Thursday May 18th 2017 was one of the proudest days of my career as a photographer. I had been hired by my old regiment, the Scots Guards, to provide the official photographs for the presentation of the new regimental colours by HM Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace – so no pressure there then!
NOTE: The first part of this blog post is a review on the equipment I used. If you just want to see some shots from the ceremony, please scroll down the page.
For weeks I planned, and re-planned the list of kit which I would take. Would I really need this? What if an opportunity came up and I needed that? In the end, I opted to take almost every piece of kit I own as I decided that I’d rather carry a bit more weight than be standing in front of The Queen and wishing I had brought a certain lens with me. Some things, however, were always going to go with me irrespective of which cameras and lenses I took.
Number 1: My Cotton Carrier chest harness. This is possibly the greatest photographic purchase I have ever made as it allows me to carry two cameras, locked securely until I need them, without any stress on my neck. If you missed my updated review for using the Fujifilm x-series, have a wee read here: http://ksgphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/cotton-carrier-chest-harness-for.html
Number 2: The ThinkTank Photo Skin Set belt system. I first reviewed this almost five years ago, while I was still shooting with DSLRs, but it’s still going strong and just as useful for shooting with a mirrorless system. Having all my essential items around my waist means that wherever I go they are with me – and I don’t end up walking like Quasimodo with a heavy bag over my shoulder. My main kit is packed into this and my backup equipment stays in the backpack. Check out my old review here: http://ksgphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/thinktank-photo-skin-set-v20.html
Numer 3: ThinkTank Photo Airport Accelerator backpack. When you just need to carry every single piece of kit you own – this is the one to take! The layout inside allows me to carry two bodies with lens attached and ready to shoot (usually a pair of X-Pro2’s with 16-55mm f2.8 and 50-140mm f2.8 lenses) with a couple of speedlites, backup bodies, speedlites, batteries and other accessories.
Numer 4: ThinkTank Photo (are you seeing pattern here?) Artificial Intelligence laptop bag. Small, light and perfectly suited to carry my MacBook Pro 13″ with an external hard drive and cables.
- 2x Fujifilm X-Pro2, 2x X-T1 as backups – one in a pouch and the other in the backpack, alongside the X100T. Everything else in this shot was carried on me.
- Fujifilm lenses: 16-55mm f2.8, 50-140mm f2.8, 56mm f1.2, 35mm f1.4, 2x converter. Samyang lenses: 8mm fisheye & 12mm f2.
- Phottix Strato II triggers (completely bomb-proof and 100% reliable)
- 2x Yongnuo 560 III speedlites
- ThinkTank memory card pouch and a Pelican SD card case, both filled with Sandisk 32gb SD cards
- Spare AA batteries for the speedlites and AAA’s for the Phottix triggers
- Sirui carbon fibre monopod
On the day, we were very unlucky with the weather and the heavens let loose with everything they had – everyone was soaked through. As I had left my backpack with my 2nd shooter, who was in a static position with the rest of the press, before the rain began my poor backpack was exposed to everything the sky threw at it! My jacket helped keep some of the rain off of my Skin Set, but it still got quite wet.
After I realised the rain wasn’t going to stop, I used a plastic rain cover on one of my X-Pro2’s (which was fitted with the 50-140mm and 2x converter) and the 2nd body was partially protected by my jacket. I say ‘protected’, but that isn’t entirely accurate – my cameras, and I, got soaked! It may be time to look at getting one of ThinkTanks heavy-duty waterproof camera covers!
I expected that, at some point, one of my cameras was going to die on me so I’d just keep shooting until it did, then swap to a backup. They never did! Those two wee wonders from Fuji never missed a beat!
Once the parade was over there was no time to relax as I had to follow Her Majesty while she met with some of the key members of the regiment. This finished with a photo opportunity with the commissioned officers & warrant officers and the Queen. Still, my wee Fujis kept on going!
Getting inside the palace gave me a chance to grab my backpack and quickly check how much water damage had been done to it and the pouches of the Skin Set. I couldn’t believe it – they were soaking on the outside but none of it had managed to get through to my valuable cameras and lenses!
I have always known that ThinkTank make excellent carrying solutions for cameras, but that day completely blew me away as I felt sure they would be swimming around inside (it was so wet that my 2nd shooter had one of his 5D Mk3’s seize up on him at one point, and his memory cards were wet when he handed them to me afterwards).
I always try to look after my kit, but that day tested my cameras, lenses and ThinkTank kit more than I ever have and they all performed flawlessly. My Cotton Carrier allowed me to move around freely, without my cameras swinging around and getting in my way, while only requiring a quick twist to release them when they were needed.
I use the Cotton Carrier and Skin Set when I shoot weddings and I’ll be the first to admit that it sometimes gets some funny looks. Thankfully, however, I’ve yet to meet a client who hires me because of the way I look (or I’d be out of business pretty quickly!) and find that this set-up allows me to move around with all of my essential kit with me without worrying about getting a sore neck or back at the end of the day.
After seeing the way they dealt with such a heavy downpour I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them (or the Airport Accelerator). As for the Fujifilm X-Pro2 – well, I’ve used the X-series cameras for almost three and a half years now and they’ve always delivered the results I want. After seeing what they faced, and dealt with, that day I have a newfound respect for just how robust these wee cameras are.
Here are some of the shots from the day.
Support us by shopping at Amazon. Thanks.Fuji X-Pro2 Fuji X-T1 Fuji XF16-55mmF2.8 Fuji XF50-140mmF2.8 Fuji XF35mmF1.4 Fuji XF56mmF1.2 Samyang 8mm Samyang 12mmF2 Phottix Strato II triggers Yongnuo 560 IV speedlites Sirui P424 carbon fiber monopod Pelican SD card case Sandisk 32Gb SD card