Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's in the Bag?

The previous post mentioned a “truly portable studio kit” and gave a sneak peak at the bag. This posting will dive into the bag and introduce you to what I consider an essential kit for anyone who needs portability. In this posting you will get an overview with a list of contents. In the followup postings, I will be going through each item to report on why it is there, what I like about it and what I don't like about it.

The Bag
As I said before, no matter how much equipment I collect, I find myself time and again coming back to the single umbrella setup. The portability and flexibility make it the perfect choice for travel, location, and informal lighting setups. This is the basis for a most portable, but incredibly flexible lighting kit.

The careful observer will recognize that this is actually a paintball marker bag. The kit fits into my carry-on rolling bag and still leaves enough room for a few days worth of clothing. I purchased the bag at the local Walmart for $20.

What's Inside

Okay, now that you've seen the outside, let's open it up and see what all is on the inside. This is it with everything packed. Even though I tout it as a one light kit, it actually contains two lights and two umbrellas as well as a backlight stand. As we all know, you gotta have a spare of everything and this kit does just that. The spares are not clones, but will do the job in a pinch, so that any one component can fail without killing the session. It might mean resorting to ball bungees, but the show will go on.

Here is the big picture with everything spread out so you can see it. Next we will go item by item with a justification for everything you see. What amazes me is that all this fits inside the 21”x 3”x 10” paintball marker bag.

A Closer Look
Now that you've seen the kit, over the next several posting we will be taking a closer look at each set of items and talk about their purpose in life. Not everything in this kit is an absolute necessity. Someone else might have a very different view on what should or should not be included. This is of course a subjective and personal choice that needs tailoring to an individual's needs. The above kit represents general purpose lighting that could span anything from a small family event to a full-blown wedding.

Since all this will be covered later in more detail, for now I would like to simply list the contents of the kit. Do note that some of these link to Amazon in case you are interested in purchasing.
  1. Vivitar 285HV & Vivitar 285 (non-HV, an older version)
  2. Lastolite 12-Inch EZ Balance collapsible white balance disc
  3. Westcott 43 inch Compact Convertible Umbrella
  4. Photoflex 30" Convertible Umbrella
  5. LumoPro LP604 Light Stand (an alternative twin is the Bogen/Manfrotto 5001B Nano Stand)
  6. Calumet MF6020 Backlight Stand
  7. Swivel Mounts
  8. RF-602 Wireless Trigger
  9. CTR-301P Triggers (the backup plan)
  10. JTL 2409 High Voltage Battery Pack (for fast recycling with the Vivitar 285HV)
  11. Adapter cord to lash the 285HV with the high voltage battery (Quantum Turbo compatible)
  12. Spare Batteries. I have been well pleased with the Sony batteries and charger, and also with the Energizer batteries
  13. Color filters and neutral density filters (I'm missing CTO & CTB filters). Here's a kit with useful colors, ND, CTO, & CTB filters
  14. Medium and small plastic spring clamps
  15. Ball Bungees

Coming Next
Stay tuned for the additional postings covering this stuff in more detail. I promise to try and be much quicker with getting these finished. Truth is, I started this posting as one large article and after getting it near completion, realized that you need to see more photos of some of these things so you can really get a good feel for what they look like. Rather than delay this post any longer, the choice was to get this part out as an introduction and overview, then detail the items with additional postings. I will link the articles progressively to make it easy to start with the intro and link on through to the last post. If anyone knows a way to automatically link postings together, please leave a comment!

That's it for now, until next time...



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing!


Your comments are greatly appreciated, but please be kind. Kudos are always welcome! Please note that due to comment spamming, all comments are moderated, so it may take a little while before yours appears on the page.