I know photographers are always interested in what gear pros bring along with them when they go on assignment so I thought I would share my entire equipment list I am taking to Uganda.
There are a few restrictions and considerations- 1. I need to be inconspicuous so as not to draw unnecessary or unwanted attention to myself. The more invisible I am the better I will be at blending in and the better stories and images I will get. This means no photo vests and no camera bags so no photo backpacks, sling bags or big photo fanny packs. 2. I will need to carry all my gear with me probably all the time or at least I need to be ready to do that. 3. I need to carry my gear not roll or drag or levitate my gear. I don’t know how much walking we will be doing but I have to be ready for a lot. 4. I can’t expect a constant or reliable source of electricity all the time. 5. The less gear I have the better- the less to worry about, the less to tote around, the less for something to go wrong with, the less I have to have readily accessible.
All the above means I am carrying my gear in a old day backpack like you might find at LL Bean or that students might carry their books in. Mine is made by Patagonia. There are no gear dividers inside so I have wrapped my gear in padded wraps with velcro corners- they fit everything and they protect the gear very well. I will also have a fanny pack that I will wear in front of me that looks like a medium sized hiking fanny pack. Nothing special but it is just big enough to fit my Nikon D4 and a couple of lens if they are not attached. This bag is primarily to keep this big camera out of sight when not being used. I also have a small belt pack that exactly fits my small Nikon p7800, two extra batteries and several memory cards and a lens hood.
Here is my equipment list:
Nikon D4, Nikon 16-35mm, Nikon 24-120. I did two books with these two lenses so I am confident that they will cover what I need on this trip. No long lenses because there will be no wildlife photography.
Nikon p7800. This is my back up camera and my inconspicuous, just a tourist, nothing to be concerned about camera.
Polarizing filter for both cameras, lens hoods for both lenses.
Two extra batteries for both cameras and all the cords and chargers needed.
Ten memory cards (mostly 16s with a few 32s and 8s), two card cases and two card readers with cords.
Two small 1 gig hard drives carried separately in two bags as back up drives.
Rode shotgun mic for D4 and SONY digital recorder, both with dead cats (the furry cover that eliminates wind noise).
Lots of AA and AAA and 9V batteries scattered throughout my luggage.
Two writing notebooks, three small pocket notebooks and more pens and pencils than you can imagine.
My travel Gitzo tripod (smaller and lighter than my everyday tripod but still sturdy) and the smaller Kirk ball head.
A 11″ Air Apple laptop with charging cords (I download to this, edit on it in the field, and also write on it- does everything.)
Binoculars and bird book (I’m not going anywhere without my binos!)
That’s about it. I also have cleaning gear, zip lock bags, a big first aid kit I expect to leave behind, hand sanitizers, and all kinds of drugs. I have been vaccinated for typhoid, meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis A and gotten a tetanus booster. I have a book and a pile of magazine to read, a large pile of school supplies for some school we happen upon, packages of peanut butter and protein drink powders and half a dozen power bars for times when food is an after thought.
What I don’t have…OMG!!! is any dark…OMG!!! chocolate…OMG!!! I must be out of my small but perfectly formed brain! It just goes to show that despite all the planning the most important piece of equipment can still be left behind. I’ll be going to the store tomorrow. You can count on it.