Since returning from Africa, I have been asked by several readers about the process of preparing for a Wildlife and Nature photography trip. As I prepare to leave for a week in sunny Florida to photograph migrating birds, I thought it would be useful to explain what I am taking and how I am getting it there.
Like many photographers I suffer from having tried and owned too many camera bags. The simple truth is that we all spend far too much time trying to get everything to fit into one kind of bag. Once I realized that the bag I used for a given trip or assignment needed to be approached in the same way I selected lenses, flash and other accessories, it was like a light went off over my head.
I basically have settled on 3 bags for all my gear. Two of the bags I use are made by someone I consider a mentor, Moose Peterson. The largest of the bags is the MP-1. This bag is a work horse for me and is what I carry when I need to take everything and the kitchen sink. It is also accepted as carryon luggage on regional airlines which in todays traveling world is not only important but a necessity. The next bag I use as my walk around pack is the MP-7. This bag doesn’t look like a camera bag and is light weight and easy to carry anywhere. I can also bring this to events in my checked luggage and break down the MP-1 into this smaller pack for ease of carrying. I consider both these bags must haves for my photography.
The last of the bags I use regularly is made by Gura Gear. The Kiboko is a bag I use in 2 specific situations. 1) I need a bag with good support for heavy loads and when/where hiking is required. 2) I want to have 2 bodies with lenses attached ready to go. This is particularly important when I am in very dusty conditions or poor weather and don’t want to expose my sensor to dust when changing lenses. The Kiboko bag is also accepted as carryon luggage for regional jets. This bag is strong, roomy and has a great layout internally and in the outside pockets.
All 3 of these bags are very well made and come with strong guaranties from their suppliers who are also great photographers. This last element means these bags are designed by people who use them, they live an die by their bags performances.