No, I’m not referring to one of the accomplices in a robbery. And, I’m not talking about the fellow who puts your groceries in the bag (which doesn’t happen as much these days).
I’m talking about photo bags. You know, those necessary accessories you need to carry gear all over the world. Now, I became seriously interested in photography with the advent of digital. In the early days you couldn’t get a digital SLR and, of course, bags were not a big deal. But then Canon came out with the D30 which, I believe, was three megapixels. Then, came lenses. Then, came bags.
I have come to know that I am a bagaholic. As I travel around making photographs I have discovered that I am not unique. There are many like me. So, here is my story:
As many do, back in the day, I started with LowePro. A great line of bags and a reputable company. I started small and eventually ended up with a rolling backpack. But then airlines started getting stingy with baggage, both by adding cost and by restricting size and weight.
Around the same time, the idea of carrying gear on a belt on my hips, saving my back, led me to Kinesis, a custom designed, almost hand made line of pouches, belts, packs and just about anything you can think of. So now, I am going down two paths. I need a big bag to travel with and a belt system to work out of. This kept me busy for some years.
Fortunately for me, a small group of avid photographers created the company ThinkTank. When I discovered their line of bags I thought I had finally found the solution. First, a big ThinkTank roller. Then, they made a smaller one for regional and international flights. Then, the shoulder bags for more gear and laptops. As my laptop grew to 17 inches, so did my Urban Design collection. Then, they created an innovative belt system with pouches called Skins. These were, of course, must haves. I have finally found the solution.
But still, the rollers were heavy. I kept thinking if this was lighter I could bring another lens. Then later, as I aged, the thoughts went to lifting it into the overhead.
One day, several years ago, I was on safari in Africa with my friend Andy Biggs and he showed us a bag he had designed. He called it a Kiboko, and boy, it was only 4 pounds light! It also had some innovative features for safari photography and I said to myself, I finally have found the solution. Andy said he had started a bag company which came to be known as Gura Gear to make an entire line. Just think, an entire line….
And now, here I sit with a closet full of bags. But, I can now carry the extra lens.
The story isn’t over. I’m getting too old to carry the big lenses and camera bodies. And, along come mirrorless cameras. I have invested in a small kit to see if the transition can be made and still get the killer images. But all this gear is much smaller than the 35mm stuff. Ah, I need more bags. So, I discovered an old bag company with small lightweight bags, Tenba. But only a small backpack and laptop bag. I now have control.
Bottom line for this bagaholic. I now use the Gura Bataflae bag to transport gear, a Kinesis belt with ThinkTank Skins pouches to work out of and the closet has overflowed into dresser drawers. But, I think I have finally found the solution…
....I wonder what LowePro is up to?......