In a recent discussion e-mail list which I participate from time to time, had an involved exchange on what different people should carry when you are off trekking with your camera. I, like most shutterbugs and photo enthusiast usually carry my Camera around my neck. That works for short trips, when I can dash back to the car in a few minutes to grab something I need. What about if you are going out on a longer (2-6 hours) hike?
* Water and snack foods, or a lunch. note I said water, not soda. If it is very hot, lots of water, I did see one very authoritative brochure from a government monument, [US park Service] suggested one liter of water per hour. I think a hydration backpack might be the thing to have.
*1st Aid Kit That depends on where you are going and how many people are travel with you. While I was involved with 4H Camp. The Groups were generally 10-15 children and teens, and about 3-5 adults. I would often end up toting a full pack of 1st aid supplies, as well as camera gear and my own water. Now traveling just one other person, I would suggest a smaller pocket sized 1st aid kit. Most good outdoor stores have several options from which to pick.
What about camera gear? [It is what I really want to talk about right now, isn't it?]
Well you might pack and carry a photo-bag.
But then you ask how big and what type of bag?
Bags are personal choices and most people I know have several different type of bags and use them for different places. The bags come in all different sized and shaped. Backpacks, Hip Packs, Shoulder and Messenger bags are just few of the commons types.
So what should I put in the bag style of my choice?
*One small notebook, pocket size, one pencil, a penknife to sharpen the pencil. A penknife is a small knife, usually with a single folding blade. 100+ years they were used to sharpen quill pens.
*Your other lens. I tend to use my telephoto more than my 'wide' angle lens. So the 'wide' goes into the bag.
*Spare memory cards, in my pocket sized Pelican chip holder. It holds SD 10 memory cards. and On long trips I used most all of them.
*Camera Battery At least one fully charged 'Spare Battery' for you camera.
* Lens cleaning gear. Face it, everyone has managed to end up with dust on their lens, and no one wants to have a perfect shot ruined by 'dust on the lens', and no suitable way to clean it.
The awful random thought that escaped my normal, everyday self censorship:
All the prefect shots ruined by a dirty lens in a room and singing "All we are is dust on the lens." A parody of a song by Kansas.
I open my shutter, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my photos, pass before my eyes, a sad ending
Dust on our Lens, all they are is dust on our lens
Same perfect shot, just a mote of dirt in an endless sea
All those pictures, thrown to the bin, though we refuse to see.
Dust on our Lens, All our images end up ruined by dust on our lens.
Apologies to Kansas and Kerry Livgren
[I now return you to our normal mundane blog. I sure my wife will someday explain my insanity to you]
* Close-up lens. I would suggest carrying a set of closer up filter lenses. +1,+2 +4 diopters. I like to get down and close to the plants and flowers. The most 'Plain Jane' will look completely different when seen through a close up.
This simple mustard with just a +1 close-up lens looks worlds different. By removing the background and looking closer, our Plain Jane turns in to a Delicate Wonder.
*Circular polarizing filter. Everyone should carry, and learn to use this wonderful tool it allows a person to control the reflected and refracted light in the image. With a Circular Polarizing Filter, the photographer can limit the light reflecting off a window in a landscape, or off a glass in still life. One can also increase the blue color in the sky by limiting the refracted light. The trade off is about one f-stop. which isn't bad.
*A set of Neutral Density filters. How often have you had a great shot but couldn't stop open the lens up enough to control your Depth of Field? These handy gadgets drop the amount of light which hits your lens. The real experts have supplied well written examples of how to use them correctly. Why should I reinvent the wheel. Good well writen articles abound on the web and in some blogs on the Web. Google is our friend as they. Wiki is often a good place to start.
Wikipedia's article on Neutral_Density_Filters
and in this instance the article is linked to this great blog.
What are Neutral Density Filters (and when and how to use them)
[this Blogger's latest entry is worth reading for the Links alone]
So what else do you need or want to carry?
*A hand full of pipe cleaners in greens and brown colors. Use them to make great stabilizers and stiffen up droopy blooms and branches).
*A few note (3x5) cards taped together that fold up (Light reflector or wind screen,. The unfolded size should be about 20 x 18. They can be taped together with hinging tape).
*A mini tripod, All round useful item. Really not that expensive, and can be used many ways.
* A couple of sets of stiff wires about (12 gauge) with alligator clips. ( they can hold the cards for you or be used to brace a branch or flower stem. With these items you can stabilize most flowers and get the light were you want it.
A few other small items you may want to carry is a
* A small beanbag to rest your camera on.
* Foam kneeling pads You can get them at the local garden store. They protect the knees and your clothing.
All of these items, except the kneeing pad and tripod can be carried in safari type vest or photobag.
*A small LED light. Either Head (miners style) light or a hand held flashlight. I like the head lamp because it leaves your hands free and will always shine the direction you are facing. (Make sure you have a set of spare AAA batteries.)
Rather than try to stuff all these items in a giant sized camera bag, consider the following
*A safari vest. These are the neatest of things. They are either 9 or 21 pocket vests. Most of them have a mesh type back that allows you not over heat. You have room for lots of carry gear, close up lenses, and a bottle or two of water. Your spare lens and tripod can go in smaller bags, rather than a single giant bag.
Two last items (really three but the last one is really important.)
* A monopod. This doubles as a walking stick. There is even one with retractable legs. Mine has a ball head mount.
* Insect repellent. No one wants to be buzzed by the gnats and mosquitoes, or have an encounter with the meat bees.
*Sun Protection [two sub items here]
* Sun Screen, applied to your face, hands ears and neck. Read the directions on the bottle. Apply as directed and reapply as directed also. Those little sunburns will detract from your overall experience outdoors and in the end hurt you.
* A Good Hat, to shade your face, ears and the back of your neck. I don't like baseball styled caps (billed hats) for this protection. While they may shade your eyes and face, they offer no protection for your ears and the back of your neck.
So, JestrBob. What do you think makes a good hat?
A wide, 3 inch brim. Maybe with tie to hold it down in the wind. One with a ventilated crown is great for summer outings. The wide brim will protect your face, ears and neck. I found a great hat in a local store that sells work clothing for the outdoors.
Now that you are all outfitted for your outing why are you still sitting at the computer?