Short of taking everything, which kind of defeats the purpose of traveling light and using small strobes, there's no way that I would be able to put together a one-size-fits-all set of gear. Sometimes I may only need a single SB-900, other times I may need a dozen. I might only need a single lens for the whole shoot or I may require 2 or 3. I may or may not require softboxes, light stands, background stands & backdrop, snoots, grids, gels & holders, flash brackets, clamps, laptop & USB hard drives for tethered shooting, or any one of a hundred other things.
That is not to say that I don't always have a bag prepared and ready to go should the urgent need arise, and that's where this post comes in.
I have a few different bags that I use, but the one I carry most often is my Tamrac Cyberpack 6. I bought this bag about 5 years ago and love it. It's got plenty of space in there, and feels fairly solid on my shoulders when carrying it around. Fully laden it can get very heavy, so I tend not to fill it whenever possible, especially if walking long distances during the course of a location shoot. It has a laptop pouch in the back of it that I rarely fill unless absolutely required for this reason.
But, to get to the list. I find this generally covers many initial scouting requirements and will also suffice for quite a bit of basic shooting, enough to keep the clients happy.
Note : Some of the items in the list link to Nikon USA as they don't seem to appear on the Nikon UK website for some reason.
- The Bag Itself
- Tamrac Cyberpack 6 Photo Laptop Backpack
- Cameras, Lenses & Associated Equipment
- Nikon D200 + MB-D200 Grip with Nikon 50mm f/1.8D attached
- Nikon D300s + MB-D10 Grip (no lens attached)
- Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S
- Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM
- 6x Nikon EN-EL3e Batteries (2 inside each body and 2 spare)
- 4x 4Gb Extreme III 30Mb/sec CompactFlash Cards (for the D200)
- 2x 8Gb Extreme 60Mb/sec CompactFlash Cards (for the D300s)
- 1x 16Gb Integral SDHC Card (for recording HD Video on the D300s)
- 1x Nikon SB-600 Flash
- 2x Nikon SB-900 Flashes
- 16x GP2700 AA NiMH 2600mAh Rechargeable Battieres (4 for each flash and 4 spare)
- Light Modifiers
- Lumiquest 80-20 Bouncer
- Lumiquest Mini Softbox
- Lumiquest Softscreen (built-in flash diffuser)
- 2x Lumiquest FXtra Speedlight gel holders
- Assorted Rosco gels, cut to swatchbook size for using in the FXtras
- FalconEyes "Flash Gun Bounce Kit Set" (snoot, 2x grids, and a flag/reflector)
- Other Bits & Pieces
- Manfrotto 3001BN tripod & 3030 3-way Head (Bought this a few years ago when they still marketed as Bogen) - I'm usually hand-held with flash, so I don't need anything overly heavy or stable; it's just to rest the camera on. When I am shooting from a tripod at a client's location, it's usually indoors with the Sigma 10-20mm and MC-20 remote so no wind or shake to contend with really anyway.
- Hotshoe bubble level (Not really needed any more on the D300s, but still used on the D200)
- Various Hoya & B+W UV & Polarising Filters
- Nikon MC-20 10-Pin Remote Control
- Nikon MC-21 10-Pin Extension Cable
- A couple of Lastolite Tri-Grip reflectors & diffusers
- A couple of Microfibre Lens Cleaning Cloths
- A stack of business cards
This setup doesn't really account for any umbrellas, light stands, softboxes or environmental portraits, but it does the job nicely. If I'm going straight to a business location, such as an office, with all the equipment and doing all the shooting there, I will usually pop the laptop into the back of the backpack so I can shoot tethered. Then I'll either take along a second bag containing light stands, flash brackets, umbrellas, reflectors, a couple of big white bedsheets to act as large diffusers, etc. or I'll just repack a single bag to suit the job.
So, there you have it. That covers most of my arsenal of strobist lighting gear and other gadgets & doohickies.