One of Newton’s lesser known laws of motion is his fourth: weight doubles hourly if carried on a shoulder.
And then there is is fifth, the law of increasing weight with age.
You can see where I am headed with this. When you are traveling with a camera, you need as little weight as you can carry: any excess will seem to weigh tons by the evening.
So when I am shooting things like Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (below, in April 2006), I tend to not pack too much into my bag.
My current favourite bag, by the way, is my Domke waxed water-resistant journalist bag (above). Soft, molds to my body, and repels water; and a nice in-between journo’s size. And the beaten-up look is not only cool: it no doubt also slightly discourages theft. Not cheap, but the best bag I have owned.
So what’s in that bag?
Not a camera. That hangs over my other shoulder.
Instead, at a minimum, my bag contains camera stuff:
- A flash (a 580EX II, or a 430EX II if I want to save even more weight: every gram counts).
- A 16-35mm lens or a 24-70 lens (one on the camera, one in the bag); with lens hoods.
- A spare camera battery.
- A spare set of flash batteries.
- Spare memory cards.
- a 35mm f/1.4 or 50mm 1f/1.4 lens.
And the essential gizmos:
- Honl flash modifiers: grid, snoot and gels.
- A small, foldable Lumiquest softbox.
- A Hoodman “Hood Loupe”.
- Filters for rain etc, and perhaps a polarizer.
- Plastic bags and lint-free cloths.
- Business cards and model releases.
- Tylenol, ear plugs, perhaps a pocket knife.
You see how most of the latter items are small, or very light, or both? That way I maximize utility: I have what I need, without going overboard and being victimised by the laws of the universe.
Carry whatever you think you may need if it is light; but hesitate twice if it is heavier than a few grams.