What's in my camera bag -- The Ireland configuration

Although equipment wasn't really to blame for my shitty Paris pictures, I want to make sure I'm prepared for Ireland's photo ops.

I've had this Tamrac Photo Backpack for ages--it fits a ton of stuff (as you'll see below) and is very comfortable. 

I bought a sling version (Case Logic DCB-308 SLR Camera Sling bag) but it doesn't fit nearly as much and the design is super awkward. I had it loaded up and opened up so that the slide flap was facing up ... or so I thought until one of my lenses tumbled out. That was that for that--it's going back. So the old bag goes with me. 

What else? 

Here's what’s in my camera bag:

Camera (1)

Nikon D7000: My new baby. Bought for this trip several months ago so I’d have time to learn it. It has a lot of buttons. It fits in the top portion of the bag with room to spare for ID, a snack, a few small personal items. Water bottle goes in the side pocket.

I’m also bringing the camera manual. I can always look stuff up online, but a few extra ounces in your backpack is worth it when you need to figure out how to MAKE IT STOP BRACKETING RIGHT NOW.

Lenses (5)

The bottom half of the bag zips open and there's room to fit four lenses (the fifth is on the camera body in the top compartment) and a manual. I've long since lost the dividers that came with the bag. I usually use individual sleeves for my lenses. But since I have so much equipment for this trip, I saved some room by taking them out of their individual bags and using a couple strips of foams as cushion. The LensBaby is so light--it sits on top of my wide angle lens just fine. 

Nikon 50mm f/1.8: My absolute favorite lens. Beautiful for low light and for portraits—oh, the bokkeh!

Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Zoom: Step up from a kit lens only in that it has vibration reduction. Good, functional, all-around lens.

Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR Zoom: Another new purchase. Haven’t played with it much, but I think it will be good for landscapes and rounds out my zoom range.

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G Fisheye: This one almost didn’t make the cut. But for city scenes, in particular, it’s nice to have. And you can correct the fisheye effect in Photoshop if you like. (BTW, no WAY I paid that much for mine... it's either gone way up in price or I got a really good deal. Never, ever pay full price for cameras and lenses.)

Lensbaby Spark: I bought this specifically for this trip and I've been having fun with it. But I’m not *crazy* about it. It’s small and light, though, and so it got the last slot in my camera bag. Why not? More about the LensBaby in this previous post

Filters (3)

Tiffen 52mm Color Graduated Neutral Density 0.6 Filter: Half of the filter is ND, the rest is clear. You spin it to darken bright areas, such the sky in a landscape, without affecting the foreground exposure.

Tiffen 52mm Neutral Density 0.6 FilterAllows you to slow down the shutter speed in bright light conditions so your photos don't look as washed out and so moving water looks creamier, for example. 

Tiffen 52mm Circular Polarizer: Brightens blue skies, cuts down on glare from reflective surfaces such as water and makes everything brighter and more crisp. And you can use the filter to enhance reflections, as well as reduce them. I like to take photos of reflective surfaces. So shiny!

I know some folks are filter snobs, but Tiffin has always worked just fine for me. 


Tabletop tripod: I did consider bringing the bigger telescoping tripod--it looks something like this one--and I'm still kind of considering it. Folded up, that one is about a foot long, maybe four or five inches thick. The little one fits right in the side pocket, there. But honestly, I'm not even sure it's worth it to bring the small one. It's adorable, but not incredibly effective. So it has a slot for now, but if there are going to be cuts, it's going to be the first to go. If I somehow end up with an extra 12x5 inches in my suitcase, I'll have to re-think the tripod sitch. 

Spare rechargeable Li-Ion battery: Yup, it was expensive—about $60 on sale on Amazon. But you can’t take pictures with a dead battery. And they always seem to die at the worst possible moment. I wouldn't go anywhere without it. 

A battery charger: Duh. 

A ton of memory cards: And not necessarily big ones. If you lose a card before backing it up, you don’t want it to be a card with 400 photos on it. The D700 has two memory card slots, so if one is full it switches to the second automatically. Nice. I’ll format them all before I go. 

Cloth lens cleaner: My lenses seem unusually susceptible to dust and smudges. It’s like Pigpen from the Peanuts up in here. Works for eyeglasses, cell phone, etc., too. 

But wait, there's more! (God, I write long.) 

What’s NOT in my camera bag (for this trip, anyway): 

A spare camera body: My previous cameras are all but dead—no sense lugging around an unreliable back-up camera. 

A point-and-shoot camera: With space at a premium, I’m not going to bother taking my crappy Cannon Powershot. If I drop my D700 off the Cliffs of Moher, I could always use my camera phone and/or buy a point-and-shoot at whatever version of WalMart they have in Ireland. 

My bounce flash: This was the toughest decision. It’s great for dimly-lit interiors (I suspect we’ll spend a lot of time in pubs, for example). But the thing is enormous. I can make do with the on-camera flash. 

A card reader: Remember when laptops didn’t have a memory card slot? The dark ages! I’ll back up my flash cards every night on my HP netbook. In Paris, I thought I lost one of my cards and although I did eventually find it, I learned my lesson, there. 

A skylight filter: When I shot film I had one on every lens to protect them from scratches, etc. You drop your camera, would you rather crack a filter or a lens? But … I’m convinced they do not work on DSLRs. When you shoot anything that has a point of light, such as a scene with a streetlamp in it, the light bounces off the filter and back into your camera, creating these weird and annoying blobby green spots or ghosts. That is the extent of my technical knowledge on lens flare and ghosting and it's probably not even accurate.

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