Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting ready!

I'm packing today for tomorrow's wedding and I thought it might be interesting to describe how I go about it since the question has come up now and again.

First off, I admit, I'm a bit of an equipment junkie.  I like to be prepared for EVERYTHING.  I back up my back ups and pack enough gear to make a pack mule cringe.  It basically breaks down to four bags.  And yes, I know that's a ton of stuff, especially since most of the time I cover weddings all by myself.

My first bag, a Tamarac 622 rolling case, is my primary.  In there I have my 5D 2 body and a 5D body.  For lenses I have a 15 fisheye; 16-35mm 2.8 zoom; 24-70mnm 2.8 zoom (my workhorse); 70-200 2.8 zoom; 50 mm 1.2; 85 mm 1.2; two Canon 580 flash units with external battery packs; compact flash cards (16 and 8 gig cards, about 100 gigs worth); an LED flash light I use as a spot for portraits; various filters and other small accessories.

The second bag, a Think Tank International, holds a Canon 300 mm f/2.8; 100 mm macro, another 5D body; a Nikon SB-25 with pocket wizard attached; another pocket wizard for remote camera work (with cables); and a pocket wizard transmitter.  

The third bag, another Tamarac 622 rolling case, is my back-up case and stays in the car.  In there I pack the following gear:  Two Canon 1D MK2 with 4 spare batteries; Canon 20D; 24-105 mm f/4; 24 mm 1.4; 85 mm 1.8; 135 mm f/2; 200 mm f/2.8; 24 mm and 90 mm tilt shift lenses and spare AA batteries (lots).

The fourth bag, a Think Tank Disguise 50, is my working shoulder bag.  This one I keep empty in transit and fill it as needed for the salon coverage and dressing shots.  

A fifth bag is a utility bag that holds a couple of light stands, some clamps and other things I rarely use or need, but keep dragging along, just in case.  

If I know the church is big and dark and we need to make photos inside after the ceremony I also pack a set of Dynalite Uni-400 mono-lights with Jackrabbit batter packs and white shoot thru umbrellas.  

OK, I said four and told you about six bags.  I guess I do pack a lot ; o)  But a lot of it falls into either the "just in case" or "single use" category.  Some pieces I'll use for a specific shot then not touch again, like the 300 2.8 -- ceremony and maybe some of the after wedding portraits; the 100 macro is almost exclusively for a ring shot.  Sometimes in lieu of the macro I'll pocket an short extension ring to use on the 24-70.  Since that lens already focuses close the extension brings it perfectly into the zone for a great tight "rock shot."

So there you have it, my wedding kit.  It's not unlike my corporate kit, or my commercial kit or my advertising kit.  Basically this is my "I can shoot anything, anywhere at any time kit."   

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