||A backpack-type camera bag will hold a lot of equipment.
The one at right is holding a 400mm lens, two additional lenses, 2
camera bodies, a flash, and some other equipment. Foam-padded
dividers, held in place by velcro, separate and protect the components.
Disadvantage? I'd hard to get to the equipment when its on your
back. Advantage? You can carry a lot of equipment a long way.
||Always have extra batteries with you, both for the camera and
for the flash. Photo batteries are becoming more common in
drugstores and grocery stores, but they still aren't as common as
regular flashlight batteries.
||Because camera batteries are so expensive, and because modern cameras
use so much energy, battery packs are useful accessories.
The one at right uses 4 AA batteries, which are widely available.
It can also use rechargeable batteries. The battery pack itself
forms a vertical grip with its own shutter release, making the camera
easier to hold in a vertical position.
||The holster-type camera bag has much to recommend it. It
can be worn on a belt or harness, or carried by its own shoulder
strap. These models can also be attached to the hip belt of the
backpack-type camera bag (above) or the fanny pack (below). The
larger one at the right will hold a professional SLR with a 400mm lense
and 1.4x extender attached and ready to shoot. The smaller one
will hold a similar camera body and 1 100-300mm zoom.
||Don't forget your manuals. Modern cameras are complicated
enough that everyone needs a refresher now and then. In addition
to the camera manual, you may want to purchase an aftermarket book on
your camera for a perspective slightly different than the
manufacturer's. If the manual is small, you can carry it in your
camera bag (wrapped in a ziplock bag); if it is larger you may want to
photocopy key pages.
||Forget that thin, woven-fabric, tie-it-on the camera strap that came
with your camera. Get a good neoprene camera strap that cushions
the neck, absorbs both shock and sweat, and which has a quick release
(blue arrows) for when the strap is just getting in the way.
||The fanny pack-style camera bag is a good way to go into the
field with an intermediate load of equipment. This bag is shown
with a camera body (and attached lens), two additional lenses, and a
flash. It has a shoulder strap for stability and comes with an
integral waterproof cover (stored in a pocket underneath) and a
detachable backpack. You can also mount camera holster cases to
this fanny pack's belt.
||Flash Extenders attach to a flash unit and focus the light beam
more tightly. This works well with telephoto lenses which have a
narrower angle of view. A flash extender allows the flash to be
used with a telephoto lens at a greater distance. The Fresnel lens
on the front also makes a great firestarter in survival
situations. Also available are Flash Diffusers (not shown) which
adapt a flash to work with wide-angle lenses.
||Some cameras allow you to interchange the focusing screen
mounted above the camera's mirror. The two shown here are
particularly helpful in composition. The top one has a grid used
to make sure the camera is level and that the subject is properly
framed. The lower one has scales useful for determining
magnification ratios in macro or microscopic work.
||A gray card is very useful for metering. If you carry it in the
field, be sure to protect it with plastic. Your skin will do in a
||Smaller than the fanny pack shown above, this lens pack mounts
to a belt/harness system (along with the camera holsters shown
above). It holds 3 medium-sized lenses, or, as shown here, 2
lenses and a flash. Used in combo with one or two holsters, it is
a light way to carry a smaller complement of equipment into the field.
||Special lens cleaning cloth can be used to remove fingerprints
and some spots from multicoated lenses. The cloths can be washed
and reused. They are much more effective than handkerchiefs or the
tail of your shirt. For instructions on using them, click
||At the bottom of this lens pen is a brush used to remove dust
and grit from a lens; at the top is a tip of a special rubber compound
that can safely polish away grease and spots on multicoated
lenses. For instructions on using it, click
||Loupes are used on the light table to examine slides and
negatives. They vary in magnification; 8x is about the
larges that can view a whole slide at once. The plastic base sits
right on the slide; this model has a scale at the bottom for measuring.
||Macro sliders (focusing rails) allow you to more easily position the
camera when doing close up work on a tripod or a copystand. The two
knobs allow you to move the camera towards or away from the subject (to
help focus) or laterally (to help compose). The movements are much
more precise and controllable than the adjustments of most tripods or
||The pocket bouncer clips on to your flash and bounces the light
towards the subject. This diffuses harsh flash light. It
does mean you will have to be closer to your subject, however.
||Reflectors are used to bounce light back into areas of heavy
shade. A bit unwieldy in the field, but still useful. These
models fold into small pockets for easy carrying; the one that is open
shoes a gold face that "warms" the reflected light.
|Remote Shutter Releases
||Remote shutter releases allow you to fire the shutter without
jarring the camera. The one on the left also has timer and
intervalometer functions built into it. The small unit in the
center is an infrared wireless remote. Longer range
radio-controlled releases are also available.
||A good tripod is an essential for photography, especially telephoto
work. Tripods can also be useful for macro work, as the tripod to
the right illustrates. All things being equal, get the heaviest
tripod you can carry (although there are a few very sturdy, light
tripods on the market).
||There are a number of accessories for the viewfinder. Not shown
are diopter inserts which match your prescription and allow you
to see the viewfinder without glasses. Pictured here is an angle
finder, useful when the camera is in an awkward position (near the
ground or on a microscope). The unit in the middle is an adapter,
and the unit to the right is a magnifier that clips into the
adapter and magnifies the central part of the viewfinder.
||Waterproof cases are useful for underwater camera gear (which, one
assumes, will be used near water). They are also good for carrying
"normal" gear near water, or as nearly indestructible cases
for airline or backcountry travel. Some models are lined with
"pluck and fit" foam, others have fabric camera bags
Hint: When traveling, encase your waterproof
camera bag in an old duffle bag as a disguise.
||Cars make excellent blinds for observing wildlife; window mounts
such as the one shown here make it easier to hold the camera
steady. The clamp on the bottom fits over the glass of the
window. Mounted on the clamp is a ball head; it
swivels to allow the camera to be aimed quickly; then the ball head is
locked by turning a single knob. On top of the ball head is a quick
release plate. It latches onto a reciprocal plate mounted on
the bottom of a camera or lens and allows the camera or lens to be
quickly mounted or removed from the ball head. Ball heads are
often commonly used on tripods.