Years of trudging the countryside and coastline of beautiful Britain as a landscape photographer has taught me that you can definitely have too much kit – at least in the bag you’re carrying. I have owned many bags over the years and the larger ones have all been sold on. I used to rely on a big Billingham when I was shooting motorsport, when I went back to my passion of landscape photography I swapped over to a big backpack type bag. It was capable of holding a lot of gear, most of which I never used for landscape photography but tended to get left in the bag and carried, making photography less enjoyable than it should have been.
These days I have four small bags and I never take more than one when I walk away from my camper. Sometimes I will take only a camera with lens attached, tripod, cable release and spare battery; that’s the best way to travel! The bag you see here is my ‘daily’ bag, the one I take out most. Inside is a Canon 5D Mk3 with 17-40, 24-105 and 70-200 lenses. I could almost do without the 24-105 as the focal lengths in between the 40 and 70mm lengths of the other two can usually be easily covered on foot, but the 24-105 gives such a good range as a walkabout lens I rarely leave it behind and these days. It is my walkabout lens of choice when shooting for stock.
In addition the bag holds Lee graduated ND filters and a 10 stopper. Tucked in the pockets are a cable release, spare batteries and some SD cards as well as a lens cloth, some business cards, notebook and pen and release forms. Simple, light and not much of a burden. A shoulder bag is not quite as easy to carry as a backpack but much more accessible especially if I want to change lenses in muddy or sandy locations where it is better not to put the kit down.
The other bags? One has a backup camera with a long telephoto, a 100-400 zoom and a macro lens; another holds flashguns and related equipment making sure I am not burdened with those when I do not need them but that they are all together when I do and the last is a tiny reporter style bag that will hold one spare lens and a drink for those occasions when I want to travel really light. Remember, having lots of gear doesn’t make you a good photographer, knowing how to use what you have is what counts.
May the light be with you