What's in my bag - Iceland



Update: This list has been moved to a standalone gear page which is actively updated and edited.

Tomorrow I'm leaving for a week-and-a-half-long trip to Iceland (yes!). I'll be exploring Reykjavik and the "Golden Circle", but the majority of my time will be spent in Iceland's mountainous Highlands region. This area is in the interior of the country, and can only be accessed during the warmer summer months. I expect plenty of hiking, exploring and shooting.

Before hitting the road, I thought it might be fun to share the gear I'm bringing. Trips like these don't come along every day, so I'm packing plenty of equipment to get the widest possible range of images.

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW - Earlier this year I needed something larger than my medium-sized Case Logic camera backpack, so I picked up the Lowepro ProTactic. It can hold a lot of stuff, fits in an overhead bin as a carry-on, and is configurable internally to hold everything snug. Also comes with some nice attachable pockets for the outside of the case to carry a tripod, water bottle, etc. Shoulder straps are comfortable enough to hike with, and the belt strap is a welcome addition to help distribute weight. I doubt I'll ever need another bag.

What's going in the bag...

Canon 5D Mark IV - I've been using Canon DSLRs for years, so their interface is pretty much second nature to me at this point. Solid camera, built like a tank, great full-frame images.

Canon 50mm f1.2 L - (Attached to the 5D in the photo) Picked up recently used on eBay. A phenomenal lens with a gigantic f1.2 aperture. Works well for a wide variety of compositions - especially low-light indoor settings. The temptation with a lens like this is to set it to f1.2 for the most beautiful blown-out backgrounds possible, but at that aperture the depth-of-field is razor thin and the sharpness is just okay. The lens is noticeably sharper at f4, so I typically try to stay there and not open it up all the way unless I really need to. I don't anticipate using this all that much, but I'm bringing it just in case.

Canon 16-35mm f4 L - I've used this lens more than any other. Fantastic wide-angle perfectly suited for architecture, streets, and cityscapes. There are cheaper wide angles out there (I used to own one), but the color, clarity, and sharpness of this Canon version can't be beaten.

Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II - This was one of the first lenses I purchased eight years ago, and it has earned the distinction of being my least used overall. Not because it's a poor lens - far from it - but because it's a such a commitment to carry around and travel with. Lately, however, I've been making an effort to use it more, for it really is an ideal lens for landscape photography. You might think a 16-35mm would be better, but if you're shooting subjects at a distance a wide angle lens will make them too small. You may get more of the overall scene, but that latitude comes at the expense of depth. A telephoto zoom like this 70-200mm not only brings subjects closer, but compresses the overall scene for increased clarity throughout your field of view. I plan on using this lens a lot in Iceland.

Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L - Ask any Canon shooter which lens they'd own if they could only have one, and most would answer the 24-70mm. It's an all-around lens capable of shooting everything from wide angles (at 24mm) to zoomed images at 70mm and everything in between. Can't go wrong.

Lee Filters - This is really a category unto itself. Included here is the Foundation Kit and Filter Holder, the Lee 77mm adapter ring, the Lee Polariser Adaptor Ring 105mm and the Lee Graduated ND Filter Twin Pack. This is a bunch of stuff which attaches together to the front of nearly every lens I own. The kit allows you to apply filters (in this case graduated NDs) to a variety of lenses using rectangular plates instead of the circular versions you typically find. Because the ND filters are held in front of the lens, you can freely move them up and down to apply however much (or little) darkening your scene needs. You could do something like this in Photoshop or Lightroom of course, but doing this "in camera" means you can push exposures without blowing out highlights in the sky to create more balanced images. Plus there's just something fussy and fun about using them.

Breakthrough Photography 105mm Circular Polarizer - This attaches to the aforementioned 105mm Adaptor Ring from Lee and is mounted on the very front of the filter kit. What's it for? Polarizers help subdue light reflections on surfaces, most notably water. You can live without ND filters, but polarizers do something magical which can't be replicated using software. 

Fujifilm X100F - I fell in love with the (older) X100T a few years ago, so when the X100F was released I didn't hesitate to buy one. Fuji has done remarkable work with these cameras, for they produce wonderful images with that Fuji "look" and have a physical design which feels like old analog cameras. It may be weird, but I set mine to manual focus with the rangefinder-style viewfinder (requiring you to line-up two images) to give it an even more retro feel.

MeFOTO Roadtrip Travel Tripod - Ruggid, lightweight tripod which folds up nicely. I typically pack this in checked luggage, then attach it to the outside of the backpack. The included ball head is adequate, and the legs extend and collapse very easily. Good choice for travel.

Leofoto Mini Tripod - Impressive little tripod which can hold a ton of weight - even the 5D with the 70-200mm attached! Great for when you can't use a tripod or just don't feel like setting it up.

Sunwayfoto Quick Release Plate - This "L" bracket fits perfectly on the Canon 5D Mark IV and makes switching from landscape to portrait orientation on a tripod super easy and quick. You simply unlock the plate and then re-attach the camera on its bottom of left side without messing around with your tripod's ball head mount. I often times just leave this attached to the camera even when I'm not using a tripod.

Breakthrough Photography Arca Swiss Quick Release Plate - When I'm not using the aforementioned "L" bracket I like to use this quick release plate from Breakthrough Photography. Very well built and can be mounted by hand without additional tools.

RAVPower Charger and Batteries - This is such a fantastic accessory for any Canon DSLR user. Unlike Canon's default battery charger which can only be plugged into a wall, this charger plugs in via USB -- allowing you to charge batteries off pretty much anything (I almost always use my MacBook). It also comes with two extra batteries so you never run out of juice.

Silicon Power 1TB Rugged External Hard Drive - I once lost an entire set of photos from Cannes, France because of bad SD card. Never again. I use this drive to copy photos from SD cards while traveling to ensure I have at least one backup of what I've shot. If wifi is strong, I also try to transfer images to Google Drive for yet another backup just in case everything gets lost. 

Petzl Tikkina Headlamp - Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I've used this headlamp over and over again for all kinds of projects and things. Will almost certainly be needing this later at night.

There are other small accessories and things, but these are the most important bits. Off we go!


Todd Dominey