Category: Gear

July 2, 2011

For Photographers Only:The Perfect Bag

Filed under: Best Of,Gear,Uncategorized — mas @ 9:36 pm

I think that the perfect camera bag is not a camera bag. That’s the first criterion. If you accept this, read on, if not, then keep carrying around anything that says “I’m a photographer.”

My three favorite messenger bags for wearing while shooting and/or traveling are a black Patagonia Half Mass, gray Timbuk2 Mustang, and a Filson Medium Field Bag. The Half Mass has had a design change recently that gives it protective corners on the top hinge point so that when the flap is down, the top corners cover the opening and keep water out. It has a grab handle and one bottle carrier.

The Timbuk2 Mustang (or some other horse name) is completely coated with waterproof material, and the top of sides connects directly to the flap, and the corners fold to block water from getting into the bag. It is the most waterproof (not that waterproof is relative) but has no grab handle or external bottle carriers This bag may be recently discontinued. Look for it on ebay and in bicycle shops.

The Filson Medium Field Bag is waxed canvas the same weight as blue jean material. It is the lightest weight and closes up well against rain. It has both grab handle and bottle carriers, albeit maybe only big enough for a beer can.

For the two bigger bags (Patagonia and Timbuk2) a standard size Billingham insert will hold and protect a camera and a flash. For the Filson, one of the Domke inserts works well to hold the camera in place. Use another insert for flash or extra lens.

The Patagonia comes with a hideously noticeable reflector strip all the way across the front. You can use duct tape to cover it.

August 8, 2007

I Hate Gear

Filed under: Gear — mas @ 11:29 am

…but, if you’re going to make photographs, you have to use something. My biggest ongoing quandry is not about cameras, nor even lenses; it’s straps and bags. These days, since I’m indulging in the one camera, one lens approach (ok, 2 lenses), the idea is simplicity – freedom-. I don’t want a special bag just to carry a camera, and I don’t want to notice the bag I’m carrying. I want that bag just to be a pocket that could be used for anything – laptop – journal – snack – whatever. The answer? Messenger bags that are secure, comfortable, weatherproof.

I’m using a Domke 802 Reporter’s Satchel, Patagonia Half Mass, and a Timbuk2 Laptop Messenger (medium). These are big enough for one camera (not oversized) with attached lens, a laptop, and other small objects. I can carry my other lens if I really think I need it.

With the Domke, my camera fits in one of the outside pouch pockets. With the Patagonia, I use an Eagle Creek 1/4 cube and just toss it into the big compartment.

I still can’t find the right strap. For hanging around my neck, almost anything will work, but for a wrist strap – man, that’s something else again. I want something that attaches to both lugs and has enough length to loop around my wrist with a little tension. I’ve ended up using a thin (3/8″?) nylon strap with keyring type loops going in the camera lugs. The strap is just long enough so I can stick my hand through it, loop it once and stick my hand through again. It’s totally secure.

The only problem is, if I want it around my neck, the strap isn’t long enough.

That’s all the gear talk I can handle.

August 7, 2007

Between Time

Filed under: Gear,Uncategorized,Work in Progress — mas @ 5:59 pm

I’ve finished a bunch of administrative work – mailing Paris book maquettes to potential publishers, updating mailing list, sending out catalogs and postcards to galleries, publishers, magazines – and I’m starting to think about photographing again. I’m trying out a new digital rangefinder, which, so far has been wonderful. I’m using just two lenses, a 28 and a 35. I’m working on shooting a lot more than I was doing with DSLR’s – making it more fluid and natural.

I posted a new project on my site, one about cafes. I also posted some new work in “new and …”

I’m looking forward to a trip to Seattle to visit my mother. I don’t know how many more visits there will be, so I’m going to do a lot of shooting. Perhaps I can use what I make to send into DAH’s blog.

Yesterday, we went to visit some friends, including their five kids. We’ve known the parents since before the kids were born, so it’s really fun to visit and see how they’re progressing. These kids are smart, not just above average, but really, potentially scary smart. I spent the day photographing the cookout being prepared and the kids and the meal and sitting around afterward. It was different than my usual way of photographing; I used a 28mm lens the whole time. I liked it and got some fun images.


I’ve also got a bunch of photos from my Pine Ridge project on the kitchen wall, trying to figure out what order is best to tell a coherent story.  Aside from that, I’ve been trying out some more bags. I really like satchel styles which are pretty much like messenger bags.


Here’s another one that seems to work quite well for several purposes-

Guess this one's a keeper, too.

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