Whether it’s shooting for fun or for work, being prepared for the day is half the battle. I’m obsessed with all things cameras and like most photographers, I used to suffer from an actual known condition (not really) called GAS . No I’m not talking about being lactose intolerant, I’m talking about Gear Acquisition Syndrome. All the shiny equipment that comes out each and every year will always keep a photographer wondering if their equipment is up-to-date and good enough to get the job done. I mean you’ve been “getting the job done” for the last couple of years with what you’ve already had, but for some reason, the words WANT and NEED becomes very indistinguishable when looking at the latest and greatest tech. After so many purchases, I have finally found my favorite photography gear.
Over the years, I have become a bit better with my spending. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m satisfied with what I have or it’s the fact that I don’t want to carry more gear than I already do (I guess being lazy is frugal at times). I seem to have exactly what I need to enjoy photography and get most jobs done with ease. As a result, I have been carrying less and shooting more. A quick way to lose interest in photography very quickly is to carry so much **** that you don’t want to take it anywhere. This was probably my biggest problem for awhile. Through that experience, I have finally found the one piece of gear that matters most.
I have tried them all. Backpacks, shoulder bags, large jackets, a single lens setup with a neck strap, a single lens setup with a cross body strap, hand grips, no grips, and anything else you can think of. No matter what it was, I was never satisfied. I either felt uncomfortable carrying all my gear or inadequate when I carried the minimal. Finally, I have come full circle in terms of how I carry my equipment. The most important aspects of carrying my gear would have to be: versatility, durability, mobility, and comfort….ability?. If something doesn’t meet these requirements, I most often end up leaving my gear at home.
As the dark skies began to loom over me, I stood before the Golden Gate Bridge freezing in the darkness. The cold-night air began to send chills down my neck and I felt the goosebumps beginning to form on my arms. At that moment, I knew I needed three things: A jacket, a tripod, and my 35 mm lens. I swung my backpack around my self, set it on the floor and zipped opened my bag. There it was… it was a beautiful sight to see. Everything I needed and more. I threw on my jacket, set everything up, took my shot, packed up and moved onto the next location.
When I got to my next location, Twin Peaks, it was the same story here. Rinse and repeat. I threw my bag down, unzipped it, took out my tripod along with a zoom lens and snapped a shot. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.
My favorite piece of gear I have right now is what I carry the rest of my things in. Without it, i’m no longer a photographer, just a tourist visiting for the day- missing out on all the amazing shots around me (now that has got to be the worst feeling ever). I am currently using the F-stop Gear Loka Backpack and oooohweee am I happy with this purchase. They’re modular, super durable, easy to walk around in, and beats lugging around a heavy shoulder bag. One big bonus is that it fits as a carry-on in most flights, buses, and trains. If I had one recommendation for photographers looking to go out and shoot as much as possible, it would be: invest in a very comfortable and durable backpack.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the gear wars, but none of that matters if you don’t actually bring what you have.
“The best camera is the camera that you have with you” – Chase Jarvis
Now that I have my trusty backpack to carry along my trusty camera everywhere, I can create beautiful images anywhere. Now… that’s a great feeling.