Camera Bag and Flash BagYes, another bag story! But you know you love to hear them. You know you want to justify the purchase of yet another bag. Right? Well, this might be a bit disappointing then, as what I have done is actually put an existing bag into service for a different photographic purpose from carrying my camera gear. No new bag purchased. Still interested? Read on. Isopod Expandable PouchFor the past several weeks I have gone back to my Vanquest VSlinger tactical bag as my primary camera bag. This bag is nice because it is very well made and has lots of pockets, as well as a nice large interior compartment with adaptable dividers. In addition, the VSlinger is covered with MOLLE straps for attaching additional pouches and small bags that can hold a variety of things that won’t fit - or that you don’t want to put - inside the bag. For example, a water bottle or an additional lens. I have written about my VSlinger several times (http://www.infotor.com/blog/giving-the-vanquest-vslinger-bag-another-go/) and I have been a bit ambivalent about it, because I couldn’t get everything in it I wanted to have with me. However, since I am now only carrying my Olympus OM-D E-M1, I find I have space for several lenses and a small Olympus FL-36R flash head, plus extra batteries and the Wasabi cordless charger.

I also recently purchased a small Isopod Fold-up Pouch that attaches to one of the many straps on the outside of the VSlinger and is quite small. However, when expanded, this pouch will hold a good sized water bottle or even a small camp stove (don’t think I will need it for that, but you get the idea!). Unfortunately, if I know I am going to be doing some shooting where I will want to have several flash heads and since I will be going through rechargeable batteries, will also want my powerful battery charger, I’m out of luck. There is absolutely no room in the V-Slinger unless I remove several lenses.

Photo Hatchback Top CompartmentOn a recent vacation trip, I ran into this problem. I did bring my larger flashes, but packed them somewhat haphazardly. I ended up having left my battery charger at home and my rechargeable were dead! I was missing some other things as well, so that prompted me to come up with a solution. I did not want this to happen to me again! This is one of the problems of being a bag hoarder. You move things from bag to bag and, inevitably, leave something in one bag that you need, but you don’t have that bag with you! Well, never again (he said hopefully)! I pulled out one of the bags from my collection that I really do love, but one that just wouldn’t accommodate all the lenses I want to have with me. My Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16 (http://www.infotor.com/blog/camera-bags-back-to-a-backpack/). This bag has become my flash equipment bag.

Photo Hatchback Inside View of Top CompartmentThe Photo Hatchback appears to be up to the task, but only trying it for a while will tell. Remember, the Hatchback has a top compartment that's easily accessible as well as a narrow, front sleeve pocket and then a removable sectional case that you access from the rear of the bag. This case, when in place in the bag, creates the "floor" for the top compartment. So, my initial packing has three larger flash heads (a Neewer, a Yongnuo, and my Canon 580EX II) inserted in the the top compartment. My FlashBenders fit in the front sleeve pocket. Then, in the rear compartment I have my batteries in plastic sleeves, my charger, a set of Cowboy Studio radio triggers, my Rogue grid set, and a sleeve of Rogue gels.

Photo Hatchback Rear Compartment "Case"Naturally, I still need to transport my stands for these lights and may, if needed, also want to bring my very portable Westcott X-Drop background kit. As for modifiers, I can, of course, bring along my umbrellas, but I am trying to work on relying on only my Rogue FlashBenders as modifiers for my flash heads.

Bottom line, though, is that I now know where my flash equipment and batteries are, so when I know I may need them, I need only grab my Photo Hatchback bag and go. In that way, I will know I have my array of lenses and camera in my VSlinger bag and anything I need for basic flash photography in my Photo Hatchback. I should be good to go! The Hatchback also has two side, expandable pockets intended for water bottles or the like They are perfect for storing my Joby dSLR-sized Gorrillapod in one and my Lollipod tripod in the other. The Lollipod does not expand terribly high, but is very light. It makes a decent stand for a light when I need one higher. If serious height is needed, I can put it on a stool or table.

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In addition to offering scheduled, hands-on photography classes periodically, I am also available to do one-on-one tutoring or small group lessons designed to meet YOUR needs and what you want to learn in the area of photography, using flashes, or the use of Apple products and software. Give yourself the gift of learning: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses! And check out my tutoring bundle: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/tutoringbundle.php as well. I am offering some specials for the holiday season as well: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/handouts/HolidayPromo_2014.pdf.