April 27, 2009

What's In The Bag?

For some people who frequent my blog, you’ll notice I refer to a few different sites often, and I have a list of my favorite personal blogs that I check out regularly (on the left hand side of this page) and I also reference some of the equipment that I use personally. Every photographer will find the equipment that suits him or her best. Some times I’ll find a piece of equipment that “I can’t live without” while out shooting with friends in the field.
I personally have my own little set-up that covers just about everything I might need while out shooting. I’ve hinted around that I shoot with Canon gear, but that doesn’t mean I have anything against the other brands, its just what I use personally. Every manufacturer has its strong points. I got into Canon totally by accident after joining a camera class, but that’s a story for another blog post.
In my camera bag I have the “stuff” I use regularly. Here is a list of the gear I carry in my bag most of the time. My main camera bodies and four main lenses:
  • Canon  5D Mk II
  • Canon  17 - 40mm   f / 4
  • Canon  24 - 105mm   f / 4
  • Canon  70 - 200mm  f / 2.8
  • Canon 40D
  • Tamron 17-50mm  f/2.8
For each of these lenses I always have a clear UV filter on the end, for safety reasons mostly. I’ve seen expensive lenses get scratched or broken too often, and having one of these on your lens could possibly save you in the case of an accident.

I also have Polarizing filters for each of these lenses as well. These are definitely my most used filters. They are great for reducing reflections (like on water or glass) and for greatly enhancing your colors especially in skies, making your blues deeper and richer.

Another great piece of gear is my Graduated Neutral Density filter set-up. There are a number of different manufacturers that make them, I find that Cokin has the best set-up for me. They are great when shooting landscapes with the sky in the frame. The filter goes from dark at the top to clear at the bottom so you can compensate for the difference in the light. If you’ve ever taken a photo of a beautiful landscape and have either gotten blown out skies or the background had no details, you know what I mean. They can range from one to three stops usually. Here is more info on that: Graduated Neutral Density filters

Sometimes I like to shoot some “poor mans Macro” so I carry a set of extension tubes for that. They help to get really close up details of plants, insects, coins or any tiny objects by allowing you to focus closer. They fit between the camera body and the lens and are made by several manufacturers.

I also carry at least one external flash with a off-camera shoe cord with me. Being a Canon shooter, my main flash is a 580EX II speedlight. These are really useful to help you to take better photos by getting your flash off the camera. On my favorite websites on my blog list is the Strobist, and I check that out regularly. It was created by a man named David Hobby and it is all about shooting with off-camera flash, check it out.

Another few things you should always carry are a small air-blower and a bottle of lens cleaner solution and a micro-fiber lens cloth for cleaning the ends of your lenses and filters without scratching them. I watch people all to often use their shirt or a napkin to clean these and they can actually ruin your expensive gear!

Last but not least is my trusty Hoodman Loupe. These are great for checking out my LCD on the back of my camera. They come in handy when you really need to make sure you got the shot. Often when shooting outside on a sunny day you really can’t see your LCD without one. They are a little rectangular piece of gear that you put up to your eye and then put over your LCD to get complete glare free viewing. They even have a cord to hang around your neck which is very handy. Check them out here: Hoodman Loupe .

Well, that is just a little tour inside my camera bag, hopefully you got some good ideas out of it. Remember it really helps to think smart and travel light. You don’t want to be lugging around a ton of gear with you all the time. A little planning can go a long way.
These are just a few little tips and I hope you find them helpful.
Oh yeah, and last but not least, have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography