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The course takes a look at the hardware and software issues behind field shooting: assessing storage and backup needs, evaluating GPS geotagging options, surveying power and charging issues, and more. After discussing each of the components, Ben shows how they fit together in different field setups, ranging from an extravagant laptop-based system to a no-computer setup that backs up photos to a compact digital wallet device. The course also spotlights some workflow strategies to consider when you get home, from transferring photos to merging them with a larger photo library.
- Selecting the right gear, from cameras to bags
- Bringing the right battery and storage equipment
- Packing your camera bag
- Getting to the destination with heavy equipment
- Unpacking and setting up the gear
- Geotagging photos on location
- Downloading manuals for convenient access in the field
- Wrapping up a shoot
- Unpacking and transferring images to an editing workstation
Skill Level Intermediate
Sometimes you want to be prepared for any shooting eventuality, or maybe you know that you are going to be traveling through a lot of different shooting situations that will require a varied assortment of gear. In those cases, you'll probably want to consider stepping up a bag that sit more in the luggage category than in the simpler back categories that we've been looking at so far. You could start by considering a larger backpack, like this massive Tenba pack, which lets me fit a tremendous amount of camera stuff as well as a large laptop. This is a really well-made pack with a lot of great features, and you can certainly fit a large varied array of gear.
If you are an outdoors person, if you're going backpack and you are back packing and you've already got a pack that you are going to use, this is kind of a midsized pack that I use more for just trekking sort of things where I know I don't need to have tent. But I still might want to get some camera into it. This is a variation on something we saw in the last movie. This is made by Mountainsmith. It's a really nice little bag that just gives me camera compartments that I can stuff in here and stick in another bag. I really like these. They are also great for sticking in motorcycle bags and things like that.
They allow me to convert any larger bag into something that can carry a camera. The problem with these backpacks is that as you go to larger and larger backpacks, they are going to get heavier and heavier. So you may want to think about just how much load you really want to have on your back. If you've got more that you need to carry then you feel like you can comfortably schlep on your shoulders, then you might want to consider a roller bag. This is the Lowepro roller light, and it has some very cool features. It's nice little roller bag. If I open it up here, you'll see that it's got inside pretty much what you've come to expect from those backpacks: Rearrangeable compartments that I can customize however I want.
We got a sleeve here for holding a computer and some other nice pockets for carrying accessories and things like that. If you look on the back of the bag, you'll find just what you would expect from a nice roller bag. I have got a handle here and as we have already seen, there are some other types of camera bags that have sleeves on them that fit right over this. So that's a way of packing even more camera gear onto it. A cool feature about this bag is also tucked in back here is a little raincoat. This is a raincoat for the bag, not me. This is similar to some of the backpacks we looked at earlier, have this feature also: a nice little rain jacket that I can pick out if the weather turns foul.
This is good if I know I am going to go somewhere where it might be rainy or don't forget, sand can be a real problem. If you are a desert traveler and you might get caught in a sandstorm, having some weather proofing like that can be really handy. Here's a larger variation of that bag. This is the Lowepro Roller x100, and it's got a lot of really cool features. I know that sounds far too excited to get about a bag, but I am that way. If I open it up, I have got, again, the rearrageable compartment here. I have got all the normal things out here.
Some of the cool things about this bag. I can load it up with gear and actually use it while I'm shooting pretty effectively, because here on the back, I can pop this thing out and tilt the bag back like this. When it's weighted down, it's really sturdy. Now if I zip it open, all my stuff doesn't fall out. I can actually position it like this and have working access to the gear that's inside, which is very nice. Let me put that back. I've got my handle right here that pops up just as you would expect.
But it's got an extra kind of cool feature in it. I am going to open this back up and inside you'll find that I have got this little ditty bag which is velcroed in here. I can stick cables and all sorts of other stuff in there. But if I look inside it, I find this little contraption. Now you may think, that sure looks a lot like a tripod screw there, and you would be right, because here in the top of the handle is a little socket that I can screw this into and turn the handle of the bag into a tripod.
I can mount my camera right on top of there and actually have a sturdy platform for shooting. So it's really nice if I am going somewhere where I know I am going to have the bag and I think I might need some stability but I'm not sure that I want to invest in the extra hassle of carrying a tripod, I can just actually use the handle on the bag. If I do know that I'm going to carry a tripod though, the bag helps facilitate that also. It comes with this little thing, which velcros in right here and gives me a place to plant my tripod. It can lay up here and be lashed down.
So that's a very easy way of carrying a larger piece of gear like that. Two other really cool features of this bag. I have got a lock over here. Now you probably already know that the authorities don't like you locking zippers on your back because they want to be able to get into your bag if they need to inspect it, especially if it's got gear on it. So you are not supposed to put a padlock on there, because they will cut it off. So this bag has got this gizmo here. It's actually got a combination lock on it and I can pull out this little table here and when all the zippers are up, I can thread it through the handles of all the zippers and then put it back in there and lock it and now I can't get any of the zippers open.
But when I am handing it to the security people, I can take the cable out, and then it just retracts back into there. So this is a really versatile, useful lock, because I can undo it if I need to and know they are not going to cut my bag apart. Another very cool feature here. There are times when rolling the bag is great. There are other times when rolling the bag might not be so practical. So this bag is actually kind of a convertible. I can undo this one big master zipper here and then the whole real meat of the bag, the part that actually carry stuff, lifts out and it's got backpack straps on the back.
So now I've turned my camera-carrying stuff into a backpack. Meanwhile the roller part over here, I just zip this up and I have got a place to stash all my souvenirs. So this is a really versatile bag. It gives me a couple of ways of carrying it and a lot of different options. There are some other things you need to consider though, when you're trying to decide between a large backpack and a roller bag, and one of them is something that this bag addresses which is, are you traveling somewhere where you can actually roll a bag? If you're facing locations that lack pavements or you're going to be traveling through any kind of environment where rolling isn't going to be possible then a backpack might be a better choice.
Something else to consider: Are you taking a rolling suitcase with you also? If you are, then trying to manage rolling two bags could be difficult. If you are talking long international trip with lots of connections then you might want to consider ditching the rolling suitcase in favor of a shoulder-carried bag or a backpack. Then you only have to hassle with that second bag when you're going to the airport and from the airport to wherever you are staying. You check that bag and then for the rest of your journey you just roll your camera gear. Now of course if you have a lot of travel on the other end of your flight, that may not be practical.
So here's a quick way to think about it. If your trip will involve a lot of walking and your camera gear is heavier than the rest of your luggage, put the rest of your luggage in a backpack and check that. Put your camera gear in a roller bag and carry it onto the plane. Then you're rolling the heavy camera gear. You're carrying a lighter clothes and stuff on your back. Weight is an important consideration when you're traveling internationally. Some airlines are very picky about the weight limits for carry-on bags. Check your airline before you go and make sure that you carry-on fits those specifications.
If it doesn't, when you get there, they may ask you to take something out of your bag, and that gets very complicated with fragile camera gear, because you might take out your expensive lens and suddenly you have got this lens to carry around. So if you're at all unsure about whether your carry-on comes in underweight, just take along the cloth shopping bag. Keep it in your suitcase. If you're asked to take something out, you can just pull out the cloth bag, stick the extra thing in that, and use that bag as a second carry-on. So these are the last of the options that we are going to look at, and you have got a lot of choices here.
As I said, we can't look at every bag and there are other bags that also have nice features. I really like the features of the bags that we have looked at. I consider them. I think about the actual usability of the bag when I am in the field before I commit to one. These are all things that you want to balance and consider.