Tips, Tricks & Techniques: IN THE BAG

I really don’t know how many people have asked me about “that yellow thing wrapped around the base of the head on my tripod.” It’s definitely a conversation starter. but, of course, it’s much more than that. Simply put, it’s a bag that’s rolled up and cinched around the base of whatever head I’m using at the time. Not just any bag. It’s a “dry bag”. These are the types of bags often used by canoeists and kayakers to protect gear while enjoying these sports.

Why do I have one attached to my tripod? Well, for a couple of reasons. 1) It’s handy just in case it starts to rain or seriously snow. I can quickly disconnect connect it from the tripod and lay it over my camera while continuing to compose images. It’s not total protection but it helps a lot. And, 2) I can just as easily insert the whole camera, into the bag while the camera is still attached to my tripod, offering virtually complete protection from rain or snow as I move from one point to another snd continue shooting.

The primary reason it’s there is for winter photoshoots when I’ve finished my shoot and want to pack up and head home. Typically, I will have been out long enough that my camera is quite cold. What happens when you take something that is cold into a warm area, be it your vehicle or your home? Condensation forms. Condensation is moisture and of course, we all know that moisture and electronics don’t cooperate with each other very well. It’s worth whatever effort we need to put into it, to keep from allowing condensation to form on (or inside of) our camera gear.

What on earth is that yellow thing?

So, when I have decided I’ve had enough shooting for one day (or at least for the moment), I will take my camera off of my tripod, put into a dry bag and seal the bag. Before doing so, I typically take my memory card(s) and battery(s) out of the camera. If I should decide to stop again to continue shooting, it helps to have given the battery some time to warm up and therefore restore a bit of whatever power it may have lost just because of the cold. If I continue home, I want to be able to download images from the memory card and get the battery into the charger without having to wait for the camera to warm up to room temperature.

The bag shown in the photo here is 12″ wide by 20″ deep when unrolled. There’s nothing magic about that size except that it will easily accept my Nikon DSLRs with my 20-200 mm (and a 2X teleconverter attached) and still allow me to roll up the closure to seal the bag. I like this type of bag because it’s made of nylon taffeta so it’s both lightweight and waterproof. I typically have two more similar bags in my photo vest or camera bag, too. Hey. You never knkow.