Note: Hit the movie start button above to empty the bag!
I’ve been updating my Keynote presentations for next year’s series of National Geographic Traveler Photo Seminars (coming soon to a city near you!) that I present with my colleague and good buddy Ralph Lee Hopkins. While working on the “what’s in the bag” section, I came to the blinding realization that I’m pretty much using small, variable aperture zooms as my main glass for travel assignments these days.
This is something I swore I’d never do, because I loved my f/2.8 fixed aperture zooms as much as life itself. Of course, I am also the person who was quoted at a seminar presentation years ago as claiming that “I’ll switch to digital when they pry the Nikon F100 from my cold, dead hands….”
So the takeaway lessons? Stuff happens, things change, small lenses get sharper, VR gets better, and sore backs get older. Oh, and also; I have a big mouth into which I insert my foot on a regular basis!
For a rundown of what I’ve been carrying for the last year, and what I wish I could add to it, hit the jump.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Two D90 bodies, one mounted with a 70-300mm VR Nikkor and the other with the 16-85VR Nikkor. Gotta admit, they rarely come off.
- A 12-24mm f/4 AF for the tight spots, and the small, sharp 35mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor primes. These little primes are great for available light and give me the FX-style bokeh I crave at times.
- SB 800 with SD8A battery pack
- Olympus LS-10 Audio recorder with Sennheiser MKE 400 mini shotgun mic (with windmuff). Also, not pictured, a small Gorillapod to use as a mic stand/handle
- mini rain umbrella and raincover for the camera
- extra batteries for the camera, a headlamp for me
- A Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket (which clips inside the bag) filled with 8GB and 4GB fast SDHC cards
- A miscellaneous bag with cable release, PC adapter (in case I have to plug in big flashes), flash filters, model release forms, wrist brace (!), hot-shoe bubble level, IR remote for camera, hex wrench.
- A Tamrac Velocity 9x sling bag or a Lowepro Outback 300 AW belt/shoulder bag. Which bag I pick depends on how my back is feeling at the time I’m packing for the gig (the Tamrac rides high, the Lowe is at your waist). If I have room, I take both and alternate ( it helps to keep that spine feeling springtime fresh after a 14 hour day!).
The whole kit weighs a few pounds less than the D300s & f/2.8 zoom setup that I used to carry on travel gigs and still use on commercial assignments.
One thing I wish somebody made and that I’d pay good money for?
A sharp, fast, compact, DX-format wideangle prime, like a 17mm f/1.8 or something! Yeah, I know, fat chance on that. But I can dream, can’t I?