Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Gear - What's in the Bags? (Part 1)

My Gear in the Bags_031It looks like David has read my mind on this issue.

Yesterday I was preparing the article and gladly noticed on Strobist that David has mentioned the subject again.

He had already mentioned it in 2006 as part of the Lighting 101 - Traveling Light, if you have not read the article yet, what are you waiting for?

This will be a 2 Part article. I will approach on this one about detail view and photos of my gear and try to give you some European links where you can buy, at least, some of the stuff.

On part 2 it's more like a "What you wanted to know but you were afraid to ask" this will reply to what some of you have asked me in some of the mails received. I think this will be a great feature since I haven't seen it, yet, in any place.

This will be a follow through with LOTS of pictures and in the end you can see how easy it was to compile all the pictures since the setup gear was not too complicated.

As I'm used to make some Setup shot I will put them, also here, so you can get an idea of how a simple setup can get you some great pictures.

Starting with the picture of all the gear.

My Gear in the Bags_030

This usually is not all the gear I carry with me when doing a small portrait session but I tend to use it more often than I would like.

All my photo gear is packed on the green bag which is an Orion AW and the lighting and accessories stuff goes into the big one Photo Treker AW. I also use for my photojournalism stuff a vest called Now Bomb from a Brazilian guy called Jorge Araujo and it simply rocks. I did not took any pictures of it but you can see and order it at his website (only in Portuguese, unfortunately).

All My Gear in 2 Bags

Here is the shot of all the gear out of the bags. If you click on the photo you will be redirect to my flickr page and there you can see each one of the items tagged with it's name.

For now I just leave you with a list of what's in each bag.

On the Orion AW I carry:

- Canon 1D MarkIIN, 16-35 USM L, 24-70 USM L; 70-200 USM IS L, 580EX, Stofen, Giotto Rocket Air Blower, Extra Camera Battery, Small wallet with CF and SD cards, 2 Rodenstock Polarizer filters, Whibal cards, Pen, Some white paper to write, Some business cards, 2 packs of extra AA batteries, Cleaning cloth, 2 flash gobos, Canon remote switch RS-80n3, 1 Rosco Cinegel Roscosun CTO and 1 Rosco Cinegel Tough PlusGreen gels, 1 Gadget Infinity Trigger and 1 Remote.

On the Photo Trekker AW (now Lowepro have a better one its version II that I linked):

- 1 Westcott 43" collapsible optical white satin umbrella (Style 2001), 1 Westcott 43" collapsible optical Soft Silver umbrella (Style 2002), 2 Manfrotto 001B stands, 2 Manfrotto umbrella stand adapter w/hot-shoe mount (026), 2 Manfrotto superclamp (035), 2 Pocket wizards II and one Transmitter, 1 Gadget Infinity transmitter and 3 Receivers, 2 Kaiser Hot-Shoe adapters and 1 PW-MHSF1 miniphone to Hot-Shoe female (for my canon since it does not have PC-Sync socket), 2 small Hama tripods, 2 Rosco Cinegel Roscosun CTO and 2 Rosco Cinegel Tough PlusGreen gels, 4 gobos, 1 Meglite flashlight, 1 AA battery checker, 4 snoots of different sizes (15cm, 20cm, 30cm, 40cm), 1 Plier, 4 Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8”, 1 Swiss Army knife, 2 Nikon SB-26, 2 Black Straws Grid Snoots (5cm, 8cm), a lot of AA batteries (as much as I can carry), 1 pack of Lee filters gels, 2 DIY filters adapters, 2 Nikon SD-8 battery packs, 1 Canon CP-E3 battery pack, 1 Uniross sprint quick battery charger with car adapter, 12 small clamps, 5 Velcro adjustable ties, 1 Canon battery charger NC-E2, 1 Lowepro 1N small pouch (to put all the Gadget Infinity inside and carry it all around on waist belt later) and 1 ultrafast 80Gb CompactDrive PD70X (to storage all media, if necessary).

UFF!!! I think it's all the stuff in here... maybe there are a couple of small things that I forgot to put on the photo, like the Meglight flash light and the AA battery checker, but as you know, there's always something at last minute that you ad to the stuff and afterwards you don't even need it. :) and if I travel by plane some of the stuff must rest at home because it could not be carried into the plane as you all know.

Now let's look at the items in detail and I will try to get you some place to start looking for them.

My Gear in the Bags_001

Here is the setup shot I did for all the following shots.

Strobist info Tv 160, flash is 220Ex does not have manual control so it has to be the shutter who controls the amount of light Av may vary on each situation but will go from 6.3 to the maximum of 8.0 and on part 2 you will see why. The flash was on an old microphone stand and sent into a white wall to reflect on the objects that I will put on a wooden chair ;)... hey I didn't even remove the vacuum cleaner from there!!

My Gear in the Bags_002My Gear in the Bags_003My Gear in the Bags_004


First I will start with camera and lenses and flashes. I think those would not need any presentation since almost anyone has one or at least a camera and a lens and a flash.

In order are Canon 1D MarkIIn, 16-35 USM L, 24-70 USM L; 70-200 USM IS L, 580EX and 2 Nikon SB-26 (for these you can start looking on ebay).

My Gear in the Bags_005

Here you can see the 2 Nikon SD-8 battery packs and on top the Canon CP-E3 battery pack. They are almost identical and they will store 6 AA batteries on the Nikon and the Canon 8 AA Batteries.

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I carry with me the Pocket Wizard as backup units since they are much more reliable than the Gadget Infinities and you'll never know when you're gonna need them. I have only :( one transmitter and 2 PW II (Transmitter/Receiver).

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To keep this with juice I carry a lot of batteries AA now I'm using the GP 2700 they are good and can perform with a continuous shooting for some time.

My Gear in the Bags_008

This is my main kit for now. It's easy to setup and would not request too much cables around. You just simply attach them to the flash and camera and start shooting. A couple of misfiring but nothing we can't live with, also they are a little fragile (so that's why I keep with me the PW). I got a small pouch (Lowepro 1N) to put them all inside and can also put it on my waist belt if needed.

My Gear in the Bags_009

This are the hot-shoe mounts, 2 Kaiser Hot-Shoe adapters and 1 PW-MHSF1 miniphone to Hot-Shoe female (for my canon since it does not have PC-Sync socket) when I need to use the Pocket Wizards (more of these on part 2).

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Since I received the Lee filters sample pack and made the DIY adapter for them they are now my companion since I can use all the colors I need for an assignment and not to worry about gluing them or Velcro them out as in my first diagram.

My Gear in the Bags_011

Here they are my first build upon Strobist Lighting 101, Rosco Cinegel Roscosun CTO and Rosco Cinegel Tough PlusGreen gels I bought a roll of Rosco paper from each color at the time, no Lee to save me then ;)

My Gear in the Bags_012

Next moving into the stands... this is the Manfrotto umbrella stand adapter w/hot-shoe mount (026) and Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8”. This is what you will use to support the flash and the umbrella to the stand.

My Gear in the Bags_013

This is the setup shot for the shooting on the floor :)

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The umbrellas 1 Westcott 43'' collapsible optical white satin umbrella (Style 2001), 1 Westcott 43'' collapsible optical Soft Silver umbrella (Style 2002). I wish I had 2 white one's but it seems they are hard to get here in Europe... I guess I'll have to keep on searching.

My Gear in the Bags_015

This are the 2 Manfrotto 001B stands very light weigh and easy and fast mount, you will love them.

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Next I made a couple of Snoots from different sizes ( L to R 40cm, 30cm, 20cm, 15cm). These one's are made of hard card box from an IKEA box but they are difficult to carry. I wrapped them with trans lucid tape and they are good. Next time I will keep my Corn Flakes box and make the same one's but from that box. David has one's from those and you can check them here.

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These are my favorites. Made them with straws, you can make one's too check here how to, one has 5cm and the other 8cm.

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My gear would not be complete without a good and fast 80gb storage. I use this brand 4 years now and they are very good and reliable. You can buy only the shell and put in, yourself, up to 100gb of IDE drive. Reads CF and SD cards, USB 2.0 and the best part is that it uses 4 AA cells that you can find almost anywhere. If you socket into your PC or Mac you will also have a storage removable drive since you can put all your files there. Check the CompactDrive website for more info.

My Gear in the Bags_020

If needed to charge batteries I take the charges as a precaution, you'll never know when your batteries will "die" on you. Canon battery charger NC-E2 and Uniross sprint quick battery charger with car adapter.

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Hey suddenly you have some problems with unscrewing something or you need to cut a line or the models nails and hair ;) I always carry, when possible, with me the Pliers and the Swiss Army knife.

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2 Roddenstock Polarizer filters just in case...

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Never leave home without them. The pocket cards and the LARGE Giotto Rocket Air blower in case you get some dust on lenses or sensor. I try to clean my cameras prior to the assignment but not always is possible so this will be a life saver. They got them on Amazon.

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Cleaning cloth that I got free from an eye glasses shop here in Luxembourg, My Stofen just in case and my Whibal cards because the light, sometimes, could play some tricks on you. I never really use this since I make all shots on raw but since I have them why not carry the small package ;)

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These are very nice and cheap. I recall a cheap photo magazine offering them in Portugal a couple of months ago. They are from Hama and you can also get them on Amazon in case you could not find it near you.

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Small clamps. These can be very helpful (more on this on part 2). I bought mine on AKI store for about 0,50 cents each try a hardware store near you.

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For a long time I'm trying to find the Ball Bungees here in Europe. A lot of guys told me that Spannfix would do the trick but to order them is not so simple. First they are not so expensive, so you have to buy a lot of them, and the shipping costs more than the product itself you cna look them here.

So one of these days I went into another of my tours around the nearest hardware store (my wife keeps telling me that I should work there!!) and saw a new product from Velcro called Velcro adjustable ties and decided to try them. Amazing (more of this on part 2).

My Gear in the Bags_028

The last thing on the bag is the Manfrotto superclamp (035). You can put this thing on almost anyplace and I will give some more details on the part 2.

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Leave you with an example of where you can put and use it.

Also this is the setup shot of the top photos of this article.

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So let's close the bag for know since there's another assignment coming up...

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Come back next week for the part 2 of the article.

We will continue with a more detail information on what you can do with some of the stuff and even how can you assemble the parts together.

All of the photos were done with just one very small light and a little bit of patience :)


Next: My Gear - What you wanted to know but were afraid to ask (Part 2)

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