Nature Photography Blog

John Slonina is a professional nature photographers. His company Slonina Nature Photography leads instructional photo tours and workshops throughout the United States. His photo tours visits several national parks which include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Everglades, Big Cypress, Katmai and Lake Clark.


Equipment Review: My favorite Two Bags to Transport Gear

Carrying camera gear can be a real pain so it is important to make things as confortable and easy as possible. I have tried and tested several bags throughout the years and here are my two favorites.

LoweproTrekker Backpack 

Lowepro Trekker Backpack series has always been top notch. It is extemely confortable for my body frame. Large padded waist belts, an adjustable harness system with well-padded shoulder straps and a padded backrest are critical. There are several different adjustments to maximize comfort. There is even space for a hydration reservoirs.

The bag has two handles which helps you transport and put the back on and off. The handles make it much easier. I like the hand for unloading and loading the backpack into my car or the overhead bin on a plane.

The backpack is weather resistant but includes a lightweight rain cover. You never know when you are in the backcountry and the weather gets ugly.

The bag uses high grade, heavy duty YKK splashguard zippers enhance the seal. Zippers can fail. This bag offer 5 buckles that help secure a heavy load and take some of the stress off the zippers.

LowePro has different models depending on how much gear you need to support. The Protrekker AW series includes. The 300, 400, 500.

Airlines are a major consideration when purchasing a bag. No matter what bag I buy I want to make sure it fits in the overhead big on my plane. The Pro Trekker 400AW is approved as legal carry-on for the US. If you travel internationally or use a regional jet it may be more difficult.

When I am booking a flight just to be on the safe side I make sure it is a larger plane. Boeing 737, 747,757, Airbus 320 are common choices. You can usually tell by how many seats are on the plane, how wide the rows are etc.

There are compression straps attached to the bag. You can attach clothes, a tripod, and other gear.

There are multiple pockets for filters, microfiber cloths, small tools, space batteries, memory cards, spare lens caps etc. There is even an option to fit a laptop (up to 15 in widescreen).

This bags fits a 500mm F4 with camera body attached, a medium telephoto lens, and three small lenses. You can rearrange to fit multiple DSLR’s, lenses up to 400 (2.8), 4-6 lenses, flash units etc. I reverse all the lens hoods.

I recommend you check out any Lowepro product. I have used several of their bags throughout the year.

Here is a special from Hunt’s Photo and Video. Great Deal

20% off any Lowepro backpack, bag or case'

Think Tank Photo Urban Disquise Bag


Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise. This bag allows you to carry expensive gear and it just looks like a laptop bag.                                       

I own the Disguise 60v2

I love this bag. It is roomy and very easy to customize to fit your gear. The quality is excellent with strong materials and great zippers.

Gear Profile

Carries one pro size or regular size DSLR with 24-70 f2.8 attached, plus 2-5 additional lenses, and a 17” widescreen laptop**

Two regular size DSLRs with standard and wide angle zoom lenses attached

Two pro size DSLRs (body only) in padded front pocket, plus 3-6 lenses in main compartment

This bag is comfortable. You can use a padded strap or a convenient handle. The bag also has a compartment for tablets, papers whatever you want to put in there. You can easily get things out while not exposing your gear.

It also has an organizer pocket. The organizer pocket allowed me to keep a lot of small thing in order. There is a hook for keys. A red zippered pocket for priority items like boarding passes etc. There is an enclosed memory card wallet and several locations you can fit business cards. It has a rain cover also for extreme weather.

This is not a bag to fit big lenses or to travel miles into the backcountry.  I still prefer a photo backpack for hiking etc.  I use this bag for three reasons.

The first is for overflow photo gear that doesn’t fit in my photo backpack for big trips. If I fly to Yellowstone or Alaska I take multiple lenses, macro gear, chargers, my tablets, wires etc. It gets crazy how much gear you have to bring as an outdoor photographer. I also have to bring extra gear since I am a photo workshop leader. So this bag with my photo backpack fits everything no problem and it is neat and organized.

The second reason I use this bag is for airplanes. You are allowed one bag as carryon. My one bag is my photo backpack. A computer bag doesn’t count as a carryon. This is your chance to bring extra gear, books, tablets, magazines, maps etc.  

The third reason is non photography related. This bag fits a lot of things and is incredibly organized. I use it to fit my laptop, cords, mouse, books, magazines, passport, boarding pass, keys, maps, prescriptions, chargers and numerous other things.

So in conclusion this is a great bag with multiple uses. I am super impressed with the Think Tank Photo line of products.

Here is another great special from Hunt’s Photo and Video

15% off any Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise Series Bags

 15% off any Think Tank Photo Camera Bags, Belt Systems, Rain Covers

Please ask for Alan Samiljan or Gary Farber (781) 662-8822 and mention my name