What’s in my bag?

Travelling light gives me a great sense of freedom. Without being weighed down by too much gear my complete focus can be on 1) enjoying the experience of my new destination and getting the most out of my time there and 2) making sure I get the images I am after! There are a few things I consider ‘essentials’ and a few things that I will happily leave at home. But here it is, an inventory of my bag. Please note that I am not sponsored by ANYONE and all this gear has been paid for with my own money!

My bag! LowePro 250 AW – I love this bag, it took me ages to find something that I really like and although there is no 1 perfect bag, I am pretty sure that there is little I can fault about this one. It has a good compartment for all my camera gear, which is reinforced with excellent padding on the base, the rain cover is stored in the bottom and the top has padding plus an exterior pocket. The top section is a very spacious pocket with lots of sections for things like pens, cloths, keys etc and there is also an exterior pocket here too. The shoulder straps are extremely comfortable and (thanks to Thomas Heaton) I discovered recently that the waist strap is removable which has been a game changer!

My bag – on location…..coffee is an essential.

I also have a small bag which I’ll take when travelling ultra light, ie hiking or on a trip not solely focused on photography. This bag easily stores my camera, 1 large lens or 2 small, my spare batteries, GoPro, filters and my knock off gorilla pod!

Camera! I shoot on an Olympus OM-D EM5MKii – its a fantastic camera! You can find the specs here if you’re interested. As far as an upper level, mirrorless camera body goes its great for the money. As far as technology goes its ‘ageing’. BUT I’ll challenge any non-pixel peeping critic to tell me the difference between images shot on this and any other ‘compact’ system when viewed ‘normally’ – I don’t do large prints and mainly shoot for myself and family/friends so the 16mp CMOS sensor enables me to print some decent sized canvases etc, and of course, images on Instagram/Vero and Photobooks cannot be judged so it does me very well! I also shoot ALOT open iPhone. More on these soon! If you’re interested in iPhoneography and its capabilities I encourage you to follow my YouTube, Instagram, Vero and this blog – because I’ll be dedicating a lot of work to this in the coming months and I am very excited about it! I keep up to date with the changes in phones (its easy now with 12 month upgrades etc) so at the time of writing this blog I have an iPhone X and it is superb!

Shot on iPhone X – straight out of camera, no filter, no editing – using portrait mode, studio lighting mono.

Lenses Right, hmm, cough…..I dropped the ball when it came to lenses. Don’t ask me why, don’t hate on me. I could have, should have and could afford to (at the time) invest in the Pro range from Olympus. I didn’t. There is a remarkable difference in sharpness between Olympus’ standard lenses and their ‘blue ring’ Pro range. SO – I do have a 60mm f2.8 Macro Pro Lens – it’s beautiful and yields some amazingly sharp results and a good focal length. Apart from that its standard lenses. NOW the reason is….Underwater housings are SUPER expensive. I do ALOT of underwater shooting and if I could afford to spend twice as much as I did on a camera on a housing I could jump at an Ikelite or Nauticam rig. But I can’t, so more on my UW housing later but lets just say its lens port is fixed and therefore the only lenses that will fix are the 60mm Macro and the STD 12-50mm. Having said that, this isn’t an awful lens. I can obtain some acceptable images with this within my landscape/seascape/street shooting. But, I have definitely seen a difference in the Pro lenses, so on my wish list is the 12-100mm f4 Pro for MOST of my shooting (amazing lens for travel)! And the 17mm f1.8 for street/everyday/portrait. If you’re reading Olympus, I will take them! Oh, I also have the STD 40mm-150mm which, when setup properly and used correctly is not too bad, and the 15mm f8 body lens…..for fun.

Tripod ProMaster Professional – Basic Head A pretty standard tripod to be honest. Nothing really special. One of the legs is removable so that it can be used as a monopod. It’s relatively light and very compact so it good for travel. But to be honest there are better options out there like the Manfrotto BeFree.

Filters – I have always used Cokin filters, I find them reasonable and the price point is very good in comparison to Lee or NiSi – However, they are FAR superior so you get what you pay for! I have the Cokin Circular Polariser – by far the most used filter in my bag! I also have a 2 stop soft GND, a 2 stop medium GND and some shockingly bag cheap full NDs that NEVER make it out of the bag. See my other post, DO NOT BUY CHEAP FILTERS!

Off Camera Cable Release – I don’t actually own a dedicated camera release. My solution is to use either, the Olympus app on my phone (which I currently rarely do, but will be experimenting with this soon) or normally I use my TriggerTrap. This is great! I attach my phone to my camera using the TriggerTrap and then use the TriggerTrap app on my phone to operate the shutter however I want. There are a number of features to the app. See my other post, TriggerTrap Shooting.

Accessories and Cleaning – I can not stress the importance of keeping your gear clean and tidy enough! Check out a blog I wrote on this here, Keep Your Gear Clean! You’re going to invest a lot into your gear, if you haven’t already then you will! Don’t ruin it by being complacent when it comes to cleaning and storing. In any bag I carry I’ll always make sure I have: * A blower * Cleaning/Lens cloths * Lens cleaner or wipes * A soft bristle brush * A micro fibre/anti static/lint free cloth (at least one) These classify as essentials. If you are shooting around water especially sea spray then you NEED cleaning materials. Don’t ruin all that planning, expense and hard work just because you can’t sufficiently remove a droplet of salt water from your lens! I always make sure I have at least 2 spare batteries. My GoPro and iPhone have internal batteries to I make sure I have their relevant cables and some adapters (ie for a car, wall socket etc) so that I can charge them up from where ever I might find myself. So that is about it! Not a whole heap of gear. I’ll do another blog on my computing etc. I have a MacBook Air 11″ but I mainly use (as in 90% use) my iPad Pro with Pencil (that’s how I write my blogs etc). I hope you enjoyed this article!

Travelling light gives me a great sense of freedom. Without being weighed down by too much gear my complete focus can be on 1) enjoying the experience of my new destination and getting the most out of my time there and 2) making sure I get the images I am after! There are a few things I consider ‘essentials’ and a few things that I will happily leave at home. But here it is, an inventory of my bag. Please note that I am not sponsored by ANYONE and all this gear has been paid for with my own money!

My bag! LowePro 250 AW – I love this bag, it took me ages to find something that I really like and although there is no 1 perfect bag, I am pretty sure that there is little I can fault about this one. It has a good compartment for all my camera gear, which is reinforced with excellent padding on the base, the rain cover is stored in the bottom and the top has padding plus an exterior pocket. The top section is a very spacious pocket with lots of sections for things like pens, cloths, keys etc and there is also an exterior pocket here too. The shoulder straps are extremely comfortable and (thanks to Thomas Heaton) I discovered recently that the waist strap is removable which has been a game changer!

My bag – on location…..coffee is an essential.

I also have a small bag which I’ll take when travelling ultra light, ie hiking or on a trip not solely focused on photography. This bag easily stores my camera, 1 large lens or 2 small, my spare batteries, GoPro, filters and my knock off gorilla pod!

Camera! I shoot on an Olympus OM-D EM5MKii – its a fantastic camera! You can find the specs here if you’re interested. As far as an upper level, mirrorless camera body goes its great for the money. As far as technology goes its ‘ageing’. BUT I’ll challenge any non-pixel peeping critic to tell me the difference between images shot on this and any other ‘compact’ system when viewed ‘normally’ – I don’t do large prints and mainly shoot for myself and family/friends so the 16mp CMOS sensor enables me to print some decent sized canvases etc, and of course, images on Instagram/Vero and Photobooks cannot be judged so it does me very well! I also shoot ALOT open iPhone. More on these soon! If you’re interested in iPhoneography and its capabilities I encourage you to follow my YouTube, Instagram, Vero and this blog – because I’ll be dedicating a lot of work to this in the coming months and I am very excited about it! I keep up to date with the changes in phones (its easy now with 12 month upgrades etc) so at the time of writing this blog I have an iPhone X and it is superb!

Shot on iPhone X – straight out of camera, no filter, no editing – using portrait mode, studio lighting mono.

Lenses Right, hmm, cough…..I dropped the ball when it came to lenses. Don’t ask me why, don’t hate on me. I could have, should have and could afford to (at the time) invest in the Pro range from Olympus. I didn’t. There is a remarkable difference in sharpness between Olympus’ standard lenses and their ‘blue ring’ Pro range. SO – I do have a 60mm f2.8 Macro Pro Lens – it’s beautiful and yields some amazingly sharp results and a good focal length. Apart from that its standard lenses. NOW the reason is….Underwater housings are SUPER expensive. I do ALOT of underwater shooting and if I could afford to spend twice as much as I did on a camera on a housing I could jump at an Ikelite or Nauticam rig. But I can’t, so more on my UW housing later but lets just say its lens port is fixed and therefore the only lenses that will fix are the 60mm Macro and the STD 12-50mm. Having said that, this isn’t an awful lens. I can obtain some acceptable images with this within my landscape/seascape/street shooting. But, I have definitely seen a difference in the Pro lenses, so on my wish list is the 12-100mm f4 Pro for MOST of my shooting (amazing lens for travel)! And the 17mm f1.8 for street/everyday/portrait. If you’re reading Olympus, I will take them! Oh, I also have the STD 40mm-150mm which, when setup properly and used correctly is not too bad, and the 15mm f8 body lens…..for fun.

Tripod ProMaster Professional – Basic Head A pretty standard tripod to be honest. Nothing really special. One of the legs is removable so that it can be used as a monopod. It’s relatively light and very compact so it good for travel. But to be honest there are better options out there like the Manfrotto BeFree.

Filters – I have always used Cokin filters, I find them reasonable and the price point is very good in comparison to Lee or NiSi – However, they are FAR superior so you get what you pay for! I have the Cokin Circular Polariser – by far the most used filter in my bag! I also have a 2 stop soft GND, a 2 stop medium GND and some shockingly bag cheap full NDs that NEVER make it out of the bag. See my other post, DO NOT BUY CHEAP FILTERS!

Off Camera Cable Release – I don’t actually own a dedicated camera release. My solution is to use either, the Olympus app on my phone (which I currently rarely do, but will be experimenting with this soon) or normally I use my TriggerTrap. This is great! I attach my phone to my camera using the TriggerTrap and then use the TriggerTrap app on my phone to operate the shutter however I want. There are a number of features to the app. See my other post, TriggerTrap Shooting.

Accessories and Cleaning – I can not stress the importance of keeping your gear clean and tidy enough! Check out a blog I wrote on this here, Keep Your Gear Clean! You’re going to invest a lot into your gear, if you haven’t already then you will! Don’t ruin it by being complacent when it comes to cleaning and storing. In any bag I carry I’ll always make sure I have: * A blower * Cleaning/Lens cloths * Lens cleaner or wipes * A soft bristle brush * A micro fibre/anti static/lint free cloth (at least one) These classify as essentials. If you are shooting around water especially sea spray then you NEED cleaning materials. Don’t ruin all that planning, expense and hard work just because you can’t sufficiently remove a droplet of salt water from your lens! I always make sure I have at least 2 spare batteries. My GoPro and iPhone have internal batteries to I make sure I have their relevant cables and some adapters (ie for a car, wall socket etc) so that I can charge them up from where ever I might find myself. So that is about it! Not a whole heap of gear. I’ll do another blog on my computing etc. I have a MacBook Air 11″ but I mainly use (as in 90% use) my iPad Pro with Pencil (that’s how I write my blogs etc). I hope you enjoyed this article!

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I am trained to the highest standards by leading internationally organisation PADI

We had a great experience learning to Dive with Graham.
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Open Water Course, Australia

Graham is attentive and patient. I was quite nervous to try diving but Graham's friendly nature and caring put me at ease and I soon relaxed in the water. I had a great experience!

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DSD, Great Barrier Reef

Graham ran a very efficient day trip to the GBR. All the crew were great and clearly enjoyed working together. Graham's professional but friendly character really came through.

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Snorkel Day Trip, Great Barrier Reef

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