying friday, may catch you in Buenos Aries. My questions, since you have been before, are, Do you take a flash of any kind? Do you shoot landscapes as well, and will you bring any filters? Thanks for the input on weight, I also have not had any problems with my kata backpack loaded to the brim as carry on. Lets hope that continues… See you in Argentina.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Maybe we could share a cab on the way to EZE. Look for my ponytail. I am on a Delta flight from Atlanta. I am not bringing a flash but that it personal choice. I am bringing Singh-ray 77mm and 82mm warming circular polarizers for my two wide zooms and the 77mm also fits the 70-200mm. I do landscapes when I see them :).

      Too bad that you did not sign up as a member of the BAA photo group as there are lots of perks. later and love, artie

      • avatar Cheryl

        My husband and I are on a United flight out of Houston and arrive at 10:30 am. .. We’ll look for you. Safe travels 🙂

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          I arrive at 7:55am. Are you on the 3:55pm flight to Ushuaia? Either way I will see you both somewhere! Ditto on the safe travels. artie

  • avatar Geoff

    I have just recently returned from a similar trip (Falklands, S. Georgia, Peninsula) for 21 days in November. I had a very hard time deciding between my 200-400 and 300II. I ended up taking the 200-400 along with the 70-200II, 24-70II and 17-40. Also had the 1.4 and 2.0TCs. I shot a 1DX, 5D3 and had 1D4 along as backup in case of a major failure (in the end all my gear made it out unscathed).

    In hindsight I would have preferred to shoot the 300II + 2xTCIII for BIF from the ship. However, I found the flexibility of the 200-400 to be ideal for all the on shore excursions. (I carried mine on a monopod with another shorter lens on Black Rapid strap). For zodiac only times I used the 70-200 +1.4TC and 24-70 or 17-40 and left the 200-400 on the boat. On my boat there were 6 of us with Canon 200-400s, about 4 with Nikon 300 2.8s and one with a Canon 500II. The rest relied on 100-400, 80-400, 70-200 or the Tamron 150-600.

    I think either way (200-400 or 300) has its pros and cons and I would have liked to have had both along but that was going to be too much weight and hassle. I think your reasoning makes sense and not having to lug the 200-400 will be a nice treat.

    FYI, Aerolineas was weighing some carryons in Ushuaia. However, everyone who quickly showed them it was camera gear was then waived on. Not sure why they weighed some people and not others. They never asked to weigh my Kiboko backpack yet did weigh the next guy who also had a 32L GuraGear bag?? LAN never asked to weigh mine on the way down out of B.A.

    Have a great trip. My trip was amazing and it was my first time to the Southern Ocean. Wish I could pack right now and go again!!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Geoff, At this point the weight is a pretty big issue. I know all about the versatility of the 2-4 :). This will be #5 down there :). Here is the best news, I am bringing down a 2nd 300 II that I got through the B&H affiliate loaner program. Strictly as a backup. I am planning on not using it. Still a lot lighter than the 300 II/200-400. artie

      ps: hope that they were waved on and not “waived” on 🙂

  • Will you be bringing the glass limo? If so, how will you put that on the plane. Also, where do you put your laptop?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Glass Limo goes in checked bag stuffed with stuff but not with lens or camera. Laptop goes in laptop bag, my second carry-on. artie

  • avatar Bruce Goodwin

    Using Canon specs, the combined weight of your cameras, lenses, and extenders is ~24.5 lbs, not including your additional accessories and supplies. Many intracountry airlines have a max. allowable weight for carry-on luggage. Aerolinas Argentinas, for example, limits checked baggage to 33 lbs. and carry-ons to 17 lbs. Airlines often ignore these limits, but 3 yrs. ago I did encounter an airline that enforced its carry-on weight limit on a flight from Iguazu to Sao Paulo in Brazil, forcing me to rearrange all my carefully packed camera equipment in a carry-on into the rest of my luggage. The airlines in your itinerary may not specify carry-on weight limits or enforce them rigorously, but if they did and you were carrying the same gear you describe above, would you check your Think Tag bag or pack differently?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Bruce,

      I am aware of the restrictions. They are basically for show. I have flown to Africa with a 56 pound Think Tank roll-aboard. My Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag routinely weighs in at about 45 pounds on the way to the Galapagos. No problema seven years running. Like you, I have always gotten there with the gear I have one way or another…. artie