My bag has changed greatly over the years, but living outside of Seattle it as always been less of a street bag and more of a hiking bag. Remember this is the Pacific Northwest so the ideal walkabout with your camera involves seeing a lot of trees, moss, mountains, and raindrops, but few if any people.
Back in the 80s there was no bag at all, just a Pentax ME Super with a 50 mm lens slung over the shoulder as you hiked up the trail. (http://63alfred.smugmug.com/Shootingfilm/Cameras/Pentax-ME-Super). Then came children and the SLR was abandoned for point-and-shoot cameras for over 15 years. Finally back in 2004 with the kids getting older (now they are in college and graduated) the time was right for serious photography again, this time of course with a DSLR instead of a SLR. Thousands and thousands of shots in dimly lit gyms and family vacations primarily with a Nikon D70, Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8, and Nikon 85mm f1.8 helped me regain skills and enjoyment in photography lost in the “camerless years.”
With the kids grown, my wife and I can return to our serious hiking days and I found the best bag to do it. In the meantime another diversion. I was taking my D70 into a local camera shop to get it fixed (for UV photography experiments but that is another story) and the 70-something owner could not resist showing me his shop. It was a tiny space but packed full of old cameras of every shape and size. Needless to say a week later when I came back for my D70 I could not help but leave with a beautiful Nikon F4 and Nikon FE also in hand. Needless to say for the last few months the digital camera has been resting as I reestablish a relationship with film.
Well how about the current incarnation of this bag. Not all of this travels on all trips, but when it does the bag is pushing 25 to 30 lbs.
The Bag. A Lowepro Pro Trekker purchased off Craigslist, check that actually traded with a guy off Craigslist for another bag I had. Craigslist in Seattle is great if you know what you are looking for.
The Big Lens. Nikon 500mm f4P. A manual lens that just barely fits in the bag. If the elevation gain of the hike is more than 800 ft this big boy is left at home lest I have a heart attack. But the shots are worth it: http://63alfred.smugmug.com/Nikkor-ED-500mm-14P
Cameras. Nikon F4 and/or Nikon FE and the trusty D300 that you see sheepishly peaking around the corner of the bag. I now appreciate film much more than I thought I would but for wildlife shots, especially moving ones, the D300 is still my first choice.
Other Lenses. Currently Nikon 35-70mm f2.8 and Nikon 300mm f4. Both very sharp and both again off Craigslist. My trusty old Nikon 70-200 f2.8 is still sharper, but the 300 has replaced it currently in the bag for its longer range and more importantly much lighter weight.
Rounding out the camera accessories in the bag. A Manfrotto aluminum tripod with Wimberley Head (mainly for the 500mm) and a modified Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom. Obviously the longer the hike the higher the probably the Manfrotto will be replaced by the Joby in the bag.
And last but not least the real necessities to ensure that you make it back home safe and sound. Headgear, either a Patagonia Booney or my Akubra, a compass (hopefully with a map not shown), an altimeter, and a first aid kit for those inevitable cuts and bruise on the trail.
All of this thrown in the back of the Subaru wagon the vehicle of choice here to get up the mountains in all weather.
Some of my shots can be seen at: http://63alfred.smugmug.com/The-Best-Shots
Resent foray back into film seen at: http://63alfred.smugmug.com/Shootingfilm/Film
Can be followed, if people actually do that, at: https://plus.google.com/108160569228914160735/posts
Some recent hiking shots at: https://plus.google.com/114986038071054471357/posts
Thanks for reading
Thanks for sharing your gear with us John. Interesting to hear how your bag evolved.
Check out the links and make sure you come and comment.
Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on Japancamerahunter.com. Send me a hi resolution image of the bag (please make sure it is horizontal) and its contents, with some details about yourself and what you shoot. Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here. Please understand that there is a long wait now as there is a backlog of submissions. Not all make the cut, so make sure yours is funny/interesting/quirky. And please make sure the shot is of good quality, as the ones that are not do not go up.