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Packing strategies

From: Shooting on the Road, from Gear to Workflow

Video: Packing strategies

So as you saw, I brought a lot of stuff with me. And it's morning now, and I've got my clothes put away. I'm ready to start thinking about my gear. One of the great things about this kind of heavyweight scenario that I'm in is that there's not really anything special about it. I get to do just what I do at home. I brought the computer that I use at home. I just need to get it and my various power concerns set up just like I would at home. So, getting the computer plugged in and charging, getting my phone plugged in and charging, and I'm starting to think about getting all of my other batteries charging: my camera batteries and the AA batteries that I brought for my flash.

Packing strategies

So as you saw, I brought a lot of stuff with me. And it's morning now, and I've got my clothes put away. I'm ready to start thinking about my gear. One of the great things about this kind of heavyweight scenario that I'm in is that there's not really anything special about it. I get to do just what I do at home. I brought the computer that I use at home. I just need to get it and my various power concerns set up just like I would at home. So, getting the computer plugged in and charging, getting my phone plugged in and charging, and I'm starting to think about getting all of my other batteries charging: my camera batteries and the AA batteries that I brought for my flash.

I'm going to be honest with you though, I told you earlier that you're not supposed to check rechargeable batteries. I decided to try it and I got away with it. I put them in my bag. Now, as you may or may not know, rechargeable batteries can lose their charge if they get cold, and the baggage compartment of an airplane can often be very cold. So when I get somewhere, I tend to top off my batteries right away, just in case they've lost some charge from the trip over. Again, because I get to work in this luxurious environment with all the same trappings that I would have at home, I brought some extra hard drives. I'm going to just be safe and keep two copies of everything that I shoot so I've got two little bus-powered drives.

That means they take their power from the USB port on my computer. I don't have to worry about extra outlets. Speaking of extra outlets, it's a good idea to have a power strip with you. You never know the outlet situation in a kind of place where you're going to be staying, especially if you're traveling internationally. So, that's all squared away. I've got everything plugged in. I'm ready to go on the post-production front, and I'm sure that I've got the power supplies that I need. So now the thing is, my camera gear. I need to start sorting through it and make sure that everything got here okay. Something we haven't talked about yet is the hard case, in this case this Pelican case.

I could not fit all of the lenses that I wanted to bring in my carry-on bag, so I decided to take the risk and checked some of them. These cases are good and hard. They have a waterproof seal on them. So, though I could still lose it, though it could still be stolen, I at least don't have to worry with a case like this about something getting broken. So that's a good alternative if you do need to check something fragile. I brought the bulk of my gear in this case right here, so I'm just going to look at it and see that it all got here and that it got here intact.

I almost always forget something, so I want to check it out and see how things went. Once I got on the plane, I realized right away, oh boy, there's one thing that I don't have, and it's not because I forgot it. It's because they don't actually make it yet. I usually shoot with this Canon 5D Mark II and it's got my tripod plate on it, which I use to mount on this Acratech tripod head that I really love. But just before I left, I bought a new camera and don't have a tripod plate for it. They don't actually make one yet. So I'm not going to be able to mount my newer camera on my nice tripod.

So, I ran out and got myself a Gorillapod. You can get these all over the place. You can get them at Best Buy or RadioShack, just about any place like that or any camera store. So, this is no substitute for a real tripod, but it's at least going to give me some stabilization options on my new camera. I also see that I didn't bring my flash diffusers. I don't know if I'm really going to need them, but I can improvise that. If you are looking for a nice diffusion material, go buy a plastic gallon of milk and drink it and what you've got left behind is a shaped nice diffusion thing that you can cut apart and put over your flash.

If you are lactose intolerant, buy some orange juice. That works also. Media, of course, for my camera is very important. I brought both compact flash and SD cards because I've got cameras that use both. If you forget your media entirely or if you decide that you haven't brought enough and you're worried about running out and thinking that you need to get some more, you can of course just go out and buy some. If you're here in the States, that's not a impractical idea at all, although if your camera needs compact flash, you may run into trouble because these days a lot of retail outlets no longer carry compact flash cards, because most point-and-shoots and consumer cameras use SD.

So you may need to mail order that and have it shipped to wherever you're staying. If you're traveling internationally, things are a little bit different. You'll probably find that prices are much higher in other countries than they are here in the US. If that's the case, then you want to try and zero in on the least amount of storage that you can get away with, so that you're not overpaying for stuff that you can get cheaper at home. So, I'm feeling pretty good about all of that. I think that I've got all of the stuff that I meant to bring with me. I've got a toothbrush and everything, so that's good news. Now, I'm ready to start thinking about, how am I going to get this stuff moved around? As you saw earlier, this bag can turn into a backpack, which is cool, except just because I brought every piece of gear with me doesn't mean that I need that on every single shoot that I'm going to go on. So, I also brought some shooting bags with me.

I brought a couple of bags that collapse. They're nice and mushy. They go into my suitcase. They're not going to take up a lot of space. It allows me to carry a few different lenses with me. And then I brought this backpack, which can carry a fair amount of gear, and a lot of other stuff, including a hydration pack. So this is going to be a good shooting bag for going back country, or even for staying around town and choosing to carry a bigger assortment of gear. Finally, something else that you saw earlier are these nice little lens and camera bags that can go in your suitcase and give you a safe way of carrying some extra gear without having to have an entirely separate bag.

I will be honest, I put one lens in my suitcase. And it was a risk, but I wrapped it up in a lot of clothes. I stuffed it in here, and that was because I didn't have room for it in here, and I figured it would be safe if it was buried down in there. These sorts of gizmos are great for packing delicate stuff in your suitcase. So, it looks like I've got all the stuff I need. I want to get out and do some shooting today, and so next, I need to think about how I'm going to pare all of the stuff down into just what I need for the type of shooting that I want to do today.

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Shooting on the Road, from Gear to Workflow

33 video lessons · 16148 viewers

Ben Long
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