The incredible shrinking computer bag–Part Two

Welcome back to a closer look at the incredible shrinking computer bag, in this case, the estimable Think Tank Airport Airstream.  Below I’m showing you most of the stuff I’ve got inside of it (minus my spare glasses, paperback book, copies of my passport/visas and other small necessities that fit in the clear plastic pouches on the inside of the top flap).

_dsc0351You can see the Acer Aspire, a CVS Pharmacy polyvinyl cosmetics bag filled with two extra harddrives, connector cords, card reader, cell phone charger, GPS, USB modem and all the peripheral chachkas we need to digitally survive. Plus there’s room for a spare body and two spare lenses.

What may stick out a bit is that photo vest. Now that’s not just any photo vest, it’s the late lamented Bob Krist travel photo vest that was carried in LL Bean Traveler catalog for a few years. Yes, my 15 minutes of retail fame included this vest and a very cool, and to this day, unique camera bag design (subject of another entry on another day).

Now the vest design is pretty close to the Domke design…lots of huge pockets.  But it is street wearable (alas, lots of the vests out there today are monstrosities that you can only wear at sporting events because on the street, they look like C4-packed suicide vests. This one, at least, looks like normal clothing). And this is key: it’s made of ultra lightweight, breathable, fast-drying and packable Supplex nylon. That’s why you can jam it into no space at all.  And should you get accosted at the gate about a second carryon, everything in this bag can fit into that vest, and you can wear your second carryon onto the plane….


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Bonjour, y’all!

My wife Peggy and I were supposed to spend a week in Paris, France visiting friends later this month. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to cancel the trip:-(

We did manage, however, to make it to her family reunion in early May, held this year in Texas. On the drive to the dude ranch where the reunion took place, I noticed on the map that there was also a Paris in Texas. And, doggone it, I was going to get to Paris (any Paris!) in May come hell or haute d’eau.

So, after the reunion, I slipped off for a couple of days to shoot the other Paris. For a rundown on what I found, how it’s inspired a new project, and how I lit my new friend Ray in front of the Texas version of the Eiffel Tower using only my emergency “family reunion group shot lighting kit,” hit the jump.

photo © Bob Krist
photo © Bob Krist


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The incredible shrinking computer bag–Part One

In my never ending search for the smallest, lightest gear that will do the job, I’ve been helped by the folks at Think Tank Photo and their rolling carryons. Now, I don’t use these for my camera gear (I don’t have the time to repack my stuff into a shoulder bag once on location, so I just carry it in one!), but I find them enormously useful as computer bags. With my normal setup of a black  13″ Macbook (tricked out with a 500GB HD and 4GB of RAM from Otherworld Computing ) and two 320 GB, 7200 rpm firewire/USB harddrives from  G-Tech or Weibetech and all the assorted chargers, adapters, connectors, sensor cleaners, etc. etc. (oh yeah, digital has “simplified” our lives as traveling photographers!), a photo vest, plus a spare D90 body and a couple of backup lenses, the Airport International V2.0 has been my roller of choice.

prod-photo-aint2This bag is shallow enough to fit into a lot of regional aircraft’s overheads, but it’s still biggish for fussy European airline’s carryon rules, especially if you have a camera bag, however small and discreet, in addition to the roller.  But how to make it smaller? Well it’s no good to carry a smaller bag if the gear inside is the same size….you can’t cram 6 gallons of water into a 4 gallon jug. So the secret is to make the stuff inside a bit smaller. But how?

Enter the so-called netbooks.


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When the “best” camera may not be best for you…

Here’s a phenomenon I’m encountering more and more often these days on photo trips and workshops.

A well-heeled photo enthusiast (usually a middle-aged guy, not unlike myself—except, um, for the “well-heeled” part) shows up with tip top photo gear (i.e. two D3’s, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm zooms, all the big f/2.8s, maybe a macro or fast prime or two, possibly a flash).

Before every stop on the tour or venture out of the workshop, he asks me, “what gear will I need today?”

When I gently point out that “clairvoyancy” does not appear anywhere in my resume, and stress the need to be prepared for anything, I get the lament “that’s too bad because I don’t want to carry the (fill in the blanks) if we’re not going to need them.” And something always gets left behind, and whatever you leave behind is what you’re gonna need. Yes, folks, it’s a drag to carry your whole kit if you’re not going to need it.

It also stinks not to know when the stock market will spike or tumble, which tollbooth line will move the fastest, or whether or not the Knicks will cover the spread in tomorrow’s game (well, okay, that last one is pretty much a slam dunk “nope”).

The point is, you can’t know in advance what you’ll see in most travel situations. So the question you have to ask yourself is this: which photo gear is better? The heavy “pro” outfit, half of which you tend to leave behind, or the smaller “amateur” outfit that is light enough to take with you and have ready at all times?

This photo below, for instance, would never have been made if I had a D3 instead of a D90 with me on Ibo Island in Mozambique. For the reason why, hit the jump.

Photo © Bob Krist


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