Packing My Bag: Annual Orchid Festival

Tomorrow is the first day of the Annual Orchid Festival held at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. I first visited the gardens during the 2012 running of the Orchid Festival and fell in love; orchids happen to be my favorite flower and we were on a sightseeing trip to Philadelphia when we heard about the festival. I was completely blown away by the amazing job the gardeners did with the variety and color of the orchids and knew I'd be back for more. In fact, I loved it so much that I've been back to Longwood several times since and have become a garden member. You can see some of my prints from previous visits to Longwood Gardens in my Nature Gallery.

I've been counting down the days until the Orchid Festival for weeks and with the wait almost over, it is time to pack up and get ready for a full day of macro photography. When I was starting out in photography I'd read about what other photographers carried on a shoot, so for the first time I thought I'd offer you a sneak preview into my bag as I prepare for a day of shooting.

Before I dive in, let me set the stage..... the festival is held inside the large conservatory at Longwood Gardens, so I don't need lots of cold weather gear. At the same time, because it's held indoors, it's hard to get a tripod setup with all the people. For this reason, I depend on hand holding the camera all day and want to keep my camera bag as slim as possible to keep people from hitting me as they walk past. I also know that I might want to take a few non-macro shots outside the conservatory, so I always pack a few other lenses in case a good opportunity presents itself.

Equipment in the Bag:

  • Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens
  • Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 medium telephoto lens
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8D portrait lens (for infrared)
  • Nikon 1.7x teleconverter
  • Kenko extension tube set (will pull out and use routinely during the day)
  • Polarizer, Infrared filter, variety of neutral density filters (mostly for use outside the conservatory)
  • Extra batteries for the flashes
  • Extra memory cards (in a Think Tank carrying case)
  • Hoodman loupe for checking my work
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Wireless camera trigger
  • Pen
  • Business cards
  • Granola bar
  • Rain cover for the bag
  • The bag is a Think Tank Shape Shifter (previously reviewed in my blog)

In my Hands:

  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon 105mm macro lens
  • External battery grip
  • Really Right Stuff L bracket
  • Nikon SB-700 flash mounted to Really Right Stuff bracket (acts as a fill flash and commander)
  • Nikon R1 flash kit 
  • Off brand TTL cable from camera to SB-700

The R1 flashes are commanded by the SB-700. I have extra batteries for all of the above and the entire system is very modular, allowing me to position the light in an infinite number of combinations. 

Once you are done packing all your equipment, I highly recommend double checking that you have fully charged batteries and that all your memory cards are in the camera and formatted.