Saturday, June 6, 2009

in the bag

I always like to ask other photographers what gear they pack when they travel. I guess there's the hope that someone will have discovered something that would improve my kit. Other people have asked me the same, so I'll go ahead and share here what I take with me. On most trips I pack my Canon 1D Mark II, 16-35 f/2.8 L, 24-70 f/2.8 L, 70-200 f/2.8 L and 1.4 x extender. A Tiffen cicular polarizer and Haze filter is packed for each of these. The 70-200 is by far my favorite lens, and sees the most use. My plan is to eventually add a full frame body like the 5D Mark II so that I can run two lenses at once. There's simply too much dust and rain in the field to change lenses all of the time. Having full frame would also allow me to maximize use of the 16-35. Were money not an object I'd probably add a 1Ds Mark IV when it comes out.

On trips under a week long I pack an 80 GB Epson P-5000. That way I don't have to lug a computer around. CF card wise I bring all I've got, which is about 12 GB worth. I also throw in a squeezable air blower, 2-3 lens wipes, the visible dust pro kit for cleaning off dust and a rain cover for my backpack. Three camera batteries come along as well, plus between two and four packs of double a batteries for my 580ex flash. I mention the flash late in this post because I don't use it unless I have to. Natural light photograpy has always been my favorite, and from what I can tell the people I'm photographing prefer not to have a flash going off all of the time. I'd really like to add an 85 f/1.2 L to the kit for low light situtations. Many village homes are dark, and so it's difficult to shoot without a flash at f/2.8. For now I'm stuck with the flash, an off camera shoe cord and an omnibounce difuser.

The non-photographic items I take are a pad and pen to record location names, two mini-mag flashlights, a snack (e.g. nuts) to keep my energy levels up, water for hydration, bandaids and a jacket. All of this of-course weighs a ton when it's put together in a bag. However I typically use all of it on each trip. Since weight is an issue though I use a gitzo travellers monopod, and leave the tripod at home.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. I always enjoy talking about photography.