You might be wondering about the logistics of how a working journalist   travels. So, here’s what’s in my bag… I try to travel…

You might be wondering about the logistics of how a working journalist  
travels. So, here’s what’s in my bag…

I try to travel as light as possible, so that usually means one bag  
for clothing and one bag for everything else. But, as a  
photojournalist, it usually means I have way more gear than my  
reporting colleagues.

For years I used to carry backpack with my camera gear, and my back  
has hated me for it ever since. So, on trips like these, I always  
bring my ThinkTank Airport International v2.0 roller bag. It fits in  
99% of the airplane overhead compartments I’ve encountered and has  
some smart security features built in. I’ve also switched to the low  
profile dividers, which means I can lay my ThinkTank My 2nd Brain  
laptop bag (the blue one on the right), on top of all my other stuff,  
and still get the bag to zip closed, concealing everything important  
and valuable.

Also on the right are Lara Bars (to keep me from getting hangry),  
extra camera batteries, Chapstick, a rugged Lacie external harddrive,  
Moleskine notebooks and my passport. Oh, and some Bose in-ear  
noise-canceling headphones I recently bought. I’ll never travel  
without them. They make airplanes tolerable, and are comfortable  
enough to sleep in when you’ve got a crying baby in the room next door.

Starting at the bottom of the roller bag, I’ve got my workhorses, two  
Nikon D810 cameras, the one on the left has a 24-120mm f/4 on it and  
the one on the right is holding the 70-200mm f/2.8. The two blue  
things are ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket card wallets, holding all the  
CF and SD cards I need.

On the right side is my Nikon flash and a universal power adapter.

Above the camera on the left side are a small first aid kit (red bag)  
with bandaids, aspirin, Emergen-C, etc… Then I carry two Nikon  
camera battery chargers (just in case). And in the koozie is in the  
newest addition to my kit, a Polaroid Zink printer and a 50-pack of  
paper. It allows me to print 2×3″ photos (that peel off and become  
stickers, as well) via bluetooth directly from my iPhone. This is a  
simple way to give back, and it works like magic with kids. (Note:  
I’ve gone through one 50-pack already on this trip, giving photos to  
people I made portraits of in migrant shelters, a pastor and his  
family, and kids I met at a lucha libre match).

Up top is my new favorite lens, Nikon’s 105mm f/1.4, and I use it  
every chance I get to make portraits. And then I’ve also got a 35  
f/1.8, just in case I need a small, lightweight, fast lens that looks  
a little more inconspicuous than the zooms.

Oh, and you’re probably wondering about the tennis ball (which has a  
small roll of gaffer’s tape under it). If you ever need a massage on  
the road, this is the cheapest and easiest solution I’ve found. Roll  
around on it like one of those foam rollers at the gym, and it works  
out all the kinks, muscle aches and soreness that comes with riding on  
bumpy roads for hours in vehicles without shocks, contorting yourself  
into cramped airplane seats, and sleeping on lumpy hotel beds.

Melissa L.