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Just in case


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Just in case

30 Aug 2020 9:46AM   Views : 484 Unique : 312


I wrote about fill-flash and other techniques for sorting out excessive shadows yesterday, and consequently, packed a flashgun for a family visit to a National Trust property, Baddesley Clinton in the afternoon, intending a couple of portraits of unwilling relatives. Did I use it? Of course not.

I also packed my 14mm lens, which I did use, along with my usual kit (lenses from 16mm to 85mm, spare body, the odd filter, batteries and cards), which only came into play when my daughter filled the card in her camera.

I was Ė as usual Ė grossly overequipped. But then, I have always taken comfort from the way that Rolls Royce used to specify the power output of car engines as Ďadequateí Ė I like the idea of being able to cope with anything.

Photographically, Iím pretty sure that one of many roots is an article by Ron Spillman in Photography magazine, circa 1969, when he wrote about going on a cruise as a photographic tutor, alongside a Nikon-sponsored professional called Richard Tucker, who towed a wheeled case behind him, with all his kit, from fisheye to 500mm lensÖ

It wasnít a long walk, and a Hadley bag carried most of the kit: it gave me a better workout than 3,500 steps might suggest. But there are times when Iíve taken extra gear and felt that itís held me back. Thereís no point in carrying an extra bag if you donít feel able to put it down and get the kit out, as can happen in a crowded tourist spot.

Maybe itís time to consider what we need on a given day. Sometimes the kitchen sink will be worth taking. Other times, spare cards and batteries may be enough.


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PaulCox Avatar
30 Aug 2020 11:07AM
My takeout camera these days, is a Lumix DMC TZ80, which considering the camera equipment I have is very SAD! Paul.
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
30 Aug 2020 11:11AM
Reading this is a bit weird because it reminded me of a dream last night where I was trying to pack an enormous Billingham style bag with loads & loads of camera equipment. So much I was having great difficulty lifting it. (A dream, remember!) The dream then went on into a school scene where a teacher was ridiculing my long blonde unruly hair. It has never been that long and is now just short receding grey!.
I always have very odd dreams, but nothing too frightening.

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
30 Aug 2020 11:17AM
Just once, on an Amateur Photographer day in London, with Mike Maloney supervising a group of four readers, I made a point of using every lens in my bag... It was in 2004, I think, and I used my Contax RTS, for which the standard lens set was 15/21/25/35/50/85/135/200.

But so often, an 85mm is enough, really.
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 37 8 England
30 Aug 2020 3:01PM
The lens you probably want for that once in a lifetime shot is usually the one you left at home, sods law has a lot to do with it.
Until they invent that perfect camera and lens, the one that's brilliant at everything, lugging spare kit about is always going to be an issue. My problem isn't what to carry, it's what to carry it in. I can't find a camera bag that I'm happy with. Hey ho.
Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 14 12 147 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2020 3:15PM
I think the other way to look at it is as a challenge pick one camera and one lens and go and shot with just that. The type of lens you chose will also make you think more about the shot, never a bad thing.
Also remember micro 4/3rds was invented for when we get to that time of not wanting to carry all that weight.
saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 89 Norway
30 Aug 2020 4:40PM
When I down-weighted (and down-sized) from Canon to Fuji, I deliberately sought out a bag that was both comfortable to carry all day, and which restricted the weight I could carry. The reason for the change of brand came about after four long days of carrying a backpack full of a 5DIII and L-series lenses plus flash, plus, plus. All packed 'just in case, you never know when you might need it'.
So now, I have one body with 16-80 f/4 attached, a 50-140 f/2, 10-24 f/4 and 35 f/1.4. That's it - plus spare cards and various small bits and bobs. Flash has been relegated to the reserves bench, and rarely sees the natural light of day. I have also given up using filters, so even more space and weight saved.
I cannot remember one single occasion since 'converting' where I had wished I had filters or flash with me...
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
30 Aug 2020 8:54PM
These days I take what I can reasonably expect to use. I tend to limit myself to my small Lowepro bag so I can't get really overloaded.
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
6 Sep 2020 5:00PM
Knowing what will 'probably' come up is the best guide. Nowadays on full frame I use a 16 to 35 on a full frame body and a 70 to 300 on a crop body. For newsy jobs that covers most stuff.

For a recent Extinction Rebellion march I took a fisheye with a specific shot in mind. Last night for a town's nightlife under lockdown I took just a 50 1.5 as I wanted to do available light by street light. For headshots, not much point beyond the 85.

Carrying everything just in case just gives you a bad back.

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