Today, a friend and I went to the KC Zoo to have a shoot-off (inspired by David Hobby “Mr Strobist” in the entry he wrote for his Guest Wednesday column in Scott Kelby’s “Photoshop Insider”.

At the end of the day, we both discovered that our gear needs weren’t what we thought they were. My friend packed a Nikon 300D with a 70-200mm lens, a monopod and a flash that he left in the car. I brought my Canon camera and a bag with a couple of lenses, an extra battery, 5 memory cards and my 580EX2 flash. 

To make a long story short, he realized that he needed to carry an extra battery (of all things!) and maybe some more memory. I realized that I should probably invest in a monopod and definitely in a new lens – I’m thinking of the Tamron 18-270mm with vibration control.

His battery died 25 minutes before the shoot was over. I probably switched lenses 30 times throughout the day (along with a battery change and a memory card swap – I almost filled two 4 gig cards).  Although I own 2 tripods and 5 lightstands, I have neglected to buy a monopod. Together we both probably shot a combined total of 600 to 850 images over 4 hours.

Until today we had both been acquiring studio lights, speed lights, and lighting accessories. All of our focus had been on studio portraiture and we had neglected to find general purpose gear that is handy no matter what or where you are shooting.

Moral of the story. Make sure you have extra batteries, extra memory cards, a quality general purpose lens (emphasis on QUALITY), and a handy way to steady your camera.

P.S.  I’ll try to have some photos posted on flickr when I’m done sorting and processing them.