If you are like me, you don’t like carrying to much. Sometimes I wouldn’t bring my text books to school because they were too heavy – everyone did it – no wonder we were all sharing.
Anyway, First there is a tip that will help you pack in the first place.
Its not always possible, but could you choose only one lens to take with you? Sometimes it pays to keep things simple. If you are going out to shoot landscapes you don’t need a telescopic/telephoto lens. If you are shooting wildlife, then you won’t want a wide angle lens.
If you packed a wide angle lens and then a parrot arrives and sits on a branch near you, you may just have to let that moment pass and enjoy it with your eyes instead. Sometimes it helps you to focus your skills if you don’t bring a whole arsenal of lenses with you. Its up to you.
So what’s in your bag?
- Blower (if dust or fluff gets on your lens you can blow it off).
- Spare Film (in case you need more or bugger up some).
- Film Containers (to protect the finished films).
- Cable Release (if shooting in low light)
- Lens Hood
- Do you need a Tripod?
That may be all you need. In a well padded bag. Buy one with sections. There are even nice rucksacks now, expensive in some places. Shop around or buy one second hand, its only a bag not your duvet covers.
I was going to put cloth on the list. You need a cloth or piece of kitchen roll too. Its not on the list because I do not want to influence the way in which you clean your lens, that is another matter. I don’t clean lenses out on the field.
I use UV filters (see my UV filter post). This protects the lens. But if rain gets on my filter, I wipe off the droplets and blow any fluff off. That’s safe enough – but lens cleaning is a much more sensitive issue. DO NOT clean lenses with kitchen roll – use a brillo pad (that’s obviously a joke, but you can’t be too careful, so I should state that it is a joke to use brillo pads or kitchen roll to clean lenses.)
When you’re out you might ruin a film or two just by making mistakes. It happened to me a lot during my university course. So take plenty of film.
I used to forget to take the lens cap off when using my rangefinder. You wouldn’t make that mistake with an SLR. See my post on rangefinders.
To stop this I sellotaped a card on the back of my camera saying to TAKE THE LENS CAP OFF! You can do the same for other procedures you are not familiar of. An example for digital users, what about a note that says, “Am I Charged?”
Remember to tear off the flap of the cardboard box the film came in. The flap that has the name of the film and therefore the film speed. On some cameras you can slip it in a neat holder on the back of the camera or “film back”. Then you are reminded what speed to set both: your camera and “light meter” to.
Which brings me to another point. Remember to set the film speed on your light meter. It is easy to forget (if you are forgetful). If you have made this mistake and taken a whole roll of film based on incorrect settings on the light meter, take note of the ISO (film speed) you set it to. There is a way to save that film… potentially. For now I will just give you a link – “PUSH OR PULL” its very complicated.
Don’t forget, if you are bringing a tripod, where is the screw piece? It might be on another camera still and you may end up carrying a heavy tripod out for nothing.
I tend to set up my camera a little before I go out to. Whether that be setting the ISO on my digital camera (and choosing RAW or JPEG), or loading the first film at home. Screw the piece for your tripod into your camera before you leave. I think you do more prep work in Winter!
Good Luck out there.
Thanks for reading,