My Camera Gear For Blogging-Accessories

By October 19, 2014Photography Tips

I define camera accessories as all the items that can be used to create (and store) better images but are not absolutely necessary for a  camera to take a picture. I carry a variety of lens filters, an external flash, memory cards and some other small accessories all inside my awesome camera backpack. Below are all of the details on the items that I carry in my bag. You might also want to read about what I don’t carry in my camera bag too.

Filters

UV Filters

I use B+W UV filters on all of my lenses. They are all the slim or extra-slim lines.

I don’t know if I buy the effect that a UV filter is supposed to have but I think that most photographers, including myself, use UV filters to protect their lenses from dust and damage. A cracked UV filter is way cheaper to replace than a new lens. My advice is to go with more expensive and slimmer filters that won’t vignette your photos. It seems that there are two ways of thinking about UV filters you either subscribe to the “I paid for expensive glass in my camera lens why would I put a filter in front of it” or the “I paid for expensive glass on my camera why would I put a low quality filter in front of it”. I’m a subscriber to the second way of thinking since I want to protect my lenses from dust, dirt and sharp objects.

A more recent addition to my camera bag is an 77mm Polarizing Filter made by B+W. What’s great about the size is it fits on my 24-70 lens and the 16-35 lens. The polarizing filter is really great for taking better landscape photos. One issue I’m sure you might have had is trying to get a photo where the focal point is in the proper exposure but the sky is completely blown out or there is to detail in the clouds. Polarizing filters help with just that, they have their best effect at 90 degrees from the sun rays and later in the day. This will create an excellent level of detail in your sky. This filter is also great because it reduces glare off of water and windows.

Here is an image created with my new polarizing filter: B+W 82mm XS-Pro Kaesemann Circular Polarizer with Multi-Resistant Nano Coating

Circular Polarizing Filter

lausanne-polarizing-filter

 

Flash

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

While I’m still a Speedlite novice, I find myself using my Speedlite all of the time now when shooting inside or at night (something we are doing much more often). It’s important when using a Speedlite not to aim the flash directly at the subject if you have the flash on camera. This creates a poor quality image because the person looks 1 dimensional since their shadow extends straight back. I always try to find something behind me like a white wall to bounce the light off, this is obviously much easier inside. This creates a larger and softer light source while still properly exposing the scene. Here’s an example of an image that I used flash for.

custom-shoemaker

Memory Cards

SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash Memory Card (160MB/s)

I carry three of these bad boys. That’s over 3,000 RAW images (~23MB each) that I can store. I try to take fewer than 300 images when shooting for a blogpost so all of these cards seem like overkill. I get nervous deleting photos from my memory cards so I don’t like to clear photos until I know the photos are uploaded in WordPress. Shooting images that are so large it’s very important for me to have a super fast memory card, that’s why I only shoot with CompactFlash cards now. This card has a 160MB/s read speed and 150MB/s write speed. That’s 4X faster than the SD card I used before with my Canon 60D.

Camera Bag

ONA The Camps Bay Backpack

lausanne-ONA-The-Camps-Bay-Backpack

I don’t know what I would do without this bag. I’ve owned three camera bags previous to this bag. Two of those were shoulder strap bags and one outdoorsy camera backpack. I came to love the backpack because I can carry more equipment and it’s more ergonomic friendly as the weight increases. I liked the backpack I had but it was running out of space and it was hideous, sitting down at a nice restaurant with a backpack that looked like I was about to go on a hike, was a little embarrassing. ONA had reached out to us over a year ago so I had known about the brand but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $400 for a backpack. Fresh off receiving some rewards gift cards from B&H Photo I made the purchase and I can’t believe I waited this long. My bag holds every single item on this list and then some. When we are traveling I can fit my laptop and charger and when exploring cities I can keep a pair of flats for Julia in the top compartment. After my camera and my L lenses this bag is my favorite piece of equipment I own.

Other Accessories

Camera Accessories help prepare me for anything that the world can throw at me. When I was younger I enjoyed duck hunting and the shotgun shells I used were from a brand whose motto was “You didn’t come this far to miss”. I swear by that motto since Julia and I plan so much for each shoot that we do, the last thing I want to do is mess it up by not having a clean lens or charged battery. Below are accessories that I always bring along with me.

Lenspen

I love this little guy. I use it daily at a minimum. I’ve owned ‘nice’ glasses or sunglasses since I was 9 years old and nothing bothers me more than a dirty lens. That’s why I’m especially attuned to noticing dust or smudges on my lens’ UV filters. The great thing about the Lenspen is it has one side for removing dust and another side for smudges and fingerprints.

Mophie USB Charger

We spend all day exploring cities and we run our blog through our cell phones while we are on the go. We can’t afford to miss an email or not be able to post on Instagram because one of us has a dead phone. We bought this Mophie charger (the biggest one they had) in NYC during Fashion Week and I can’t see how we lived without it. This model is great because it can fully charge our phones and it has two USB ports so we can both charge our phones at the same time if we are in a pinch. It looks absolutely ridiculous and I think I’ve overheard some people say “Stupid Americans, always on their phones” while we have used these in public at restaurants in Europe.

Extra Battery

Sticking on the battery theme, you don’t want to run out of battery while you are shooting pictures. This seems obvious but some of the worst experiences we’ve had blogging are when we show up at a great location with everything ready then we realize our battery is dying or already dead. I carry at least one extra fully charged battery in my bag, the battery grip that I have holds 2 batteries.

Mini Lint RollerMini Tide Stick

These last two accessories go together. You never know when you’ll need to remove lint or a small stain from your clothes. Sometimes I forget these are in my bag but when the moment arises they are always ready.

6 Comments

  • Sal says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Which polarizing filter are you using on your Sigma lens, the 77mm or the 82mm?

    Thanks!

    • Thomas says:

      I’m not sure the size because I don’t have it in front of me. But you can look online to see what the filter thread size is for your lens and buy the proper filter size.

  • Dominik says:

    hi thomas
    i really want to buy the ona bag, but as you write, $400 is a lot of money for a bag. 🙂
    do you know if it fits the nikon holy trinity? (14-24, 24-70. 70-200)

    thanks
    dominik

    • Thomas says:

      As someone that carries a camera bag every single day having a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag is important to me. Not to mention these bags hold a ton of equipment and they keep it safe.

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Thomas,

    When using a polarizing filter, do you find you need a tripod to stop fuzzy pictures caused by slower shutter speed and camera shakes?

    Thanks,
    Catherine

    • Thomas says:

      Good Question- Yes, that helps. I also like to buy polarizing filters with minimal amounts of tint since all I want is the polarizing effect.

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