Photographer's Everyday Carry


Some of my daily essentials, including the Fuji X-E2 and 23mm f2.

Some of my daily essentials, including the Fuji X-E2 and 23mm f2.

When I lived out in the middle of nowhere Appalachia, I had little need to carry more than a pocket knife. I'd grab the smaller crop-sensor DSLR for walks in the woods around my house, but that's it. I wouldn't bother with the big gear (backpack with multiple camera bodies, lenses, tripods, etc.) unless I was going out for serious hikes or traveling abroad. I actually only had a camera with me when I was out for the sole purpose of taking pictures. If I needed to go somewhere, even just to grab a couple essential groceries, I had to drive at least 15 minutes each way. I had no need for a messenger bag or accessories or a compact, walk-around camera. Now, I live in a relatively large city, and my apartment is walking distance to literally everything I need. The choice to move from the wilderness to the city was not an easy one by any means, but I now enjoy walkability and many conveniences I never had in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The car sits in the parking lot until I want to go to one of the nearby National Parks. 

This drastic change in my way of life has required a change in lifestyle, and, somewhat ironically, has required me to carry a few essentials when walking around the city, whether to shoot or run daily errands. I've had to adapt. I didn't stress or dwell on any decisions when assembling my everyday carry (or EDC as it is known). I already owned most of the gear. I simply got really annoyed really quickly about all the little things I had to walk around with (glasses, reusable bags, cell phone, keys, etc.) and needed to consolidate essential items into a comfortable bag that I could just grab and go out with. Because there are lots of interesting things going on in the city, I need a camera with me at all times, too. Here's my everyday carry:

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
Fuji X-E2 Mirrorless Camera Body
Fuji 23mm f2 R WR Lens
Ipad Mini 2 w/ Charger
Opinel No. 8 Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knife
Domke Lens Wrap (to protect camera)
Cell Phone w/ Charger
Ray-Ban Sunglasses w/ Case
Small Notebook & Pen
Passport (required because I am on a visitor visa)
Small First Aid Kit (not shown)
Wallet, keys, micro-fiber cloth, water bottle

Why did I choose these items? Let's take a closer look inside my EDC's most essential gear...

The Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag is awesome. It's just the right size for my minimal needs. It's made well, durable, and water resistant. The strap is comfortable and easy to adjust even while wearing it. So far, not a single complaint. The water bottle pockets are on the inside, which helps streamline the bag. As long as the bottle is watertight, I don't mind sticking it in there along with my electronics. The bag is lined with a water resistant rubber material adding even more structure, water resistance, and durability. As an added plus, the straps on the bottom are actually perfect for attaching my small Sirui carbon fiber tripod to the bottom if needed.

Fuji is killing it with their mirrorless cameras! No one's paying me to say that...I just love the design and compactness of their new cameras and lenses. The Fuji X-E2 is my first mirrorless camera body, and I really enjoy using it. It's great for travel and weighs nothing, yet feels solid. The image quality of the 16MP APS-C sensor is at least as good as my Nikon's and it's fun to use. It's small enough to be inconspicuous, but packs all the features that I need for my work. I don't consider myself a "street photographer."...I'm not even sure exactly what that means, but I now understand what all the fuss is about regarding Fuji mirrorless range-finder style cameras. The viewfinder is a little smaller than I'm accustomed to, but being able to see in the electronic viewfinder (EVF) exactly what my image is going to look like is a welcome change. 

Couple the X-E2 with the new Fuji 23mm f4 R WR and I've got a compact and lightweight set up great for most walk around ("street photography") situations. This lens is tack sharp, and I love the retro design and smooth handling. 23mm on a crop sensor is equivalent to roughly 35mm on a full frame camera. That's a great versatile focal length for most city and travel photography. It's not too wide and not too narrow. This small camera and lens combination slips perfectly in and out of my messenger bag. To give it added protection against some loose items, I've fashioned a dedicated pouch out of a Domke equipment wrap. 

I don't have to explain the need for a pocket knife; even my wife has a swiss army knife on her at all times. They're just essential for a ton of reasons. I chose a minimalistic and light-weight knife for my EDC, the Opinel No. 8 (they come in various sizes and are numbered accordingly). I sometimes carry a Leatherman multitool, but, for the most part, that lives in my camera backpack with my Nikon gear for various reasons - I have much greater need for a multi-tool in the wilderness than on my walk to the park or downtown. I also have a swiss army knife I bought in Germany 9 years ago and I've been considering adding that to my EDC. Right now, for the sake of having a versatile pocket knife, I use the Opinel. Made in France, it has an extremely sharp carbon steel blade and birch handle. There is a simple twisting lock mechanism that allows you to lock the blade in the open or closed position. The only complaint I have about this knife is that the wood handle swells if it gets wet, making it hard to open or close, so I have to make sure to dry it well. That said, it's very cheap at only $10-15 USD. I bought mine at a local outdoor gear store in the Blue Ridge, and it's been one of my favorite knives since. 

I won't go into detail about the rest of my everyday carry; it's pretty standard and boring stuff. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or send an email on the contact page. Check out my main gear post to find out what's in my camera bag. Thanks for reading!