Life? No, the great philosophical conundrum I am grappling with is this: does the perfect camera bag exist? I have no idea how many I have. Probably no more than a dozen. Each time I persuade myself that this one is just a little bit better than the last one.
The ultimate camera bag would be like a Tardis – bigger inside than its external dimensions. It does not have to look like a police box. Currently my best two camera bags would have to be my Lexus SUV and my Crumpler bag. The Lexus is old, worn, goes anywhere, has room for many camera bodies, lenses, tripods, flash guns, film and can also hold plenty of food and water. It is rather too heavy to sling over the shoulder and it is too wide for many of the narrow streets of say, Venice or indeed Sai Kung. The Crumpler bag on the other hand holds just one camera body. And I would not be able to fit my DSLR in it. But it is perfect for the M9, even with the Nocti attached. I can just about fit in my wallet, phone, spare battery and, with a little care, a bottle of water across the top. And one roll of film. No second lens. No food. Well, maybe a mars bar. For a stroll on the beach or around the town it is ideal. I have a rather nice Domke bag too. Green canvas I would guess. A tad heavy, roomier than the Crumpler but somehow I don’t feel comfortable with it.
My biggest gripe about any smallish camera bag is where to attach the tripod. There are people I know who would never dream of using a tripod and others who would consider it unprofessional not to do so. I sort of sit somewhere in between. I like to have it available if needed but I feel no compelling urge to mount the Leica on a tripod when it is light enough to hand hold down to about 1/15 and, with the Nocti mounted it can give me much faster shutter speeds if I use it wide open and/or tweak the ISO up a bit. But for macro shots needing DoF, frequently taken in less than ideal light, a tripod is must.
I would also like a built-in dog-deterrent. Here in Hong Kong village pye dogs can be a real nuisance. It is true that often the bark is worse than the bite but who wants to put it to the test. A hiking pole might suffice but a taser would suit me better. Don’t misunderstand me. I am very fond of dogs. I have one myself and I would never dream of putting her on the menu. So if I am not willing to bite into a dog I am darned if I think it is OK for a dog to sink its fangs into me. When we were teenagers the physics master, Mr. Peabody, used to make us join hands then he would “connect us up” to a Van der Graaff generator to show us the joys of static electricity. That would do nicely. Gather up all the strays, make them join paws and teach them a little physics. Yelps of joy, no doubt. Actually I expect there is an “app” for the iPhone which would do this so I may be able to strike this off my list. If there isn’t, are you listening Stevie J.?
A photograph for today. No camera bags. Too tedious. No pye dogs. No physics labs. Just a simple image of someone who really does seek the meaning of life.