I'm planning an extensive trip during 2005 which will include Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, Canada, USA, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Hawaii, Thailand. My question is: How safe is it to walk around taking pics with a new Nikon D70 and standard zoom lense. I'm fully aware of general safety rules...and if I follow these general rules, what is the likelihood that I can go thought all of these countries and return safely home with my 3000+ pics and my camera. Any risks for specific countries you can point out? Is it best to leave my nice cam at home and walk around with a point-and-shoot?
No point have a good camera if you don't use it
I am sure you know the basic rules, eg. avoid crowded places like markets etc. so I won't repeat them here. One thing I've heard was from a friend who met a professional photographer somewhere in Africa. And what this guy did was putting tape on all of his gear to make it look really old and battered, instead of new and shiny.
I think that would be a good way to attract less attention to your gear.
I am actually planning a big trip through Africa and Asia with my camera gear and am currently doing a lot of research, so if I come across anything else I will let you know.
There is a simular thread going on at a different travel forum.
Maybe it can be usefull. http://www.aardvarktravel.net/ghp-travel-forum/viewtopic.php?t=40
The aardvark forum is great...but only a few comments. I beg for more viewpoints as I'm sure many of you have the same question and a lot of experience on what works best. Some mentioned they keep their cameras with them all the time (unless hotel has a safe)..my quesion: If I go to bars and clubs...I don't want to keep my cam with me. So, if hotel has no safe, should I store cam in my bag at hotel, or maybe put it in some unexpected place in my room...like under the matrass, on top of the closet etc...and hope no cleaning lady cleans there (will be mainly in the eve).
Also, when I keep it with me...and always secure I have it strapped to my body...how likely is it that someone will actually threathen me..mug me, and take it off me. If I keep away from the dark allays, in which countries are robbers likely to threaten my life to take off my cam. I like the idea of wearing a very loose shirt with the cam hanging under the shirt...though in summer that will not work that well.
Take it with you! As Wocca says, what's the point of having a nice camera otherwise? Be sure it's insured appropriately and take precautions, but definitely take it with you. Most of the countries you've listed seem safe enough to me.
I haven't been to South America, but I'm sure you're not the first person with a nice camera to touch down there
And certainly, make sure you have a real junky looking bag / backpack, so no-one would know the contents. I like the idea of making it look messy with tape, etc.
I think it's most in your own atitude about safety.
I traveled with all my Gear (i am photographer for a living) to many place in the world but first of all it's only a camera. So if some one wants to mug you for it let them (be sure it's insured).
And besides that make it look cheap. For instance i don't use the Canon strap because it says with HUGE letters on it Canon EOS DIGITAL. (the strap is not verry nice any ways)
Make sure that you have copy's of your photo's just in case someone wants to steal your gear.
If you want to leaf your equipment in you hotel then make sure it's as save as it can be. Put it in a hard suitcase and chain it to the heating pipes, bed, table, wall. There are some nice chains for this purpose (i have them form delsey).
And don't forget why you are there. For most of us it's to have a great vacation (for me it's also kinda work) so have FUN and don't worry to much.
Scandinavia should be safe as long as you undertake standard precautions.
A It would be a good idea to bring along a point-and-shoot film or digital camera besides your SLR or an old film SLR body. when you visit unsafe places like some parts of big cities you could leave your digital SLR at the hotel and take the point-and-shoot out. I use the smallest Olympus 35mm for this purpose. Its easy to conceal (fits into any pocket) can take a knock, shoots instantly and delivers prints of a good quality. Only downside is that it does not have any zoom.
Other option would be to fist have a look around carrying only your point-and-shoot. Get a feel for the place and if you spot a great picture return there at a other time with your SLR.
When you go out at night, carrying a camera bag around with you is for reasons of comfort or safety also not to always handy and your point-and shoot camera will be a good asset aswell.
Incase your SLR gets stolen you will still have the Point-and-shoot as a backup till you can replace it.