Monday, 15 July 2013

What is in my GO BAG?

I have one camera bag which I class as my GO BAG - this is the bag I can pick up ready to go knowing I have a basic and versatile outfit suited to a variety of assignments. Along with the plethora of camera bodies, lenses and other photographic accessories I carry in my bag there are a few which I class as "must have" that are versatile, compact, lightweight and in most cases inexpensive.

My current Go Bag of choice is a Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW back pack, which is relatively lightweight and comfortable to carry. And if you don't over stuff it compatible with even the most miserly airline carry-on sizes!


  1. microGAFFER tape roll.
  2. Rogue Flash Bender, large.
  3. Rosco 3030 Grid Cloth in 10" x 12" & 20" x 24". The smaller sheet is used to adapt the Rogue Flash Bender as a small soft box.
  4. Rosco Pak G - 56" x 48" gold/silver reflector sheet.
  5. Compact acrylic shaving/make-up mirror.
  6. AA NiMh 2500mAh rechargeable batteries in clearly labelled pouches.
  7. Large translucent plastic bag(s) which double as equipment protective covers or ground sheets.

microGAFFER
This is an indispensible accessory - pro quality gaffer tape on a roll small enough to fit in your bag, pocket or even key ring. Great for keeping cables tidy and the 1001 other uses. For more information visit Visual Departures http://www.visualdepartures.com/microgaffer-mini-gaffer-tape/



microGAFFER is available in a variety of colours, fluorescents and the normal, black, white & grey.


Compared to a standard 50 yard roll of 2" gaffer tape with a 4" core, microGAFFER is compact - 1" wide by 8 yards long! The cord is there so I can attach it to my belt or hang from a lighting stand. In the US microGAFFER is available from Adorama and B & H Photo. In the UK Creative Video

Rogue Flash Bender
My favourite Speedlite modifier because of its' ability to mould and in turn shape light. It can be used as a soft light, a snoot or with the addition of a sheet of Rosco 3030 Grid Cloth a substitue for a small soft box giving very flattering light for portraits. For more information visit Expo Imaging. Used to great effect at weddings by my friend Rob Jones at Pure Creations and photo-journalist Rick Friedman

Rosco 3030 Grid Cloth
Originally designed for use for creating soft diffuse lighting for film makers and the television industry. Grid cloth is a durable pure white textile that when used with a Speedlite or other light source will not create a colour shift, thus rendering colours, especially skin tones accurately. Grid cloth is available as 10" x 12" and 20" x 24" cut sheets. There are also other densities and colour correction, CTS & CTB available, which I carry with my lighting kits. A great product as a 6' x 4' sheet will fold down to 6" x 4" x 1/2", so no excuse not to carry some with you! You can see 3030 Grid Cloth in use diffusing the light from a large Rogue Flash Bender elsewhere on my blog  http://ianpack.blogspot.com/2012/11/rogue-flash-bender-softbox-with-rosco.html

The larger sheets of 3030 can be used as reflectors or even to create a large soft light source when placed 2 or 3 feet in front of a Speedlite. On a sunny day 3030 also makes great diffuser for unflattering direct sun light!

You can also see 3030 compared to other diffusion materials here http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/diffusing-flash-and-speedlites.html 

Rosco Pak G
This is an ancient accessory bought back in early 1980s (not 1890s) which is basically a large sheet of highly reflective gold backed with silver stipple effect polyester film. It's large enough to be useful as a floor fill or even bounce a flash or daylight into shot, and folds into a 6" x 4" pouch. i normally end up taping it to conveniently placed, walls, doors or even as a blackout for windows. Rosco still produce this material 3812 Featherflex S/G but no longer in a convenient package.



I also use this clamped to a Sunbounce reflector if I need light that is more specular with more edge. The gold side is also very good for creating pseudo sunset light for portraits.

Compact Acrylic Shaving/Make-up Mirror
Ideal for reflecting hard light into tight spots or even creating a catch light in someone's eyes. Takes up little space as less than 1/8" thick. Available from most camping and outdoor stores.

AA Rechargeable & Alkaline Batteries
I use a Maplin branded AA & AAA rechargeable cells. I've tried more expensive brands but these Maplin cells are inexpensive and seem more tolerent of my 15 minute charger than more expensive brands. Fast charging batteries does cook the chemicals inside and reduce recharge/discharge cycle by up to half. But life's too short to trickle charge!

Translucent Heavy Gauge Polythene Rubbish/Trash/Garbage Bags
Whilst specially made foul weather covers from the likes of Think Tank Photo and Kata have their place in my kit, they don't fit into my GO BAG due to their pack-size! These bags are useful if you need to put your bag down in the dirt as a ground sheet or in rain, snow or sand storms as a protective cover; you can cut a slit to the size of your lens hood diameter and seal it from the elements with microGAFFER tape!

Along with the items mentioned above there will also be a 4 head screwdriver, marker pen, fold back clips (great for attaching 3030 to the Rogue Flash Bender) paracord and a Rosco 12" x 6" LED Litepad & battery pack which is very useful where space is tight and as a light for DSLR video. I avoid carrying a Leatherman Multitool or Swiss Army knife just in case I get searched in these security conscious days!

That's just a taste of some of the extras I carry in my GO BAG based on over 30 years shooting on location in a variety of locations and situations. There is more, but that's for another time.

TTFN