Monday, June 22, 2015

A Peek Into My Camera Bag

Camera Accessories, 2015
As I’ve been reading through various photography blogs lately, there have been numerous articles about what you’ll find inside photographers’ camera bags and kits. Most talk about fancy, high-end lenses, flash units, and specialty ND filters. But wouldn’t it be fun to see some of the everyday things we haul around? Here’s a look into my camera bag.

Along with my camera body and lenses, I have a number of small but useful items, including business cards and spare shutter release trigger (remote or cable depending upon where I'm going). Regardless of the type of bag I’m carrying – from backpack to handbag – these are the items I always have on hand along with a bottle of water, breakfast bars or trail mix, and heavy-duty bug repellant.

One of the most important items I carry is a fully charged spare battery; not to mention I try to not leave home without the in-camera battery charged up as well. There’s nothing worse than getting out into the field and having an expended battery.

The other essential are spare memory cards. There are usually 3 or 4 blank cards in various sizes from 4GB to 16GB. I like the Lowe Pro Accessory Wallet for storing the cards. It’s small and tucks into a corner of whatever bag I’m carrying while helping protect the memory cards from the elements.

Lens cleaning kits and cloths come in quite handy when I’m in the field. Shooting outside has some unique challenges, including pop-up rain showers and blowing dust. A quick swirl with one of my myriad wipes, and I’m back in business.

While I rarely shoot landscapes, I find it useful to have a three bubble spirit level on hand. It slips into the hot shoe on my camera, and provides a little extra help for keeping images straight. I have a tendency to list a little to the right, so it’s a good reminder. Never want to be a half bubble off plumb.

I almost always carry a Hoya Circular Polarizer in my bag. Regardless of the lighting conditions, it offers options to deal with the glare of the sun or add depth to a flat sky. I found it particularly useful recently when shooting at an old car show with highly polished hoods and ornamentation.

A couple of quarters always come in handy. Did you know they serve as great screwdrivers when the tripod body plate is loose? Learned that little trick in the field at a nature photography workshop awhile back.

Notebook, pen and a pocket calendar are almost always zipped into a side pocket. I like to note the shooting conditions and locations, such as weather and lighting. Some of the areas where I like to shoot don’t have Wi-Fi or 4G coverage (we’re talking remote), thus it’s an old-school approach to notes.

Two black plastic garbage bags enclosed in a clear plastic freezer bag store quite nicely, and provide a number of options for kneeling or laying on wet ground. They also provide a little extra coverage for the pop-up rainstorms mentioned earlier. If desperate, I can also use them as light blockers and black backgrounds when shooting – not perfect, but a viable option.

I would love to have a quick peek into your camera bag. What unique items do you take along with you, and what can you not do without?

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