What’s in the bag?

Over the last few weeks while my current exhibition is on I’ve been asked a lot about technique and gear, how to use them both singular and combined.

So I thought I’d start with the gear.

Sometimes the camera bag I pack depends on where I’m going or the type of travel I’m doing. Obviously when I’m in my car and about to take off for parts unknown (but prepared for) I can take any amount of gear I want to take as long as it  fits in the back of my car, which is a 4WD.

However if air travel is involved then further though must be forthcoming. Thoughts run around my head like a locomotion ploughing relentlessly forward. “What’s my subject? Is it large or small? Do I need a perspective far away or close by? What about an alternate viewpoint? Would it make the subject quirky or more appealing? Is “unusual” important?”

Then, “Can I take my camera bag as carry-on or does it need to be checked? What are the  weight restrictions? Can I take one lens that can multipurpose? Do I need a macro lens? Which bag am I taking? Can I fit a tripod in? or do I need it?”

Flying with camera gear can be stressful.

Here is my list of what usually goes in the bag;

  • two camera bodies – a main one that I will usually shoot with and a spare for catastrophes
  • several camera batteries
  • charger including a car charger
  • plenty of memory cards – this depends on availability to download and how you shoot. Plenty of people take more than one shot of the same (or very similar) image
  • memory card holder – this often overlooked item is critical to the ongoing performance of your memory cards. I use a small hard case that is easily packed in tight spaces
  • cables – often spares of the critical ones I know I will be using
  • remote release(s)
  • lenses – a multipurpose such as the Canon 24-105mm, 100 or 85mm macro and a prime 50mm
  • point and shoot camera – my favorite is my Canon G12
  • computer (something small and lightweight for travel)
  • external hard drive
  • card reader and connecting cable. Many computers now include a slot for your SD card but I always like a spare

Whenever your planning a trip ensure your insurance for your gear is up to date. I recently went on what was going to be the vacation of a lifetime and on my first day my camera was stolen right out of my hands. Though bitterly disappointed with the inconvenience and heartbreak at losing my old faithful camera I felt assured that it would be replaced and that I wouldn’t be out of pocket financially.

I must say however that I’m still cursing over the loss of the images on the card that was stolen with the camera as those images can never be replaced.

But back to the job at hand.

I usually take with me a voice recorder as well. Many people make use of the memo function on their mobile phones which serves almost as well. I use the recorder to capture the local sounds around me or to make notes.

Of course I use my mobile phone more and more these days to take both photos and videos, and wow, what a tool.

I also carry several pens and a small notebook, and yes, it does all fit in my backpack and that bag is easily allowed on the plane as carry-on luggage.

what's in my bag?
what’s in my bag?

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