Shout it out

Or rather, perhaps you should not.

I do not much like to use branded camera straps – like the Canon camera straps on my Canon cameras.

First of all, much as I love all my Canon equipment, without being paid for it I am not sure I should be an advertisement. Also, my fashion sense likes to think I do not have to match everything with Canon red. Black is easier.

More importantly, when I travel I like to avoid anything that draws attention to my gear. Every little bit of theft avoidance helps: tape over the name, a brandless lens cap (if you even use them), and these non-branded straps.

So I use these Domke straps on all my cameras:

Domke Camera Strap

Domke Camera Strap

These aftermarket straps have several other big benefits:

  • The rubber strip through the material ensures a good grip on my shoulder.
  • The strap is removable: two fasteners can be opened, and then the strap is gone. This is very handy when I want to switch to my Black Rapid strap, and need to remove the usual strap.

That is why I give my pick this:

Michael’s Quick Judgment: a big thumbs up.

What is in my bag?

I am often asked “what is in that Domke bag of yours”?

Here. Too much, many would say…:

Photo Bag by Michael Willems

Photo Bag by Michael Willems

The bag is a Domke bag, and it contains:

  • Two lenses (Which ones? That varies per shoot).
  • A speedlight (Canon 580-EX II).
  • My off-camera flash cable.
  • My point-and-shoot camera (a Panasonic Lumix GF-1 Micro Four Thirds camera).
  • The indispensable Hoodman Hood Loupe (Get one. Now.)
  • Memory cards… always carry spares.
  • Fong Lightsphere – for safe shooting when I need safety rather than creativity.
  • Honl Photo reflectors/gobos.
  • A Honl gel set in a Honl roll.
  • My iPad .. plus, just in case, its charger.
  • Spare batteries for every camera and for flash. Never travel without spare batteries.
  • Lens caps for the lenses that are on the camera. I do not use them on the cameras I am using.
  • Cloths, plastic bags, headache and stomach acid pills.
  • Note pad, pens, comb, small brush, business cards.

And an important note: no camera. That is (or more accurately, those are!) over my shoulder.

What's in YOUR bag?

What do I carry in my photo bag? I am often asked this question. I was asked it again a few times at the Henry’s Photography and Digital Imaging Show this past weekend, where by the way I spoke to, and with, thousands of people, and loved every minute.

(By the way, if you visited the show and have questions, do feel free to email them to me and I shall answer them on the blog – and sign up for email).

So my bag looks like this:

A photojournalist's camera bag and contents

Camera bag and contents

What does it not contain? A camera. This is on my shoulder, for fast convenient access. Always, even when I am travelling. I do not put the camera in a bag.

What this Domke bag does contain is:

  • Two spare lenses, at least one of them a fast prime like the 35mm f/1.4 or the 50mm f/1.4
  • Lens hoods, one for each lens
  • A 580EX II flash
  • A 430EX II flash
  • Flash Modifiers: A Honl grid and a set of Honl bounce cards and a Honl gel set in a roll container, as well as a Gary Fong lightsphere
  • A Hoodman Hood Loupe
  • A container full of memory cards
  • A small grey card
  • Wallet
  • Note pad
  • Spare batteries for cameras and flashes
  • Business cards
  • A small brush
  • Pens
  • Pills (headache, throat)
  • Plastic bags
  • Shower caps, elastic bands, etc

You can never be too prepared. Be like NASA (“do I really need each gram of this weight?”), but once you decide you need it: bring it!