Gear - Not the Usual Stuff in Your Bag
Ok. It's a perfect morning. The car is all gassed up and your favorite cd's are in the player. The camera bag is loaded. The tripod is in its place, the coffee is hot, and just the way you like it! Now, onto taking rockin' pics! Not so fast! This blog isn't about the usual gear us photographers carry. This one is about the things we 'should' carry with us. It's amazing to me how much my 'non-camera' gear selection has expanded the last few years.
It really depends on where I am headed, but a change of clothes, socks and shoes are fairly common place these days. One slip or mishap can really make life unpleasant for the ride home, not to mention what that leaves behind on your car seats. Even a towel goes a long way to provide some comfort in case of an accident. I have learned, painfully so, to simply be prepared for whatever. Getting caught in a rain storm, or other weather condition can happen to any of us. Chances are you already have some of this stuff laying around. Just take it along. It doesn't hurt anything in the trunk. Every once in a while, you'll be glad you did, I promise!
In addition to clothing, I like to bring along a rain suit if the forecast or conditions look questionable. Even if you decide not to wear it, a rain jacket can provide invaluable protection for all of our precious camera gear in an emergency! All terrain waterproof boots can make all the difference in getting a shot no one else has, or you could settle for sticking to the beaten path in everyday shoes, and hope you get something better than the thousands of shots taken before you. Good luck. And let's not forget these are made for hiking and the elements and are all around safer for you just to have on. Trust me, being dry is better than wet any day, and more so if it's a cold rain.
Also an avid fisherman, I drag along my waders now. This allows me, sometimes, to get out to where most other photographers can't get to. It's a feeling hard to articulate when you know you have a shot that know one else has. Waders can be purchased for cheap if you don't want to spend a lot, but want to get what no one else has. You can also spend as much as you want. Some get quite expensive and that decision is up to you. My personal experience is to buy the best your budget allows. A couple of years back, I was shooting in a canyon that has a creek running through it. I was able to wade right up to the mouth of it and make shots I was quite sure only a very select few would have. There was a group of students that showed up and were unable to get to where I was due to the deep water and the desire not to get soaked! Needless to say, they missed out and I faired pretty well.
Another item to be considered is some kind of rope, or say 500lb test twine available in any outdoors or hardware stores. Twine is smaller and lighter to carry and will work in a pinch. More and more the want and need to get somewhere and get back out requires rope, or something to help with descent and ascent. I took such a shot at Soco Falls just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina. In order to get to the base and back out again, a rope was required. I believe I could have gotten to the base without the rope, but I am doubtful going up would have been successful without one, and had it been raining, impossible for sure.
The other thing that should be considered is an elements bag. It seems once I bought mine, I was using it quite regularly. Honestly, they are not very expensive, and save from ruined gear. They also save the trip from lost shots, due to poor weather and not having one. Clear plastic is a great option if you have nothing else available to you and can save the day. Again, lesson learned, the hard way. Never go home empty handed again, no matter the conditions!
So, as you have no doubt concluded, there is much more than the typical camera equipment to consider when heading out to take pics. What do you carry that isn't mentioned here? Let us hear from you!