Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's in my Camera Bag

Another regular question is what's in my camera bag?

Let me begin my saying that like most photographers, I have gone through a progression of photo bags.  That means that I have purchased and abandoned or re-sold multiple bags.  Even today there is one rejected bag sitting in the closet.

I always select the style of bag based on which part of my body is the strongest, my legs or back.  For me, its my legs.  This means that my "go to" bag is a hip based solution, not a backpack.

My bag can be worn in any position: with pouch in back on one hip or another or in the front.  I wear mine in the front.  I consider this to be the second best feature of my bag.  This gives me full control of its contents and when closed it forms a bit of a tabletop surface to work on.

Additional features include an internally packed "raincoat " that comes out and around the bag and the sturdy and wide hip strap that minimizes digging into my hips or waist.

Next, how big does the bag need to be?  I've tried larger versions of this bag but they inhibited my ability to crouch down. So this bag has been in use for close to 15 years. 

Well, here's, what in the main compartment of my bag:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 85mm, f1.8 lens, w/ UV filter
  • 24-105mm, f4 lens, w/UV filter
  • Canon 70-200, f2.8 lens, with UV filter
  • Keno 1.4 telephoto extender
  • 2 circular polarizers: 2 stop polarizer and 25% graduated neutral density
  • Omni bounce flash diffuser
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Extra body and lens cap
  • CF Card case: with (4) 16 GB cards
  • Color temperature orange, florescent correction flash gels, and extra Velcro in a home-made holder
  • 2 spare camera batteries
  • Pen and Sharpie
  • Tiny notebooks
  • 5" metal nail file - my all purpose tool
  • Rubber can opener - helps get the filters off
  • Tri-pod wrench
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Mini Grey Tag McBeth/QP Card
  • Business cards
  • Small bottle lens cleaner
  • Lens tissue paper
  • Mole Skin- for that unexpected foot blister
  • Flash light on neck cord
  • Feisol Tripod
  • Manfrotto head
  • Hitech lens filters, large & metal holder: 0.3, 0.6, 0.9
  • Notebook size computer with card reader and charger
  • Back-up hard drive

 Inside zipper compartment:
This puts my flash, a Canon 580EX in a "Lightening Fast" external pouch made by Think Tank on the waistband of my bag.  4 spare AA batteries are at the bottom of this case.

Now my bag is stuffed.  Would love nothing more than to carry a bunch of prime lenses but their added weight and size just prohibit me form doing so.  So remember, the brand or manufacturer of the bag doesn't matter, its what's good for you.

In My Clothing Bag:
* these items are brought out as need e.g. night shooting, landscapes.

 The camera bag is then packed into a wheelie which fits into the above the seat luggage compartment on international flights.  I NEVER CHECK MY CAMERA GEAR. 

Up until my most recent trip to Cuba in December, I would bring along a spare camera body and flash.  I must say, it is tough to handle 2 wheelies (camera and clothing) especially while commuting on all different types of public transportation.  There is a good chance that I will forego the back-up equipment on future trips.

And equally important is the security of my equipment and images.  I have a TSA approved lock on each bag.  When I leave the room all unattended bags are locked and a bike lock is applied connecting the bags to a piece of permanent furniture or pipe under the sink.

So far, so good. I have been able to bring home everything I left with plus some awesome images.  Hope you find this info helpful.

Carpe Diem,