I'm traveling up to Petoskey, Michigan to shoot a fashion job this week. It's pretty straightforward, full length, on white backdrop stuff, but working up in a town that barely has a Radio Shack let alone a real camera store has its challenges as far as gear goes.

And lately, I've been paring down on the amount of stuff I take for any job. One lens instead of three, three lights instead of six, and using a C-stand as a backdrop support-it all saves weight, time, and my assistants back from lifting heavy bags.




But when you have to bring the whole studio with you, it changes your packing list. This is nine bags-light stands, c-stands, video tripod, follow focus rig, six heads in two cases, lenses, bodies and laptops in another two, small modifiers, and then six or so softboxes with assorted speedrings for the two types of lights I use, and 40lbs of sandbags.

This isn't even including the 9' roll of backdrop paper that has to squeeze into my cars 9' 1" main cabin, touching the windshield. 

But what amuses me the most about the setup is where all the bags come from. Most of my gear is as old as my career, some of it was even brought back from my first year of work. The lightstand bag now holds only two c-stands, and a thrift shop golf club bag now holds light stands and grip, including the backdrop kit, tripod and boom arm. It's a rolling case, and probably the heaviest bag to move. 

The pelican case holds two Profoto heads and a 1200 Acute pack ever so nicely, but no room for anything else. A Calumet rolling suitcase holds the four White Lightnings, cords and all the extension cords for the job.

For this job, I'll be shooting some video as well, which means an additional Manfrotto tripod, the backpack with follow focus and all its accessories, and even a Vagabond Lithium battery so I can get extended shooting times without swapping batteries, it just hooks onto the shoulder support and I plug in the camera body and the screen. 

With this setup, you can light anything under the sun, even at high noon. The only thing missing are the two additional Vagabond II batteries that I would take if we actually had to work outside. 

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