I’m on a constant, ongoing mission to whittle my gear down to the bare minimum of what I need to effectively do my job out in the field. There’s a fine line though, and sometimes you don’t know you’ve crossed it until you’re out in the field looking for a piece of gear you left at home! On the flipside, I’ve picked students up on workshops (men too, not just women) who have two full-size suitcases, a mid-sized suitcase, three rolling camera bags, a backpack, and a laptop bag; and all of that for a 5-day workshop. For some, that may just be how they prefer to travel. But for me, the thought of having that much gear and luggage on a trip is a nightmare.
In this video, I’ll show you all the gear I’m taking on my trip to Oregon with Brian Matiash and Nicole Young. I’ll go over the camera bag I used to use, and why I made the switch to my current bag. Every switch and modification I’ve made over the years has revolved around the goal of getting me out the door, through security, onto the plane, and out into the field as fast and efficiently as possible.
Some of the items mentioned in the video…
- F-stop Tilopa (my ‘old’ camera backpack)
- Mindshift Backlight 26L (my current backpack)
- I don’t mention this in the video, but one of the main reasons I use a backpack like this (same goes for the F-stop) is that I can access all my gear without ever taking the backpack off. I simply keep the waist strap connected, remove the shoulder straps, then rotate the entire bag from my back to my front. The bag then hangs down horizontal to the ground so I can unzip the back and access all my gear. This ability is a lifesaver when you’re in the mud or wading around in a river, and super convenient regardless.
- Mindshift Filter Hive
- As I mention in the video, I remove the insert from the outer case and fit the former inside a little slot in the Backlight backpack.
- A high-quality tripod is an absolutely essential piece of gear for travel and landscape photography. I use Really Right Stuff TVC-34L legs and a BH-40 LRII ball head. RRS is notorious for their seemingly meaningless model numbers, but they get a pass because they also make the best tripods on the planet. That said, not everyone can afford them (it took me years to finally make the jump). I made a post on my blog a while back with recommendations for tripods at each budget level in case you’re interested: https://www.jamesb.com/my-budget-specific-tripod-recommendations/
- Pluto Trigger
- Still forming my opinion on this trigger but I’m sure it will stay in my bag for the foreseeable future. Without it (or another type of intervalometer) there’s no way to go beyond 30 seconds or do timelapse.
The rest of the gear mentioned is pretty standard and easy to find, but if you need links let me know if the comments. And speaking of comments, let get a conversation started! If you’ve got any additional tips, let us know!