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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
Digital photography doesn't just involve camera gear of course. We've already discussed how you might need to take a computer of some kind with you, and obviously you're going to need a way to carry that. There are a lot of backpacks out there that let you carry a good amount of camera gear with enough space left over to fit a computer and a good number of accessories. Now, these aren't necessarily shooting bags, though they can be. I think of them more as bags that I use to get a small selection of gear to a particular location, but that's because I don't typically need a computer when I'm on location. However, some of these backpacks do provide fast camera access, so you can use them as shooting bags.
They will just be a little bit heavier because you'll have your computer in there. For example, the Lowepro DSLR Video Pack that we looked at in the last movie has a special compartment right back here in the back that can fit a computer. This particular bag can fit a 13-inch laptop. I happened to have one right here. And of course, different sizes of this bag can fit bigger computers. It fits in right there, zips pack up, and then my camera and other stuff of course goes in here. Now, all of the backpacks we're going to look at today have the same computer configuration.
It goes in the very back, up against the part that presses against you. What's nice about this is it's nice and flat. The computer goes in and out very, very easily. The downside to this design is that when I set the bag, when I fill up the bag with stuff, and set it down like this, all the way of everything that's in the bag is going right onto the computer. Now, if you are a Mac user or a user of some thinner other laptops, you may have encountered that when you put a lot of weight on the computer, it mashes the keyboard into the screen and that leaves marks on the screen.
So that's kind of a drag. I cannot find a camera backpack that has the computer in the front, on top, up here. So you can work around that, you can be sure to try and set the bag down like this. You can pack it carefully and so on and so forth. Or you can put something between the keyboard and the screen when you close the computer. So this is not a deal-breaker, and it does make forth really nice, easy, quick access. It's a bit of a tight squeeze in this bag, but it really goes in, in and out, without too much trouble, and I like the small size of this.
Now the Lowepro CompuDay Photo, this bag right here, offers you more space, but still gives you quick access to your camera right here, just the way that bag does. So I can get my computer in here. Again, it goes right back here. There's a nice big pocket. There's actually other pockets in front that are very nice. And when I'm wearing the bag I still have access to my camera through this side pocket like we saw earlier. And as with the other bags, this camera compartment that's in here is compressible, so I can get it out of the way if I need to.
Now, here is a discontinued Lowepro bag, but it's kind of representative of another design that's still around. I like this bag. This is their CompuDaypack. Again, I've got my computer compartment back here in the back, but for my cameras, I've got this nice big area right here. It's a full divided camera compartment back here. Now, I can't get to my camera gear while I'm wearing the bag. I've got to take it off completely. But, again if my goal is to just transport a bunch of gear, this works just fine and also offers me this nice big pocket up here, where I can stick a bunch of other stuff.
Finally, maybe you already have a backpack that you'd like to use, but it doesn't actually have camera compartments in it for stowing stuff. Obviously you don't want to just throw your camera lenses in a bag and have them knock around. You might want to do something like this. This is the Crumpler Haven. It's just a bag that has normal camera-type dividers in it, but it doesn't do anything else. It doesn't have its own straps and things like that. You put it in any type of bag that you like. In addition to letting you use a bag that you already have, the Haven lets you carry camera gear without necessarily looking like you're carrying camera gear.
You can sneak it in somewhere else. Better lenses are almost always heavier lenses, and as your lens collection grows, you may find that shoulder bags just don't cut it anymore. So a backpack like one of these may be the best way for you to go, especially if you also need to carry a computer or a tablet and all of the associated accessories. Your main concern is going to be deciding whether you need fast, easy camera access or simply a way to port a bunch of gear to a location before you switch to another bag.