Newton's Fourth Law. And his fifth.


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.

Gamla Stan Street, April 2006

Gamla Stan Street, April 2006

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.

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