WHAT’S IN MY BAG
By Roman Martin
I have wanted to write this article for a long time, but each time I start it, something else jumps ahead of it, and I end up skipping the topic. As a photographer, I am always interested in knowing what other photographers carry in their bags, and I have to assume they want to know what’s in my bag, too. Since I’m a Pentax Ambassador, I naturally carry a fair amount of Pentax equipment. Lately, it’s the Pentax K1 full-frame camera along with some lenses, filters, and accessories.
This post won’t cover the technical aspects or merits about Pentax equipment, or any other brand. Instead, this post will be more about choices I’ve made on what equipment I decide to pack. I sometimes carry some items for travel photography and completely different items for other types of photography.
Firstly, since I travel a lot, my camera equipment must fit into a carry-on size bag. I typically use a backpack style that allows me to pack almost everything I need on the road. It can hold everything and still fit in the overhead bins of an airplane.
My backpack will usually hold cameras and lenses, filters, cleaners, batteries, a laptop and iPad. It also stores phone and battery chargers, headphones, portable SSD drive, spare cables, and a spare t-shirt.
Plan for the worst
Over the years, I’ve learned how important it is to carry all my essential gear with me. More than a few times, I’ve arrived at my destination, but my luggage hasn’t. If I had packed anything I require for photography in my checked luggage, I may not see it for several days. And I may not be in the same place a few days later, complicating things even more.
It’s easy enough to get some new clothes if I have to, when my luggage is late. But having to buy new camera equipment is not ideal. So because of this, I carry everything with me in one bag. That includes all the charges, batteries and cables that are required to make equipment work. Even a spare t-shirt, just in case.
For my travel, I wear a large backpack which holds everything. But I also pack another shoulder bag in my checked suitcase. This shoulder bag is what I carry with me on day trips that require only particular pieces of equipment. This allows me to reduce the amount of gear that I carry, and the backpack stays in the hotel.
This is a technique I started recently. Not having to carry everything every day makes sense, and it’s easy enough to pack a second, smaller bag. For long distance flights, I have the security of having everything with me. And for short day trips, I have the convenience of having only the things I need for the day.
The equipment that goes with me consists of a Pentax K1 camera, a 28-105 mm, 15-30 mm, 70-200 mm, 15mm fisheye, and 35mm lenses. I also carry ND and CPL filters, a tripod, cleaning equipment, and spare batteries. There is a SSD portable drive, a MacBook Pro, an Ipad Pro, plus chargers for laptops, phone and iPad. And I bring a Ricoh Theta 360 camera, along with some extra SD cards.
What about a backup?
For many years, I used to bring a backup DSLR camera. I did this because you never know with electronics – anything can happen on the journey. But in the last couple of years, I stopped doing this, and instead I bring the small, superbly designed Ricoh GRII ‘point and shoot’ camera.
I like this camera so much that I never go anywhere without it. The photos from it are so good that sometimes it’s the only camera I take with me. Especially if I know that I don’t need more than 28 mm angle for photographing. I’ll do another post in the future about this camera, because it deserves that for sure.
Each photography assignment means different gear. Some of it is pretty standard, but there are always differences. Having some flexibility with the different types of bags allows me to choose what’s in my bag each time.
Be sure to check out Michael Mortimer’s post about packing for your travels, and choosing a good camera bag. What’s in your bag? Are there any items that you cannot go without, that I didn’t cover here? Tell us about it in the comments.