Keep It Light
Keep It Light
Tips & photographs by Sonny Thakur
Preparing for an assignment by packing the right gear will help you stay out in the field longer and take more photos. Here are some pointers to help you cover everything you need, while keeping you light on your feet.
Lightweight, stretchable, breathable, and quick-drying fabrics are your friends. If you can rotate between a couple of shirts while on the field, you may be able to save some space. For the Rodeo Masbate story in GRID Issue 01, I handwashed three shirts over the course of 10 days. This saved a lot of room in my pack and allowed me to carry over more rolls of film. Comfortable footwear is also recommended. Do not break in new shoes while on assignment.
Mirrorless cameras are generally lighter and, over the course of a few hours of shooting, will not weigh you down as much as SLRs. Consider weather sealing options if necessary. Drones are now a lot smaller than they used to be, and the space you save by packing right will allow you to take one with you.
Avoid redundancy. If you’re traveling with a zoom lens, you may not need prime lenses that fall within the range of your zoom. I shoot a combination of prime and zooms and will pack a 16-35mm and a 50mm, and zooming in and out beyond that is done on foot when possible.
There is no one perfect pack. Assess the number of days you might be out with just one pack and determine how much needs to go in it. A laptop compartment helps keep things neat. Many camera shops carry bag inserts and customizing your pack to your preference helps you move and access equipment or clothing easily. Hydration packs are optional and have come in handy more times than we can remember.
Pack multiple rugged drives. Redundancy in this case is highly recommended. If you don’t do much post-processing on the field, pack a lightweight laptop to facilitate backups and work on your images at home. Extra card readers, SD cards, CF cards, and cables will always come in handy.
Prepare a checklist before going on an outdoor shoot and make sure you pack everything you need. Packing light does not mean leaving essentials at home, it means making the right choices to allow you to spend more time on the field and bring more images home.