What’s in my bag?

This is a question that I’m asked often and it’s a hard one to answer. When I travel I tend to “travel light”, often only carrying one body and 2 lenses plus assorted other paraphernalia. When I have the luxury of travvelling by car or boat I tend to carry more, closer to what I have listed below. So, here’s my rant about what’s in my bag. Any comments?

To start with, I use Nikon cameras. I’m often asked why I use Nikon rather than Canon and the answer goes back about thirty years when I first started doing photography seriously. A friend had a Canon F1 with a motor drive and I had a few simple Nikon F’s, no meter, just the basic cameras. What struck me about the Canon was how heavy and bulky the package was. Now, this is nothing against Canon as the equivalent Nikon at the time was likely just as heavy and bulky. Being on a shoestring budget for many of my early years I acquired a large quantity of used Nikkor lenses and other miscellaneous camera system components.Years later Pentax came out with a fancy little professional camera, the Pentax LX. The lenses were good and sharp, everything was lighter than the equivalent Nikon equipment and I sold all of my beat up Nikon gear and temporarily switched to Pentax. While I thoroughly enjoyed using the Pentax equipment the set-up suffered from lack of development and the bodies had a tendency to have their shutters crack at inopportune moments. It was time to switch back to Nikon again.

With the digital age it was clear that Nikon or Canon would get my business. In most ways it was a no brainer for me, I had all these Nikkor lenses, why reinvest in a completely new system? That’s why I’m still using Nikon. Is Nikon better than Canon? My guess is that any of the modern cameras can produce great images with a good photographer operating them. All these systems can also produce terrible results with an incompetent photographer operating them. As well, I have started using many third party lenses that can be purchased for many different systems. I guess it really comes down to personal preference.

So what’s in my bag? I’ll start with the weird and accessory items:

Toshiba notebook (only if required, a few days away from computers is healthy), I’ll tell you what’s on the computer at a later date
Cable release
USB reader
2 USB cords (I either lose them or they are a little finicky)
250 gb hard drive
160 gb hard drive
Garbage bags (lots)
Band aids (these are useful for more than just patching up my body)
Lens cleaning fluid
Lens cleaning paper (in truth, I almost always use my shirt or other old clothing, underwear (clean) etc, I know….)
Permanent marker
BC Ferry schedule (may not be useful to many of you)
An old magazine or two (for the road, usually something other than photography like Air & Space or Vintage Motorsports)
Lightweight gloves
Super duper LED flashlight
Visa card, “can’t leave home without it”
A few leaky pens and,
a pair of small scissors and a knife (that I have to remember to remove before boarding an airplane).

Camera Equipment:

Nikon D300 body
Nikon D2X body
Sigma 10-20mm
Nikon 17-55mm
Sigma 30mm f1.4
Sigma 50-150mm f2.8
Sigma 150 macro
Nikon 300mm f4
Nikon 85mm f1.8 (not used often anymore)

Battery chargers for two cameras and flash unit. (why these can’t be compatible boggles my mind, in a perfect world…)
Nikon SB800 flash
Manfrotto monopod
Manfrotto Carbon Fiber tripod
Manfrotto Head

2 – 8gb Compact Flash Cards
2 – 4GB Compact Flash Cards
2 – 2 GB Compact Flash Cards

There you go, nothing fancy and all totally abused. Am I missing anything? Well, a 500mm lens sure would be nice, maybe a fisheye, donations are always accepted.


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