The Mission: My mission was to see how many essentials I could cram into a Think Tank Speed Changer 200 pack. After some thought, my list of must carries grew longer and longer, but so far, I've included the following:
- 1 (or 2) Nikon SB-80 DX Speedlight/s: I prefer to use SB-80s when shooting Fujis. While there is no TTL automation, they do offer the older, non TTL flash exposure automation, which has worked reasonably well outdoors as fill lighting. In a pinch, I could exchange one speedlight for a SD-8A battery pack. By installing two padded dividers in the Think Tank bag, I was able to position the two SB-80s at either end of the bag, leaving room in the middle compartment for:
- 1 Neutered Nikon SC-17 Flash Cable: Cables are a quick way to achieve an improved, off-camera look to one's photos. The neutered cable eliminates any possible conflicts when attaching a Nikon speedlight to any camera that has an ISO standard hot shoe and will tolerate a flash triggering voltage of approximately 8 volts.
- 1 Nikon Diffusion Dome: One SW-10H Wide Angle Flash Adapter fits neatly at the bottom.
- 1 12-Pack of AA Batteries: This inexpensive plastic box holds enough batteries to completely change out three speedlights, or one plus a Nikon SD-8a Battery Pack.
- 1 Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer: Just in case I need to soften my key light a bit. I include a LumiQuest UltraStrap to attach it. For the moment, I've given up on putting Velcro directly on my speedlights. I wrap the Ultra Strap around the Bouncer to keep things neat.
- 1 Geppe Card Safe with 2 SD and 2 CF cards.
- Pre-cut Gels: I carry CTO gels cut to the size required by the SB-80s.
- 1 strip Gaffer Tape. I cut a 6" strip to a width of 1 1/4" and stick it to the waxed paper backing from sheets of adhesive mailing labels. By "notching" the tape at 1/2" intervals, I can tear off "stitches" of tape for attaching loose CC gels to a speedlight.
- Nikon AS-19 Stand: These stands come with with the higher-end Nikon Speedlights. May not work with the SB-900.
- 2 Fuji Batteries: I carry one for the X100 cameras and one for the X-E and X-T bodies.
- Microfiber Lens Wiping Cloth.
- 1 Cardboard Snoot: Made from a spaghetti box, a la David Hobby.
- 2 pens (I might lose one).
- 1 Moleskine (mini) Journal: Hey, it was a gift. Seriously, any paper will do to record the names of my subjects when in the field.
- Business Cards/Contact Cards: I never seem to have them on me, so now there is no excuse.
- 1 Swiss Army Knife: Any variant will do,as long as it has a pair of scissors.
- Anti Bacterial Hand Wipes (Wet Ones). Just a few. I have plenty in my car's glove box.
- Mini-Maglight Flashlight: These were all the rage when they first came out, and I literally have a dozen of them floating about the house. I modified mine to take a push button switch for one-hand operation, and a Krypton bulb for brightness.
Irving Penn (1917-2009) Theatre Accident, 1947
Fully packed, this bag weighs about thee pounds and is difficult to attach to a dress belt. My next problem is how to simplify attaching the bundle without the appearance of a struggle. I may wind up attaching the bag to a wide, load bearing web belt, thus converting my original concept of a quick backup bag into a superhero's utility belt. In time, I may trim back on the bag's contents, but in the mean time, I'll have more than enough great stuff securely attached to my waist.