What's in my camera bag(s)
I've a big day tomorrow. A Moroccan wedding. That means this afternoon I've been charging batteries and packing the camera bags.
I thought I'd grab a snapshot and go through the contents with you:
The first bag (that's the one on the left) is a Think Tank Airport express. I've never heard anyone say a bad word about Think Tank bags. I'm not about to start. It's superb and takes all the daily abuse I dish out. Regularly gets hauled around the 'bag destroying' Paris metro system, has clocked up a few air miles (passes as hand luggage) and has so far never complained. It still rolls as smoothly as the day I bought it.
In this bag is my main camera body, Canons range topping 1DS MkIII. I know this camera so well, operating it has become almost as natural as breathing.
There are 3 lenses tucked away in there. Firstly my bread and butter lens, the Canon 24-70 2.8L. Canon's L class lenses are a little pricey however you're buying the finest optics that Canon produce. The 24-70 is probably my most used lens therefore well worth the initial investment.
Next up is the Canon 70-200 2.8L IS lens. The combination of the 24-70 and the 70-200 give me all the focal range I need to cover a wedding.
The third lens in the bag is the Sigma 105 macro lens. It's the only non Canon lens I own and I have to admit that I'm impressed. At a wedding I'll turn to this lens to capture the fine details. It also doubles as a beautiful portrait lens. The only negative point is that the auto focus is s-l-o-w (and noisy) compared to the Canon L lenses mentioned above.
Moving on from lenses, there's a Canon Speedlight 580EXII. The majority of time when I shoot weddings I work with natural light. However there are a couple of occasions during the day I may reach for the flash. If the bride and groom have time for some portraits I'll perhaps set up the flash on a lightstand with a diffuser of some kind. Also once the party begins and ISO3200 can no longer keep up I'll add a subtle splash of flash.
The twirly cord you can see is the cord for my Quantun Turbo battery pack. This means I can shoot all night with flash if needed, without the need to worry about carrying dozens of AAA battery's.
There are also a couple of Pocket Wizard remotes, the industry standard for triggering flashes off camera.
Buried somewhere is an umbrella adaptor as well as more than enough memory cards for a full days shooting.
Which takes us to the second bag. It's a Dakine Sequence backpack. It's the bag I'll pick up if I'm traveling light. For example on my engagement shoots you'll find me sporting this pack. It's big enough to carry what I need for simple shoots but light enough not to become an annoyance. I'll often charge across Paris on the bike with it fully loaded and it's stable and well balanced.
In this bag is my back-up body. My Canon 30D. Still a wonderful camera that I occasionally pick up when I don't feel like lugging the weight of the 1DS around with me.
There are a couple of lenses also hidden in the bag. First is an ultra-wide Canon 10-22. I often leave this lens attached to the 30D during a wedding, grabbing it for the occasional funky super-wide shot. It's a nice combination if used sparingly.
The Canon 50mm 1.4 is the second lens. Absolutely love it! Brilliant in lo-light. When paired with the full frame 1DS it gives an almost perfect focal length for a large number of shots at a wedding. The fact that it's small, light and a lot less obtrusive than say the 70-200 makes this lens a favorite of mine.
Laid on top of the bag there's what is probably my most used light modifier. The reflector. Never leave home without it. There's also a lightstand along with a 1 metre umbrella for portraits.
Now the stuff you can't see - but that's as equally important. Firstly my Macbook pro. The Macbook is hooked up to an external portable hard drive. If I've the luxury of an assistant the memory cards are backed-up onto the drive throughout the day as I'm shooting. If not my first job when I put down the camera is to back-up all the days images to the external drive. This ensures there are always 2 copies with a third (actually it's a fourth as my office drive is a raid system) made as soon as I'm back at base.
There's also a swiss army knife somewhere, an abundance of AAA batteries just in case, a few business cards and some masking-tape.
I'm sure I've forgotten to mention something but that gives you a little insight into what I take along to a wedding. Professional quality gear I can rely on as well as know inside out. Also backs-ups, not only for the equipment but file storage if for any reason something decides not to play ball.