I have traveled more for business in the last two years than all the years prior. This is a strange paradigm shift for me as I always thought of myself as a local shooter but hey if they want to ship me doG knows where – I’m cool with it. Traveling as a tourist is totally different than business travel and doing it on deadline makes a bad situation worse. If you have to fly into a city for the day for work you are usually just taking a briefcase/laptop and you are set. But for guys like me that turns into a minimum of 3 cases of gear most of which you have to check. Gad!
Tomorrow afternoon I am flying to Omaha to get ready for a shoot there the following morning. I have to photograph a guy and gall who fell in love on the reality TV show "Greatest Loser" where they lost a combined 250 pounds and now run a fitness company. It will be a bunch of location portraits so I gotta take a fair amount of lighting gear. However I don’t have an assistant for this gig and need to keep my kit as simple as possible. I like simple but that tends not to happen.
A friend of points out that if I had my way I’d shoot everything on chromes and a Leica M6. He’s just about nailed me on that. Despite my love of technology and tools I try to not have all that stuff get in my way. Yet nothing is worse than getting on location and realizing that you should have packed one particular item that you figured you wouldn’t need.
So for this trip I’ll be taking 3 cases with what I’ll call my essentials:
In a Pelican 1600 case my main lights:
(4) Alien Bees AB800 mono-lights
(3) standard reflectors
(2) 20 degree grid spots
(2) 10 degree grid spots
(4) Pocket Wizard receivers and cords
(2) Bogen SuperClamps with mounting studs
Lowell sissor clamp
Roll of 2" black gaff tape
Roll of yellow spike tape
Assortment of color correcting and effect gels
In an SKB golf bag case (no really it’s a great case for stands a such!):
Gitzo 1320 tripod with Graf Studioball head
(3) Bogen 8′ stands
(1) Bogen 6′ stand
(1) Bogen 13′ stand
(1) 8 foot boom with counter weight and clamp
(2) Chimera speed rings
(1) Chimera Medium Super Pro soft box
(1) Chimera Small Super Pro soft box
(1) Photoflex 60" convertible umbrella
(2) 25′ extension cords
(1) 6 way breakout box
10 x 20 foot black muslin
In a Pelican 1520 carry on case my cameras and speedlights:
(2) Nikon D200 bodies with MD-D200 grips
Nikon AF-S 14mm f/2.8
Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8
Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.4
Nikon AF-D 105mm micro
Nikon AF-S 80-200 f/2.8
(2) Nikon SB-800 speedlights
(4) Nikon SB-26 speedlights
Nikon SD-8a battery pack
(6) batteries for D200’s
Minolta Autometer IV light meter
(8) Kingston Ultimate 2GB compact flash cards
In my carry on luggage packpack I have my Dell XPS M140 laptop and card reader.
See! Light and simple. (Cough-gag-snort!) This reminds me of a story that I read about a guy on a train in the early 1900’s going from Boston to St. Louis in order to photograph a new building that had just gone up. On his lap was his 5×7 view camera and in his luggage were two sheets of film. That’s it – two frames. The second was a backup. I can’t imagine the pressure but also the freedom that must have gone with that job. If the light wasn’t right he would wait a few days. When it came together he’d make THE exposure and then head back to Boston. Wow. It almost makes you pine for the really old days when business travel was really different, huh?
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