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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

I wonder how the photo equipment is holding up???
Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 6:03 PM on 03.28.03
->> On the front page of the "B" section of today's Wall Street Journal, there's an interesting article titled "New Media Gear No Match Iraqi Sand". In it they describe how new fangled media equipment is failing left and right as time goes on. Fox News says they're video is basically shot and they've had to rely on satelite audio feeds since Wednesday. Not suprisingly, canned air is worth its weight in gold near the front lines. They praticularly cite the newer digital video cameras as dropping like flies. NBC's David Bloom reports his team is down to an old, but reliable, Ikegami camera. It it stopped working until his camera man spend a day and half tearing it completely down and cleaning it. But laptops, lens zoom and focus rings, and phone push buttons are all giving the media fits.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Tucson | AZ | USA | Posted: 7:25 PM on 03.28.03
->> I wonder how the Canon EOS 1D is doing in the field? This certainly is going to be the ultimate test for digital gear of any kind, but I am more interested in digital SLR.
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Thad Parsons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 7:28 PM on 03.28.03
->> I know that Fox expected that to happen. Last week there was an article in the NYT's about all the equipment used by the media and a Fox spokesperson was quoted as saying that they did not give them top-of-the-line equipment because they knew that it would be destroyed.
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Jeffrey Haderthauer, Student/Intern, Photographer
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 8:06 PM on 03.28.03
->> Keep in mind that the CCD's on all digital equipment, still and video, are high-tech dust magnets.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | USA | Posted: 8:52 PM on 03.28.03
->> I wonder if it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep your cameras in those Ewa-Marine flexible UW housings when working in the desert? Anybody ever tried it?
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | USA | Posted: 8:59 PM on 03.28.03
->> http://www.ewa-marine.de/English/e-start-photo.htm
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Darrell Scattergood, Photographer
Mountlake Terrace | WA | usa | Posted: 10:02 PM on 03.28.03
->> you still have to take the thing out of the case to change/charge the batteries, download the cards and change lenses. seems like it might help a little, but eventually dust would get everywhere. Didn't one of the guys say his laptop was acting up and he was keeping it in a large ziplock bag?
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Ed J. Szalajeski, Photographer
Yarmouth | ME | USA | Posted: 10:18 PM on 03.28.03
->> Those Ewa bags are excellent (have one), but the one draw back, is the lense size.
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Stephen Lance Dennee, Photographer
Paducah | KY | USA | Posted: 11:27 PM on 03.28.03
->> Darrell, I seen a photo of the guy with the laptop in the ziplock bag. He was with USA Today if I remember correctly. Gaffers tape is probably pretty valuable. Good for sealing any little hatch.
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Darrell Scattergood, Photographer
Mountlake Terrace | WA | usa | Posted: 11:41 PM on 03.28.03
->> Although I admire and am a little jelous of the guys working there, I think I'll stick to my little corner of the world and shoot the Basset bash this weekend instead :)
Good luck and be safe to those in the conflict area. Keep up the good work
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Evan Parker, Student/Intern, Photographer
Shoreline | WA | USA | Posted: 12:08 AM on 03.29.03
->> I know we all love our digitals, but maybe film does have its advantages--
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 12:11 AM on 03.29.03
->> (Man, I typed that first post in a hurry before heading out the door... and it showed! Yuck!)

As for the housings, they'd be OK now, but if things drag on a while I don't know if heat would start to be an issue. I've watched stuff heat up in Ziplock bags in the sun before, and when the daytime temps start to hit 100+, I'm not sure what it would be like inside one of those little plastic "greenhouses".
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Jack Gruber, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 10:19 AM on 03.29.03
->> Just a quick note guys. I am shooting out here in Iraq and have lost one lens during a mortar attack. But was due to me getting dragged into a APC and the lens didn't make it in the door with me in time. But the Canon 1D's are holding up like real troopers. I started out couple months ago wrapping everything in plastic but is really impractical now. Sand is getting in everywhere but still working fine and just trying to keep up cleaning the stuff when I can. THe cameras baisically sit in about 2 inches of sand dust and bouncing around on steel floors of APC and Tanks. I have tried to keep the gear in bags and covered but it just doesn't matter. Just too much sand and dust travelling in a Mech Unit. It is really brutal on the equipment but knock on wood the canon gear is holding up great.

The most remarkable thing going out here is the Regional Bgan. The device allow data transfer at very high speed rates and with very little setup time. I can throw it up and get a few pictures transferred in just about 10 minutes. It is the greatest system I have seen. It doesn't have voice capabilities however and you pay only for the data transferred.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Tucson | AZ | USA | Posted: 11:40 AM on 03.29.03
->> Jack...
Thank you so much for the update and info on your EOS 1Ds. We really needed to hear from somebody who is there and experiencing first hand the ups and downs of shooting in such a place. And I though the Arizona desert could be bad. Jack, be safe and be careful.
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 11:47 AM on 03.29.03
->> If you all would like to see pictures of Jack working in the desert with his cameras and Powerbook check out this hidden gallery:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/guygruber/war/index.html
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Michael Troutman, Photographer
Carmel | CA | USA | Posted: 6:14 PM on 03.29.03
->> Amazing. It's a miracle anything works after just one or two days in that kind of environment...
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Grover Sanschagrin, Photographer, Assistant
Albany | CA | USA | Posted: 8:47 PM on 03.29.03
->> I just found this handy tracking tool for the war!

http://www.iraqometer.com

I think they need to add a stat for "Cameras Crushed By Tanks" and/or "Cameras Destroyed By Sand".
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Andy Rogers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 9:33 PM on 03.29.03
->> For weeks now, I've been preparing myself and my gear to ship out with the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. We should leave in the next week or so. I've covered my powerbook with plastic wrap and gaffers tape, and have every piece of gear in its own sealable plastic bag. I'm wondering how well the gaffers tape holds up in 100+ degree heat, though. I can see it just melting right off my gear. I've got lots of canned air (I think...what's a lot, really?) If Jack or anyone else gets a chance to respond, I'd appreciate your words of wisdom. I'll be travelling with an RBgan...any problems with this unit that you've had to overcome? Also, any items you wish you'd brought or had more of? Anything you wish you hadn't bothered packing? Many thanks for feedback on this stuff and a special thanks to the SS members who are giving us details and photos of the conditions there. I'm driving myself crazy trying to prepare for this experience...and looking forward to finally shipping out and getting to work.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Silver Spring | MD | USA | Posted: 10:50 PM on 03.29.03
->> I heard on the news today (3-29) a particular brand of satellite phone has been removed from embedded reporters, 5 of whom work for USA Today, because of their reverse GPS transmissions.

Hope this doesn't take Jack off line.
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Craig Kohlruss, Photo Editor
Fresno | CA | USA | Posted: 11:17 PM on 03.29.03
->> "...lost one lens during a mortar attack..." (!)
Wow Jack! And to think that I stress out over raindrops on my UV filter. Thanks for taking the time to write and thank you for putting your life on the line in the name of journalism. You've got one hell of a story to tell your grandkids!
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Jack Gruber, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 9:00 AM on 03.30.03
->> Andy.....

I am not an expert by any means but my advice...bring two of everything. Think it is going to take a lot of room? Well, better find places to stash stuff is much better than doing without. Extra batteries for your computer. Two spares would be nice. I have just one and it is a must. Bring at least two inverters with you. The Radio Shack 300 watter with two plug in ports and alligator clips along with car adapter is a must. I hardwired installed one in a humvee which I was suppose to be around but that hasn't been seen or heard from. I can't believe how many reporter types are over here without the simplest of items. I am getting my power from the unit I am with and using their inverters. My back up inverter has been used at times by the unit when theirs have gone south. Seems to be working out well but I spend a great deal of time just maintaining the battery levels of all my equipment so that it is always charged on the Bgan, camera batteries and computer batteries.

I would bring as many camera batteries as possible. I have 6 1D batteries. Bring a backup battery charger too.

Bring extra charger adapter for your computer. If you can bring an extra computer to store somewhere nearby. Sound like a lot, well, ditch the extra underwear. I have been wearing the same clothes for the last two weeks believe it or not under full MOPP gear 24 hours a day.

Don't forget a Kevlar helmet (get a tan one or a tan cover) and a ballistic vest (Second Chance or Bulletproofme.com) with rifle plates. Black or tan whatever.

Don't forget canteens with the Army caps you can use with gasmask's when in MOPP conditions with chem gear. This is a must and bring two.

I lost a 16-35mm and now am using the backup 28mm lens I brought as a backup in worst case scenario. And now it is worst case. I am trying to get a replacement sent up the supply lines but don't have it yet. So moral of the story, bring backup wide angle and long lens that you can use to get the job done if needed.

What else? Covers for your computer are cool. The plastic wrap is a good idea but sometimes if you tape it down it, the heat gets trapped in and not vented well enough. I have a pretty slick little plastic cover which slides down over the screen and then flops down over the keyboard. Had a bunch made up in the Souk down in Kuwait and very glad for the effort and time it took to get it done.

Bring cleaning device for your CCD's and wipes for your computer screen.

Do you have a good sleep bag or bivey bag and a sleep pad? Sleeping conditions are extreme and better be prepared. Don't really need a tent but a bivey bag is a good idea in case you sleep in a sandstorm. I have a tent with me but have not used it. Sleep in the track with 4 other guys but the bag and pad are helpful.

Electric razor and baby wipes. Bring many of them. You will be in chem gear 24 hours --even sleeping in it--and the only way to wash is with babywipes. Razor is must to keep beard down so you get proper seal on mask.

The Bgan works like a champ. If you are using a Mac and OS X you will have zero problems. It is a java thing and you just launch the browser and the URL and you are set up. Quick and painless. This thing is a dream come true. Bring extra USB cord or ethernet cords for which ever you choose to link with. Haven't tried the Bluetooth on the Mac and the Bgan yet. I just use the ethernet hookup. Make sure you have long length say maybe 25 feet so you can set the Bgan outside somewhere and able to get inside a vehicle or track to work. I have a Bgan and a 12 inch Mac in one smale case with all the cords and chargers. It is compact and easy to throw in a corner of the track and open it up and edit on the run if needed. Thuraya phones do send out GPS signal and I have heard they are being rethought about media using them. At this time no one has said a thing to me about it but I am out in the middle of nowhere and the Iraqis no just where we are already proven by the mortar rounds landing everywhere around us. It is no secret where I am.

Bring backpack to put everything in then smaller backpacks to break down even further once in the field.

Carabiners to clip and hang gear is a good thing. Waist pouches on belt.

It is not hot here yet by any means. 40 degrees at night in the desert is freaking cold. I have what the guys are calling a "high speed" North Face fleece jacket that they are all envious of.

Lots of socks and sturdy boots.

A compact shovel......it is the desert and there are no bathrooms. An TP.

Get a couple pair of "high speed" clear goggles either ski or other type . You WILL need these just to walk a few meters to take a wiz during a mild sandstorm. And the sandstorms have been brutal.

Bring a headlamp capable of redlight along with white light. You will love it. Also, et a couple of minimag lights with the red light filters. A must!

Lipbalm!

Now get this all down to packing into one backpack and you will be golden. You will be wearing your kevlar and vest all the time so once you get into the country you won't have to worry about packing that.

Bring covers for your backpack. It could be attached outside a vehicle. Remember, carabiners are great to have for this so bring many of them.

Water is bottled and lots of it. Bring Tang or Gatorade with you and you will be a happy camper along with coffee if you like that.

Bring stuff for the guys. Skoal and stuff like that is a huge hit.

DVD's...watched Band Of Brothers episode last night inside of a track while artillery was firing off . Pretty wild.

Newspapers and mags will be most appreciated by everyone. Stuff gets passed along to everyone over and over.

Camera wise.....I am going camera coverless. It is just too big a hassle and not getting much benifit from it. Sand and dust is too intrusive. Best bet is to get the heavy Afghan type head scarves that you can wrap around the cameras and shake out everyonce in awhile.

You will need something to cover up your computer screen at night to you can work in darkness without giving off white light.Hoodman would work well and also help during the day to see in the bright light. i made something up in Kuwait with cloth and velco and it is working great and also acts as a bivey bag I can put my sleeping bag in and sleep outside on top of the track at night in the sandstorms.

MLRS just got launched. Damn!

One thing I kinda lucked into was bringing a bunch of REI black stuff sacks . The big ones about 24 inches high. I can put cameras with lenses on and leave outside just waiting for whatever. It works. And they also help to hold on to my MOPP boots and gloves until I need them when a chem alert happens. So bring those. They are handy for everything.

Hope you are in shape. One embed passed out yesterday I heard from dehydration, lack of sleep, stress, bad eating habits and so on and so on. It is no walk in the park. I am climbing up and down stuff just to be able to get in and out of things.

Vitamins!

Food is plentiful and of the MRE type.

You are going to see a lot with the guys you are hooking up with. Good luck. I am going to be very close to you so I may run into down the road.

A Garmin GPS is cool but make sure you get the IRaq maps put into to. Not really a necessary item however. They will take you where you need to go, believe me.

Let me know when you are leaving. I may need to have something brought over and maybe you could help. Just thinking down the road.

Shortwave radio to pick up the BBC. Very nice to have.

Sorry I can't list everything here. Time is short but just double up on the things that will shut you down entirely if you lose or break something.

Goodluck.....gruber
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Chriss Hoffman, Photographer
San Marcos | CA | USA | Posted: 9:05 AM on 03.30.03
->> Apple should pick up some of those shots for their next ad campaign! Great shots of brutal conditions. Come back safe all!
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Michael Troutman, Photographer
Carmel | CA | USA | Posted: 11:24 AM on 03.30.03
->> Jack, as an embedded journalist, are you required to remain unarmed?
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Andy Rogers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 11:48 AM on 03.30.03
->> Jack, Thanks very much for taking the time to help me get my shit together. I've got almost all of the stuff you mentioned, but I will try to add more redundancy to my gear. It seems like I can't go wrong bringing as many storage pouches, plastic whatsamajiggees as possible. If you want to send me a private e-mail with a request, I'll try to bring along extra of items you may need. Doubtless, someone will use anything I don't use myself. Of course I'll be packed to the gills, so we'll see... Again, your post was above and beyond what I had hoped for. It's terrific to get real-time tips from someone who's already in-country. Stay safe...Andy
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Silver Spring | MD | USA | Posted: 3:22 PM on 03.30.03
->> With Jack's posting I see there is no problem with his satellite phone!
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 3:45 PM on 03.30.03
->> Jack,

Thanks for all the information and I'm glad to hear that things are working for you. I do have one question about the inverters. If I'm not mistaken the voltage systems on Humvees and other military equipment aren't 12 volt DC systems, but are 24 volts (or something else) in order to be compatible with other NATO countries' vehicles. Has voltage differences been an issue for you?

Thanks, and God Speed!
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Jock Fistick, Photographer
Brussels | Belgium | | Posted: 10:03 PM on 03.31.03
->> Jack: If you have the time...can you share any experiences about image sensorship? There was an article in USA Today that quoted a military official as saying some embedded journalists had been removed becuase they broke the rules. I have this idea in my head that once the war started - the people who might be looking over your shoulder would have much more important things on their minds such as fighting and trying to stay alive - but I might be way off the mark - So I was just wondering if anyone is checking what you are sending before you send it or if they are just trusting that you will abide by the signed agreement? I guess what I'm trying to get at is - are they checking now? And if not is it only because you haven't photographed anything they might be concerned with? - which begs the question - if you were to say photograph a U.S. soldier who was wounded or killed in action - would it be then that someone would want to see your images before you transmitted? Stay safe dude...I don't want to have to move back to the states to take care of Grover :-) And yes, I'm hating life that I'm not out there with you!
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Jack Gruber, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 10:21 AM on 04.01.03
->> Dear Michael.....no I have both arms. (just kidding...no, no journalist is allowed to have weapons as an embed. I did hold a cool grenade the other day however.)

Geoff....yes, humvees and other tracks all have 24 volt systems. But is no problem tapping of one battery and getting just 12 volts and getting power. I have hardwired an inverter into one humvee actually but have not seen that vehicle in weeks. I have been using power off inverters in the tanks and tracks I have been riding in.

On the censorship issue...no one watches me. I am pretty far out here. I actually have showed images to people trying to figure out if the image closes in on ground rules. If a soldier is killed and i photograph it I am not allowed to shoot it in such a way that it will identify that soldier. But I have not been in that situation yet. At this time there has been no issue. I have shot EPW's and tried to stay in the limits but have seen AP photos that show EPW's fully identifiable and that is a no-no once they are in custody as par with Geneva Convention rules.
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Michael Troutman, Photographer
Carmel | CA | USA | Posted: 11:58 PM on 04.02.03
->> Nice shot of the M1 tank on the front page today, Jack. I'd like to get one of those battering ram/plow attachment thingies it was sporting for my truck...
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Thread Title: I wonder how the photo equipment is holding up???
Thread Started By: Geoff Miller
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