Sunday, February 3, 2013

Camera bags are just big pockets

Back in college we searched for a camera bag and at the time the camera bag was simply a premium item given to camera stores to promote a camera brand, or a stiff leather case with handles or a hard aluminum case. They didn't work,so my roommate John M. Flanagan and I decided over Christmas vacation in 1970 to search in St Louis and Denver for army surplus and buy 2 of anything that looked interesting and bring it back to Columbia, where we were both photojopurnalism students at the University of Missouri.

John found an army surplus bag that was a couple of inches thick and 14 inches deep, the ony thing I found was asimply n olive drabe green sack. Unfortunately I thoughtI could find something better and only bought one, John bought two and decided to use them back to back. I kept the sack and simply dumped everything in on-top of everything.

The first thing I changed was the shoulder strap, it had to go all the way around. Made the bag feel like one whole, and eliminated the risk of the strap letting go and falling off the shoulder.

The old leather boxes were heavy and stuff rattled around inside, so many photos would then put lenses in pouches to protect them when they rubbed against the camera. Nonsense! Make separate compartments to keep the gear apart.

Many bags were set up with forcing you to store the gear in a certain way. Camera could only have the normal zoom, but what if you didn't use a normal zoom. You liked shooting wildlife or sports and used a long zoom lens. I saw how every newspaper photographer seemed to individualize his favorite lens and favorite gear. The camera bag had to be useful to every photographer.

Pockets had to be deep and wide enough for a wide-angle or telephoto, big enough to change lenses quickly and one pocket had to be able to hold anything.

That was what I wanted in my camera bag.

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