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Rethinking My Everyday Bag When Traveling

Lowepro Streamline 250I know this subject gets old for some but it is, nonetheless, an important consideration when traveling. Assuming you take a lot of your camera gear with you when you go on a trip, you don't want to be saddled with all of it as you go on daily walks, outings, or day trips. At least, I don't and my main bag (the Vanquest VSlinger: http://www.infotor.com/blog/giving-the-vanquest-vslinger-bag-another-go/) is already small compared to many bags folks use to lug all of or the bulk of their gear. Lowepro Streamline 250

Streamline & other lenses

We will be taking our eldest granddaughter to Paris later this spring as her 16th birthday gift, so that got me thinking, first, what lenses and other accessories I want to take along with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and, second, what I want to carry with me when we go out each day and how. Though the first decision was not easy, I have decided to take the trusty Olympus 12-40mm pro lens, as well as my Olympus 25mm, f/1.8, Olympus 75-300mm, and Panasonic 35-100mm lenses. I plan to really track which lenses I use and how much over this 8-day trip just for future reference. I thought the second decision was already made, since I've often written about using my good, ole, soft material Eagle Creek bag with an Ape Case compartment inserted in it for just this purpose. (http://www.infotor.com/blog/new-ape-case-making-a-great-bag-better/) However, today I had second thoughts. And the hidden message here to all my fellow bag hoarders (you know who you are!) is "Do not ever give away or sell bags you don't think you you're going to use!" Why? Because you will!

Space even for my full size 9.7" iPad in inside sleeve

I pulled out my Lowepro Streamline 250 and thought, "Hmmm? This might better to use than the Eagle Creek." With that, I took it upstairs, took my E-M1 and all lenses out of my Vanquest bag, separated the ones I planned to take with me, and began experimenting with loading the Streamline. Unlike my earlier E-M10, my E-M1 won't fit in the exterior side pocket and will only go in the main bag cavity. Gave that a try, wrapped my 35-100mm and 25mm lenses back-to-back in an 11” (28cm) Domke wrap (http://www.infotor.com/blog/domke-wraps-great-protection-for-lenses/), put it in one of exterior pockets, and the 75-300mm, likewise in Domke wrap, in the other and all looked good.

Then I thought to try the Ape Case I bought to use with the Eagle Creek bag in the Streamline so the E-M1 would have its own padded compartment within the main bag cavity, leaving separated space for other miscellaneous gear yet to be determined. That worked but I had to unzipper the expansion zipper to do so. No problem. This still gives me a relatively small, low profile bag for everyday use that doesn't scream, "I'm a camera bag!"

So, this is as far as I've gotten and I haven't committed yet. After all, our trip is still a ways off. I plan to use the packed Streamline as I now have it for some outings to see if I think it will work for me as I hope it will. I want to be able to hang a water bottle off it so that will be part of my tests.the nice thing is either the Eagle Creek or the Lowepro Streamline will pack nice and flT in my checked bag, so either way, I don't have to worry about that. Now, what about a tripod? Hmmmm?

Please leave me questions or comments on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/billbooz) or on Google+ (http://plus.google.com/+BillBooz). I look forward to interacting with you!

Check out my free eBook on Mastering Your Camera's Priority Modes: http://www.infotor.com/ebooks. Download and enjoy!

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. A PDF of my brochure is at http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/brochures/WHBI-Brochure_2015.pdf.

A Bag for This and a Bag for That: Separating Camera and Flash Equipment

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.

Because of spammers, I have disabled blog comments, but please leave me questions or comments on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/billbooz) or on Google+ (http://plus.google.com/+BillBooz). I look forward to interacting with you!

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.