In my experience and exploration of other photo blogs, I have come to the conclusion that everyone does a post like this at one point or another. I think it would be interesting to do this post and look back on it in a year and see how much things have changed, much like everything else. The camera bag I currently carry is for my digital photojournalism work and can weigh anywhere from fifteen to thirty pounds depending upon what the assignment is. I’m one of those people that have to be prepared for everything because I know the one time I leave a certain lens at home it will be the time I’ll need it. For all you people that ask me what type of gear I use on a daily basis, lo and behold: HERE IT IS IN ALL ITS GLORY.So let’s start with the bag itself. I used to carry a Domke F-5XZ RuggedWear Shoulder Bag but these days I needed something a bit bigger that fit everything just in case I needed it all. The Domke is still great for small assignments but if I’m covering a festival or something that requires me to have multiple lenses, a bigger bag is in order. Now, I have an ONA Brixton which fits my camera body, three lenses, a laptop, an external flash, and smaller accessories. The soft velco dividers inside can be removed to customize your setup. It doesn’t look bulky at all and fits my body frame and doesn’t overpower me. The strap also lightens the weight on my shoulders. It’s weatherproof and the leather strap and buckles are really sturdy. It’s pricey but it comes with a warranty and is a pretty great bag – I haven’t had any issues.
Now onto inside.My main body is a Canon 5D Mark III which I bought with the 24-105 f/4 L lens. That lens is amazing and it is my go-to favorite for a wide range of assignments – feature, news, spot news, portrait, etc. I also really like the way it handles in low light as well as the 61 points of autofocus. It has a wide range of cool features that I haven’t utilized as much as I should be, but I’m still learning the ins and outs of it.
As far as lenses go, I use a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II L lens and a Canon 70-200mm f/4 L lens in addition to the 24-105mm. I don’t always carry all of these together, only when I know I’m going to need them all. For the most part the longer lens tends to stay home because my shooting style is usually very wide. I just recently acquired the 16-35mm and I’m in love.
For lighting I ALWAYS carry an external flash. This is the Canon 430exII Speedlite with the Vello off-camera flash cord. I never used to like flash but a few years ago I actually learned how to use it correctly and now I can’t go to a shoot without it. It’s really important to have a light source, especially if you don’t know if natural light (which is still the best in my opinion) is going to be available to you. If you choose to sacrifice a piece of gear because of space, make sure it’s not your flash.
Those are my main pieces to what I carry around but I also like to have some smaller gadgets to help me on the go. I use my iPhone quite often for journalism work, since a lot of it requires me to tweet and instagram events as I go. The Ollo Clip is my favorite clip on iPhone lens because it gives me awesome photos from just using my phone
Another small guy I’ve recently added to my bag is the Nikon Cool Pix s32. It’s a tiny digital point and shoot but can also be used underwater. I want to get a Fuji x100s soon but for now, this little guy will do. I think it’s a great idea to keep something like this in your bag because you give yourself the opportunity to get a cool perspective by using a camera that can go places your normal gear cannot.
All together I think I have my bases covered. This seems like a lot, and it is, but I don’t typically carry every single thing unless it’s a shoot where I’m going far away or a shoot that I’m going to be doing all day long. Overall, this is most of my go-to gear aside from a tripod and monopod which I use for sports shoots and landscapes – neither of which I do too often.
I haven’t uploaded photos from the Nikon point and shoot yet – I’ll edit that in later tonight when I get home. I’ve posted links to everything here if you are interested in buying any of this gear. To be honest, the retail prices are pretty high and I suggest buying used from certified retailers. I bought both my 16-35mm lens and my 70-200mm lens from KEH.com for under $2,000 together. A great deal considering the 16-35mm is that price new by itself. Both lenses are in excellent condition.
Last but not least I carry a 13inch MacBook Pro with me to assignments that require me to file my photos quickly. Sometimes I have to shoot something and i can’t make it home to upload before deadline so I’ll just bring my Macbook with me. I got this awesome hardshell case from GMYLE, a company that sells through Amazon. I drop my camera bag a lot and the hardshell case protects my laptop from the shock of getting bounced around. In Apple stores these cases sell for $50+ whereas a standard case like this one is around $15.
That’s about it. Sorry that this post was a giant advertisement! But I like to promote gear and products that work for me. As for using film on assignment – I do occasionally if it’s something leisurely. If it’s a fast paced assignment I usually don’t bother with film because I like to focus on getting the best shots with my digital gear when I’m getting paid for it. If it’s an assignment that is unusually weird or strange I’ll tend to bring film only to be able to post it here and share with you guys. 🙂
Any questions? Ask me in the comments below.