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

Photography is my life, and I'd like my photography to be part of your life, too. Whether I make pictures with you or help you learn to make your vision pop out of the camera, I'm happy to help.


Opinion, Shooting, Technique & Tutorials