You know how as photographers we go through phases with our gear? For example, I go through phases where if I go to a shoot and I don’t have at least three big lenses, two camera bags, three cases of lights and a tripod that weighs more than my kids, I feel like I’m out there naked.
Well, right now for me, the pendulum has swung completely the other way. Now I’m in my “shoot light” phase, where I’m shooting with just one lens if I can get away with it, a very lightweight (but sturdy), tripod and if I have to bring lights, I want to bring one; preferably a off camera flash, like a Nikon SB-800. OK, maybe two SB-800s, but if I have to bring lightstands, they have to weight less than my daughter’s stuffed animals.
That’s why when I went to David Hobby’s (of the Strobist fame) excellent Off Camera Flash seminar last year (here’s the link to that story), he was speaking to my “less is more” mindset. I went and bought his exact on-location set-up (putting an SB-800 on a super compact, lightweight light stand with a hot shoe adapter clip and firing the flash thru a shoot-through umbrella), and I find myself using it more and more (see this link for more on me using it in the field). That’s a photo the basic rig below.
In fact, I use his rig so often now I bought a few (they’re very inexpensive, which is part of the beauty of it), and I wanted to keep one in my trunk, so I would always have a location lighting kit with me at all times. Anyway, after searching every “real” lighting case, I have found the perfect solution (which isn’t a lighting case at all).
It’s a Hakuba PSTC 100 Tripod Case and I swear this baby rocks!!!! (photo at the top of this post, and below by RC Concepcion). There are five things that make it so perfect if you use a David Hobby kit:
- It’s only 27″ long, 7.5″ high, and 6.5″ wide. It’s just slightly bigger than the lightstand itself, and that was the main challenge; finding a bag that is big enough to hold everything, but not too long, and it has a shoulder strap.
- It’s incredibly light; weighing only 1.92 lbs. (0.870 kg).
- The bag comes with a perfectly sized side-pouch that holds (you guessed it), an SB-800 (or a Canon 580 EX flash). The whole case is padded.
- The bag holds not just one, but TWO full kits easily (2 lightstands, 2 umbrellas, 2 clips, and yes—-two SB-800s, or one SB-800s and a Nikon battery extension pack).
- The price is right; it sells for only $34.95 at B&H (here’s the link).
The case is surprisingly rugged, it’s super-lightweight, and I used it on Friday for a formal bridal shoot, and I was reminded at what a great bag it really is. Anyway, for those of you whose pendulum over to the “less is more” side, like I have, I think you’ll totally dig this bag. As for the David Kit itself, he arranged his kit through Midwest Photo, and here’s the link to their site with the details on all his kits (they now carry 14 different Strobist kits, and I couldn’t figure out which one was the kit I bought back in April. This is an example of the “More is Less” thing in action).
Below is exactly what I bought at the time (and still use today), which is 1-1/2 kits (I didn’t need the 2nd umbrella):
Hope that helps.