We, as photographers, all do things differently. We use different bags cameras, lenses, all determined by our relative styles. With time, and experience we all develop things we don’t leave home without. These are pieces of gear and equipment that basically work for me and are also inexpensive but highly functional. Having these thing have saved me on a few occasions.
A 50mm Lens
The lens that does it all–no matter what crazy lens I am using as soon as I need something multipurpose and compact this is the one that I reach for. With any 50mm lens I am able to capture a portrait or get the most of a room in the shot. It’s all about zooming with my feet. Recently during a big event, my lens for the day was a Tamron 28-105mm f2.8–but it dropped. If I did not have my back up 50mm f1.8 D in my bag the day would have been ruined. I was able to still capture the event in a nice and efficient manner. The Nikon 50mm f1.8 D is not expensive to own around $124. One of the most important things to me about this lens is that it has an aperture ring. I am able to use it on a Nikon film camera–making it more versatile. Almost every company makes a 50mm lens, they are always great to have around
A times I like to do long exposure photography, or just need my shot to be still as possible. When I run into these moments, I like to have a trigger available, instead of using a timer. Triggers are easily stored and easy to use. If I feel the need to do a self-portrait for a review the remote comes in handy. I know I could use the self-timer but if I am in front of the camera I want to control focusing more. I use two types of triggers. One is wired and made by Yongnuo. It looks like the Canon wired timer remote, and works really well. I also use my PocketWizards on occasion when I need to be a little further away from the camera or be my own assistant. Recently I discovered the TriggerTrap. A TriggerTrap is essentially a team up between a great mobile app and a cable which connects your camera to your phone.
Ultra Pod II
When I am on a photo-walk in the big city, I can’t always use a tripod. I can get fined or threatened by the ever so loving police. I can’t always use the environment as my tripod either. This is where the Ultrapod II comes in. It’s strong, holding my D700 and a decent size lens easily. What is also good about the Ultrapod II is when I need a flash stand, I can attach it to almost anything. With a pocket wizard I have creative light without a lot of gear.
Cleaning Cloth/Lens Pen
Smudges, dirt, can appear on your lens at any time, especially when shooting outdoors. It’s is a great idea to be prepared. Having a lens cloth and a Lenspen keeps me from having to remove spots in post. If you get an oily finger print on your lens, the carbon element on the lens with get it off quickly.
I don’t always like a neck strap on my camera, but I do like a sense of security when shooting. A wrist strap is perfect for this. When shooting at an event and moving around quickly, there is always a possibility if getting bumped and dropping my camera. There are many wrist straps available but I like the simple and cheap Op/Tech Wrist Strap. While the many wrist straps we covered on this site, are all fabulous they are also pricy. The Op/Tech does not break the bank and you don’t mind having a few of them around.
I always try to keep an extra pair of batteries charged and in the bag at all times. At times I shoot and shoot and don’t pay attention to the battery until its dead. Having that back up has saved my bacon on many occasions. Also, if I forgot to charge a battery, there is always another charged. I make it a point to charge my batteries as soon as they get low.
Extra Memory Card
I always keep an extra CF card and a SD card in the bag. Sometimes after a long night of editing I forget to put the memory card back in the camera. Having cards in the bag keeps me going after I face palm. Also if I am shooting with friends and they run into the same issue, I can pass a card onto them and their day is saved as well.
I Keep UV filters around for protection, but I don’t always shoot with it on the camera. If I am going to be photo-walking or in crowds, I keep the filters on. Circular polarizers are good to keep in the bag for those impromptu landscape moment. There are times when there is too much glare or unwanted reflections. Another filter I carry is a Nikon Close up No.1. This filter fits all my macro lenses as well as my Nikon 50mm f1.8D and my 35mm f1.8G with its 52mm filter ring.
These filters are all small, lightweight, and easy to tuck away in any bag.
When I absolutely need the horizon in my image to be straight, I rely on a spirit level. It saves the battery of your camera if it has a leveling function and is low tech and mostly fool proof. There are two types I use. One is a simple 3 axis level that looks like an old camera flash. Before I had a tripod with a spirit level, this was my main way of leveling things. The one I use the most now is a little more discreet, it’s a circular bubble level that also fits into a hot shoe. It is very discreet and extremely easy to read.
Can of Coffee
There are times when I am out and I can’t find decent coffee. Or I doing landscape photography so early that there’s nothing open around me to purchase one. This is where canned coffee comes in. There are many but I prefer UCC, a Japanese brand. It may seem trivial but I needs my coffee and having an emergency can on a late night when driving home or ultra-early has save my bacon a few times.
For years I came up with ‘DIY’ rain protection for my camera gear. Recently after doing long exposures in the rain, I decided to end the madness and purchase proper rain gear. Something basic and easy to use in a pinch. I decided to go with the OP/TECH USA 18″ Rain sleeve. When doing landscape photography or long days outdoors, it’s good to have this available.
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