9-November-2007 : The All In One Camera, Lights, Computer Carry On Bag

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com — E-Mail: fish@fishfoto.com

9-November-2007 : The All In One Camera, Lights, Computer Carry On Bag

I have written about my Think Tank Airport Addicted Backpack (www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtAddctd.php) many times before, so it must be no shock for those who know me to see this bag being repurposed and used for a different gear set up.

Over the next few weeks I need to shoot a series of images of four Oncology Nurses for a national book project. The nurses I need to photograph are in New York, Boston, Illinois and Indiana. With my first shoot today in New York I decided to create a full kit that I could easily take to all four locations and carry in a single legal carry on bag. These shoots involve a mix of United Airlines planes, Amtrak trains, the subway and rental cars (OK, using a rental car isn’t a big deal. I could load up three cases of gear for a rental car and it wouldn’t be a big deal).

My basics were simple in theory, to create a simple one bag kit for all four shoots that I could use as a carry on four flights, easily throw overhead on the train and wear on my back on the subway. First off I laid out all the basic gear I thought I’d need on my kitchen table. After this I took out overlapping gear, heavy gear, and any lens that I just thought would be a waste of space and additional weight. Once this was done I pulled my bags out, backpacks and rolling bags (which reminds me, I really need to get the Think Thank Airport Security bag www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtScrty.php ) and as has occurred many times before , there was only one logical choice………………you guessed it the Think Tank Airport Addicted Backpack.

My backpack has flow hundreds of thousands of miles. It has been set for many different uses. This is however the first time I have used the bag as an all-in-one camera gear + lighting gear + laptop bag.

After today’s venture down to New York I am looking forward to putting it through it’s paces on some United 737-300s and 757-200s and seeing how it goes.

The complete backpack kit contains the following

2 – Nikon SB-28dx Speedlights
2 – Bogen 3373 Compact Lightstands
2 – Pocket Wizard Receivers
1 – Pocket Wizard Transmitter
2 – PC Cords (Pocket Wizard to Nikon SB-28dx)
2 – PhotoFlex Q39 soft boxes
8 – PhotoFlex mini-rods (for soft boxes)
2 – PhotoFlex Speedrights (with tic-tac-toe patterned rubber bands to hold Nikon SB-28dx lights in place)
2 – Calumet Swivel Adapters
2 – Spare Sets Of “AA” Batteries
1 – Sheet of Cinefoil (to make snoot)
1 – Small Roll of Black Gaffers Tape
1 – Black/White Gobo

Camera Gear:
2 – Canon 1D Series Bodies (1D/1Ds)
4 – Canon 1D Batteries
1 – ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket (SportsShooter Edition)
10 – CF Cards (in Pixel Pocket Rocket)
1 – Canon 14f2.8L
1 – Canon 24f1.4L
1 – Canon 24f3.5L TS-E (Tilt Shift)
1- Canon 50f1.4USM
1 – Canon 85f1.2L
1 – Canon 16-35f2.8L
1 – Canon 28-70f2.8L
1 – Modified Holga Lens (modified to fit Canon EOS mount)

Computer Gear (not pictured)
– Apple 15″ PowerBook
– Apple power supply
– Lexar USB 2.0 CF Card Reader
– USB 2.0 Cord
– 60gb iPod Video
– Sennheiser Noise Canceling Headsets
– 10 DVD Sleeve (movies of course)

Below are a few photos of the Think Tank Airport Addicted Backpack (ignore the orange cat hair in the first photo, one of my cats loves to sleep on this bag). The photos show the closed back, open bag fully packed and open bag with the light stands and soft boxes moved out of the way. The laptop stuff is in the “rear computer compartment” and travels in the handy Think Tank’s laptop case.

The other two photos are images of my lighting set up and a photo shot during today’s shoot for the book project.

Have any questions? Feel free to e-mail me at fish@flyingwithfish.com

Interested in a hands on learning experience that will teach you how to travel quickly, efficiently , effectively and work through your jet lag? Please visit www.comeflywithfish.com

Happy Flying!

–Click On Images To Enlarge Them–
a black bag with a chain on the side a bag with golf clubs inside a close-up of a bag

a woman sitting in a chair a woman in a white coat


  1. Fish,

    Great post. I came back to this – I’m about to leave on a trip, wanted to see your thinking.

    Why did you decide to use the softboxes instead of convertible shoot-through umbrellas? Any thoughts?

    With the convertibles, you’d have the choice of reflected or shoot-through, which gives a softbox appearance.

  2. Bill

    I choose to use the PhotoFlex softboxes over any umbrella system for a few reasons. The first and primary reason is that a softbox takes up considerably less space when packing. There is no umbrella on the market that could possibly fold down to the side of a packed soft box.

    Additionally umbrellas are more fragile than a softbox, and when working outside an umbrella can catch wind and take off. While a softbox can catch wind, it is easy to weigh down , even laying the bag on the tripod legs, to make it more usable out doors.

    So for me, it is purely for practical purposes that I choose softboxes


  3. Barry:

    The coloured tape, now all pink, on my gear serves a practical purpose. When I put a black lens cap down it is easy to lose or misplace, even when in a bag. By sticking bright pink tape on everything when I pack up to go to a shoot, or set up at a shoot, or pack up and leave a hotel room, it is nearly impossible to miss the coloured tape and leave something behind.

    I use the tape on my bodies and lenses as well for when i am shooting news and sports. I used to make my living entirely from news and sports and all the photogs essentially have the same gear. By taping the gear it is easy to quickly identify which gear is mine and not confuse it with another shooters equipment.

    Hope that explains it!


  4. Fish:
    Thanks for this excellent info. I have purchased the Pelican 1510 and now picked up a Mountainsmith backpack based on your guidance. I am hoping also pick up the Photoflex softboxes and speed ring that you reference in this post. Would you be able to post a link to the specific Photoflex items you are using? I have found them very difficult to identify the size and source. Thanks again for all of the great info!

  5. fish, this’ll sound like a strange question for something so simple, but i can’t find a source for the flat cd/dvd sleeve you use. the only alternatives i’ve found are the booklet type things that take up too much space in my bag. can you help ?

    james madelin

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