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JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

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Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby JWreno » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:32 pm

I took the Suntactics sCharger-5 last year on the JMT. I kept our SteriPens and iPhone charged up. I was carrying a Canan 6D with plenty of spare batteries but now I am taking a Sony RX100 III and the Suntactics sCharger-5 works great for the Sony batteries in the external USB charge holder. I am thinking about buying a Sony RX10 II and having my wife carry the RX100 III. There are a lot of nice astronomy and photography apps for the phone. If you leave the phone in airplane mode most of the time the battery doesn't need charging very often.

I used the charger in camp and I had a velcro on the top of my pack. I would charge what needed charging whenever I was hiking above the tree line. I may start carrying a GPS again when doing route finding since the solar charger could top up the GPS rechargeable batteries.

I am glad to hear you are taking your time of the hike. We did it in about 17 days and i didn't have a lot of energy for extra excursions to setup shots in the early morning or evening. I made a few exceptions such as Garnet lake. I spent a few hours after and before hiking taken dusk and dawn pictures.

I have used the Rokinon 14 and 24mm lens for Milky Way shots when I am doing astronomy related stuff. Very good value in the manual lenses.



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Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:37 pm

I am thinking about buying a Sony RX10 II and having my wife carry the RX100 III.
:unibrow:

How long did it take you to charge the SteriPens and I-Phone with it JW?
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Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby JWreno » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:22 pm

If I was above the tree line I could charge the Steripen in about 3-4 hours of good sun. Typically I would charge a Steripen about every 5 days. I had a total of 3 on the trip, one for each of us. I would top off my phone in the afternoon about every other day so it usually stayed about 50% with it being on airplane mode. I measured the output of the panel and I was getting a full amp at 5 volts under full sun when testing in my back yard in Reno.

I am really amazed how effective the charger was when riding on the top of my pack. Obviously the charger would usually not be aimed optimally at the sun since I am moving around. The only time the charger wasn't doing much was when I was hiking below the tree line going through intermittent shade.

I was going to be doing an 8 day trip on the SHR from McGee creek to Piute pass and wanted to have the GPS along. I stopped taking one on trips that are mostly on trail because I didn't like going through all the disposable batteries. Since the SHR requires more navigation the GPS would be a nice way to be sure I am not deviating from the route too much. The GPS rechargeable batteries could get a good 3-4 hour charge each day and still have enough solar power for my other needs such as camera, phone or SteriPen.

My backpacking trip is on the rocks because of a car-deer crash a few weeks ago. Instead of hiking when planned I may be taking the Amtrak back to Omaha to pick up my car from a body shop and then driving it back to Reno. Because of a lot of projects a work, I may only have time for a couple 3-4 day weekend trips this year.
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Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:03 pm

Thanks JW for sharing your experience with the sCharger. I've done about as much testing as I can short of the actual backpacking trip. I thought it might be marketing gobbledygook, but the "restart" feature (or whatever they call it) seems to work as advertised. When I shade the panel, charging stops, but restarts on its own within a minute or so for both my iPhone and the camera. I'm also using it for steripen and my headlamp. My main worry now is the USB cable micro connection. I had one fail already in my living room.

Yeah, 10 miles / day seemed right to me if I wanted to run around photographing for a few hours at the start and end of each day. Ideally I'd like to get to my endpoint by 3 pm each day so I have hours to scout and plan for evening, night and morning shots.
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