Monday, 15 November 2010

In Search of the Perfect Camera Bag

Every photographer has a different set of kit.

This is the key problem when looking for a camera bag, no two photographers have the same requirements.  So how do you find a bag that suits the needs of every photographer? Well the short answer is that you don't. The long answer is that you get a bag to suit your own individual needs.

For a lot of photographers though, this means they end up having a whole series of bags and use a different one on each outing depending on the needs of that particular event.

I don't really buy into that though, I don't think you need to have a gizillion lenses, 4 bodies, 3 flash guns, 25 filters, etc etc etc. My current kit consists of 1 body, 2 lenses, a flashgun, a tripod and some other gubbins (some batteries, a remote trigger, remote flash cord etc), and some cleaning products. I can see the sense in having two bodies, in case one fails and you really need to finish a shoot, and there are two more lenses that I really want to get (the Canon 24-70mm L and the 70-200mm L), but other than that, I don't think you really need endless amounts of kit to get 99% of your photos.

Assuming I get these two new lenses and maybe one more body, that means I need a bag to fit:

2 bodies
4 lenses
1 flash gun
1 tripod
Other gubbins
So, bags. From what I can see, there are three basic types of bags. There is the individual bag, which will hold a camera on its own, or a lens on its own and then these go into a larger bag with other stuff. These tend to be used if you're just taking a camera on its own somewhere, or you have a compact camera, or you're travelling somewhere and need to store things in the hold of a plane for example. Then there is the satchel bag. These do vary in size from simple Messenger type bags, which are designed to fit something around the size of an A4 ring binder, to a larger bag that is bigger than the size of a laptop and much deeper than a messenger bag. Then we move up to backpacks, these range from a small single strap bag to a large hiking backpack. The largest type of bag is the holdall style, these are generally all about the same size and can carry virtually anything you can think of.

I think my style is quite photo-journalistic; not necessary my photos, by the style in which I shoot. I like to get our and about, walk around, shoot what I see, take shots on location and be quite spontaneous. This means I need to take all my equipment with me, have it very easily accessible all the time, and be able to walk around without 'looking like a photographer'. I don't particularly want to walk around with a big bag either on my back or by my side with "Canon" written on it in big letters advertising the fact I've got a few grands worth of camera equipment in it.

As a side note, I'd quite like to be able to carry my 15" Mac with me as well.

To that end, I've shortlisted a few bags. 

I will go into detail about them next time. Stay tuned for Part II

Take care All,

Will x

Monday, 8 November 2010

Photographers Shoot Swap in London

Very rare is it that I get to meet a brand new group of incredibly unique individuals all at once. However, a couple of weeks ago, that is exactly what I did.

By my nature, I wouldn't say I'm overly spontaneous. It seems, though, that when it comes to photography I will, for example, drive all the way to London on a Sunday with less than a weeks notice to meet 11 complete strangers for lunch; all from a tip off via Twitter.

When I saw that someone had retweeted a Tweet from Alex Beadon asking if any photographers wanted to meet in London for lunch and go and take photos, I messaged her straight away to express my interest.

Less than a week later I found myself in Strada in Tower Bridge sat at a table with 11 complete strangers chatting about cameras, photography, computers, people, techniques, and all sorts of other engaging and delightful subjects. 

Everyone I met that day was absolutely fantastic, it's just a shame it couldn't have lasted longer. Firstly I'll introduce you to the awesome lady who organised the whole thing, Alex Beadon. Alex is a superbly creative portrait photographer doing some fantastic things. I love her style and attitude, just check out this look:

Something I found incredibly interesting about everyone I met was their life stories. They were all born and grew up somewhere different and so had a different story to tell and a different view on the world. 

Someone who stood out for me was Fanni Williams who was born in Hungary, grew up in New Zealand and has lived in the UK for a number of years now, she's a freelance graphic designer doing very well for herself and just starting to get into photography.

Take a gander at her blog, it's very good.

Here is the delightful Marie Man, she's a fashion and documentary photographer based out of Bristol doing some really cool things. Definitely worth a look, she has a wonderful style and a great personality to boot.

I also had the pleasure of meeting these lovely people, I just wish I had spent longer talking to each of them and really hope I'll get the opportunity to do so again soon. 

There was the enigmatic Juliet McKee of Sugar and Spice Photography

The gracious Dominique Bader

The delight that is Eddette Steynberg of Purple Apple Studios

The beautiful Anneli Marinovich

Here is very lovely Shirley Gilks working her stuff (on the left and then right)...

And finally the really cool Mark Osborne

So after a really very nice lunch at Strada, we all ventured out to shoot each other (in a non 'murderous' sort of way obviously). Here is what I saw.

Three of my favourites of Fanni…

Here is Marie and Mark doing their thing…

A couple more of Fanni…

There was a pretty cool fountain where we were on the South Bank which, with the light behind it, looked pretty awesome. A little bit like this actually…

Marie saw this very cool looking metal tube, which was some kind of oversized railing, so we both shot Fanni next to it. I really like these. I think the texture of the metal and simplicity of the colours looks really cool. 

Oh look, a tree!

Here is a delightful shot of Alex...

… and a couple of beautiful shots of  Juliet… 

Here are three of my absolute favourites of Anneli and Marie. I really like these…

 A final couple of Fanni…

 Juliet met a dog…

 and personally I think this photo is the dogs' bollocks…

Apparently this is the building where Boris Johnson works. I didn't see him though. I did see Shirley, Anneli, Fanni, Juliet and Lovis (Alex's non-photographer friend) though…

Finally we say goodbye and a massive thank you to Alex for organising the meet and getting such a fantastic bunch together, I really hope we can do it again sometime soon.

Take care everyone,

Will xx