— Dane Creek

What’s In My Bag: Storm 2015 Edition

The 2015 Seattle Storm season kicks off tomorrow night and that means it’s time to go through my camera bags to make sure everything is ready to go. While doing so I laid everything out on a tattered white backdrop covered in dog fur and snapped a few pictures.

If you’ve ever wondered what I haul with me to every Storm game… wonder no more. Here’s a walkthrough, bag by bag.

Main Bag: ThinkTank Airport Navigator Rolling Camera Bag

The ThinkTank Airport Navigator is my primary bag that carries all of my core shooting gear. I love this bag. I’ve had it for years and traveled all over the place with it. I’ve even off-wheeled it in Moab, UT, on a photo workshop! Wheels are awesome, and despite its relatively small size it carries a TON of gear:

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Here’s a rundown of everything in the photo above:

Laptop: This year I’m using a Samsung ATIV 9 Book Plus. It’s slim, sleek, has a touch-screen, and sadly is woefully underpowered for driving Lightroom. For storage I’m using a Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD that connects to the laptop with a StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5 SATA III adapter cable. Cards are offloaded using a StarTech USB 3.0 Multi Media Flash Memory Card Reader.

Cameras: This bag carries a Canon 1DX (new to me this year) and a Canon 5D Mk III. These are my two primary bodies for carrying around the arena on a Black Rapid Double camera strap.

Lenses: My primary lenses for game work are a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, Canon 24-70 F/2.8 II, and Canon 17-40 f/4.0L. Two of the three lenses have rubber lens hoods on them per WNBA rules. I really should pick up a third…

“Film”: This year I’m using Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB cards as my primary “film” for RAW images captured during the game. I also have several 16GB variants as the second card in the 1DX body to offload low-res JPEGs to the Storm after each quarter, and a whole bunch of Transcend 8GB SD cards that serve the same purpose in the 5D Mk III.

Lighting: I always carry two Canon 600-EX RT flashes, a Canon ST-E3-RT wireless transmitter, a bunch of gels, a weird mini softbox that I never use, and two flash feet. I never know when I’ll need extra light and having the flashes along for the ride has saved me many, many, times.

Batteries: You can never have enough batteries. I’ve got four spares for the 5D Mk III, and more spare AA and AAAs than I can count. Keep in mind that in addition to the batteries you see laid out, each body and all the flashes also have charged batteries in them.

Hearing protection: I value my hearing. #stormcrazies are loud. I always wear hearing protection at games. I’ve always used disposable Howard Leight LL1 Laser Lite Earplugs and I carry a fist full of them in my bag at all times. This year I’m trying something new though, a pair reusable of Surefire Ear Pro Sonic Defenders.

Odds and ends: The bag also carries a hex key (I always need one and can never find it), a small roll of mini gaffer tape, an HDMI and Ethernet dongle for my laptop, a lenspen in case I stick my finger on a lens.

Here’s what all the above looks like packed into the ThinkTank:

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Grip Bag: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

Yep, you read that right. After years of searching for the perfect grip bag I found it at one of the largest online gun accessories stores in the world. The MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag is huge, has lots of pockets, and is the perfect bag to carry all my remote camera gear.

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Here’s a rundown of everything in the photo above:

Cameras: I have another 5D Mk III in this bag solely for use as a remote camera, typically mounted to the post of the backboard but sometimes higher up or on a floor plate. The camera’s modified with two keyrings through where you’d attach a camera strap so I have a mounting point for…

Safety cables: I do not want to be the photographer that’s known for his camera falling off onto the court during a game. That big mess of cables in the top leff of the image? Eight safety cables.

Mounting arms: To mount the camera I have two Manfrotto Variable Friction Magic Arms with the camera mounting attachment and five super clamps (some are Manfrotto, some are knock-offs). I used to have six super clamps. I seem to be missing one. Sigh.

Mounting plates: Occasionally I do a floor remote. Instead of futzing with hacked solutions I bought a proper floor plate from fplate.net. It’s fantastic. The camera mounts to the plate using a Really Right Stuff BH-30 compact ball head.

Triggers: I trigger the remote camera with two Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs. They attach to the camera with FlashZebra Coiled Shutter Cables. I also carry two coiled cords that can attach to my 600EX-RT flashes just in case, and a very long PC cord also just in case. I mount the remote camera trigger to a magic arm using the absolutely awesome FlashZebra Remote Transceiver Caddy V3. It’s awesome. If you own a PocketWizard you need one.

Odds and ends: I have a set of hex wrenches in metric and SAE sizes  (I always need one and can never find it), a giant roll of gaffer tape, and a collection of spuds that really just sit in my bag and are never used. Oh, and spare batteries. Always more spare batteries.

Many of the above items are organized into glorious bags my mom sent me for Christmas, custom embroidered on her fancy embroidery machine with what’s inside. I have one for spuds, one for safety cables, one for the pocket wizards and associated cables, and one unmarked one that I use for some super clamps.

Here’s what the bag looks like all zipped up with everything inside:

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Sorry there’s no photo of it open, but I forgot to take one. Oops.

Big Lens Bag: Lowepro Lens Case

I have one piece of gear that won’t fit in the above bags: my Canon 300mm f/2.8. That lives in a Lowepro Lens Case with one very important additional item:

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Yup. Another hex key.  I always need one and can never find it.

Anyway, there you have it. That’s what’s in my bags for the Storm 2015 season. Go Storm!