What’s In My Camera Bag?

Neeley and I recently got back from teaching a photography workshop in Paris and London.  And I remembered that I had yet to followup with my previous post about what to shoot with, graphically.

I carry an olive Domke F2 bag.  I’m on my second F2,  though more due to color choices, then condition.  My previous black F2 is approaching 10 years old, and probably has another 5 in it.

The Domke F2 is a medium-sized bag that hold quite a bit of stuff, with minimal padding, and protection.  Though it’s more then enough protection to prevent damage from bumps/bangs of tossing things in the overhead bin, or putting it down by your feet.  They are shooters bags, designed to be carried and used, not for shipping gear.

The newer F2 bags come with an adjustable 4 slot padded insert for lenses, while the older F2 bags had a non-adjustable 4-slot insert.  Both are movable in the bag, and removable if you want.   After spending a couple of weeks fiddling with the insert, I’ve come to the layout that I use now.  A Canon 5D Mark 2 on it’s side, back facing the back of the bag, right hand of the camera facing up (with a hand strap), lens forward.  This allows me to have any normal or wide lens mounted on the camera and easy access in and out of the bag with it (though I have to flip the lens hood around).  I currently have a Canon 24-105 F4L mounted on the camera.

I place a Canon 17-40 F4L lens in one of the padded slots near my body to keep the weight closer to me.  I can replace this wide angle lens with a couple primes, or a 70-200 depending on what I’m planning on taking pictures of.

The additional padded slots carry my Gopro 3+, along with waterproof and skeleton back, and the wifi remote.  I replace the Xshot stick with a Manfroto Pixi tripod depending on what I’m looking to do with the gopro.  I have a medium-sized USB battery pack for my phone or GoPro if I run out of power, with cables.  I also found myself just carrying a spare phone, gopro, and gps battery in a small ziplock.  I have a small cotton rag I use to wipe things down with, dry things off, etc.  This doubles as added padding if needed.

On the front outside pockets, I have a Moleskin notebook and Space Pen for old fashion note taking if needed.  I also stuff in a LensPen, ThinkTank PocketRocket CF/SD card holder with spare cards, and some lip balm.  I stuff a package of business cards and a couple bogo-ties into one of the pockets.  Lastly I turn on my GPS logger, and leave it in a pocket all day.  See my older geotagging post for some more information.

This leaves both end pockets on the Domke empty, allowing me to put water bottles, sunglasses, flash-units, or other temporary items in (subway cards, small gifts, etc).

Weight can be heavy to light depending on the lens loadout that I use for the day, if you want a three lens zoom setup (wide, normal, telephoto) things can get heavy for all day carry on the shoulder.  It’s important that you take the camera out and carry that independently if the bag is heavy, or learn to shoot with less stuff.

This is how I’ve been shooting for about ten years now, slightly different gear in the bag, but this bag, and this layout.  During our Paris and London workshop I also shot with a much lighter Olympus OMD EM1 micro 4/3 camera.  I’m still debating using this bag as my primary if I were to switch to something like that for most of my camera work.

How do you carry your gear?

Notting Hill Carnival

Yesterday we had a chance to shoot pictures at the Notting Hill Carnival.  Unfortunately London weather reared it’s head, and we had light to heavy rain throughout the morning when we were out shooting.

Many of the floats were delayed in starting due to getting ready in the horrible weather, but in the end they ran.

This was my first time attending this event, but I’ve added it to my list of things to come back and see again at some point.  Though next time, I would love better weather.

London Poppies

Today we made a trip out to the Tower of London to see the Poppy art installation that marks one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.


Neeley and I took the Eurostar from Paris to London under the English channel two days ago for the first time, the view is spectacular from 250 feet below the water.

The trip takes about 2.5 hours, and drops you off in the newly renovated St Pancras station.  The station is beautiful, but we didn’t take any pictures yet, as we were lumbering around with our luggage.  We will return later in the week to take pictures.

The following day we explored the bank district and ate a wonderful lunch at Simpson’s Tavern, a great lunch place in the heart of the financial district with a long history.

Brick Lane is the plan for the near future as we prepare to host our workshop participants for the coming up Nottinghill Carnival.

Eiffel Tower

Neeley and I stopped by the Eiffel tower today.  On the grass in front two men making huge bubbles, much to the enjoyment of the children who were running around screaming and enjoying the bubbles much more than the towering steel building.

We stopped, took part in the festivities, and then continued on to trek up just over 600 stairs to the second level of the tower.  They had stopped people going to the third and top level due to congestion issues, so we will have to wait until our next visit in a couple weeks to try to make it to the actual top.

Jet Lag in Paris

Neeley and I arrived today in Paris yesterday.  Neeley was able to sleep longer on the plane ride, while I was able to only partake in a brief nap.  To combat the jet lag, we went out in the afternoon to stay awake and look for pictures. Things are quiet here due to many locals away on summer vacation, very odd to see Paris quiet. More tomorrow after we manage to stay awake past 8pm.

London and Paris

We leave tomorrow for our photography workshop in London and Paris.  Looking forward to the trip and the photos, lots of packing still to do.


World Cup – Brazil

Back in 2006 I visited Rio de Janiero for work, and was able to take a few days off to take pictures.  As I watch some of the world cup games, I remember the food and the people while there.  Hope to go back some day.


London and Paris Itinerary

With a few more days left to sign up, we’ve posted up our schedule for the London/Paris photography workshop.  Neeley, Keith, and I are looking forward to showing you these two amazing cities.  Our workshop is designed to combine the best of a travel workshop with a photography class.  The itinerary is the start, that we can modify to the participants tastes, while keeping with the desire of the instructors to show you these two cities in a new light.  Our goal is to help you improve your photography so that when you return home , you’ll have new skills and improved skills, and the photos to show for it.

Take a look at the schedule HERE on Neeley’s Blog.

London (& Paris) Photo Workshop

Quick note that I’m running a two week photography workshop with Neeley and Keith Lee at the end of August in London (9 days) and Paris (5 days).    It’ll be a fun two weeks of street photography, and experiencing culture in the area, with goals that include:

  • Be more comfortable photographing people.
  • Understand how to use light during all times of the day to create beautiful photographs.
  • Learn to frame and compose artistically from seemingly chaotic urban scenes.
  • Experience and gain inspiration in two of the world’s greatest cities.
  • Beginners will become better acquainted with all of their camera’s functions and features, so they can focus on making beautiful images rather than stressing about the technology.
  • Advanced photographers will strengthen their skills through regular challenges presented to them by the instructors.
  • Return home with photographs that go far beyond the usual postcard shots.

Would love to have people of all experience levels join us, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me via email.

Full information about the workshop, click here