As usual, I’ve compiled a list of gear I want to bring with me on this trip. This brings up my next decision, which offering from bag mountain should I choose to carry all the gear I want to bring with me. Since we’re traveling by train, I can hope we’ll be able to carry more bags than when flying, but there are still some complications.
We have a roomette for the 25 hour train ride. These tiny spaces are private and are well thought out, but they also make some of the tiny cabins I stayed in on cruises seem downright roomy. Almost every space in a roomette is designed to pull double duty. Storage is limited.
Often, when faced with a photo trip marked by differing exploits (landscape photography versus hiking photography) I take more than one bag with me. I’ll use a camera backpack to carry some clothing while putting most of my gear in my carryon along with a computer and other must not check items. I can also pack an empty camera bag to fit in my luggage. (My old Domke F3X with its removeable and foldable inserts is perfect for this).
It’s tempting to take this approach again, perhaps substituting a bigger LowePro bag for the Domke and using the camera backpack (a LowePro Mini Trekker AW) for clothing and other stuff. Since the camera backpack has removeable inserts that can be positioned in a variety of ways, it still gives me lots of options.
The problem is I haven’t been using any of these bags in quite some time. These days I’ve been preferring bags from Think Tank Pro’s Urban Disguise series. The company has provided me with several bags for review and illustration purposes, and I’ve become quite fond of them. Besides being solidly constructed, and wonderfully designed, they also don’t look like camera bags making them a less attractive target for potential thieves. I’m just not sure even the biggest one in my collection can handle all the gear I want to take this trip.
Normally I use a Think Tank Pro Retro 20 bag as my main E-5 bag. I love how it doesn’t look like a camera bag and still manages to hold a fair amount of gear. This time around though I need something bigger. Fortunately, I still have an Urban Disguise 70. I’m not done packing yet, but it looks like this bag is going to do the trick. So far I’ve got my E-5, three lenses an FL-50R flash and a full Lensbaby kit packed plus memory cards, and other accessories. There’s still room for the E-P2 and 14-140 and a few other pieces of kit as well.
While I don’t expect to do a lot of flash work this trip (except to play with the flash in the Ewa Marine rig) I’m not bringing much lighting stuff with me. This was another reason for choosing the E-5 over the 40D. The E-5 has a wireless flash controller built right in, so I won’t have to bring my ST-E2 for wireless flash. As blogger/shooters David Hobby (www.strobist.blogspot.com) and others have noted, getting your flash off camera make a big difference in your photography. I’ll bring either a small portable light stand or a super clamp for mounting the flash where desired. I’m also bringing my Vertex light modifier (here’s my Brighthub review of this nifty gadget). This is an awesome device for manipulating the light from your flash indoors and it’s so small I don’t even notice it in my camera bag.
Lensbaby is another company that’s provided me gear. That’s fine with me because I honestly love working with the company’s products. Some of my favorite photos have been made using a Lensbaby and its accessories.