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.


When you turn forty, you need glasses. This is the way it is for many of us. Yes, I know my youthful good looks belie it, but I am in fact… oh, who am I kidding? Yeah, I am well past 40.

So I need glasses to see my camera. But to see anything a couple of feet away or beyond, my eyes are great. So all day I put my glasses on, take them off… put them on, take them off… ad infinitum. My head has indentations where they live half the time.

There is now a solution. Hoodman, they of the excellent Hood Loupe you cannot live without (and I mean that!), now have these:

Hoodman Photoframes glasses, photo Michael Willems

Hoodman Photoframes glasses, photo Michael Willems

So, photographers’ glasses, made with titanium, one size fits all. They are flexible at the back, so really will fit all. And they come in a sturdy case. To make them work, you have your optician put your own lenses in (a simple job: I had it done at Great Glasses here in Oakville).


Here’s why!

Hoodman Photoframes glasses, photo Michael Willems

Hoodman Photoframes glasses, photo Michael Willems

A-ha! That handy little tab allows you to lift the glasses, one eye at a time. That way you can:

  1. Look through the camera with one eye, and keep looking at distant objects with the other
  2. Lift the lens to take a photo, instead of “remove the glasses to take a photo”.

The first point does not work for me, since I am left-eyed. (Yes, we are left- or right-eyed, did you know that? Handsome, intelligent people are left-eyed.. oh who am I kidding!). But the second point works just great. Now when I do a shoot I flip my left eye’s lens up, look through the viewfinder, and shoot. And flip down when I am done. Or to review, use my right eye, so no moving-of-glasses is necessary.

So, one more indispensable tool from Hoodman.

Michael’s Quick Judgment: excellent tool for use during shoots, and you will see me with these!

Outdoors Tip

You should definitely get one of these:

A Hoodman Hood Loupe. With it, you can see your LCD even in bright outdoors daylight. It adjusts to your eyes and it magnifies, as well. Invaluable, and I would not go anywhere without mine.

I am so glad I had mine in Arizona last week. Otherwise I would not have seen what I was getting in bright “creative light” like this:

Or this:

Without a Hood Loupe, you are guessing. A sin “I think they’re OK, and when I get indoors I’ll see for sure” – if you can even see the display at all.