Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Planning for an event (Part 1). -Gear preparation.

This Friday I'm leaving for an annual car event my husband and I attend every year. Aside from the fun of friends, our cars, and the racing, I also enjoy the event as a chance to take some pictures. ...I don't often get a full day's worth of photography in, muchless an entire weekend! So, today (Wednesday) I'm starting to prepare for the photography part of the event, and I thought I'd share my planning with you. Perhaps you can use some of it for your own outtings, or perhaps it'll prompt you to share your ideas in the comments section. So, here goes:

I have a formal checklist I've made that contains all of my photography equipment and other items I've found useful to have in my photography kit. You don't have to make a formal checklist if you aren't a "checklist" kind of person, but you should at least have an idea of what gear you'll be bringing.

Basic questions to ask yourself:
* Which camera body/bodies will you take? (Sometimes it's nice to have both an SLR and a point and shoot)
* Which lens(es) will you need? (Remember you can often rent lenses for Nikons and Canons relatively cheaply if you wish!)
* Accessories? (Filters, extra battery, extra memory, remote shutter release, flash(es), cleaning cloth, rocket blower, whole cleaning kit, props, ???)
* Will you need a tripod? Monopod? Table-top tripod? Gorrilapod?
* Do you need your laptop? (Remember: power cable, network/wireless card, USB cable, memory card reader, memory card adapters, ???)
* Do you need your battery charger as well?

Other things I like to have with me:
* A garbage bag to stuff my camera equipment in if I get stuck in a downpour unexpectedly.
* A piece of black and white cloth to use as backgrounds for macros.
* A pieces of tinfoil, folded up -to use as a reflector for macros.
* A flashlight for seeing camera settings at night (also useful for light painting!)
* Etc. -After I get back from an outing, I usually write stuff down that I wished I had so I can remember to bring it next time.

I have two camera bags right now -one is a Tamrac Velocity 7 sling bag that holds my camera with an attached lens plus 2 other lenses and most of my accessories. I carry this bag daily, it's compact and not too heavy, yet holds enough for me to capture most anything I come across. My other bag is a photo-backpack that will hold my Bigma (50-500mm lens, weights 6lbs by itself!) as well as all my other gear and it also has places on the sides and bottom for tripods, etc.

For this extended weekend trip, I'll be carrying my sling bag most of the time: during the drive there (we caravan with friends), at the car show on Saturday, for the party Saturday night, and for "walking around time" at the track on Sunday. I do plan to spend a good amount of time Sunday with my Bigma on a tripod or monopod, though, so I am bringing my whole kit. -I'll just have to switch out the Bigma and tripod/monopod with my sling bag at the track as needed.

I will also be bringing my laptop for instant viewing as well as for dumping photos onto when I fill up my memory cards. Last year I know I filled up a card a day at least, but I was shooting on RAW + jpeg. Lately I've just been shooting RAW. Still, though, when entire days are potentially filled with photo ops, it's best to be able to dump a card when you need to (or at least have a backup card at hand). I never want to miss a shot because I'm being conservative with the shutter button. The more photos you take, the more chances at a winner. Good photography does take skill, but there are often elements of luck as well no matter how good you are!

So, my planning for what to bring is rather simple, then. I'm bringing everything. :-)

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