Nikon D800, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @28mm, f/16, 3 frame HDR, ISO 400.

Nikon D800, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @28mm, f/16, 3 frame HDR, ISO 400.

It’s a good idea to have a list of the minimum required gear you’ll need every time you shoot, and to run through that list before you head out the door. I’ve made mine super basic, and I’ve got it committed to memory so that before I leave I open my bag and see each thing in it’s place. I’m checking on the little things like batteries, tripod plates, memory cards, filters, remote shutter release, lens cloth–the little stuff that may end up ruining the shoot if it’s not there. Big things like camera bodies leave a big blank in the bag, so it’s obvious when they’re missing. The lenses I bring are always different, so I also check that I have what I’ll need in the bag. Keep your tools in the same spot in the bag all the time so that’s it’s evident when things are missing.

If you run out the door without going through your list, you may end up trying to make do with what you’ve got, like I did the other day when my buddy, Carlos, was visiting. After the 1.5 hour drive to the Coast, I realized I didn’t have a memory card for my camera, so I’d only shoot the film body I brought. After hiking down to the location, Carlos realized his tripod plate was back in the car. Between the two of us, we cobbled together enough stuff to make a few frames before the tide came in and washed us away. Had we slowed down and gone through the list, we’d have had a better time of it.

Canon 6D, 17-40 f/4 L USM lens, F/4, 30 seconds, ISO 3200.

Canon 6D, 17-40 f/4 L USM lens, F/4, 30 seconds, ISO 3200. This is best I could salvage, lacking a shutter release for a long enough exposure. The image at the top of the post is from a different day when I had all my tools at hand.


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Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. Stunning! I love this one.

  2. I love it when authors give advice that they don’t follow!

  3. Thanks, guys. Hopefully I’m helping map some of the bumps in the road.

  4. This is such a good reminder!

  5. Good on you Levi, “Don’t ya hate that ” when stuff is left behind.I will often take a High quality digital non SLR (sorry everyone) as a back up..Like the Canon G12 or a Ricoh GXR or more recently a Canon SX 50 HS…If you use them right they will produce amazing results…Also,you probably all know this ,but if you didn’t bring a new card with you you can “downsize ” the images for more space from RAW to something smaller and still get brilliant results? NO? YES? TR.

    • Those are great ideas, Anthony. One time I forgot all my cards for a shoot; fortunately, on a fluke, I had a little bag with 25 cards that were only 128megabytes each. They worked ok…but I had to change cards every other shot!


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About Levi Sim

Passion drives Levi to make photographs, teach, and help new friends. He tells people he's a photographer, but he really does more than just make pictures. His professional photography is primarily commercial work for businesses, both small and large, and he really helps show how great it'd be to work with those companies. He excels at photographing people, from two-year-olds to oil field workers to couples married for 60 years, everyone has a good time making pictures with Levi. Besides people and businesses, Levi enjoys all other aspects of photography, and practices landscapes and still life, as well. Other people enjoy photographing everything, and Levi wants to be able to help, so he practices as much as he can to be ready to help. He also runs a local photography club, is a Rotarian, actively helps at church, is a husband, and poppa to a peppy four-year-old girl. Levi writes regularly for and is co-author of books on Adobe Lightroom.


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